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How low can Bolt really go?

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Associated Press
August 21, 2009
— Teeth clenched, Usain Bolt grimaced as he churned toward the finish line, hoping to coax a fraction more out of his 6-foot-5 frame.

The big, yellow numbers flashing another world record time told the Jamaican sprinter he had gotten what he wanted out of the 200 meters Thursday at the world championships.


Beyond the mark of 19.19 seconds, though, was something else—the fact that he is altering his sport.


Bolt’s biggest competitor was the clock. He bettered his old world record by a whopping .11 seconds, the same margin he shaved off the 100 four days earlier, when he finished in 9.58.


“I’m on my way to being a legend,” Bolt said, without a trace of arrogance.


He is erasing chunks of time from records that normally take years to break. He is beating the so-called competition by body lengths—this time, Alonso Edward of Panama was 0.62 seconds behind—in a sport often decided by photo finishes.


“He’s a gift to this earth,” said American sprinter Shawn Crawford, who finished fourth. “He’s a blessing to the track game.”


When it was time to go to work in his yam-colored Pumas. He jetted out of the blocks, turned the corner and it was over.


No one was going to catch him once he reached the straightaway.


“I was surprised with myself that I did so well,” Bolt said.


So how low can Bolt go? Even he has no clue.


“I keep saying anything’s possible as long as you put your mind to it,” he said.


Former sprint star Michael Johnson, whose record of 19.32 stood for 12 years before Bolt broke it last year, believes the 19-second barrier might be next.



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