Usain Bolt In Rio 2013 (© Thiago Diz)
Usain Bolt, World record holder at 100 and 200m, and a winner of six Olympic gold medals and five World titles, left his mark on the city that will stage the 2016 Olympic Games when he sped to a 150m victory on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana Beach in 14.42 on Sunday (31).
Running on a specially-built blue straight track, with a 1.4mps breeze on his back, Bolt fell just short of his own world best of 14.35 for the unusual distance, which he ran in the British city of Manchester just under four years ago.
With more than 20,000 people in attendance, the Jamaican was drawn in lane two on the four-lane track and he dominated the race from the gun. The clock was his only adversary and he covered the first 100m unofficially in 10.1.
Antigua’s Daniel Bailey, a100m finalist at the 2009 and 2011 IAAF World Championships, and one of Bolt’s training partners, was second in 14.88.
In the Caribbean v South America contest, Brazil’s 2011 World Championships 200m finalist Bruno de Barros was third in 14.91, gaining his place in the final after winning a domestic eliminator earlier in the day, while Ecuador’s Alex Quiñónez a 200m finalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games was never in the race and finished fourth 15.90.
Bolt had arrived in Rio on Friday morning and has been spending his time visiting social projects and participating in promotional events He was clearly happy after the race, despite not improving on the time he set in 2009.
“This is my first sprinting event of the season, definitely a good start for the season. I haven’t done much training for sprints so far, so I’m pleased with my result and I now hope to continue this way and to stay injury free,” commented the 2012 World Athlete of the Year.
“It is a very hot day (sunny; 29° C) and I want to thank all those who came to watch the race. If the opportunity comes, I would come back to Brazil before the 2016 Olympic Games, but maybe not to run at midday,” added Bolt, with a smile.
After the race, Bolt put on his traditional show, dancing and partying in front of the crowd. During his time in Brazil, the Jamaican also played volley football on the beach and frequently exuded his trademark charisma.
The race was Bolt’s first international outing of the year after two races over 400m and another in a 4x400m Relay on home soil.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games, he became the first man to successfully defend the 100 and 200m titles at the Olympics.
In the women’s 150m, Brazil's Franciela Krasucki, a 2011 Pan-American Games 4x100m gold medallist, won in 16.75 ahead of compatriot Rosângela Santos in 17.12.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF