Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt pulls away to win the men's 200 meters in record time.

Bolt(ing) to another record

BEIJING — Arms churning high, face twisted in pain as he sprinted toward the finish line, Usain Bolt kept glancing at the clock.

The win in the Olympic 200 meters was a given, his second gold medal of the Beijing Games assured.

This was now about a world record. About racing against history.

Showing just what he can do when he goes all out start to finish, Bolt forged the greatest race ever run Wednesday night under the hazy lights at the Bird's Nest, heaving his chest toward the finish line — not simply to beat someone for the gold, but to become a part of track's glorious, and

sometimes troubled, lore.

He finished in 19.30 seconds to break Michael Johnson's 12-year-old world record, one of the most venerable in the books.

"I blew my mind and I blew the world's mind," Bolt said.

Insane, Usain.

Officially, he won by an astounding 0.66 second over American Shawn Crawford, the defending Olympic champion. Crawford won the silver medal when Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles, who had finished 0.52 behind Bolt, was disqualified after a U.S. protest for running out of his lane. "It feels like a charity case," Crawford said.

Either way, it was about four body lengths, the biggest margin in an Olympic 200.

American Walter Dix was awarded the bronze medal when the third man across the line, teammate Wallace Spearmon, also was DQ'd for leaving his lane.

Footnotes to history.

Bolt added the 19.30 to the 9.69 he ran the 100 four nights before when he hot-dogged the final 20 meters to set the world record.

Everyone thought he could've done better in the 100 had he run hard the whole way, but the 200 has always been Bolt's favorite, the one he spent his life on, and this time he saved the showboating for after the race.

"I've been dreaming of this since I was yea high," Bolt said. "So it means a lot more to me actually than the 100 means."

Bolt became the first man to win the 100-200 double at the Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984, and the first man to hold both records simultaneously since Donald Quarrie — the 1970s Jamaican star whom Bolt said he always wanted to pattern his running after.

He gets mentioned in the same breath with Johnson, as well as Jesse Owens and any of the other six men to complete the Olympic 100-200 double. Nobody other than Johnson had ever run a 200 in under 19.6 and nobody had broken 9.7 in the 100 before Beijing.

Bolt has done both, the only man ever to break the world record in both sprints in the same Olympics.

Bolt is simply a different kind of runner — coiled power in his 6-foot-5 frame, supposedly too big for success in the 100, but certainly built to run the 200.

"It's his anatomy," said Renaldo Nehemiah, the former world record-holder in the 110-meter hurdles. "He's just blessed with an uncanny frame, an uncanny quickness, a huge competitive heart. And he is having a good time, which I think our sport sorely needs to see."

Indeed, track and field could use a breath of fresh air after years of bad news, bad characters and failed drug tests that have come close to turning the sport into second-tier Olympic viewing.

There are cynics who believe Bolt might be too good to be true himself. But the Jamaican insists he is clean, that he plays by the rules, that any improvement he's enjoyed over the last few months has come courtesy of rededicating himself to his training and staying off the dance floor he loves so much.

Before the race, track officials said he had been subjected to 11 doping tests since the beginning of 2008, including four since July 27. None so far has come back positive.

The man whose record fell was talking about Bolt's dominance, not his drug tests, when it was over.

"Incredible," Johnson said. "He got an incredible start. Guys of 6-5 should not be able to start like that. It's that long, massive stride. He's eating up so much more track than others. He came in focused, knowing he would likely win the gold and he's got the record."

Bolt's move out of the starting block isn't nearly as important in the 200 as the 100, which makes the longer race more about raw speed. But a good start certainly doesn't hurt. He got one this time, even if it was fifth out of the eight runners. He burst out of the blocks from Lane 5 and overcame the lag about a quarter of the way through.

He averaged 9.65 per 100 meters — faster than his 4-day-old record in the 100.

Bolt won the race on the eve of his 22nd birthday and a version of "Happy Birthday" played over the public-address system as he took off his gold shoes and wrapped the Jamaican flag around his shoulders like a scarf.

He did another hip-swiveling dance, then raised his hands and pointed toward the scoreboard. A little later, he posed near the trackside clock — the traditional picture that all world record-setters take. Bolt now has three of them — this, the 100 from Saturday and the picture he took in New York in May when he broke the 100 record the first time.

"You're back there giving it everything you've got — it's brutal," said Kim Collins, the 2003 world champ who finished seventh. "He's doing it and making it look so simple. Michael Johnson did it, and it didn't look that easy."

It sparked a tremendous celebration in Jamaica, which improved to 3-for-3 in Olympic sprints.

There was more for the island country to be happy about Wednesday night.

Shortly after Bolt finished, Jamaican Melaine Walker won the women's 400-meter hurdles in an Olympic-record 52.64, finishing ahead of American Sheena Tosta.

More than an hour later, in a nearly empty Bird's Nest, the struggling American team — the team with only three gold medals so far — took another blow when Brad Walker, the reigning pole vault world champion, didn't reach the final.

All of that was mere filler on this night, though.

And while Michael Phelps and his record eight swimming golds may be The Story of these Olympics, Bolt and his double world record sprints are a chapter unto themselves.

Bolt's sheer dominance in the most basic tests of speed will not soon be surpassed.

Unless, of course, he does it himself.

"As he gets older, physically more mature, he can only get faster," Nehemiah said.

Not that anyone would be surprised.

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