Over the last couple of years, there’s been no reason to think Usain Bolt could be as dominant in Rio as he was in Beijing or London. He’ll turn 30 during those games, for one. For another, he sat out many of the big races since 2013, and lost a lot of time to nagging hamstring troubles last year. Then he went and won the 100m at Worlds on Sunday. This morning, he did this. Usain Bolt is most definitely back.
In the 200m, unlike in the 100m, Bolt’s biggest rival, American Justin Gatlin, started strong. It didn’t matter. Bolt coasted to a win in 19.55 seconds, the fastest time run this year—and he did it while easing off and pounding his chest at the end. He looked, like the first time since 2013, like the Usain Bolt we know—like a man racing against children.
Then he got rammed by a photographer on a Segway.
Bolt is not quite a shoo-in for 2016 glory, though. Seemingly over his hamstring issues, this season he has been beset by troubles with a joint in his lower spine that has caused leg discomfort. He’s missed meets and labored at the ones he’s run. When he is healthy, he is the fastest man alive. When he is not, he is catchable. Seemingly all that will matter for his chances in Rio is whether his body is capable of its best.