Mail Online:- They say lightning never strikes twice, let alone three times, but Usain Bolt has his eyes set on immortality after again claiming the title of fastest man in the world.
The Jamaican sprint legend emerged victorious in his grudge match against American Justin Gatlin to win his third successive gold medal in the 100m final race on Sunday night, running the track in 9.81 seconds.
Gatlin, who finished in 9.89 seconds, took home the silver medal while Andre De Grasse of Canada nabbed the bronze.
It was an epic sprint for the line and midway Gatlin appeared to have got the better of Bolt.
But Bolt picked up and ran first over the line, his face immediately breaking into his signature showman smile.
‘It was brilliant,’ the legend said after his victorious run. ‘I didn’t go so fast but I’m so happy I won. I told you guys I was going to do it.’
Sunday was the race the planet tuned into see and Bolt ensured he would become the first athlete to ever win the 100m three times – and at three straight Olympics.
Bolt is now just two races away from completing the ‘triple triple’ and winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
It would be the perfect final Olympics for the legend, who has repeatedly said he will retire after Rio.
‘Somebody said I can become immortal,’ Bolt said after the race on Sunday. ‘Two more medals to go and I can sign off. Immortal.’
Bolt, who hopes to break the world record in the 200m – his favorite event – on Thursday added that he would be disappointed if he did not complete the ‘triple triple’.
‘I came to these Olympics to win three golds and prove I am one of the greats,’ he said.
‘If I fail I will feel sad and I will not feel accomplished.’
But on Sunday Bolt was happy to soak in the roaring cheers and applause as he grabbed his national flag and smiled back at his loving audience.
Gatlin, meanwhile, was widely booed as he entered the track, a sound that shocked Bolt.
‘That’s the first time I’ve gone into a stadium and they’ve started to boo (Gatlin),’ he said. ‘It surprised me.’
But Bolt didn’t stop to shake Gatlin’s hand after the race, instead running another 100 yards around the track before later embracing De Grasse.
Despite the cold welcome from both the crowd and his rival, Gatlin still soaked in his silver medal victory and made his victory lap with the American flag draped around his shoulders.
‘We work 365 days a year to be here for nine seconds,’ Gatlin said after winning his third Olympic medal. ‘At the age of 34, to race these young guys and still make the podium feels so good.’
‘That was for my son. If he’s watching…I love you, son.’
Gatlin said he only had ‘love and respect’ for the other medal winners, and that he knew he had to live with the jeers.
The race was billed as an epic head-to-head between Bolt and Gatlin, who has one Olympic gold medal and a career racked with drug controversy.