Usain Bolt played to the cameras before his 200-meter semifinal and slowed down before it was over — the usual drill for a sprinter who doesn’t look like he can be beaten at these Olympics.
Bolt won his semifinal in 20.09 seconds Tuesday night, keeping alive his chances for the first 100-200 Olympic double since Carl Lewis in 1984.
The Jamaican sprinter, who set the world record in the 100 at 9.69 seconds Saturday, beat defending 200 champion Shawn Crawford of the United States by 0.03 second. The noticeable difference, though, was that Bolt appeared to be loping to the line, while Crawford was busting across at full speed.
“I wouldn’t say jogging,” Bolt said. “I’m just trying to get through to the next round.”
American Wallace Spearmon used a late burst to finish third and will join a third American, Walter Dix, in the final Wednesday night.
Bolt had fun during his short stay on the track, pretending to smooth his closely shaven hair before the start and pointing toward the camera before he climbed into the starting block.
Starting in Lane 6, it took him about 10 steps to make up the lag against Spearmon in Lane 7. Crawford was in Lane 5 and actually looked like he might win the heat, but Bolt passed him for the win — and possibly to send a message to one of his prime contenders for the gold.
The big question, however, is are there any real challengers?
Bolt’s win by 0.2 second in the 100 was impressive not just because of the world record, but because he was hamming it up — pounding his chest and holding out his hands — with about 20 meters to go. His left shoelace was even untied.
He broke his own world record by 0.03 second. Next up is a run at Michael Johnson’s mark of 19.32 in the 200, a record set 12 years ago.