LAUSANNE, July 8 – Jamaican athletics phenomenon Usain Bolt recorded the fourth fastest time in history in the 200 metres of 19.59 seconds here at the Grand Prix meeting on Tuesday despite it pouring with rain.
The 22-year-old triple Olympic champion – world record holder both at 100m and 200m – eased home 82hundreths of a second ahead of the United States’ 400m Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt.
Recently-crowned American champion Shawn Crawford was left trailing over a second behind.
Bolt, who was running into a headwind, was just a hundreth of a second outside the best time of the year set by United States triple world champion Tyson Gay, who had the benefit of a favourable tailwind when he ran in New York on May 30.
"I pushed myself right to the end because I wanted to really test myself," said Bolt, who was running only his third 200m of the season.
"Would I have broken the world record (19.30sec) had it been better weather? I don’t even think of it in those terms, I was just trying to test myself.
"I didn’t think it possible to get so much pleasure in running in these conditions.
"I wasn’t here to impress my rivals but to check out at what level I am at the moment.
"I felt relaxed despite the rain. Therefore I wasn’t even thinking about what I could have done if it had been good weather," added Bolt, whose next race will be the 100m in the Golden League meeting in Paris on Friday week.
His compatriot and perpetual underachiever in major finals Asafa Powell won the 100m in 10.07sec into a headwind, which left the former world record holder satisfied.
"I hate running in the rain but I am very happy with my performance," said Powell, who along with Bolt was part of the Jamaican quartet who ran a world record in the 4x100m relay in last year’s Olympic final.
Cuba also celebrated a double victory as world record holder Dayron Robles won the 110m hurdles in 13.18sec while Yargelis Savigne easily won the triple jump as she recorded a best hop skip and jump of 14.91 metres, a half metre better than her nearest rival.