BEIJING, August 28 — American sprinters like Justin Gatlin? Usain Bolt keeps beating them and then beating his chest, as he did in winning his latest gold medal, in the 200 meters at the world track and field championships.
But Bolt did eventually get taken down on the track Thursday night.
While Bolt was taking his latest victory lap in the Bird’s Nest stadium with a Jamaican flag wrapped around his neck, a cameraman riding a Segway scooter ran over a bolt — of all things — protruding from a trackside camera rail. That caused the scooter to veer abruptly to the right and clip Bolt from behind.
Bolt, taken by surprise, fell backward, landing on the cameraman’s legs. He ended up flat on his back before doing a cautious back somersault to return to his bare feet.
“He took me out,” Bolt said later, uninjured and smiling. “The rumour I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him off.”
Gatlin’s deadpan response: “I want my money back. He didn’t complete the job.”
It was a light-hearted coda to a duel that had generated much weighty discussion this week as Gatlin, twice suspended for doping violations, faced off in two races against Bolt, the sport’s biggest star.
Gatlin, 33, arrived in Beijing with the fastest times of the season in both the 100 and the 200, but as it turned out, there was still no beating Bolt in the Bird’s Nest, the modernistic stadium where he became a star.
Bolt was 3 for 3 in his finals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and he is 2 for 2 so far in these world championships.
There was near silence from the crowd as the eight finalists prepared for Thursday’s 200 final, perhaps because Bolt put an index finger to his lips before settling into the blocks.
But there were only roars and camera flashes after the starting gun sounded, and though Bolt and Gatlin quickly made up the stagger on the sprinters in adjacent lanes, Bolt — as usual — had the edge coming out of the curve.
He crossed the finish line in 19.55 seconds, with Gatlin in second in 19.74.
-New York Times