Usain Bolt vowed to go for a world record in Thursday’s Rio Olympics 200m final after Jamaican compatriot Elaine Thompson completed a stunning women’s sprint double.
Brazil’s football team set up a revenge showdown against Germany — who crushed the hosts 7-1 in the World Cup two years ago — only to lose another strategic final to the Germans on Copacabana beach.
Bolt, boosted by his win in Sunday’s 100m final, looked unstoppable as he reached the 200m final with a season’s best of 19.78sec.
He had time to ease up 40 metres from the line and still finish ahead of Canada’s Andre De Grasse. Bolt believes his world record of 19.19sec is in jeopardy.
“I definitely think I can try for the world record, I definitely feel that,” he said.
There was a shock as Bolt’s US rival Justin Gatlin — the fastest man over the distance this year — failed to make the final.
Gatlin, who has been booed in Rio over two doping failures and came second in the 100m, blamed an ankle injury suffered in November.
Thompson, who sprinted to gold in the women’s 100m on Saturday, stunned Dutch world champion Dafne Schippers to win the 200m in 21.78sec.
Schippers, who stumbled as she crossed the line, took silver in 21.88. Tori Bowie of the United States won bronze.
Thompson, 24, dedicated her victory to the trailblazing Jamaican stars who have won Olympic gold in past years.
“It is very special for me to win,” she said. “I spent my childhood growing up watching Veronica Campbell-Brown and then Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce.”
Thompson is the first woman to complete the double since late American world record holder Florence Griffith Joyner’s performance at the 1988 Seoul Games.
In the final event, 2013 world champion Brianna Rollins led a majestic American sweep of the top three in the women’s 100m hurdles.
Rollins produced a flawless display to clock 12.48sec ahead of compatriot Nia Ali in 12.59sec and Kristi Castlin in 12.61sec.
“It’s like a sisterhood,” said Rollins. “I’ve known these girls for years. I’m so grateful and blessed that we were able to accomplish this together.”
Tianna Bartoletta of the United States upset defending champion and team-mate Brittney Reese to take the long jump gold.
Bartoletta, a 2005 world champion who gave up the sport as she struggled with injuries, secured victory with her penultimate leap of 7.17m to knock Reese out of the gold medal standings. Reese could only manage 7.15 on her final jump.
But it was a disappointing long jump for Darya Klishina.
The only Russian athlete allowed to compete in the track and field competition following her country’s doping scandal bowed out midway through the final.
“Ten or 15 years ago I couldn’t imagine that my first Olympic Games would be like this,” said a disappointed Klishina who won a world sports tribunal appeal against a late IAAF doping ban on her competing in Rio.
In the day’s other final, Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya won gold in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase.
– Neymar back –
Brazil, who are not keeping up with medal expectations, had a day of hope and crushing disappointment.
Neymar scored twice — including the fastest goal at an Olympics in 15 seconds — as Brazil beat Honduras in the Games football semi-final.
They now face Germany, triumphant 2-0 over Nigeria, in Saturday’s final. This will be a repeat of their Maracana stadium clash in the
World Cup final two years ago which the Germans won 7-1.
Barcelona star Neymar stole the ball from Honduras defender Johnny Palacios on the edge of the box and goalkeeper Luis Lopez’s attempt to save ricocheted off Neymar’s midriff and into an empty goal.
For a moment, Neymar’s bravery looked foolhardy. He was stretchered off after being winded in the challenge but came back and scored a late penalty to complete the rout.
Germany inflicted another famous victory over Brazil in the women’s beach volleyball final, however, under a full moon on Copacabana beach.
Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst scored an emphatic 21-18, 21-14 win over Brazil’s world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas in front of a raucous crowd.