RIO DE JANEIRO — Usain Bolt won an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in the 200-meter dash on Thursday night.
Bolt finished in 19.78 seconds and has broken the 200-meter world record on two occasions as the first came at Beijing 2008 when he ran 19.30 and then at the 2009 world championships in Berlin when he ran 19.19.
Canada’s Andre De Grasse took silver behind Bolt in 20.02. France’s Christophe LeMaitre earned bronze with his 20.12 performance.
The 200-meter victory comes just four days after Bolt defended his 100-meter title to become the first man to win three straight golds in the 100. Bolt becomes just the third person ever to win three individual gold medals in two events. Michael Phelps owns four gold medals in the 200-meter individual medley and three in the 100-meter butterfly and Raw Ewry won three gold medals in the high jump and standing long jump from 1900 to 1908.
Bolt guaranteed a victory after Wednesday night’s evening session when he ran 19.78 for a seasonal best. One of Bolt’s biggest challengers in the event was knocked out in the semifinal when Justin Gatlin of the United States finished third in his heat in 20.13 seconds, falling short of a qualifying spot by .03 seconds.
With the individual double accomplished, Bolt must now rely on his teammates to cap a third golden treble with the men’s 4x100-meter final on Friday, which also marks the final race of his Olympic career. He also looks to tie the Olympic record of nine gold medals in track and field, which is held by the United States’s Carl Lewis and Finland’s Paavo Nurmi.
Bolt, who will turn 30 on Sunday, has repeatedly said that 2016 will be his final Olympics. He plans to run at next summer’s world championships in London before retiring.