While the world speculated about Usain Bolt's form and fitness, the man himself never had any doubts and the Jamaican's "no worries" approach was vindicated wonderfully when he won his second Olympic 100 metres gold in spectacular style on Sunday.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt gestures as he celebrates after winning the men's 100m final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 5, 2012. Photo: REUTERS
"All I know is what I'm capable of and if I can run 9.6 then nobody is going to beat me," he told Reuters in June. "If everything is right there should be no problem."
And on a cool August night in front of 80,000 fans clutching the hottest ticket in sport, he did just that, and they didn't, and there wasn't.
His 9.63 was the second-fastest time ever, behind his own 9.58 from Berlin, and was enough to leave compatriot Yohan Blake and American Justin Gatlin trailing for the minor medals.
A tight hamstring, a stiff back, a car crash, defeats by his upstart training partner Blake and a thousand enquiries about his readiness to race were all blown into the ether by another wonderful display of sprinting from the biggest draw of the Games.
Michael Phelps may have more medals and Britain's supremely successful home athletes might raise a louder cheer but Bolt is and has always been the focal point of the London Olympics.
"Some of you guys doubted me. I just had to show the world I was the greatest," he told reporters, before admitting to a few moments of his own uncertainty.
"The trials woke me up. Yohan gave me a wake-up call," he said. "He knocked on my door and said 'Usain this is the Olympic year, wake up' after that I refocused and got my head together."
With his mind refocused and his hamstring finessed back into shape by the healing hands of renowned German sports doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, Bolt was always going to be unbeatable in London.
In truth, any doubts had been dispelled in the semi-finals when he clocked 9.87 despite coasting for the last 30 metres.
There was none of the tightness or uncharacteristically laboured movement on display when he trailed Blake on home soil and then needed massage on the track to loosen his hamstring, immediately offering a sliver of encouragement to his rivals who had thought they would be racing for second.
As the Games drew nearer and Bolt withdrew from a planned 200 metres race in Monaco, the rumour mill went into overdrive.
Former champion Maurice Greene predicted victory for Blake, re-admitted drugs cheat Gatlin suddenly became a contender - the doomsday scenario for Olympic, athletics and anti-doping officials - and nearly men Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay dared to wonder if this could, after all, be their moment.
It was the first time since 1968 that the four current fastest men in the world had all made it to the start line - but Bolt was always going to be head man if he was healthy.
His winning time was fantastic, an Olympic record of course, and the performance supreme. There was no dance over the line as in Beijing, though, this time more of a teeth-gritted grimace of satisfaction, and the way he tore round the bend for a half-lap of honour at virtual race pace gave some indication of the outpouring of relief.
Some may have been disappointed not to have seen a world record, but not Bolt who has consistently said he is driven by titles not times.
Next on the horizon is his attempt to retain the 200 metres title, for an extraordinary and unprecedented double-double, followed by the 4x100m relay, with Jamaica looking for back to back wins.
The suggestion that he has already done enough to achieve his longed-for "legend" status will probably not have too many dissenters now, and certainly not if he wins the 200.
But, just in case, the 25-year-old has something else up his sleeve. Asked if he planned to race in Rio De Janeiro in 2016 he said. "I hope I'm there... I'm looking forward it."
He is not alone.
Source: Tuoi Tre News
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