By Sportswriter Paul Giblin
LONDON, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Usain Bolt set a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds as he won the 100 meters gold medal on Sunday night.
Bolt finished ahead of fellow Jamaican, Yohan Blake, who finished in 9.75 and Justin Gattlin, who ran 9.79, one hundredth of a second ahead of Tyson Gay, who finished fourth.
The fact both Blake and Gattlin ran personal best times in the race gives an indication of Bolt's greatness. The Jamaican, cheered loudly by the crowd in the Olympic Stadium, wasn't fast out of the blocks and found himself with time to make up on Gattlin, who got off to a flyer.
However, once Bolt was up to his full height after around 40 meters, there was no stopping him as he powered past his rivals.
There was no slowing down as there had been in Beijing four years ago, as the gold medal was not secure until he crossed the finish line. Meanwhile Blake produced a powerful finish to get his nose ahead of Gattlin in the final meters.
The disappointment of the race was Asafa Powell as he pulled a muscle halfway through the race, but the night belonged to Bolt, who celebrated in trademark fashion as the crowd went wild.
Monday sees Jamaica celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence from Britain, Bolt and also Blake have given their homeland an early birthday present and along with women's gold medalist, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce have maintained Jamaica's dominance over 100 meters.
But Sunday was not just about the 100 meters final and although Bolt will deservedly capture the headlines, the night saw four other track and field medals decided along with the finalists for the men's 1,500 meters and 400 meters were.
The first final underway was the women's triple jump and it produced the first gold medalist of the night as Kazakhstan's Olga Rypakovawon with a jump of 14.98, which she produced on her third attempt.
Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia produced a leap of 14.80 meters on the sixth and final attempt to take silver ahead of Olga Saladuha by just one centimeter. Britain's Yamile 39-year-old Aldama ended the competition in fifth place.
Sanya Richards-Ross won thrilling women's 400 meters in 49.55 after holding off a strong charge from defending gold medalist, Britain's Christine Ohuruogu, down the final straight.
Richards Ross went into the race as world champion and with two relay gold medals from Athens and Beijing and an individual bronze from 2008, but this was the crowning moment of her career.
Russia's Antonina Krivoshapka had led into the last 100 meters, but ran out of steam allowing Ross, Ohuruogu and DeeDee Trotter to overtake. Ohuruogu had struggled in the early stages of the race, but her powerful finish, helped by the cheers of a partisan home crowd, saw her run a year's best of 49.70.
There was a whiff of controversy as Ezekiel Kemboi won the 3,000 meters steeplechase. Kemboi, the reigning world champion, who also claimed Olympic gold in 2004, clipped fellow countryman Brimin Kipruto with around 700 meters left to run. Kipruto battled back but could only finish fifth.
Ethiopian Roda Gari tried to take the race from the front in the last lap, but Kemboi had the sprint to finish a slow (8.18) race ahead of France's Mahiedine Mekhssi-Benabbad, with Abel Mutai from Kenya claiming bronze.
Meanwhile, Hungarian Krisztian Pars won the the men's hammer throw with 80.59 meters, ahead of Slovenian, Primoz Kozmus and Japan's Koji Morofushi.
In the 1,500 meters semifinals, Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi produced an big acceleration to finish ahead of reigning Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop, Mekonnen Gebremedhin, Leonel Manzano and Norway's Henrik Ingerbrigsten in the first heat, while the second semi was run at a faster pace to try and assure the two extra qualification places.
Abdalaati Iguider led the second semi home with world championship silver medalist Silas Kiplagat second and Beijing silver medal winner Nicholas Willis finishing third.
The men's 400 meters semifinals witnessed South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, the man christened 'Blade Runner' as a result of his prosthetic lower legs, try to make history. Pistorius finished last in his heat.
Lalonde Gordon was the fastest to qualify with a time of 44.58, followed by James Kirani and Chris Brown, but the night belonged to Bolt.