LONDON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Usain Bolt of Jamaica dominated an extraordinary field of sprinters Sunday to win the 100-meter gold medal for the second consecutive Olympics.
Bolt pulled away over the final half of the race as is his custom and had an answer for those who felt he was ready to relinquish his role as world's fastest man.
He had been beaten in the Jamaican Olympic trials by Yohan Blake and there was a tremendous group of Americans lined up in hopes of pulling off the upset.
Justin Gatlin of the United States turned in the fastest time in the semifinal heats at Olympic Stadium earlier in the evening, building the drama for what was expected to be one of the highlights of the London Games.
Bolt, however, made it all elementary.
His winning time of 9.63 was .05 of a second off his world record, but Bolt ran faster than he did four years ago while stunning the world by altering the face of sprinting.
At 6-5, 205 pounds, Bolt is built like someone who plays tight end in the National Football League. He also happens to run faster than anyone in history.
Blake could not keep up with Bolt this time and finished second in the finals. Gatlin was third. Americans Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey were fourth and fifth fastest.
Bolt's performance came at the end of an evening of track and field that saw the eighth consecutive Olympic win for a Kenyan in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase and a much sought after triumph by American Sanya Richards-Ross in the 400-meter run.
Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won the steeplechase and was so sure of victory that he veered to the outside of the track and waved to the crowd as he came down the stretch.
That almost gave fast closing Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad a chance to catch up, but Kemboi was never in any real danger of blowing his lead.
Richards-Ross, who has been the world's most consistently excellent quarter miler over the last eight years, was sixth at the Athens Olympics in the 400 and won the bronze medal in Beijing.
She finally won a gold in London by holding off defending champion Christine Ohuruogu of Britain. American DeeDee Trotter was third.
Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan won the women's triple jump with a leap of 49-1 3/4. It was the fifth medal for Kazakhstan at the Olympics and all of them have been gold.
The men's hammer throw was won by Krisztian Pars of Hungary, who finished fourth in the event in 2008.
During qualifying for the men's 400 finals, South African Oscar Pistorius ran last in his semifinal heat and thus saw his Olympic experience come to an end.
Pistorius, running on legs made of carbon fiber, had survived the opening round of qualifying on Saturday.
Gordon Lalonde of Trinidad and Tobago had the fastest semifinal time in the 400, a 44.58, but American Tony McQuay failed to make it to the final. There will be no runners from the United States competing for the 400-meter gold medal and the only other time that has happened came when the Americans boycotted the Moscow Games.
U.S. runners swept the medals in the event in both Beijing and Athens.