Track and Field: His legs were hurting, the rain was pouring and he was trailing late in the race.
Doesn’t matter. This is Usain Bolt.
And nothing gets in the way of him and first place, especially when he’s driven as he was Sunday night in the 100-meter final at the world championships in Moscow.
Bolt blew by Justin Gatlin with about 30 meters to go and never glanced back. He also didn’t even crack a smile when he crossed the finish line because this took a lot more work than the world’s fastest sprinter usually needs.
Gatlin was second and Bolt’s Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter took third.
Of all Bolt’s titles, this one will have a special meaning, considering he false-started two years ago in the final to lose his crown.
Now, it’s his again.
“It’s always great to get back your title,” said Bolt, who won in 9.77 seconds. “I’m happy with myself I got it done.”
Many of Bolt’s top rivals were missing. Gone were Tyson Gay (doping offense) and Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake, who was the reigning champion but skipped the worlds because of an injured hamstring.
In the lane next to him, Gatlin got off to a great start and thought he might have enough in the tank to beat Bolt, just as he did two months ago in Rome.
“Then I saw these long legs coming up on my right side,” Gatlin said. “He’s great. He’s just great.”
These two aren’t exactly the best of friends, but after the race, Gatlin congratulated Bolt, who had some kind words in return.
“For him to say to me, ‘Hey, you’re the guy who pushes me to go even faster.’ I’m honored in that,” Gatlin said. “But I thought I had it for a second.”
Even at less than 100 percent, Bolt is still downright difficult to beat.
“I wanted to run faster, but after the semifinals my legs didn’t feel up to it,” Bolt said. “Don’t know what happened. I’m going to get it worked on. Hopefully I won’t have this problem in the 200 meters. Overall, it was a good race.”
• In other finals, Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia won the discus, Aleksandr Ivanov of Russia captured the men’s 20-kilometer walk and Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia dominated the 10,000.
In the opening round of the women’s 100, English Gardner had the top time of 10.94 seconds and will be a favorite in the final.
American teen Mary Cain made up ground late in the race to move on in the 1,500 meters and 2008 Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt posted the top time in the 400.
But this night belonged Bolt, fitting with lightning flashing overhead before his race.
“You never go into a race worried,” he said. “You always got to be confident in yourself. That’s what I was.”
• Eaton adds world decathlon title: Like Bolt, Brittney Reese and Ashton Eaton were just as dominant at the world championships. Reese won her third straight long jump gold, while Eaton now owns the world and Olympic decathlon titles.
“It was the only thing I had left on my list to do,” Eaton said. “Now I have done everything there is to do in the multi-events.”
Eaton had a comfortable lead heading into the final event of the two-day competition and cruised home in the 1,500-meter race to secure his second major title in two years.
The world-record holder collected 8,809 points to finish ahead of Michael Schrader of Germany and Damian Warner of Canada, who both won their first major medals.
Americans have won five of the last six decathlon world titles and the last three straight. Two-time defending champion Trey Hardee dropped out with a hamstring injury before the end of the first day of competition.
Nadal spoils Raonic’s bid in Montreal
Tennis: Rafael Nadal beat Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-2 in the Rogers Cup final in Montreal, spoiling Raonic’s bid to become the first Canadian winner in the event in 55 years.
Robert Bedard, the last Canadian to win what was then called the Canadian Open in 1955, was in attendance to see Nadal claim his third Rogers Cup title.
Raonic was the first Canadian since the now 81-year-old Bedard even to reach the final.
• Serena keeps rolling with Rogers Cup victory: Serena Williams won the Rogers Cup for the third time, routing unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 in Toronto.
The top-ranked woman captured her eighth WTA title of the year and 54th of her career. Williams has lost only one match since March, a stunning early exit at Wimbledon.
• Top-seeded Vickery wins USTA Girls’ 18s: Top-seeded Sachia Vickery beat second-seeded Alexandra Kiick 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 to win the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego.
Vickery, the 18-year-old Miramar, Fla., player who is 230th in the WTA Tour rankings, overcame a slow start and finished strong to close out Kiick, from Plantation, Fla., in 1 hour, 46 minutes.
Van Persie’s goals lead Man U to victory
Miscellany: Robin van Persie scored twice to reinforce his status as Manchester United’s leading striker during Wayne Rooney’s absence in a 2-0 victory in London over Wigan to open the David Moyes era with a win in the Community Shield.
It was United’s first visit to Wembley Stadium without Alex Ferguson since 1985. The 71-year-old Scot retired in May after nearly 27 years as manager.
• Danielson wins Tour of Utah: American Tommy Danielson won the Tour of Utah, finishing third behind Spain’s Francisco Macebo in the sixth stage which concluded in Park City, Utah.
Danielson, riding for Garmin-Sharp, finished with an overall time of 23 hours, 5 minutes, 45 seconds.
• Final Vanderbilt player turns himself in: Brandon Banks has turned himself into police, the fourth and final former Vanderbilt football player arrested after being indicted on five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery involving an unconscious student at a Nashville, Tenn., campus dormitory on June 23.
Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said that the 19-year-old from Brandywine, Md., was being taken for blood testing before going to jail.
Authorities announced the indictments Friday but said the investigation is continuing.
Vanderbilt dismissed the players from the team June 29.