Daegu: Six days and a slow start later, Usain Bolt finally won gold at the world championships, running the fourth-fastest 200 meters in history to back up his showmanship with a stunning performance.
Bolt was slowest out of the blocks coming off his disqualification for a false start in the 100 final last Sunday, but drove through the bend and powered to the line in 19.40 seconds, just 0.21 seconds of the world record he set to win his first world title two years ago.
Knowing he had something to prove, there was no braggadocio during the race. Instead, he gritted his teeth in utter effort over the last 20 meters before dipping across the line for the best time in two years.
"I am still the best," Bolt told an elated crowd of about 45,000 at Daegu Stadium before starting a barefoot dance to a deafening beat. "It was beautiful."
Walter Dix of the United States won his second sprint silver in 19.70 and Christophe Lemaitre earned bronze with a French record of 19.80.
Bolt was a defending champion coming through on a night of two big upsets at the worlds. In the high jump, Anna Chicherova of Russia beat two-time defending champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia, and Matthias De Zordo of Germany overcame favorite Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway to win the men`s javelin.
Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross led the United States to gold in the 1,600 relay.
Before Bolt took to the track, Sally Pearson ran the fastest 100 hurdles race in almost two decades to win gold. Pearson`s time of 12.28 seconds was the fastest since 1992 and moved her up to fourth on the all-time list.
Yet, as so often when Bolt is in the stadium, there is nothing to match the Jamaican.
Before his race, he was fist-bumping with the volunteer who carried his belongings, practiced his "Lightning Bolt" move and shushed the crowd with a finger before his lips before he sank into the blocks.
There was going to be no shock disqualification again. With a reaction time of .193 seconds, he was the slowest out of the blocks. But from there on, everything went like a whirlwind.
Dix was running in Lane 4 just ahead of him and surprisingly held off Bolt for much of the bend. But from there onward, it was a foregone conclusion as Bolt put the power on, fully got his knees rolling and left the others standing.
He eyed the giant television screen and could see he was unchallenged in his favorite event, but powered through to the end to prove a point that there was no dent in his confidence.