Defending champion Usain Bolt and world champion Yohan Blake moved safely through to tomorrow’s Olympic 100-meter semifinals as American Ryan Bailey ran the fastest in today’s heats.
Bolt, 25, in the fourth heat mouthed “No. 1, baby” to the capacity 80,000 crowd at London’s Olympic Stadium, before easing through in 10.09 seconds. Blake, 22, clocked 10 seconds flat.
“My execution was good,” Bolt, who set the world record of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 world championships, said. “I’m working on the last 50 meters. That’s really my strong point.”
Bailey provided the surprise of the morning with the fastest time ever recorded in a 100-meters heat at the Olympics. Bailey’s personal best of 9.88 seconds was quicker than the 9.96 Britain’s Linford Christie raced to win gold at the 1992 games in Barcelona.
“I just wanted to get out and run my heat,” said Bailey, 23, “I knew if I stayed healthy I’d be OK. It was surprisingly easy.”
Tyson Gay, the 29-year-old American who’s the second- fastest man in history, and looking for a first Olympic medal, won the opening heat of the day in 10.08 seconds. Teammate Justin Gatlin, 30, who returned to the track after serving a doping ban, ran 9.97.
“I think I did about 75 percent,” Gay said. “I’m now going to have a massage, see my family and rest up.”
Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, a former world champion and world record holder, advanced with a time of 10.04 seconds.
The semifinals and final will be run tomorrow.