20 August 2020

On this day in 2009: Jamaica’s Usain Bolt smashes 200m world record in Berlin

20 August 2020

Usain Bolt created another piece of athletics history on this day in 2009 with a sensational triumph and world record in the 200 metres at the World Championships in Berlin.

After winning the 100m with a new world best of 9.58 seconds four days earlier, Bolt completed the sprint double by smashing his own record in the 200m for good measure.

Bolt stormed to victory in the Olympic Stadium in 19.19secs, slashing 0.11secs off the time set in Beijing the previous year, with Panama’s Alonso Edward claiming silver in 19.81s and American Wallace Spearmon the bronze in 19.85s.

The Jamaican superstar, who celebrated his 23rd birthday the following day, became the first man to hold the 100 and 200m world and Olympic titles at the same time, having also done the double in China in 2008.

Bolt again looked supremely relaxed before the race, wearing a T-shirt bearing the phrase ‘Ich Bin Ein Berlino’ in reference to Berlino the bear, the official mascot of the championships.

A false start heightened the tension in the stadium, but Bolt was not messing around once the race got under way at the second attempt, powering round the bend and gritting his teeth in determination until crossing the line and seeing the time on the electronic display.

“I can definitely say I didn’t expect that because I was a little bit tired,” he said. “I said let’s try because people are really looking out for this, I said it won’t hurt to try. So I tried really hard and now I’m really tired.”

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