Usain Bolt defeats former drug cheat Justin Gatlin to take gold in Moscow
Amid the driving rain and flashes of lightning, Usain Bolt breathed new life into the 100 metres by defeating two-time former drug cheat Justin Gatlin to take gold at the World Championships in Moscow.
The world record holder defied the atrocious conditions to blaze to victory on a drenched blue Mondo track at the Luzhniki Stadium in 9.77 seconds, his best time of the year.
He held off the challenge of Gatlin, who clocked 9.85secs, with Bolt's fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter getting bronze in 9.95s.
Bolt performed all his customary pre-race preening, pretending to hold up an umbrella, all part of the show from the born entertainer but when it came to the crunch he was, as always, ice cold.
He was out of the blocks well and, just as it looked as if Gatlin, in the lane inside him, might be closing, he pulled clear to reclaim the title he lost after that sensational false start in the final in Daegu two years ago.
Bolt said: "It was not a revenge for Daegu, I just came here to win this title.
"I wanted to do a better time, but was not able to because of the weather. This is just one of those days - not 'singing in the rain', but 'running in the rain'."
Gatlin added: "We saw the lightning on the horizon when we were on the warm-up track. Then we saw the tent rattling and I thought they were going to postpone the race."
It takes more than the a spot of thunder to put Bolt off his game, though.
This final had been headed for a mouthwatering showdown between Bolt and a rejuvenated Tyson Gay, before the latter's failed drug test sent shock waves through athletics. Former world record holder Asafa Powell's failed test was confirmed hours later and the sport was on its knees.
So it was perhaps apt that tonight's race was a head-to-head between Bolt, the saviour of the sport, and Gatlin, who has twice served drug bans, including a four-year suspension, which ended in 2010.
The American had beaten Bolt by a whisker at a Diamond League meeting in Rome at the start of the season, but the world stage is where the world record holder feels at home.
He said: "It was an average start and that, for me, is a great start. Around great starters like Gatlin and Carter I knew I had to get it right. I knew Gatlin was not going to crack under pressure so I had to stay focused and run to the line.
"I said to Gatlin I always appreciate competing with him because he always comes out and gives it his best."
Gatlin added: "He's a competitor and a showman. He's a gamer. If you're going to get beaten then get beaten by the best."
Bolt had sauntered through his semi-final in 9.92 earlier tonight, along with three compatriots. In the end there were four Jamaicans in the top five, with Kemar Bailey-Cole fourth in 9.98 and Nickel Ashmeade fifth in the same time.
It is difficult to imagine what the next serving from a "living legend", as Bolt branded himself after his triple London 2012 triumph, will be, but everyone's favourite Jamaican is on his way there.
By his own stratospheric standards, Bolt had between below par this season, his best time the 9.85 he ran to win the London Anniversary Games.
He is, though, quite simply on another level to his competition when it matters, and it showed.
"I am going to try continue winning championships. I want to be mentioned alongside greats like Pele, Maradona and Muhammad Ali," he said.
And that could include the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next summer.
"I have never been to the Commonwealth Games," he said. "It's something I'm thinking about, but I don't know if I'm going to go yet. It would be something to add to my resume."
The only negative was the fact that, yet again, the stadium was some way off capacity, hugely disappointing given tonight's action included everyone's favourite Jamaican and an appearance by Russian darling Yelena Isinbayeva in pole vault qualifying.
Tickets were still available for the 100m final for 300 Roubles (£5.88) just two hours before the blue riband event got under way.
Bolt's world domination
Usain Bolt tonight won 100 metres gold at the World Championships in Moscow, the latest of a succession of global titles. Here, Guy Aspin takes a look at those triumphs.
2008 Olympic Games, Beijing - 100m
Bolt announced himself as a sporting superstar by storming to the 100m crown in a world record 9.69 seconds, even slowing down to celebrate before reaching the line.
2008 Olympic Games, Beijing - 200m
The Jamaican ended Michael Johnson's reign as world record holder by racing to victory in 19.30secs.
2008 Olympic Games, Beijing - 4x100m relay
Bolt made it three Olympic golds and three world records by running the third leg as Jamaican won the sprint relay in 37.10s.
2009 World Championships, Berlin - 100m
Bolt shattered his world record with a run of 9.58 to take gold.
2009 World Championships, Berlin - 200m
The world's fastest man took the 200m mark to new heights with a clocking of 19.19.
2009 World Championships, Berlin - 4x100m relay
Bolt added a third gold with his Jamaican team-mates in the sprint relay, their time of 37.31 the second fastest ever.
2011 World Championships, Daegu - 200m
Having been sensationally disqualified from the 100m final for a false start, Bolt bounced back in the 200m, taking the title in 19.40.
2011 World Championships, Daegu - 4x100m
Bolt finished the championships with another gold and another world record as Jamaica won the relay in 37.04.
2012: Olympic Games, London - 100m
Bolt answered doubts about his form and fitness in emphatic fashion by defending his crown in 9.63, an Olympic record.
2012: Olympic Games, London - 200m
He became the first man in history to retain both the Olympic 100m and 200m titles, winning over the longer distance in 19.32 and declaring afterwards he was a "living legend".
2012: Olympic Games, London - 4x100m relay
Bolt completed the 'double-triple' as he left the capital with another world record in the relay, Jamaica winning in 36.84.
2013: World Championships, Moscow - 100m
The 26-year-old defied pouring rain and a drenched track to hold off American Justin Gatlin and reclaim his crown in 9.77, his best time of the year.
Belfast Telegraph Digital