Andre de Grasse of Canada (L) and Usain Bolt of Jamaica react as they cross the line.
Andre de Grasse of Canada (L) and Usain Bolt of Jamaica react as they cross the line. Shaun Botterill

RIO 2016: Smiling Bolt fastest into 200m final

ATHLETICS: Usain Bolt said he could be on target for a world record in the final of the 200m after running his fastest ever semi-final at the Games.

The Jamaican ran 19.78 seconds ahead of Canadian Andre De Grasse, who pushed him all the way.

In the biggest surprise of the track competition so far, two of Bolt's main rivals - compatriot Yohan Blake and controversial American Justin Gatlin - did not qualify. 

Bolt said he was feeling good, adding: "I definitely think I can try for the world record, I definitely feel that.

"I need to run efficiently and get into the straight and run the perfect race.

"If I can run a little more efficiently on the turns. I will be hoping for lane six or seven maybe to be able to run as smooth as I can."

De Grasse, a bronze medallist in the 100m, pushed Bolt but the two-time 200m Olympic champion had eased up and the sprint rivals crossed the line with big smiles on their face.


The Canadian was the second-fastest qualifier in 19.80 with LaShawn Merritt third fastest in 19.94.

"Andre was supposed to slow down. He didn't!" said the 29-year-old afterwards.

"I said: 'What are you doing, it is the semis?' He said he had to push me.

"I was a bit lazy, I don't know why, but I executed it."


Gatlin was eliminated after the two-time convicted drugs cheat finished third in his semi in 20.13 seconds, leaving him ninth overall.



Bolt has won all seven of his previous Olympic finals, claiming gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

The 200m world record holder (19.19) ran his best time of the season, his previous best was 19.89 at the London Anniversary Games.

The final will be run on Friday at 11.30am.


In the women's 200m final, Jamaican Elaine Thompson completed the sprint double, defeating world champion Dafne Schippers.

Thompson won in 21.78 with the Dutchwoman in silver on 21.88. Tori Bowie from America won the bronze.

Elaine Thompson goes One, Two: Jamaican wins both 100 and 200m sprints.


The 24-year-old is the first woman to win the Olympics sprint double since American Florence Griffith Joyner achieved the feat the 1988 Seoul Olympics.


There was a one-two-three for America in the 100m hurdles, an event missing the injured Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia.

Brianna Rollins took gold in 12.48, Nia Ali silver in 12.59 and Kristi Castlin bronze in 12.61.

It is the first time in Olympic history that American women have swept the medals in track and field.


Pearson tweeted: "My 12.35 OR STAYS maybe I can break it in 4 years!! Well done @usatf clean sweep @ItsPooda @Bri_Rollin @KristiHollywood well done girls."


Meanwhile, Australia's Brooke Stratton finished seventh in the women's long jump on her Olympic debut.

The Australian record holder, 26, leapt 6.74m in the fourth round.

Stratton achieves her goal.: Australian long jumper Brooke Stratton makes final.


American Tianna Bartoletta edged out defending Olympic champion and compatriot Brittney Reese with a personal best leap of 7.17m.