Bolt cruises into 100m semis
Defending champion Usain Bolt strolled into the semi-finals of the 100 metres as Olympic history was made on a lightning fast track in London.
Bolt stumbled out of the blocks in heat four but was soon into his running and looking around at his competitors, the Jamaican doing just enough to win in 10.09 seconds.
But that time looked positively pedestrian after first Justin Gatlin and then fellow American Ryan Bailey broke 10 seconds for the first time in the heats of the Olympics. Gatlin clocked 9.97secs in heat two, only for Bailey to then equal his personal best of 9.88s in the next heat to raise hopes that Bolt's world record of 9.58s could be under threat in the semi-finals and final.
Bolt's oft-stated hopes of becoming a "legend" of the sport by defending his 100m and 200m titles had looked in doubt after he lost twice to compatriot Yohan Blake at the Jamaican trials and needed treatment on a stiff back which was causing hamstring problems.
The 25-year-old insisted last week he was fit and ready to compete against the likes of training partner and world 100m champion Blake, who eased to victory in 10.00 in his heat.
Bolt said: "I am feeling good, my legs are feeling good so I am happy. I am training well so I feel like I'm back. My start was good, I am only focused on the semi-finals tomorrow."
British trio Adam Gemili, James Dasaolu and Dwain Chambers all advanced to the semi-finals, with world junior champion Gemili (10.11) second behind former world record holder Asafa Powell in his heat.
Dasaolu was third in Bolt's heat in a season's best of 10.13, while Chambers won the final heat in a season's best of 10.02.