Usain Bolt already owns the world record in the 200m, setting it at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 19.19 seconds.
On Thursday night in Rio, with a gold medal on the line, it appeared that Bolt was really, honestly trying to break his own record.
Unlike the 100m final earlier in the week, where he seemed to coast at the end after realizing he had no competition, he ran Thursday’s race hard from start to finish, even though he was once again out in front by a comfortable margin.
There was no doubt about the gold medal. Bolt easily defeated the field with a time of 19.78 seconds. The silver went to Canadian water bug Andre De Grasse, who finished with a time of 20.02 seconds.
But after the race, Bolt seemed to have some regret that he couldn’t find that next level of speed.
“I felt good,” he told NBC. “But when I came into the straight my body wouldn’t respond to me. I really wanted to run faster.”
Bolt thought that if he had some competition he could have gone faster, even if his body was saying, “no.”
“I think it would have helped if I had someone in front of me,” he said.
No matter, Bolt still enjoyed the victory in grand style, sporting his signature pose on the track and taking selfies with the fans in the stands.
Bolt still has one more race to go in Rio. He is scheduled to take part in the 4x100m relay on Friday, where he could win his ninth — and final — Olympic gold medal.