LONDON – A "disastrous" injury to Asafa Powell prevented this Olympic 100-meter dash from creating history as the first race in which every runner finished under 10 seconds.
As Usain Bolt charged to a second straight Olympic title with a blistering winning time of 9.63 seconds, fellow Jamaican Powell was left distraught when his troublesome groin injury flared up mid-race.
The former world-record holder pulled up in agony with around 30 meters to go and eventually limped home in 11.99, before crouching on the track in severe discomfort – and disappointment – for several minutes.
"It was my old groin injury that reoccurred," Powell said. "I felt it and it started to go. You never want to get injured, but it is a bit of a disaster when it happens in the Olympic final."
It is impossible to tell how fast Powell would have run without the injury, but he had made a solid start and appeared to be in contention at the midway point before his groin gave out. It is likely he would have at least finished ahead of Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson, who came in seventh with 9.98, and possibly pushed Justin Gatlin for the bronze medal.
While Bolt has deservedly grabbed the plaudits for his victory and Olympic record, the entire field performed to an outstanding level. Yohan Blake's time of 9.75 equaled his personal best, while Gatlin's effort of 9.79 was his finest ever.
Tyson Gay of the United States ran a highly impressive 9.80, his best time of the season, but could not even get among the medals.
"It was a great race," Gatlin said. "A lot of guys went out there and ran great times. Everyone had a great competitive spirit and there really was nothing to choose between the guys."
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