Bolt, Powell, Gay cruise to 100 semis
BEIJING - Far ahead halfway through his 100-meter Olympic quarterfinal, Usain Bolt casually swiveled his head to his right, to his left, then back to his right.
Never hurts to check.
He crossed in 9.92 seconds, the fastest dash ever run in China and a time that would have earned a medal at all but two previous Summer Games.
"I just ran the first 50 meters, then I looked around to make sure I was safe, and I shut it off," Bolt said last night. "I'm ready for my best."
Bolt, his Jamaican teammate Asafa Powell, and US record-holder Tyson Gay - the reigning world champion who hadn't raced in 1 1/2 months because of a left leg injury - all advanced without a hitch through two 100 heats yesterday.
Today's first track and field medal went to Valeriy Borchin of Russia in the men's 20-kilometer walk. He finished in 1 hour 19 minutes 1 second - 14 seconds ahead of 1996 gold medalist Jefferson Perez of Ecuador.
After today's heats, advancing to the women's 100-meter quarterfinals are US sprinters Lauryn Williams (11.38), Torri Edwards (11.26), and Muna Lee (11.33).
Edwards, the 2003 world champion, was barred from the 2004 Athens Olympics because of a doping suspension, even though authorities determined she wasn't intentionally trying to cheat and accidentally took a banned stimulant.
All three US entrants are still in the medal chase for the 1,500: Bernard Lagat, who won a silver and bronze for Kenya at past Olympics; Lopez Lomong, a "Lost Boy" refugee from Sudan who carried the American flag during the opening ceremony a week ago; and Leo Manzano.