Rio 2016

"Sluggish" Bolt blames early start for 100m Olympic stroll

The Jamaican star and favourite for the 100m title in Rio said running "early" in the morning was behind his 10.07, despite hardly breaking into a trot.

"Sluggish" Bolt blames early start for 100m Olympic stroll
LEONHARD FOEGER REUTERS

Usain Bolt won his 100 metres heat at a stroll in Rio after what he called a "sluggish" start and blamed the early call -- his heat started at 12:42pm -- for a time of 10.07, among the fastest of the preliminary round. 

Bolt, who turns 30 on the final day of the Games, is aiming high in what he has said will be his final Olympics, bidding to continue his streak of gold in the men's 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, the unprecedented "triple-triple."

The superstar qualified in a leisurely 10.07 seconds, picking up the pace after lumbering from the blocks and looking stiff in his warm-up.

"Sluggish"

"It wasn't the best start, I feel kind of sluggish. I think it's the fact that it's the morning. I'm not usually running this early in the morning," Bolt told reporters. "Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel much better," he added of Sunday's action when the semis and final take place late in the evening.

Gatlin, 34, turned in the fastest time of the morning, 10.01 as the 2004 champion seeks to become the oldest man to win an medal in the 100m and the first to do so after serving two doping bans.

Gatlin: "I'll need to run faster"

"I felt good. I think I'm going to have to run a bit faster to win this medal," Gatlin said.

Ben Youssef Metie, 29, of the Ivory Coast, notched the morning's second-faster time of 10.03, edging US hopeful Trayvon Bromell's 10.13, which was still fast enough to qualify.

Canada's Andre de Grasse, a 21-year-old who only took up running seriously three years ago after an early focus on basketball, ran a 10.04.