Usain Bolt claims to be "the greatest athlete to live" after becoming the first man to win the Olympic sprint double twice in succession.
While millions would already consider Bolt a legend for winning triple gold in Beijing and defending his 100 metres title here on Sunday, the Jamaican insisted he also had to retain his 200m title to achieve such status.
And the 25-year-old did precisely that with another imperious performance in London, leading a Jamaican clean sweep ahead of 100m silver medallist Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, both of whom are just 22.
"I'm now a living legend, I'm also the greatest athlete to live," said Bolt, who said he gave up on breaking his own world record of 19.19 seconds after feeling a twinge in his back coming off the top bend, settling for winning in 19.32s.
"Now I am going to sit back, relax and think about what's next. I don't know what I really want to do after this, whether to run the 100 or 200 or try something else. I need to find a (new) goal that's going to motivate me to great things.
"But I am not ready to retire. I love this sport. The rest of the season I am just going to have fun because I did what I came here to do."
Bolt had lost to Blake over 100 and 200m at the Jamaican trials - and later underwent treatment on a stiff back which was causing hamstring problems - but gained sweet revenge over both distances in London, even having the time to raise a finger to his lips as he crossed the line tonight.
That was jokingly directed at training partner Blake, who had made the same gesture at the trials, and Bolt - who came up with his version of a 'Royal wave' before the race - added: "A lot of people were doubting me but that's good because now you know who your true friends are who are going to support you through everything.
"This is what I wanted and I got it. We've been working hard all season. We pushed ourselves, we pushed each other and we're happy."
Asked about lowering the world record he set when winning the world title in Berlin in 2009, Bolt added: "I think it was possible but I guess I wasn't fit enough. I was fast but I wasn't fit enough.
"I came off the corner, I could feel the strain on my back a little bit so I was trying to keep my form, but I stopped running because I knew it wasn't going to be a world record. I really wanted to do it in the 200m but I'm happy. I came here and I gave it my all and I'm proud of myself."
Blake, who will team up with Bolt in the 4x100m relay, said: "Usain Bolt has been motivating me all season. He deserves everything, he's a great guy."
Wallace Spearmon had to settle for fourth in a season's best of 19.90s, but there was success elsewhere for the United States as Christian Taylor added the Olympic title to his world triple jump crown and Ashton Eaton claimed decathlon gold.
Taylor had been in danger of bowing out of the competition after fouls in the first two rounds, but earned himself three extra jumps with a leap of 17.15m in the third round.
And the 22-year-old made the most of that reprieve by soaring out to 17.81m in the next round to finish 19 centimetres ahead of team-mate Will Claye (17.62m), with Italy's Fabrizio Donato taking bronze with 17.48m.
"I'm so honoured," Taylor said. "It's such a blessing to share this moment with my family. I played this like another meet but the energy that 80,000 people bring is just phenomenal."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came when there was a false start in the last event of the decathlon, but that did not stop world record holder Eaton from sealing victory.
Eaton took a 151-point lead over compatriot Trey Hardee into the 1,500m and finished ahead of the two-time world champion to end up 198 points clear after two gruelling days of competition.
Eaton's score of 8,869 was 24 short of the Olympic record, with Hardee recording a season's best of 8,671 and Cuba's Leonel Suarez also managing a season's best of 8,523 to claim bronze.
"I worked really hard for this, I just can't believe it," Eaton said. "All the other guys have put in a lot of work, I wonder why I deserved the gold because all these other guys worked so hard as well. It's like a family out there, all wanting to succeed."
The final gold medal of the evening went to Czech Barbora Spotakova, who successfully defended her javelin title with a throw of 69.55m.
Each of the 31-year-old's first four throws were over 66m and would have been good enough for victory, with Germany's Christina Obergfoll taking silver with 65.16m. Germany's Linda Stahl claimed bronze with a season's best of 64.91m in the fourth round.
what do you think?
Modesty is not his strong point.
A very unpleasant man. Well suited to being a footballer as i believe he would like.
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I hate arrogance! He may well be the fastest short distance runner but the greatest athlete to live??? Not a chance in a million. Can he run 1000 mtrs or a marathon and still win? Jessica Ennis is a far better athlete, as are many of the contestants in this Olympics.....go back home and revel in your short lived glory Usain Bolt, and learn a bit of humility please.
Decathletes are the best. Daley Thompson could be THE GREATEST ATHLETE!Who agrees?
yes he can run 1,000 meters, lol thats less than a mile. He is better at his sport than Jessica Ennis and many other top dogs are, he's a freak of nature just like Micheal Jordon, Micheal Phelps, Muhammad Ali!!! and others because of 1 reason; he went pass what scientist thought possible for the human body to do, which grants him a seat in the top 20 athletes of all time.
this olympics has given me the chance to change my view towards a couple of sportsman. i think these games have done the power of good for andy murray whilst the opposite can be said for bolt. he may be very fast but he's also very delusional. so he's greater than spitz,ali, micheal johnson, olga corbett, rodesha, carl lewis, etc etc etc etc?
Ive always liked him but now, How arrogant is he. If he was modest he would maybe be close to it.
Bolt has proven himself the best ever sprinter so far that the world has ever seen, breaking world records and completing the doubles in 100m/200m. Why not have confidence with attitude. He has earned respect not disrespect and he has never said he is the greatest athlete, only that he could achieve legend status if he won the double double. I think everybody would agree that sprinters would not compare themselves with distance runners, in the same way runners could not be compared with field athletes. So please see Bolt as the entertainer and the fastest person on the planet, NOT! an unpleasant/arrogant man.
I am not particularly a fan of Athletics but I do take my hat off to Usain Bolt, an incredible athlete and a big personality along with his talent. I do think people are getting a little overheated about some of his comments though,which to my mind,were said with his tongue firmly in his cheek. I have never heard him say that he is better than any of the other legendary athletes/sportsmen mentioned just that after achieving what he has,and like them,being the best in his field, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. I dont see how you can disagree with that. What i think should be commented on are Carl Lewis' comments ,basically calling Bolt and the other Jamican sprinters drug cheats. Which really do let down Lewis and seem to be a bad case of sour grapes from a former champion.
Typical British response tbh, If he had failed chances are the British public would have loved him, a la Frank Bruno, but because he is successful we are queuing up to criticise him. He is a legend in a way, in that he has achieved something that hasn't been done for a long time.. Gratz to Usain Bolt, he is a breath of fresh air, and someone who obviously enjoys himself, and also enjoys making fun of himself such as in the Virgin Ads..
How many of you would've been modest after setting records that made scientist reconsider how fast the human body can possibly go.? If he didn't showboat, he'd have a ,uch better record though. He slowed down at the end of some of his races to have some, which weakens his legacy.