BERLIN (AP) - Usain Bolt proved again he races in a world of his own, winning a huge matchup against Tyson Gay in a world record time of 9.58 seconds Sunday at the world championships.
Running full-out in ideal conditions and against the toughest competition possible for the first time in his 22 years, Bolt blew away his own world record by a massive .11 seconds and made Gay seem like a laggard despite setting a U.S. record of 9.71 seconds.
“I got a pretty good start,” Bolt said. “I was there at 20 meters and that was it.”
It was the biggest increase in the record since electronic time was introduced in 1968.
Asafa Powell of Jamaica took bronze in 9.84.
Exactly one year ago at the Beijing Games, Bolt was breezing after 70 meters and set a record of 9.69. But on the deep indigo blue track of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Gay pushed him and his own sore groin as far as he could. To no avail.
Gay stayed with him over the first part but once Bolt unfurled that huge stride of his, there was no contest.
“Awesome,” Powell said after the two Jamaicans danced a jig to celebrate.
Despite the taste of defeat, Gay smiled through it.
“I’m happy he got it. I’m so happy,” Gay said. “I’m happy he ran 9.5 because I knew he could do it, and I know I can do it and I’m happy for him.”
In the stands, the fans carrying a banner saying “Bolt - Legend” could not believe being there and to see the prediction proved right again.
Once he sensed another gold was his along the final meters, Bolt glanced quickly to his right to check on Gay, then at the scoreboard as he crossed the line, pounding his chest when he saw the record time flash up.
Troubled by a nagging groin pain, Gay had to cut practice on his start and it showed. He needed to get out the fastest by far but was never able to shake the Olympic champion.
If Bolt had already strutted his confidence by playacting for hours ahead of race, the fact that he never saw Gay ahead of him early on boosted him even more.
“It just wasn’t enough today,” Gay said. “I ran my best race I could run. I put my all into it. I got through the little groin situation and tried to put it together.”
The 55,000-strong crowd at the Olympic Stadium only had eyes for Bolt once they saw the time and roared its delight at the end of most anticipated race since the Olympics.
The record time was hard to believe even with Bolt’s knack of doing the unbelievable.
He grabbed a flag, hugged Powell, with whom he had been literally shadowboxing for fun just before the start. They wrapped themselves in the Jamaican flag, and it looked like Beijing all over again.
Staying true to his showmanship, he reached out to enraptured fans, trying to get a grasp how instant sporting history physically feels.
Ahead of that race, the Jamaican and American women got their own sprint rivalry going.
Kerron Stewart ran 10.92 in the 100 for the best time, leading a Jamaican team effort which placed three of their runners in the top four. Carmelita Jeter of the United States was the only one able to split the trio, running 10.94 for second place.
The final is set for Monday.
Overall, Jamaica won five of six sprint titles at the Beijing Olympics and left the U.S. team without a single gold. Now, Bolt made it 1-0 for Jamaica.
With most people centered on the sprints, Russia became the first nation with double gold when Olympic champion Olga Kaniskina of Russia won the women’s 20-kilometer walk, defending her world championship title from two years ago.
Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon with Boltian efficiency - if not the swagger - leading the seven-discipline event from start to finish. She won with 6,731 points.
“I’ve dreamt about this moment, becoming a world champion, and now that I am it’s just the best feeling in the world,” Ennis said.
Jennifer Oeser of Germany took silver with 6,493 points, and Kamila Chudzik of Poland picked up the bronze with 6,471. Olympic champion Nataliia Dobrynska of Ukraine was fourth.
Valerie Vili of New Zealand won the women’s shot put. Vili’s best effort of 20.44 meters gave her the gold medal ahead of Nadine Kleinert of Germany, who took silver at 20.20. Gong Lijiao of China won the bronze at 19.89.
Vili trailed in fourth after the first two rounds but then produced the effort that put her into the lead, 20.25. She improved in the fifth, throwing 20.44 meters to secure the gold medal and her 22nd consecutive victory. She is undefeated for nearly two years.
In early qualifying Sunday, defending 800 champion Janeth Jepkosgei crashed but won an appeal to overturn her elimination.
In the first heat of qualifying, Jepkosgei tangled with Caster Semenya of South Africa and fell. She got up again, but finished seventh and last in her race.
Semenya, the top performer of the season, injured her ankle in the incident and said she was uncertain to continue.
Jepkosgei, Semenya and Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo are favored to be among the medalists in Wednesday’s final.