Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Date Started: August 18, 2008
Date Finished: August 20, 2008
Having won the 100 four days earlier in world record fashion, and being considered better at the 200, [Usain Bolt] was a heavy favorite. His world record in the 100 had come despite shutting down at 80 metres and celebrating thru the tape. But in the 200, the world record of 19.32 set by [Michael Johnson] at the Atlanta Olympics, seemed inviolable. Some track experts stated that they expected that mark to last thru their lifetimes. Bolt had made plans that this time there would be no celebrating and he would run hard throughout, trying to break Johnson's record. Unfortunately, the race was run into a wind of 0.9 metres/second. But it mattered not. Bolt, running in lane five, made up the stagger on lane six by 50 metres, and hit the century mark in 10.0 flat, faster than Johnson had run in his world record (10.12). And he did not shut it down, taking down Johnson's vaunted world record with a 19.30 clocking. He had definitely established himself as the fastest man in the world.
The other podium places took a bit to sort out. The second-placed finisher originally was [Churandy Martina] (AHO), with [Wallace Spearman] (USA) in third. Americans [Shawn Crawford] and [Walter Dix] finished fourth and fifth, respectively. But a protest was lodged against Spearman, claiming that he run out of his lane in the curve. The US officials viewed the tape and had to accept the ruling but in doing so, they also noted that Martina had also run out of his lane and lodged a similar protest. Both runners were disqualified and Crawford and Dix moved up to the medal places. The Netherlands Antilles protested to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, stating that the American protest had not been made within the time limit, but this protest was eventually not allowed.