Bolt makes his case as 'The Greatest'

With his latest captivating performance on the Olympic stage, Usain Bolt left little doubt as to who is the greatest pure sprinter of all-time.

Now, the only question remaining is: will Bolt go down as the greatest Olympian of all time?

He's certainly in a class of his own as far as personality goes, as he strikes poses for the cameras and wins with flair. The flash, of course, is not so uncommon in modern sports, but it's rarely seen from someone who is actually worthy of all the attention.

With the completion of an unprecedented double in the individual sprints at the London Games, the Jamaican's credentials are also near the top of the heap.

His penchant for showmanship is merely the icing on the cake.

Bolt became the first person to win consecutive gold medals in both sprint events with a thrilling run in the 200 meters Thursday at Olympic Stadium.

Earlier in London, the Jamaican joined Carl Lewis of the United States as the only men to win golds at consecutive Olympics in the 100m. On Thursday, Bolt became the only man to claim two Olympic titles in the 200.

"I made my goal," Bolt said. "Now I am just going to sit down and make another."

Then, in a moment that can't help but make one think of the world's most famous braggadocious sporting legend, Muhammad Ali, Bolt said, "I have done something that no one else has ever done -- I am the greatest."

Lewis is certainly one of the people Bolt will be held up against in the pantheon of Olympic greats. The 25-year-old Jamaican star may have run past the American great in the realm of sprinting, but don't forget the fact that Lewis' nine gold medals included four in long jump.

Bolt ran Thursday's race in 19.32 seconds -- .02 seconds off his Olympic record run four years ago in Beijing -- to lead a sweep of gold, silver and bronze by Jamaica.

The last time a nation swept all three medals in the men's 200 was at the 2004 Athens Games when Shawn Crawford, Bernard Williams and Justin Gatlin claimed gold, silver and bronze, respectively.

The U.S. is also the only other country to have swept the event, having done it six times, but even though history is on their side, the Americans obviously have no answer for Bolt in the present.

After the race, Bolt talked about his own Olympic hero, Michael Johnson of the U.S., but he also made a point of declaring Jamaica's sprint dominance.

"It's wonderful," Bolt declared. "Jamaica has proven that we are the greatest sprint country."

Yohan Blake, the man who created a stir by beating Bolt in both the 100 and 200 earlier this summer at the country's Olympic trials, was .12 seconds behind him for silver. Blake also finished second to Bolt in the 100 here in London.

In typical Bolt fashion, after Thursday's win he recounted how he warned Blake that these games would belong to him and not the 22-year-old known as "The Beast."

"I said, 'Yohan, it's not your time, it's my time. After the Olympics, it's your time,'" Bolt said.

Finishing off the medal sweep, Warren Weir grabbed bronze with a run of 19.84 seconds, beating American sprinter Wallace Spearmon for the medal by .06 seconds.

For Bolt, he is now the owner of five Olympic golds. His other one was also won in Beijing in the 400-meter relay, an event that Jamaica clearly will be favored in here in London.

In fact, the only time he's lost a race at the Summer Games was eight years ago in Athens, when he was only 17 years old. In case you were wondering, Bolt doesn't turn 26 until later this month and he won't turn 30 until Aug. 21, 2016, which fittingly is the scheduled date for the closing ceremony of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

The nature of sprinting is that it's a young man's game, but Bolt's 6-foot-5 frame is unusual for a sprinter and maybe those long legs will carry him to one or two more golds.

In the end, it doesn't really matter because between Beijing and London, he's already done enough to pass into legendary status.

It's odd to think that the peerless Bolt entered London as underdog to Blake in many people's eyes, because when he leaves these games he'll only have those that went before him to count as rivals.