MOSCOW – Usain Bolt’s prerace antics were rather subdued. Little emotion, not much enthusiasm — at least not by his high-energy standards.
Bolt’s race was rather ho-hum, too, a quick burst from the starting blocks before backing off and coasting across the finish line.
The Jamaican superstar easily won his opening heat of the 100 meters Saturday at the world championships. But the only thing dashing about Bolt on this humid night was his tiger-striped uniform.
The crowd really wasn’t into the action, either, with a half-full audience giving Bolt & Co. tepid applause at best.
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Olympic champion Mo Farah of Britain had fans excited, though, with an applause-worthy performance as he pulled away from the field late to win the 10,000.
There was some drama in Bolt’s race, too, with the gun quickly sounding again soon after the runners flew off the line. A hush fell over the stadium as someone was about to be disqualified for jumping the gun.
This time, it wasn’t Bolt. This time, it was a lane over from him. Still, the situation was eerily reminiscent of when Bolt was DQed in the 2011 final at worlds.
“I wasn’t really worried,” said Bolt, who was seventh overall. “It was a good run. Just all about getting through to the next round. Took it easy and got it done.”
So did American Mike Rodgers, who turned in the top 100 time at 9.98 seconds.
Recent doping scandals have left a stain on the sport.
Missing from the championships are big names such as Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson, all after positive tests for banned substances.
Bolt could be the person to make fans forget about the sport’s problems and put the focus back on track.
“Usain brings that ray of light to the sport,” said Dwain Chambers, a British sprinter who once served a doping suspension. “People enjoy watching him. He’s exciting to watch.”
Farah put on a show in the 10,000, turning the final corner and motoring to the victory in 27 minutes, 21.71 seconds. Galen Rupp, his training partner, faded late and wound up fourth.
The other final was the women’s marathon, where Edna Kiplagat of Kenya successfully defended her title by pulling away late in the 26.2-mile race. Kiplagat won in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 44 seconds.
• Vladimir Putin said he is grateful for the international trust shown to Russia by having Moscow host the world meet.
The Russian president’s comments at the opening ceremony of the nine-day championships come as worldwide protests increase ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Protests center on a recently passed Russian law banning homosexual “propaganda.”