Olympic track: Usain Bolt headed to 200-meter final

Pretty soon, the world might actually see Usain Bolt race.

For the past couple of days, Bolt has formally been earning his place in Thursday’s 200-meter final in London. In reality, Bolt has been running on cruise control. In his qualifying heat, he visibly slowed to a jog in the race’s final meters. And while a similar burst of complacency in Wednesday’s semifinal meant that he was nearly caught in the second half of the race, Bolt still managed to win handily while expending a minimum amount of energy, which, he says, was the idea all along.

“You can’t work too hard [in qualifying], you’ve got the finals. That was the aim, you can’t push too hard,” said Bolt, who added that the 200m is his favorite event and that he wouldn’t rule out potentially breaking his supersonic world record of 19.19 seconds.

Of course, not everyone had it quite so easy as Bolt. While he and compatriot Yohan Blake have eased their way into the finals, other top competitors like American challenger Wallace Spearmon were still working hard to reach the final race.

“We had a tough one. We couldn’t jog 20.1 [seconds] like some other guy. We were running,” said Spearmon after he qualified.

Spearmon will be looking to avenge his 2008 results from Beijing, where he finished third in the final only to be disqualified for a lane violation. Everyone is taking him seriously, even Bolt, who generally gives the world the impression that there is very little that he takes seriously.

“It’s going to be hard,” opined Bolt when asked of the potential for a Jamaican sweep of the medal stand. “Wallace Spearmon is there and he’s been there before.”

The final is scheduled to start at 3:55 P.M. EST on Thursday.