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NEWS FEATURE After another 100m gold, now comes the fun part for Bolt By John Bagratuni, dpa

Europe
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Usain Bolt has claimed an unprecedented third straight Olympic gold medal in the 100m and now looks forward to his pet event, the 200m, which is step two in his bid for a unique third treble at the Games

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Now comes the fun part for Usain Bolt at the Olympics, as he sets out to win his beloved 200 metres from Tuesday onwards in the second step of his bid for a unique third gold medal treble.

"I am always confident going into the 200m. The 100m are always the hardest part for me ... You know me when it comes to the 200 metres," Bolt said in the early hours of Monday to journalists at Rio de Janeiro‘s Olympic Stadium.

The Jamaican icon Bolt had, some two hours earlier, won a third straight 100m Olympic gold medal, ahead of long-time American rival Justin Gatlin and Canada‘s Andre de Grasse.

The winning time of 9.81 seconds was modest by his standards, given his world record 9.58 - but Bolt, and the others, blamed a short turnaround of 90 minutes between the semi-final and the final for the modest times.

Bolt named the short span "ridiculous" and said "I have never been tired before, after a 100m."

But now he gets a day‘s rest before attempting the 200m where he doesn‘t rule out attacking his world record of 19.19 seconds.

"The possibility is there, the lineup is good in the 200m," he said.

Bolt was originally a 200m runner and had a silver from the 2007 world championships. He added the 100m only in 2008 where his rise to stardom started with a treble at the Beijing Olympics.

He took three more golds in London and also has 11 world titles as he has ruled the 100m, 200m and 4x100m for almost a decade now.

Bolt has not been beaten on the track in a major race since the 2007 silver but was however disqualified from the 100m final at the 2011 worlds after a false start.

What counts first and foremost for Bolt is continuing to work on his status as a legend with as many gold medals as possible.

"To do it three times is a big deal. No one has ever done it, or attempted it. So for me to come out here and do it is just magnificent," Bolt said.

"This is what I came here for, to prove to the world that I am the best, again ... This is the first step in the right direction. I am happy and I am proud."

"I told you I wanted to set myself apart from everybody else and this is the Olympics, so I came here focussed and ready to go and it was brilliant."

Bolt came to Rio off a torn thigh muscle on July 1 at the Jamaican trials which cost him several weeks of training.

But he found his confidence in the semi-final which he named "smooth" and was unstoppable in the final as well after his usual slow start.

The Rio crowd, just like previous ones, roared their approval as "Bolt Bolt" chants echoed around the arena. Gatlin - likely because of his doping past - was booed by a large part of the crowd.

Bolt named the jeers "surprising" and did not have a bad word for the American.

"As a competitor I think he is a great athlete, without doubt. He shows up and pushes you to run fast and be at your best all the time," Bolt said.

Gatlin, who like at last year‘s worlds failed to beat Bolt despite being the season leader, returned the compliments.

"Being the oldest guy in the field and being on the podium is a victory within itself. To come out here and race against Usain, he rises to the occasion and its an honour to be a part of history."

When asked about the booing Gatlin added: "At the end of the day you hear everything, but you have to tune that kind of stuff out."

"They are excited, I understand that. There are a lot of Usain Bolt fans, there are a lot of Jamaican fans but they don‘t know me, they don‘t know Justin. I have worked very hard."

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