Usain Bolt smiling at Andre De Grasse during Olympic 200m race is so iconic

  • Kobe Tong
Bolt smiles at De Grasse.

Usain Bolt secured his legacy at the 2016 Olympics.

While it was 2008 when he first burst on the scene with multiple world records and 2009 when he set the markers that still stand unbeaten to this day, it was in Rio that Bolt ensured he would rank amongst the greatest sportspeople to have ever lived.

That’s because the Jamaican icon delivered the extraordinary feat that was a hat-trick of hat-tricks in winning the 100-metre, 200-metre and 4×100-metre relays titles at three consecutive Olympic games.

Bolt at 2016 Olympics

And the only reason that his record no longer reads as such is because Jamaica were later stripped of their 2008 relay gold because Bolt’s teammate Nesta Carter tested positive for a prohibited substance.

Nevertheless, Bolt ensured in Brazil’s most glamorous city that he would have so many Olympic medals in his trophy cabinet that missing one wouldn’t hurt so much.

And despite the fact that he was by no means running the quickest times of his career when he touched down in South America, Bolt remained incredibly dominant in the races themselves.

With Justin Gatlin having declined since his robust challenge to Bolt’s titles the previous year, arguably the biggest threat to the Jamaican’s crown actually came from young up and comer Andre De Grasse.

Bolt at Rio 2016.
2016 Rio Olympics – Athletics – Victory Ceremony – Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Victory Ceremony – Olympic Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 20/08/2016. Gold medalist Usain Bolt (JAM) of Jamaica reacts during the medal ceremony. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Bolt vs De Grasse in Rio

The talented Canadian, who would later go on to take Bolt’s 200m title at Tokyo 2020, had opened up his campaign in Rio with a bronze medal in the 100 metres as you-know-who came out on top in 9.81 seconds.

However, everybody knew that De Grasse was better suited to the longer sprint and he got the opportunity to go head-to-head with Bolt over that very distance in both the semi-finals and final.

And remarkably, there’s good reason to think that the race between the pair where medals weren’t actually on the line is the one that has become more iconic due to the, well, casual way in which it ended.

Bolt racing De Grasse.
2016 Rio Olympics – Athletics – Final – Men’s 200m Final – Olympic Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 18/08/2016. Usain Bolt (JAM) of Jamaica crosses the finish line to win gold. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Bolt and De Grasse’s iconic moment

In what has become a celebrated little moment of Olympic camaraderie, Bolt showed that he was simply unstoppable by having the chance to look at De Grasse and smile at him while cruising to victory.

And the Canadian was more than up for the fun and games, reciprocating the smile mid-race to produce some truly brilliant photographs and replays in the process.

Ultimately, Bolt still kept his foot on the accelerator to ensure that he won the heat, while De Grasse comfortably qualified alongside him, but that doesn’t make the shenanigans any less nonchalant.

So, go on, be sure to do yourselves a favour and relive an iconic Olympic moment that is equal parts hilarious and impressive down below:

Imagine being so fast, so unstoppable, that you can casually afford to do that in the Olympics.

Fan reaction

Bolt wins the 200m final

When it came to the final, though, it was all business as Bolt set himself the challenge of breaking his seven-year-old world record over his preferred distance.

And while the Olympic legend succeeded in pulling comfortably clear of De Grasse – who took home the silver medal – he ultimately crossed the line in frustration having ‘only’ clocked a time of 19.78 seconds.

It proved to be Bolt’s final ever individual race at the summer games and therefore, his smiley exchange with De Grasse felt like something of a passing of the torch with the great man retiring the following year.

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De Grasse can proudly call himself an Olympic 200m champion himself now, but no doubt he’s happy to admit that joking around with Bolt will endure as his most iconic moment on the world stage.

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