Usain Bolt took it easy on his taped-up tender right foot Friday at the world championships, breezing through the heats of the 200 meters to set him up for a second gold medal.
The 100-meter champion eased up with 60 meters to go, looked left and right, and when he saw Delanno Williams of Britain smiling ear-to-ear well behind him, Bolt returned the gesture. He then shut the engines off and crossed first in 20.66 seconds.
"Yeah, my foot is all better," Bolt said after his first outing at Luzhniki Stadium since he regained his 100 title on Sunday on an aching foot. "I worked on it over the four days, got a lot of work done. Right now I’m good."
It was the 21st best time of the day, well behind the leading 20.17 of Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa and Adam Gemili of Britain. It didn’t matter.
"Just trying to get through the rounds as easily as possible," Bolt said.
The toughest competition in Bolt’s favorite event is expected to come from Jamaican teammate Warren Weir, who won his heat in 20.34.
American veteran Wallace Spearmon squeaked through as the third finisher in a tight heat. Despite Bolt’s overwhelming presence, especially in the 200, Spearmon hasn’t given up hope.
"You can get beat in anything," he said.
The semifinals are set for later Friday, with the final coming on Saturday. If Bolt wins, he goes into the 4×100 relay seeking to win three golds at the worlds for the second time, matching his feat at the past two Olympics.
If the hard-charging, fun-seeking Jamaican wins two more world titles, that will give him eight in his career, tying him with track greats Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson for most all-time.