Usain Bolt ran the season’s fastest time of 9.76 seconds in the 100 meters at the Van Damme Memorial on Friday and was still upstaged by Jamaican training partner Yohan Blake, who powered his way to the second fastest 200 in history.
Blake took Bolt’s advice and ran a contained curve before blasting for the line in 19.26 seconds, just 0.07 seconds off Bolt’s world record.
"I think all the tutoring just stopped," Bolt said, knowing he had probably discovered his toughest challenger at the London Olympics.
Amid all the amazement over Blake’s time, Walter Dix of the United States became the fourth-best performer in history by finishing second in 19.53 seconds.
In the women’s 100 at the season’s last Diamond League meet, world champion Carmelita Jeter of the United States underlined her domination. Veronica Campbell-Brown had a fast start, but Jeter came back and beat her. She finished in 10.78 — 0.07 seconds ahead of her Jamaican rival.
Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia ran the year’s fastest 10,000 meters, winning in 26 minutes, 43.16 seconds. Cheered by 40,000 fans at the King Baudouin Stadium, he took the lead from Kenyan Lucas Rotich with a lap to go.
Galen Rupp was third, setting an American record in 26:48. He broke the previous record by a full 11 seconds, set by Chris Solinsky in April 2010.
Blake surprised many by winning the 100 world title after Bolt false started in the final in Daegu, South Korea, three weeks ago. Now he has more than made his mark over 200, where Bolt, the Olympic and double world champion, was long considered a class of his own.
"I knew I could do something crazy — 19.2? I was a bit surprised," Blake said.
From lane 7, Blake had the worst start of the nine runners. He bided his time on the curve but was unstoppable afterward, dipping at the line for a time that seemed only within Bolt’s limits. With 19.26, he improved on his personal best by 0.52 seconds.
"It was a big surprise for me," Bolt said.
By that time, Bolt had done his part. From lane 5, his start was better than his preceding races, but he still needed to fight hard to get even with Nesta Carter. From there, he surged ahead and did what he promised to do — get the fastest time of the season.
Bolt bettered by 0.02 seconds the season’s mark set by fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell.
"I came here to do it," Bolt said. "I am happy. I got a win and that was needed."
In the high jump, Anna Chicherova of Russia beat Croatian rival Blanka Vlasic again. The world champion jumped 6 feet, 8-3/4 inches and narrowly missed the world record of 6-10-3/4.
In the 100 hurdles, Sally Pearson of Australia saw a perfect season end when she crashed halfway through the race. Danielle Carruthers of the US won in 12.65.