Justin Gatlin led all qualifiers for the men's 100-meter final. (Eric Feferberg / AFP / Getty…)
LONDON — Justin Gatlin of the U.S. recorded the fastest time in the semifinals of the men’s 100-meter dash Sunday, enhancing the anticipation for the final that will be run in a few hours at the Olympic Stadium.
Gatlin was timed in 9.82 seconds in a powerful and seemingly effortless first-heat performance that brought him home ahead of Churandy Martina of the Netherlands (9.91).
In the second heat, Usain Bolt of Jamaica eased up and looked around but still cruised to the line in 9.87 seconds, ahead of American Ryan Bailey (9.96).
PHOTOS: London Olympics | Day 9
In the third semifinal, Yohan Blake of Jamaica, who beat Bolt twice at the country’s Olympic trials, won his heat in 9.85 seconds. Tyson Gay, who was second at the U.S. trials in his comeback from hip surgery, was second in his semifinal heat here at 9.90 seconds.
Also qualifying for the final on time rather than automatically were Asafa Powell of Jamaica (9.94 seconds) and Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago (10.02). Dwain Chambers and Adam Gemili of Great Britain didn’t advance.
All of the sprinters appeared relaxed, with Bolt shadowboxing before he ran, Gatlin saluting before and after his race and Powell making a muscle pose.
Andy Murray wins gold medal in men's tennis
Michael Phelps answers all on first day of retirement
Serena and Venus Williams win gold in women's doubles