LONDON — Usain Bolt greeted the excited crowd with a royal wave when he was introduced Thursday night.
Turns out the sprint king was also waving goodbye to his competition.
Bolt blew away the field in the 200-meter final, easing up as he crossed the finish line in 19.32 seconds to become the only man with two Olympic titles in the event.
With camera flashes dotting the seats throughout Olympic Stadium, Bolt repeated the 100-200 double he produced at the Beijing Games, leading a Jamaican sweep. Training partner and pal Yohan Blake was second in 19.44, and Warren Weir got the bronze in 19.84, nearly a half-second behind the champion.
The 6-5 Bolt celebrated with a couple pushups and also grabbed a camera from someone in the photographers’ well and trained it at the group who were clicking away.
Bolt’s victory dominated the track and field schedule, but American women were all over the London Games helping the U.S. run its lead in the medals table to 90-80 over China.
Carli Lloyd scored in each half and the women’s soccer team won its third straight Olympic gold medal, beating Japan 2-1 in a rematch of last year’s World Cup final.
Maggie Steffens scored five times and the U.S. women’s water polo team beat Spain 8-5 to take the Olympic tournament for the first time. The American volleyball squad beat South Korea in straight sets and will go for its first indoor women’s gold when it faces Brazil on Saturday in a rematch of the 2008 final.
Coach Geno Auriemma and the women’s basketball team also moved into the gold-medal match one day after Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won an all-American final in beach volleyball.
Not to be outdone, the American men took the top two spots in the men’s decathlon (Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee) and triple jump (Christian Taylor and Will Claye), raising the U.S. track and field total with three days to go to 24 medals.
The other big winner was Kenya’s David Rudisha, who set a world record while winning the 800 meters in 1:40.91.
Among the big track finals on tap for today is the men’s 4x400-meter relay, which took on added intrigue with Oscar Pistorius and South Africa making the field.
The man known as “Blade Runner” because of his carbon-fiber prosthetics will get a chance to run for an Olympic medal after officials accepted South Africa’s protest over a collision and awarded an extra spot in the final.
The U.S. womenfaced their first challenge of the Olympics, and found a way to advance.
Trailing early in the second half, Auriemma turned to his Olympic rookies and the group — led by Tina Charles and Lindsay Whalen — pressured Australia into turnovers and bad shots. That led to a pivotal scoring run in the third quarter of an 86-73 victory.
The Americans, seeking a fifth straight gold medal, next play France in a matchup of unbeaten teams. It will be the first time the two teams have played in the Olympics.
Lauren Jackson finished with 14 points for Australia.
France defeated Russia, 81-64, in the other semifinal.
Cycling - BMX
Defending champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia eased into the semifinals after escaping an avalanche of crashes.
Strombergs was among eight riders who advanced after three qualifying runs. World champion Sam Willoughby of Australia had to complete two more runs before sealing his own spot in the semis.
Time trial world champion Connor Fields of the United States was unbeaten after three runs and also qualified directly for the next round.
Eva Risztov of Hungary led most of the way in a grueling open water marathon at Hyde Park, holding off a desperate bid to chase her down by American Haley Anderson.
Risztov beat Anderson by four-tenths of a second after nearly two hours of racing around The Serpentine. The winner climbed out of the water, smiling and looking fresh. She even flexed for the big crowd.
Martina Grimaldi of Italy got the bronze in the 10-kilometer race.
Chen Ruolin of China won the women’s 10-meter platform gold, easily defending her title from Beijing.
Chen totaled 422.30 points during the five-dive final, winning by a 55.80-point margin. She earlier won gold in the 10-meter synchronized and swept the platform events for the second consecutive games.
China has won six of seven diving gold medals with only the men’s platform remaining.
Brittany Broben, a 16-year-old from Australia competing in her first Olympics, took the silver at 366.50. Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia was third.
Russia led the technical routine of the team event — as expected. Russia has won this event at the past three Olympics. Featuring Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina, the pair that won the duet Tuesday, it collected a near-perfect 98.1 points.
The favorites competed to a Russian dance routine composed by Denis Garnizov, as Prince William’s wife, Kate, looked on from the crowd.
China was next with 97.0 points and Spain finished third with 96.2 points.
Medals will be handed out after today’s free routines, with points from both days added up.
The quartet of Tate Smith, Dave Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear gave Australia a lift with a surprising wire-to-wire win in the men’s 1,000-meter K-4.
Germany collected two more victories, with Tina Dietze and Franziska Weber taking the women’s 500-meter K-2 and Peter Kretschmer and Kurt Kuschela winning the men’s double canoe sprint 1,000.
Danuta Kozak won her second gold of the regatta for Hungary, grabbing the top spot in the women’s single kayak 500-meter sprint.