BERLIN (AP) — Usain Bolt couldn’t run away from the flood of fans pressing him for an autograph.

They kept crowding closer and closer outside Olympic Stadium, pushing pens, shirts and Jamaican flags at him.

Finally, an official came to the rescue, ushering Bolt to a nearby Toyota Prius that was on standby. He quickly climbed in and, a few honks of the horn to clear the crowd later, the world-record holder was on his way.

It’s been that kind of day. Bolt has generated quite the buzz in Berlin.

But that’s to be expected after the Jamaican shattered the 100-meter world record Sunday, gliding across the finish line in 9.58 seconds. He turned his highly anticipated showdown against Tyson Gay into a cakewalk.

Bolt’s time was 0.11 seconds faster than the mark he set last year at the Beijing Olympics. It’s the biggest improvement in the 100-meter record since electronic timing began in 1968.

“I love competing against these guys,” Bolt said after the race.

Pardon his fellow sprinters if they don’t feel the same way. Not right now at least.

Bolt turned in an astonishing performance inside the stadium where Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.

The crowd cheered Bolt’s every antic as he accepted his gold medal at the awards ceremony. He flashed a “V” for victory sign (loud clapping) and mugged for the camera, holding his chin in his hands and grinning (even louder).

Once outside the stadium, it was the beginning of a long autograph signing session.

And that was the result of exiting through the back door. Imagine the crush had he gone out the front?

Bolt’s performance from the night before impressed his fellow athletes.

“I was in the stadium yesterday to see it — it was amazing,” American sprinter Allyson Felix said.

Monzavous Rae Edwards of the United States compared him to another superstar — basketball’s Michael Jordan.

“He has a gift — just like Michael Jordan had a gift,” Edwards said. “He knows how to use (that gift).”

By simply blazing away from people.

Now, he’s looking ahead to the 200, which begins on Tuesday.

More magic? That waits to be seen.

His recent history, though, suggests it’s a distinct possibility.

In Beijing, Bolt showboated his way to a record-setting performance in the 100, pulling up well before the finish and waving his arms as he cruised across the line in 9.69 seconds.

Then he got down to business in the 200, turning in an even more dazzling world-record performance of 19.30.

Might another record be possible in Berlin?

“I doubt I will get a world record in the 200,” he said.

Bolt won’t have Gay pushing him — or at least trying to. Gay, the reigning world champ in the 200, pulled out of the race because of a groin injury.

He’s leaving the door open to running on the 400-meter relay squad, though.

“I’m going to try,” Gay said as he made his way from the stadium after picking up his silver medal and signing autographs.

Gay set an American record with his 9.71 performance, but he was a few big strides behind Bolt.

Asked Sunday if he was now the greatest ever, Bolt just grinned.

“I have to let the people, the fans and everybody analyze that,” Bolt said. “I think I’m a great runner overall because I’ve done great things.”

Felix wouldn’t be surprised if Bolt pulled off something special again in the 200.

As for possible time, she couldn’t even guess.

“I think the sky is the limit,” Felix said. “I think he’s doing things we’ve never seen before, so, I don’t think you can put a time on it.”

Just a day later, there were already T-shirts being hawked on the street corners with Bolt’s face plastered on the front and foam cutouts of his trademark “bow-and-arrow” pose.

In a plaza in central Berlin, Puma — the makers of Bolt’s yam-colored shoes — set up a makeshift 100-meter track, allowing fans to race against the clock.

One sprinter flew down the track in nearly twice the time of Bolt’s record-setting pace, then looked at the clock in shock.

It was similar to Bolt’s expression. Only Bolt was amazed at his quickness.


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