Usain Bolt ran his fastest time of the season to win his Olympic 200-meter semi-final in 19.78 seconds in Rio on Wednesday as his American rival Justin Gatlin missed out on a spot in the final.

Usain Bolt Continues Hot Olympic Streak With 200M Semifinal Win; USA’s Justin Gatlin Crashes Out

The Jamaican won the 100m on Sunday night and is now seeking an eighth Olympic gold medal by retaining his 200m title.

Gatlin, 34, won silver behind Bolt in the 100m final, but only finished third in his semi-final.

Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, 22, reached Thursday’s final as one of two fastest losers.

Gatlin, banned twice for doping violations, clocked 20.13 and failed to advance along with another favorite: Jamaican Yohan Blake. 

Blake, who won silver behind Bolt in London in 2012, has been hampered by injury over the past few years and faded to finish sixth with a time of 20.37 seconds.

American LaShawn Merritt, who has run 19.74 this year, is likely to pose the biggest challenge to Bolt in the final.

But Bolt believes he can break his world record of 19.19 and could even go under 19 seconds in the final.

“I definitely think I can try for the world record, I definitely feel that,” Bolt said. “I need to run efficiently and get into the straight and run the perfect race.”

Nonetheless, the Jamaican added that he believes he would have a better chance of achieving his goal to run under 19 seconds if he gets a high lane, adding: “If I get a lower lane it’s always harder for me to run the corner when it is tighter.”

On Wednesday night, the Jamaican felt someone on his right side challenging him the last few meters of the race. After quickly glancing sideways, Bolt saw that it was Canadian Andre De Grasse, who won bronze in the 100m, and De Grasse was threatening to pass him.

However, Bolt flashed a big smile, accelerated and beat the Canadian at the finish line. Once there, he turned and wagged a finger De Grasse’s way, as if to say, “Not yet.”

Afterwards, the two embraced, laughed together and walked back to the locker room side-by-side, displaying no hard feelings.

“I don’t think he expected me to do that,” the 21-year-old De Grasse told reporters after the race. “I had to push him a little bit, you know, see what he has left in the tank.”

Bolt, who turns 30 on Sunday, said: “He was supposed to slow down. I said: ‘What are you doing? It’s a semifinal.’ But I think he wanted to push me.”

On Gatlin’s exit from the competition, Bolt told BBC Radio 5 live: “Everybody’s in shock. You can tell from the 100m he’s getting old. It’s a fact the older you get, the rougher it gets to double.

“Next year if I go to the World Championships [in London] I’m not going to double. I’m going to do the 100m and that is it.”

“It’s a showman’s sport,” Gatlin said. “I think the rivalry that I have with Usain, it’s turned it into a professional wrestling feel. Everyone’s cheering for Usain, but they have someone they have to boo against.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 17: Usain Bolt of Jamaica looks on prior to the Men’s 200m Semifinals on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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