Rio 2016 Olympics: Usain Bolt Eases into Sunday's 100-Meter Semifinal

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt at Olympic Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, August 13. Bolt eased into Sunday's 100meter semifinal at the Olympic Games. OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty

Usain Bolt eased to victory in the men's 100 meters heats at the Olympic Stadium in Rio to join Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin in the semifinals on Sunday night.

Six-time gold medallist Blake, who says this will be his last Games, almost ambled over the line in the penultimate race of the heats despite an average start for his standards.

Bolt, 29, glanced over to Bahraini Andrew Fisher in lane one, who was in top gear and leading the race, so the Jamaican accelerated and took first place with a 10.07 to qualify.

The fastest man of the day —and, in fact, of the year—Gatlin recorded a 10.01 in the second heat of the afternoon in Rio.

The 34-year-old American looked fully focused as he aims to avoid a repeat of London four years ago when he lost to Bolt despite being quicker than the Jamaican all year.

A salute to the crown, shake of the muscles, squat down to set, and Gatlin, as expected, was quickest off the blocks, driving over the line to become the fastest man in the stadium.

Bolt's countryman Blake, silver medallist in the 100m and 200m in London, had disposed of the so-called "Beast Mode" with the nails trimmed. But the performance was the same.

The 26-year-old was third fastest of the trio, putting a 10.11 on the board to beat Turkey's Jak Ali Harvey.

Also racing alongside Blake in the sixth heat was Great Britain's James Ellington, who is coached by former sprinter Linford Christie. Ellington was unable to qualify for Sunday's semifinal.

The upset of the day came in heat three, which included 40-year-old Kim Collins, a world champion in 2003, who was unable to see his Olympics reach Sunday.

Nickel Ashmeade, 26, who runs in Jamaica's 4 x 100m team, got the second qualifying place but China's Xie Zhenye took first place with a 10.12 personal best.

Other athletes who will battle to be in Sunday's final will be Canadian Andre De Grasse, American Trayvon Bromell and South African Akani Simbine.