Athletics: Rio gets Bolt fever, Harting snatches discus gold

Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:57pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Usain Bolt took the first "sluggish" steps toward his hoped-for Olympic triple-triple on Saturday when he eased through his 100 meters heat as the fans turned out in force to see the sport's superstar bring the athletics program to life.

After Friday's feeble turnout on a gray, wet morning, there were enough in the 60,000-capacity stadium to attempt a somewhat ragged Mexican wave in the Saturday sunshine, although there was no shortage of excitement to keep them occupied.

Much of it came from the unlikely source of the men's discus, where German Christoph Harting snatched victory with his last throw, four years after his brother Robert took the title in London.

Bolt was the headline act, however, even if his progress was a foregone conclusion.

Big-screen glimpses of him on the warm-up track brought roars of appreciation from the crowd and when the Jamaican entered the arena and clapped the fans they responded with a throaty roar of appreciation.

Bolt looked a little tight warming up, with possibly a barely perceptible limp, and he was slow out of the blocks, as he often is.

Into his running, though, he eased through to win the seventh of eight heats in 10.07 seconds.

"It wasn't the best start, I feel kind of sluggish. I think it's the fact that it's the morning," he said, having arrived at the track in good time for the early afternoon start.   Continued...

Aug 13, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Usain Bolt (JAM) reacts after competing in a men's 100m heat at Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports