LONDON — When the stakes are the biggest, the spotlight most bright, Usain Bolt is as good as gold.
Good as there has ever been.
Putting the field far enough behind that he could slow up over the last few strides and put his left index finger to his mouth to tell critics to shush, Bolt won the 200 meters in 19.32 seconds Thursday, making him the only man to win the 100 and 200 in back-to-back Games.
"That was for all that people that doubted me, all the people that was talking all kinds of stuff that I wasn't going to do it, I was going to be beaten," Bolt said of his "Shhhhhh" gesture at the finish. "I was just telling them: You can stop talking now because I am a legend.
"I've done something that no one has done before, which is defend my double title (he won the 100 Sunday). Back-to-back for me. I would say I'm the greatest."
Bolt, 25, led a Jamaican 200 sweep. His training partner and pal Yohan Blake got the silver in 19.44, and Warren Weir took the bronze in 19.84.
Fourth was American Wallace Spearmon (19.90), who said of Bolt between sobs of disappointment, "The guy is just on another planet right now."
One world record was set Thursday. David Rudisha of Kenya won the 800 in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, improving his standard by 0.10. Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds finished fourth and fifth in a race in which the eighth- and last-place time, 1:43.77 by Britain's Andrew Osagie, would have won the past three Olympics.
Overall it was another good day for the Americans. Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee went 1-2 in the decathlon, and former Gators Christian Taylor and Will Claye were 1-2 in the triple jump, raising the U.S. track and field total with three days to go to 24 medals, one higher than the total in 2008.
This is the fifth time the United States has gone 1-2 in the triple jump. Taylor's win is the first for the United State since 1996.
"My coach and I have just worked tremendously hard, and to see this all come together at this time is a blessing," said Taylor, the 2011 world champion.
Claye added his silver to the bronze he got in the long jump. He is the first U.S. jumper to win medals in both events since 1904.
"Christian and I have been going 1-2 for a long time," he said. "We have a brotherhood, and jumping against your brother, you go harder than you do with anyone else."