Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after the men's 200m final of Athletics at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 18,2016. Usain Bolt won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after the men's 200m final of Athletics at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 18,2016. Usain Bolt won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

Athletics roundup: Bolt edges closer to landmark triple-triple

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Usain Bolt said on the eve of Thursday's Olympic 200m final that the race could be tighter than he originally thought.

And while that might not have been the case, the Jamaican fell short of his stated goal of breaking his own world record, which has stood since 2009.

Bolt clinched his eighth Olympic gold medal here by winning his pet event in 19.78 seconds, 24 hundredths of a second ahead of Canada's Andre de Grasse. France's Christophe Lemaitre took bronze in 20.12.

Running in lane six, Bolt made his customary slow start before charging clear of the field around the 80m mark. From there, the result was never in doubt.

But the 29-year-old was visibly disappointed after the race, throwing his arm to the ground and grimacing.

Despite not quite living up to his own lofty standards, Bolt's underlying goal of an unprecedented "triple-triple" in Rio remains on track.

His victory came four days after he won the Olympic 100m gold medal, defeating long-time rival Justin Gatlin by eight hundredths of a second.

Another triumph with Jamaica's 4x100m relay team on Saturday would give Bolt an unprecedented third straight clean sweep of Olympic sprint titles.

The men's 200m final concluded a day in which the United States won four of the six athletics gold medals decided at Rio's Olympic Stadium.

The first came when Kerron Clement ended his long wait for Olympic glory in the 400m hurdles. The 30-year-old finished in 47.73 seconds, his best time of the year, to beat Kenya's Boniface Mucheru by five hundredths of a second. Turkey's Yasmani Copello claimed bronze in 47.92.

It was Clement's second Olympic gold medal, to go with his 4x100m relay triumph in Beijing.

His compatriot Dalilah Muhammad took gold in the women's 400m hurdles, holding off a fast-finishing Sara Slott Peterson of Denmark.

Muhammad, 26, clocked 53.15 seconds to beat Petersen by 0.42 seconds.

Ashley Spencer of the US claimed bronze in a personal best 53.72. The Czech Republic's dual world champion Zuzana Hejnova finished fourth in 53.92.

Ryan Crouser broke the Olympic record as the US grabbed gold and silver in the men's shot put.

The 23-year-old won with a best effort of 22.52m, breaking the previous record of 22.47m set by Germany's Ulf Timmermann at the 1988 Games in Seoul.

Joe Kovacs took silver with 21.78m while New Zealand's Tomas Walsh secured bronze with 21.36m.

Croatia's Sara Kolak secured gold in the women's javelin with a best throw of 66.18m. South Africa's Sunette Viljoen claimed bronze with 64.92m and the Czech Republic's Barbora Spotakova pocked bronze with 64.80m.

Ashton Eaton bagged the gold medal in the men's decathlon, finishing with 8893 points, 59 points ahead of silver medalist Kevin Mayer of France. Damian Warner of Canada was the bronze medallist with 8666 points.

Meanwhile Kenya's Ronald Kwemoi qualified fastest for the men's 1500m final in 3:39.34. Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti was second in 3:39.46 with the USA's Matthew Centrowitz third in 3:39.61.

Russia's Caster Semenya was fastest in the semfinals of the women's 800m, clocking 1:58.15. Britain's Lynsey Sharp was next in 1:58.65 with the USA's Kate Grace third in 1:58.79.

The US controversially qualified for the women's 4x100m relay final, recording the fastest time of the semifinals after being granted a re-run.

Competing alone, the US team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun clocked 41.77 seconds.

The result meant China will miss Friday's final after originally qualifying eighth fastest.

Earlier, the reigning Olympic champions dropped the baton during the second exchange between Felix and Gardner in the second heat.

The Americans protested, claiming Brazilian Franciela Krasucki bumped Felix before the handover.

In a statement, officials said the race referee deemed Felix to have been obstructed after reviewing video replays.

Jamaica qualified second fastest in 41.79 followed by Britain (41.93) and Germany (42.18).