MOSCOW — Usain Bolt restored order to the world of sprinting.
Regaining the 100-meter world championship gold he lost through a false start two years ago, the Olympic champion once again holds every major sprint title there is.
And he shook off rain, a slow start and any doubters Sunday to prove there never has been an athlete quite like him.
Despite getting late out of the blocks in the downpour, the Jamaican superstar steadily caught up with 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin and left the American behind with a trademark late burst of speed that, still, no one can match.
If the result was predictable, the demeanor was not.
At 26, he has left behind most of the hot-dogging that has made him famous. While he used to start celebrating well before the finish on big wins, he remained expressionless this time as he ran across the line watching his performance on the giant screen in front of him.
It took him several minutes of understated celebrations before he unleashed the mighty “Lightning Bolt” pose that made him famous across the globe.
His winning time was almost irrelevant, 9.77 seconds, .19 seconds behind his world record. Gatlin crossed second in 9.85, while Bolt’s teammate, Nesta Carter, took bronze in 9.95.
If Bolt did not produce a sense of theater himself, the elements did it for him. Lightning flashed over Luzhniki Stadium half an hour before the final, and the rain started pouring in as the finalists entered the arena.
To the cheers of about 25,000 fans, the stadium played Bob Marley’s classic “Three Little Birds” and he was loosening his neck muscles to the lyrics, “Don’t worry, ‘bout a thing. ‘Cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”
It was for him. Not his opponents.
Gatlin had beaten Bolt in Rome early this season, and could take some hope from a blistering start on Sunday. But once those huge strides of Bolt started catching up with him, it was all over.