Usain Bolt began his bid to complete an unprecedented Olympic sprint double-double when the Jamaican breezed through his opening 200 metres heat with the minimum of fuss on Tuesday.
Less than 48 hours after retaining his 100 crown on Sunday Bolt eased into Wednesday's semi-finals of his favourite event by winning the opening heat in a pedestrian 20.39 seconds.
Bolt is hot favourite to follow up his Beijing 200 gold and wants to cement his place as a "legend" in the sport.
The 200 final is on Thursday.
As it is, Bolt and Carl Lewis are the only men to take home back-to-back golds in the 100.
No man ever has won two Olympic 200s.After his victory on Sunday in the shorter event in 9.63 seconds -- the second-fastest time in history -- Bolt was asked whether he's the best sprinter ever. His reply revealed a rare bit of modesty from an athlete who tends to showboat aplenty, then backs it up when it's race time.
"I can't say that. I think I have to wait until the 200 meters, and then my fans got to say, 'Yes, he is,' and the media's got to say, 'Yes he is.' I'm never going to say I'm the greatest until after my 200 meters."
That's his favorite race, the one in which he holds the world record of 19.19, set at the 2009 world championships.
Once again, Bolt will likely face a tough challenge from his Jamaican teammate and training partner, Yohan Blake, who took the silver in the 100 on Saturday. Blake beat Bolt in both sprints at their national Olympic trials.
"I've told Yohan Blake that 200 meters will be different, because that's my signature event. I'm not going to let him beat me again. I've said that to him already," Bolt said."Remember I said that, Yohan."
Sprint records | Perfect 10... almost | High five
(With inputs from AP and Reuters)