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Jamaica's Bolt is world's fastest man

  • Story Highlights
  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt sets 100m world record of 9.72 seconds in New York
  • Fellow-Jamaican Asafa Powell held the previous world record of 9.74 seconds
  • World champion Tyson Gay of United States finishes second in 9.85 seconds
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Jamaica's Usain Bolt is officially the fastest man on the planet as he set a new 100 meters world record of 9.72 seconds at an international meeting in New York.

Bolt served notice of his immense talent ahead of the Beijing Olympics by breaking the world 100m record.

Bolt was trimming two hundredths of a second off the record previously held by fellow-Jamaican Asafa Powell and for good measure relegated world champion Tyson Gay to a distant second.

The 21-year-old had served notice of his excellent form by running a world's second fastest time of 9.76 seconds in Jamaica last month and he quickly took control of Saturday night's Reebok Grand Prix showdown with Gay, who finished in 9.85 seconds, still a personal best.

Bolt gave credit to a big contingent of Jamaicans who were in the crowd to watch his feat. "Just coming here, knowing a lot of Jamaicans were here giving me their support, it meant a lot," Bolt told the Associated Press. "I just wanted to give them what they wanted."

"He ran a perfect race," Gay said. "I've got to take my hat off to him."

"An awesome athlete," said Shawn Crawford, who finished sixth and witnessed history from two lanes inside of Bolt. "The time shows it."

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The lanky 1.95 meter Bolt had produced his previous best performances before this year over 200 meters and finished second to Gay at this distance in last year's world championships.

With doubts over his starting ability in the 100 meters, Bolt was even pondering a move up to 400 meters in favor of the 100.

But the record changes all that and with Powell, who is recovering from a chest injury, and Gay he will be among the favorites for the 100 meters at the Beijing Olympics.

He faces a showdown at the end of June with Powell at the Jamaican national championshps. Also at the Jamaican event will be Veronica Campbell-Brown, who won the women's 100m on Saturday in 10.91, the fastest time of 2008.

The start of the night was delayed by an hour because of threatening weather the area and the meeting was briefly hit by a storm which left the track shimmering with a moist sheen ahead of the race of the night.

Bolt was assisted by a healthy tailwind of 1.7 meters per second, just under the limit at which a record can be set.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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