Blowing kisses to the crowd? C'mon, Usain, you can do better

BEIJING -- Frankly, I'm a little disappointed. I was hoping Usain Bolt would showboat a little more at the end of the 100 meters.

You know, drop a Leslie Nielsen move from "Naked Gun" and moonwalk the last 10 meters, or perform a little Michael Flatley "Riverdance" routine. Or perhaps he could have modified Joe Horn's classic routine by pulling out a cell phone and actually placing a call to the Jamaican prime minister while waiting for the other runners to finish.

Thank you very much, mon, but can't talk now. Have to see who wins the silver.

Well, there's always the 200 meters. Maybe he'll express himself a little more if he wins that one.

What a performance.

Bolt won the 100-meter dash in a world-record time of 9.69 on Saturday even though he made Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson look restrained and humble by easing up and celebrating before the race was over. Then again, perhaps the race was over as soon as the gun sounded and the sleek, 6-foot-5 Bolt began taking his long, graceful strides down the track.

When he was introduced at the start of the race, Bolt struck a bold pose, one arm extended, as if he was drawing back a bow and arrow or imitating the classical Greek image of an Olympic athlete or auditioning for the Wheaties box. (Good luck with that, Usain, but General Mills already has it reserved for Michael Phelps.) So far ahead of the pack and so certain of victory, he eased up at the end. He dropped his hands with seven strides left in the race, flipped up his palms and gestured them up and down with five strides left and pounded his chest with two left. After crossing the finish line, he swiveled his hips in a little dance, blew kisses to the crowd and posed some more for the cameras.

He all but stopped and set up a grill for tailgating, complete with a "Kiss the Cook" apron and a Green Bay Cheesehead hat.

Supremely confident, Bolt shook off repeated questions about the prudence of coasting at the end when he could have absolutely shattered the world record. "I didn't come here to break the world record because I already was the world-record holder," he said. "I came here to win."

Bolt broke the record he set in May by three-hundredths of a second and teammate Michael Frater said Bolt could have run a 9.62 if he hadn't cruised the final meters. He beat silver medalist Richard Thompson by two-tenths of a second.

How fast could Bolt have run the race if he ran hard all the way through the finish line?

"I don't know. I've never seen him to do it," said Dr. Herb Elliott, a physician for the Jamaican Olympic team.

How cool was Bolt? His sleek, aerodynamic shirt was untucked and his left shoe was untied. It's surprising he wasn't wearing a beat-up pair of Chuck Taylors. Or flip-flops. He was so relaxed that he said he prepared for his record-setting performance by sleeping in, not eating breakfast, watching TV, eating chicken nuggets for lunch, napping, eating some more chicken nuggets for dinner, and resting. He devoured some snack cakes during the postrace news conference and said he might also go to Burger King.

Which, oddly enough, is the way most Americans spent their Saturday, as well. Except, you know, for the part where Bolt ran faster than anyone else ever had, won a gold medal and then took a call from the Jamaican prime minister smack in the middle of the mixed zone, while answering questions from hundreds of reporters.

"He said I made the country proud and they're looking forward to welcoming me home," Bolt said. "I'm looking forward to going home now."

Bolt's performance gave Jamaica its first gold medal in the event after many near misses.

"If you want to see something, come to Kingston when we run our high school national championships. Then you will see something," Elliott said of the country's track heritage. "But if you come there on a Saturday and you get there after 11, you won't get in. The stadium only holds 35,000 and it will be packed.

"We all have to catch up to Usain Bolt," said American Darvis Patton, who finished last, but was beaming with pride for just having been in such a historic race. "His own country will have to catch up to him."

Bolt has two more races -- the 200 and the 4x100 relay -- and said his goal is to win both and go home as a triple medalist. Perhaps he'll come up with something a little more elaborate by then.

I'm thinking ticker tape, a flaming hoop and the Laker Girls.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached here. His Web site is at jimcaple.net.