There was no thumping of the chest, no showboating before he crossed the line, no easing up – this is a title that is close to Usain Bolt's heart and the great man put everything into winning it. And if he puts everything into winning a sprint race, there isn't going to be any competition is there.

That was pretty much the case at the Olympic Stadium in Rio on Thursday as Bolt left the rest of the field in his wake en route to winning his third consecutive men's 200m gold medal at the Olympics, a record of such ridiculous proportions that nobody would have even imagined it possible.

The man who has lit up athletics over the past eight years stayed the champion again, and will remain so for a long, long time. Bolt won the gold in the men's 200 metres with a time of 19.78s, well, well ahead of the silver medallist Andre De Grasse, who came in at 20.02s.

There was a blanket finish for third place with three athletes coming through at almost the same time, but it was Christophe Lemaitre, the Frenchman, who took bronze much to his disbelieving delight in 20.12s. Adam Gemili of Great Britain was given the same time, but agonisingly missed out on an Olympic medal, while Churandy Martina finished at 20.13s.

Bolt drew Lane 6, after hoping for a higher lane, so that he could gun for that 19.19s world record mark that he himself had set. However, this was never going to be a night of breaking records, just creating them.

After getting off to a good start, Bolt started to cross Lemaitre and Martina on the outside lanes within the first 50-60m, and when he hit the straight, the Jamaican sprinting machine was already in a big lead.

Not even De Grasse, who took bronze in the men's 100m, could contemplate catching up with the legend, and while a younger Usain Bolt would have increased that gap further and run in a much faster time, this was about just winning that gold medal, and win it he did, in quite emphatic style.

The pain was there, the exertion at every metre was visible, and when he crossed the line well ahead of the field, that roar came out, showing just how much it meant to him, with a "No.1" cry then following with a look at the camera.

De Grasse came in comfortably in second, but boy was it close for third, with Lemaitre edging Gemili and Martina.

For Bolt, this was his last individual event in the Olympics. He's won all six of them, of course. Now the third part of the three-peat awaits – the 4x100m relay. His teammates ensured Jamaica would be in the final, so that the greatest sprinter of all-time can have the perfect send-off.