By his own standards, Usain Bolt is now not just a legend, but the greatest athlete to have ever lived.

Despite what millions of others might have already thought, the Jamaican insisted he could not be called a legend until he became the first man to win the 100m and 200m titles at consecutive Olympics.

He knew what was needed, and he did it with such dominant brilliance.

Bolt eased down at the end to win the 200m at the London Olympic Stadium on Thursday night, four days after he claimed the 100m gold in similarly convincing fashion and four years after he lit up the Beijing Games.

"This is the one I wanted and I got it," said Bolt.

"I'm now a legend, I'm also the greatest athlete to live.

"I've got nothing left to prove. I've showed the world I'm the best."

Whatever one thinks of his boast, he's achieved something the likes of Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis couldn't.

In winning the 200m final in 19.32 seconds - the equal fourth-fastest time ever - he also led a Jamaican cleansweep of the medals with Yohan Blake second and Warren Weir taking the bronze.

But Bolt couldn't achieve the world record he was after, a feat Kenya's David Rudisha managed in the 800m final earlier on Thursday night.

Rudisha took control of the race early with a lightning first lap and was never threatened as he romped home in 1min 40.91sec to win from Nijel Amos of Botswana.

"To come here and break the world record is something unbelievable," Rudisha said.

The 23-year-old then came up with a delicious thought.

"Usain Bolt is a great athlete. He's the greatest sprinter we've seen in the world over many years," he said.

"Maybe one time if we can meet in 400 and compete it would be great. It'll be fun just to watch it."

But IOC president Jacques Rogge suggests Bolt needs to prove his legendary status over more than two Olympics.

"Let him participate in three, four Games, and he can be a legend. Already he's an icon," Rogge said.

In a dramatic day of athletics, double amputee Oscar Pistorius has been handed a chance for an historic Olympic medal after South Africa was given the spare ninth lane in the 4x400m relay final despite failing to finish their heat.

Pistorius had been left stranded at the start of the third leg when second runner Ofentse Mogawane fell on the bend into the final stretch after colliding with Kenya's Vincent Kiilu.

Even though there was more than half the race to go and South Africa was battling for sixth when the incident occurred, they successfully appealed and were given a place in the final.

More history was created on Thursday when British flyweight Nicola Adams won the first women's Olympic boxing gold medal.

Jade Jones won Britain's first taekwondo gold medal and equestrian Charlotte Dujardin won the individual dressage to give the British three gold for the day.

The United States beat Japan 2-1 to win the women's soccer gold, while Germany and the Netherlands will play for men's hockey gold after beating Australia and Britain respectively in their semi-finals.

Hungary's Eva Risztov won the 10km marathon swim by just 0.4 seconds from America's Haley Anderson, while Roulin Chen continued China's dominance of diving when she won the women's 10m platform.

The US overtook China at the top of the medals table with 39 gold to 37, while Britain is third on 25.

NZ Newswire

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