Usain Bolt jogged to the finish line, casually looking to his left and right, to win his first round 200m heat in 20.28 seconds.
Bolt returned to the track just 37 hours after becoming the first man to win three consecutive Olympic 100m gold medals. Now he is racing to become the first man to win three consecutive Olympic 200m titles.
Justin Gatlin and Andre De Grasse, who shared the 2016 Olympic 100m podium with Bolt, both advanced to the 200m semifinals. Gatlin clocked 20.42 seconds, and De Grasse completed his half lap in 20.09 seconds. De Grasse was the fastest sprinter in the first round.
American LaShawn Merritt, who already earned a 400m bronze medal in Rio, won his 200m heat in 20.15 seconds. He has the top time, 19.74 seconds, in the world this year.
Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who finished second to Bolt in the 200m at the 2012 Olympics, advanced in a season’s best 20.13 seconds.
The men’s 200m semifinals will take place Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET. The 200m final is Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET.