Bolt, who claimed 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay golds at each of the previous two Olympics and is chasing a ‘triple-triple’, once again got the better of arch rival Justin Gatlin with a time of 9.81 seconds.
The popular Jamaican now stands alone as the greatest sprinter in history, having bettered Carl Lewis’ achievement in earning back-to-back golds at the 1984 and 1988 Games.
A Bolt victory – in what he insists will be his last Olympics – had appeared almost inevitable after the 29-year-old eased through the semi-finals earlier on Sunday in 9.86secs, despite easing up well before the line.
Not for the first time, Bolt’s start in the final was hardly the best, but it did not matter as he gradually reeled in Gatlin before surging clear over the closing metres.
Gatlin – the gold medallist in Athens 12 years ago – was ultimately a relatively distant second in 9.89secs, while Canada’s Andre De Grasse, 21, ran a personal best of 9.91 to pip Yohan Blake to bronze.
Akani Simbine and Ben Youssef Meite also broke 10 seconds, but all eyes were on Bolt as he added yet another glorious chapter to his remarkable career.
Athletics’ biggest superstar will now turn his attention to the 200m – starting with round one on Tuesday – and, with injury problems from earlier in 2016 seemingly behind him, it is hard to see anyone stopping Bolt from claiming glory once again