Rio: Usain Bolt defeats Justin Gatlin to win his third Olympic gold medal in the 100m

Usain Bolt is still the fastest man in the world.

The Jamaican sprint superstar emerged victorious in his grudge match against American Justin Gatlin to win his third successive gold medal in the 100m final race on Sunday night, running the track in 9.81 seconds.

Gatlin, who finished in 9.89 seconds, took home the silver medal while Andre De Grasse of Canada nabbed the bronze.

Usain Bolt won his third consecutive gold medal in the 100m final on Sunday night

The Jamaican sprint superstar beat out American Justin Gatlin for the gold

Bolt ran the track in 9.81 seconds, improving on his semifinal time from earlier that day

The fastest man in the world was quick to unleash his famous smile as he took the top spot once again

It was an epic sprint for the line and midway Gatlin appeared to have got the better of Bolt.

But Bolt picked up, ran first over the line and didn’t stop to shake hands with his bitter rival as he continued running for another 100 yards, giving Gatlin the ultimate cold shoulder.

It was the race the planet tuned into see and Bolt ensured he was crowned the fastest man in the world at three straight Olympics.

Bolt is now just two races away from completing the ‘triple triple’ and winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

He grabbed his national flag and cheered and smiled back at his loving audience, soaking up their roaring cheers and applause.

Gatlin had been widely booed as he entered the track, but at the end still grabbed the Stars and Stripes and draped it over his shoulders for his own victory lap.

The race was billed as an epic head-to-head between Bolt and Gatlin, who has one Olympic gold medal and a career racked with drug controversy.

But Bolt proved in the semifinals that he wasn’t going to relinquish his title easily.

He appeared to be cantering along and mocking his opponents as first he looked to his right and then swung his head to his left to look at his rivals behind him, trying to keep pace.

He crossed the line in 9.86 seconds, the fastest time in the three heats, with a huge grin and pointing at the cameras, clearly saving his best for the final.

Bolt had received the loudest cheers inside the Olympic Stadium, while New Yorker Gatlin was booed and jeered when his name was called at the start.

Gatlin, evidently angry at his reception, crossed the line in 9.94secs and stormed off straight down the tunnel as the other runners stayed on the track shaking hands.

Easy does it: Usain Bolt cracks a wide smile as he crosses the line in his 100m semi-final in 9.86 seconds ahead of Canada's Andre De Grasse