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Usain Bolt and Jamaica: Have they left US Olympic sprinters behind?

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"What we are seeing is a rise in the level of the Jamaican sprinters," says David Wallechinsky, author of "The Complete History of the Olympics." "You can't prevent the rest of the world from getting better."

"It's not that the Americans are getting worse," he adds. "The world is catching up."

American Carmelita Jeter certainly feels as though there is nothing she could have done better in the 100 meters Saturday night. After failing to make the 2008 Olympic team, she rededicated herself to the sport with the sole purpose of becoming the fastest woman in the world. By many measures, it has worked: She is the 2011 world champion and the current world-record holder in the 100.

On Saturday, after all that preparation, "I executed the race the best I could have," said Ms. Jeter.

Still, Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran it faster, winning gold for the second Olympics in a row. "She ran an amazing race," Jeter added.

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