DAEGU, South Korea -- American Walter Dix, running in sunglasses at night, was so in command and control that he could look left and right as he cruised down Lane 2 to a strong and easy victory Saturday night in his heat of the men's 100-meter dash. He said afterward that he had come to Daegu "to win three gold medals," in the 100, the 200 and the relays. In his heat, another American, Justin Gatlin shook off freezer burn around his ankles to earn an automatic qualifier spot. He declared afterward that Sunday night's 100 final would "probably be one of the most epic world championship we have ever seen."
Confidence is of course a good thing when you have to run against Usain Bolt.
The issue is whether confidence, or anything, matters.
The 2011 version of Bolt is not 2009 or, for that matter, 2008. Even so, the Bolt who was on display Saturday night looked lethal enough. He ran the night's fastest time, 10.10 seconds, and did so though he jogged the final 50 meters.
The men's 100 heats capped a thoroughly full first day here at the world track championships that also saw Americans Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee standing 1-2 halfway through the decathlon, Eaton with 4446 points, Hardee with 4393.
In other performances:
-- All four American women moved through to the next rounds of the 400, led by Sanya Richards-Ross, in 51.37, and Allyson Felix, in 51.45.
"I feel really healthy, the best I've felt in a long time," Richards-Ross, the defending world champion, said.
"I felt controlled," Felix said of the first race in her 200/400 double. "I wanted to establish a fast 150, then go from there. It was a little bit quicker than what I hoped for but I wanted to make it as easy as possible. I feel good, and excited to get started."
-- Britain's Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 Beijing gold medalist and 2007 world champion in the 400, false-started and was disqualified. She sat on the stairs leading down into the alley called the "mixed zone," where athletes meet the press, for nearly 20 minutes. She just sat there, in disbelief.
When she came through the zone, she said, "I'm broken. You can all see I'm broken. I have nothing else to say. I false-started. I have worked really hard. I came here. I false started."
-- Incredibly, Kenyan women swept the medals, six-for-six, in the marathon and 10,000 meters.
Edna Kiplagat, who had won the New York marathon last fall, won here in 2:28.43. Priscah Jeptoo took second, Sharon Cherop third.
No nation had ever swept the medals at a worlds or Olympics.
Prior to the Kenyan finish in that marathon, none had even managed a 1-2 finish.
Then came the 10k.
The Kenyans didn't just go 1-2-3.
They went 1-2-3-4:
Vivian Cheruiyot won in 30:48.98, a personal best, followed by Sally Kipyego, then by defending champion Linet Masai. Priscah Cherono finished fourth. Ethiopia's Meselech Melkamu, the African record-holder, took fifth.
All of that, and then came the men's 100 heats.
Jamaican Asafa Powell is not here, purportedly with a groin injury. American Tyson Gay is hurt. Further, American Mike Rodgers and Jamaican Steve Mullings are out because of doping-related issues. The field isn't what it could be.
"Epic" remains to be seen.
Dix, it must be said, looked solid, in 10.25. He said, "I wanted to come out of the blocks well so I could finish easily. That was a great race for me," and it was.
Bolt, it must also be said, remains Bolt.
Dix raced in Heat 2, Bolt in 6.
Before Bolt lined up in Lane 4, he pretended to brush back his hair in an imaginary mirror, to make himself prettier for the cameras. He shot both index fingers as if they were guns. He smoothed his hair back again.
He settled his silver shoes into the blocks, his sponsor logo trimmed in gold. The gun went off, he exploded out and, essentially, the race was over.
Dwain Chambers, over in Lane 8, who came in second in that heat, in 10.28, was asked later if he thought Bolt might be vulnerable.
He said, "I don't think so."