Bolt holds the world record for the fastest 100-meter dash in the history (at a blurring 9.58 seconds), and was the favorite to win the race despite his rocky start.
The Jamaican runner tripped out of the gate and slid into the semi-finals with a time of 10.09 seconds, Sports Illustrated reported.
"My legs are great. My training has been great," Bolt said Saturday, the Associated Press reported. "I'm feeling better."
His main competition in the finals was fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, a 22-year-old who Bolt nicknamed "The Beast" and who finished second in the race at 9.75 seconds, and American Justin Gatlin will take bronze with a 9.79 second finish.
Blake actually bested Bolt in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in the Jamaican Olympic trials earlier this year, according to the Bleacher Report.
Though the two will be bitter rivals in the final sprint, they are teammates off the track.
"We are keeping a good chemistry," Blake said Saturday of Bolt, his training partner, CNN reported. "We are joking in training, having fun. On race day, it's business. But outside, we are still friends."
The men's 100m dash is one of the most anticipated events of the Olympics, and Bolt was its central protagonist.
"The 100 meters isn't merely a sport; it's a primal interest, perhaps our most basic form of competition – wanna race?" wrote Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel. "It's universal; every nation, no matter how rich or poor, participates."
"I just tried to let Usain drag me into the semifinals," Great Britain's Dwain Chambers told Yahoo. "He's the quickest guy in the world. It's amazing. Words can't describe it."
While the US has been the dominant force in Olympic sprinting — since the 100-meter event began in 1908, there have only been two contests where an American man not been on the podium — the Jamaicans have, quite literally, given them a run for their money.
"What we are seeing is a rise in the level of the Jamaican sprinters," David Wallechinsky, author of "The Complete History of the Olympics," told the Christian Science Monitor. "You can't prevent the rest of the world from getting better."