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Fastest man: Americans were not able to watch Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, thrash his rivals in the 100m finals live
An estimated two billion people around the world saw Jamaica's Usain Bolt thrash his rivals to win gold in the men's 100m final today - but none of them were in the U.S., as NBC declined to broadcast the historic moment live.
Bolt sailed through the semifinals in London this afternoon and upheld his title as the world's fastest man at 4.50pm EDT today.
But, not for the first time this Olympics, NBC took the controversial decision to hold off broadcasting the hugely popular event until prime time, leaving millions of track and field fans outraged.
Celebrating: Usain Bolt, pictured, celebrates after winning the men's 100m final
Fans desperate to see the 25-year-old set the track on fire again, four years after his superb performance in Beijing, took to Twitter to vent their anger, using the hashtag #NBCfails.
'How can NBC be so inept? How many senior execs will be canned? How high will the cleaning go? It'll probably be delayed,' one user tweeted.
Another wrote: 'Thank you NBC for showing Bolt winning the 100 meter finals instead of woman vollyball (sic) and horses. wait you didn't.'
'Would have been nice if NBC chose to broadcast it live. NBC really values its audience,' a fellow track fan tweeted.
In an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds, Bolt sensationally defended his coveted title as the fastest man on the planet.
A global TV audience estimated at up to two billion, watched the 25 year-old Jamaican retain his 100-metre sprint crown but Americans weren't among them.
Strides ahead: Bolt, centre, upheld his title in the 100m dash this afternoon
Outright winner: Usain Bolt streaks clear of the field to claim gold from lane seven in one of the most eagerly awaited Olympic events ever
The race had been billed ‘the greatest’ race of London 2012 – and it was certainly the most anticipated.
The latest blunder comes after NBC's employees started turning on the network’s much-criticised Olympics coverage.
Dan Hicken, who has been the sports director of NBC affiliate 12 News in Jacksonville since 1991, lost his temper live on air in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Hicken launched an attack on the network's Olympics anchor Bob Costas, whose tape-delayed broadcast overran by seven minutes and interrupted his show.
'He does it every four years,' Hicken said of Costas, who has has been the prime-time host of a record nine Olympic games.
Champion again: Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win gold in the men's 100-metre final in the Olympic Stadium in London
World order: American bronze medallist Justin Gatlin (left) can only look on with envy as Jamaica's Usain Bolt (right) rewrites Olympic history once again
'Bob doesn't know that 12 o'clock means 12 o'clock. It doesn’t mean 12:02, it doesn’t mean 12:04, it certainty doesn’t mean 12:07.
'Bob, when it’s 12 o’clock, you say goodnight. You don’t care because you’re sleeping right now.'
Hicken said his team was working really hard for Costas, his 'NBC family'.
'I’m glad we had the little gymnast girls. I’m excited about it. I’m glad we got to interview Michael Phelps six times,' he added.
'It's just starting, mark my words Jacksonville. Tomorrow, it'll be 12:09, 12:11, he starts to push it that Bob does.'
But he ended his rant on a more light-hearted note, adding: 'I love him, though,' Hicken added. 'He’s a great broadcaster.'
NBC has come under fire for their Olympics coverage.
Golden boy: The Olympic champion in typical pose with the Olympic mascot
On fire: Usain Bolt runs past the Olympic flame after winning the sprint final for Jamaica in scintillating fashion
Twitter has been flooded with gripes about NBC keeping most day's marquee events off the air until they can be shown in prime-time, the broadcast that brings in the most viewers and advertising revenue for the network.
It was also forced to apologise after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold.
The controversy ignited as sportscaster Bob Costas wrapped his analysis of her incredible routine during the all-around competition last night.
Costas said: 'There are some African American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves: "Hey, I’d like to try that too." More from London in a moment.'
The broadcast then went to a commercial break, showing an advertisement featuring a monkey wearing a gymnastics uniform and performing a rings gymnastics event.
The unintentional, but poorly-timed ad was for Animal Practice, an upcoming NBC sitcom.
In a statement to MailOnline, NBC Sports said: 'Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement.
'This spot promoting ’Animal Practice,’ which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended.'