The world's fastest man rested while his Jamaican teammates stayed on track for another gold medal.
Jamaica easily advanced Friday in the men's 4x100 relay at the London Olympics, giving Bolt a chance to achieve an unprecedented Olympic "triple-double" Saturday.
A win in the 4x100 would follow his victories in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. He won all three races at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Bolt and his teammates will face a tough U.S. squad anchored by 100-meter bronze medalist Justin Gatlin.
Also Friday, Ethiopian Meseret Defar won the gold medal in the women's 5,000-meter race, denying teammate Tirunesh Dibaba a chance for an Olympic "double-double."
In other track and field results, the Bahamas won the men's 4x400-meter relay in a national record time of 2 minutes, 56.72 seconds.
The U.S. won the women's 4x100 relay, Russia took the women's hammer throw, and France the men's pole vault. Turkey captured gold and silver in the women's 1,500-meter race.
Meanwhile, the London Olympics suffered another doping incident when a French runner tested positive for a banned substance.
And the International Olympic Committee stripped U.S. cyclist Tyler Hamilton of his gold medal from the road race time trials at the 2004 Athens Olympics, after he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.
The IOC's Mark Adams announced a reallocation of the medals from that 2004 event.
"Ekimov, the Russian who was in second place will now get the gold medal, Bobby Julich from the USA gets the silver medal, and in third place Michael Rogers, the Australian cyclist, will get the bronze medal," he said.
"One of the sad things of doping is that people who should have got the medals don't get their moment in the sun, as it were, in the stadium. So here's a chance maybe to recognize them. So it does happen, but that is a matter for the team, for the national Olympic Committee, to organize," also said Adams.
In other results, Russia earned a gold medal in synchronized swimming, while Colombian and Latvian competitors took home gold in BMX cycling.
Russian and American wrestlers won gold medals in men's freestyle, and the Netherlands won the gold in women's field hockey.
In men's basketball semifinals, Spain beat Russia and the U.S. beat Argentina, setting up Sunday's gold medal game. The star-studded U.S. squad is seeking its second straight Olympic title.
In the medal count, the U.S. and China remain far ahead, with Russia in third and Britain in fourth. The U.S. and China are about even in gold medals.