Usain Bolt has set his sights on achieving an amazing feat in Rio by defending his three gold medals from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. Bolt will lace his shoes once again with the goal to make history and cement his legacy as one of the greatest athletes of all time. Only a few obstacles stand in his way, the main one being Justin Gatlin and Team USA.
The Jamaican superstar is set to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. The 100 meter dash without a doubt will be one of the most exciting competitions in Rio. Bolt is set to race against the likes of countrymen Yohan Blake, rival Justin Gatlin, and rising star Trayvon Bromell. Similar to the London Olympic 100 meter final, there are many question marks about who will make the medal stand and ultimately take gold in Rio.
There are so many factors in selecting the medal winners and top 8 finishers for this race. I’m very interested to see the level of Usain Bolt’s fitness. As most track and field fans know, Bolt pulled out of the Jamaican trials with a hamstring injury and submitted a medical exemption to secure his spot on the Jamaican Olympic team. He has since recovered from injury and proved his fitness by winning the 200 meter dash at a diamond league meet in London with a time of 19.89 seconds.
There are still question marks about his “race fitness” in the 100m as there is less room for error, especially against the field he will line up against in Rio. At the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, Bolt out leaned Justin Gatlin to defend his title as world’s fastest man by a narrow margin (9.79 s to 9.80 s). This race, in my opinion was certainly Gatlin’s race to lose, and he did just that. Over the last 10 or so meters, Gatlin’s form broke down horribly as Usain put the pressure on him the entire race. It will be interesting to see if the 34-year-old Gatlin will make the same mistake this time around. Only time will tell.
Here is my humble opinion of the top 8 spots in the men’s 100 meter dash final. Just as I mentioned before, there are many factors to consider that have not been discussed in this article. My opinion could very well change after watching the heats and semi-final races. I’m sure my gold medal winner is a very unpopular pick but “it is what it is.” I am also aware that it is a track and field sin to go against Usain Bolt in an Olympic final, especially since there have been rumors of Bolt being in “9.6 s” fitness. Please forgive me in advance. I will be sure not to commit the same sin when choosing the 200 meters. Nevertheless, here it is:
1. Justin Gatlin, USA (Gold)
2. Usain Bolt, JAM (Silver)
3. Trayvon Bromell, USA (Bronze)
4. Yohan Blake, JAM
5. Jimmy Vicaut, FRA
6. Andre De Grasse, CAN
7. Nickel Ashmeade, JAM
8. Kim Collins, SKN (if he competes)
The preliminary rounds and heats are set to start on August 12 with the semi-finals and final set to fire off on August 14. Set your watches; this is a race you do not want to miss.
Comment on who you think will win the 100 meter dash in Rio
By Dr. Brandon Spradley
Dr. Brandon Spradley is the Director of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.