By Dr. Brandon Spradley |
The greatest sprinter to ever step on the track retired after finishing 3rd in the 100 meter dash at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Of course I am talking about the 6’5 Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Bolt took the track and field world by storm in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing breaking three world records at the time.
He currently holds the 100 meter world record in 9.58 s, the 200 meter world record in 19.19 s, as well as the 4×100 meter world record with his teammates in 36.84 s. Bolt has a total of 8 Olympic gold medals and 11 World Championship titles to his credit.
Bolt dominated the sport of track and field for a solid 8 years and became one of the most popular athletes in the world. Unless he decides to come out of retirement, a huge void will be left in track and field sprinting with the absence of Bolt.
With the world championships in 2019 and the Olympic Games in 2020, who are the athletes that could fill the void and establish themselves as the premier name in track and field sprinting? Of course, no one can replace Bolt, but there are some athletes who have established themselves as great sprinters and could become the next great track and field sprinter.
Here are my top 5 track and field sprinters who could somewhat fill the void of Usain Bolt:
- Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa)
This man needs no introduction. He currently holds the world record in the 400 meter dash in 43.03 seconds and is the only man to run under 10 seconds in the 100 m, under 20 seconds in the 200 m, and under 44 seconds in the 400 m. He could be the first man to run sub-43 in the 400 m. He has been the premier name to take Usain Bolt’s throne, but a serious knee injury hindered his 2018 season. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back after surgery and rehabilitation.
- Noah Lyles (United States)
Noah Lyles has had a phenomenal 2018 season so far. He set a personal best of 19.65 in the 200 m and has showed consistency by running under 19.7 for 200 m three times this year to date. He has also shown promise in the 100 m by running 9.88 and winning the U.S. championships. He is young, a fierce competitor, and has great top-end speed. If he stays healthy and continues to improve, he will be very tough to beat in the several years.
- Michael Norman (United States)
Michael Norman just finished his collegiate season from the USC Trojans and recently became a professional this year. He broke the world indoor record over the 400 m distance (44.52 s) and set the NCAA and collegiate record outdoor running 43.61 s. He also ran 19.84 s in the 200 m in his first race as a professional athlete. With his potential and smooth running style, he could be the guy to challenge Wayde van Niekerk over the 400 m distance.
- Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas)
Shaunae has had a tremendous 2018 season so far and continues to improve over 200 and 400 meters. She recently ran sub-49 (48.97 s) and has been consistent over the 200 m distance as well. She will be very hard to beat if she stays healthy and fit.
- Christian Coleman (United States)
Christian Coleman is the current world record holder in the 60 m dash with a time of 6.34 s. He had a phenomenal indoor season this year but has been hindered by a leg injury this outdoor season. Nonetheless, when healthy, Coleman can run with the best of them. He earned a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships in the 100 m dash defeating Usain Bolt in the process. Coleman is a great competitor and has proven that he can handle the big moments.
Dr. Spradley is the Director of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.