Usain Bolt is chasing a piece of unique history in Rio at the 2016 Olympics. He is bidding to become the first athlete to complete the treble of men’s 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay gold at three consecutive games.
The Jamaican sprinter believes he can do it, recently stating: “I’ll win all three gold [medals], there’s never anything else for me when it comes to a championship.”
The heats for the men’s 100m represent Bolt’s first track involvement in Rio and here are four reasons why he could be open to defeat in the event:
Times in 2016
Bolt is responsible for the three fastest 100m times in history, although none of these have been registered since 2012.
In fact, since 2014, the 29-year-old has not gone quicker than 9.79. This year, his best is 9.88, which leaves him fourth on the 2016 list.
Justin Gatlin has the world lead at 9.80.
One of the reasons for Bolt’s season of average times has been that he has raced fairly sparingly.
His injury problems may not be of the level of last year heading into the World Championships, but an ankle niggle back in May caused him to miss a few weeks of training and then a hamstring complaint resulted in him being absent from the Jamaican Olympic trials.
Bolt admitted after running the 200m at the London Diamond League event that he was “getting there” in terms of his fitness and that he still wasn’t fully in shape.
Focus on 200m
Obviously, the three golds is his biggest goal in Rio, but he has also spoken about chasing a world record in the 200m, where Bolt believes he could be the first man ever to dip under the 19.00 barrier.
Given his lack of races this year, the heats and qualification in the 100m could ultimately boost his sharpness towards peaking in the longer event. He should get better as the Games go on.
Since the start of 2015, Bolt’s main rival Gatlin has run quicker than 9.79 on five occasions. The US sprinter, who won 100m Olympic gold in 2004, has redemption on his mind after losing to Bolt by 10 milliseconds at last year’s World Championships.
Gatlin has been working with a biomechanist armed with a host of cameras to work on various stages of his race, including body positions at each phase of the starting drive and stride length down the track.
The result is that the 34-year-old believes he can dip below the 9.70 mark in Rio. Based on Bolt’s struggles and performances in the last three years, a time in this ballpark may be beyond him.
Ladbrokes is not an official sponsor of the Olympics and is no way affiliated with any of the competing athletes, events or competitions being held in Rio de Janeiro this summer.