The magic of the 100 meters is in its simplicity. The race is a single straightaway and will be completed by the winner of Saturday’s women’s race in less than 11 seconds. Eleven seconds of pure and unadulterated speed. Below are the six women to watch for tonight, based on my projected order of finish.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica)
The diminutive Jamaican was in great form when she won the Olympic gold medal and 2009 world title but she may be in even better shape this season. Fraser-Pryce set a personal best of 10.70 seconds at the Jamaican Trials in late June, a time that puts her in great position to attempt a defense of her Olympic title.
She’s my pick to win for a few reasons. A big part of the 100 meter race is the ability to get a good start, something Fraser-Pryce has always been able to do in championship races. However, the big addition to her skill set has been her new found prowess in the 200 meters. Fraser-Pryce’s win at the Jamaican Trials in a personal best 22.10 seconds shows she now has the strength to hold her speed for the full 100 meters rather than fading over the final stretches of the race.
Carmelita Jeter (United States)
Jeter, the 2011 world champ, is the second-fastest woman of all-time with her personal best of 10.64 seconds but has suffered from a number of up-and-down performances this season. She had a complete race to win the U.S. Trials in late June but did not look as good in a second place finish at the London Grand Prix three weeks ago.
Jeter often gets to a slower start than many of her competitors. With Fraser-Pryce’s quick starts, Jeter will need to stay close the first 30 meters if she will have any shot at running down the Jamaican.
Tianna Madison (United States)
Madison has been the model of consistency this season. The former Tennessee Volunteer was finished in the top three in each of her 100 meter races this year including a second place finish at the Olympic Trials. She typically gets off to a blazing start but will need to improve upon the second half of her race if she hopes to medal.
Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria)
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the long jump has made considerable strides in the 100 meter distance this year after switching coaches to the renown John Smith, coach of sprint legends Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon.
Allyson Felix (United States)
The 200 meter gold medal favorite isn’t expected to do much here. Felix gets notoriously bad starts in 100 meter races though she did upset many of these women back at the Doha Diamond League competition back in May. She is using this event more as a tune-up for the 200 meters, an event that gives her more time to accelerate and reach top-end speed.
Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica)
The two-time Olympic champion over 200 meters also has a world 100 meter crown from 2007. However, VCB hasn’t been in the greatest form this season having run just 22.70 seconds for 200 meters two weeks ago in Luzern.