Four years ago nobody would have questioned that Usain Bolt would be the favorite once again entering London after such dominating races.
How times have changed; or have they?
At the recent Jamaican Trials, the seemingly invincible Bolt was twice beaten by youngster Yohan Blake but reports have it that Bolt was suffering from a troublesome back injury. Regardless the race for the fastest human being on two feet has become a much more interesting situation with Bolt’s apparent vulnerability in competition.Along with countrymen Asafa Powell and Blake, there are the Americans represented by 2004 champion Justin Gatlin fresh from a doping ban and the second fastest man the often hampered Tyson Gay whose recovery from hip surgery is astounding.
In a race as short as the 100 meters, the room for error and variables increases greatly and this is what makes this a more open event then once thought. With Bolt’s DQ at Daegu, no athlete in the race is safe if the closest approximation to the Flash can be thrown out. If all remains clean the race in this writers view is that Bolt wins though without the ease of earlier years where there was no human capable of standing the line with him. Though his health, dedication to training and still unsteady start from the blocks remain issues, it is merely shouts from the peanut gallery as Bolt is the fastest without doubt.
If mistake is made, there are men willing to pick up the pieces and first would be Yohan Blake who has the fastest time in the world this year. He will not be easy to shrug off and most likely looks to be a prime nominee for silver after Bolt’s winning. Forgotten Asafa Powell in search of individual gold can be a factor but has consistently been spurned in championship races. His speed in mid race is near the fastest even as he ages.
The Americans have a long shot to make noise but this is tenuous. Tyson Gay has had extremely limited races and is not at the best he needs to be to beat healthy Jamaican athletes. His teammate Justin Gatlin has come a long way from his suspension and has proven he can compete but it would be a tall order to win the race. His start is good and may be the chance to nudge into a bronze.
Not to be forgotten is Bolt training partner Daniel Bailey of the island Antigua who is always a threat to be at the podium.
Outside of these individuals the odds become longer to be a winner however who thought that Bolt would not be the reigning world champion let alone national leader? With that said the race should be Bolt and Blake with a third party attempting to make a move.