Written by Rod Crowley: With the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics just over six months away, the event that is still capturing the imagination of the general public is the mens 100m.
This of course is due to the promise of seeing the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, retain his crown and beat off the growing number of rivals that his performances over the last few years has inspired.
On his day, Bolt is clearly in a world of his own, but even he can fall foul of the uncompromising and ruthless rules of sprinting which disqualifies any athlete after one false start. The athletic authorities cruelly denied the world of witnessing a potential world record when they disqualified Bolt for a quick start in the final of the world championship 100m in Daegu, South Korea back in the summer.
That race in fact was won by his compatriot Yohan Blake, who won in a time of 9.92 a season’s best and a time that has earned him the right to be the second favourite behind Bolt to win the London Olympics 100m Gold.
Athletics in fact has never been a serious betting sport, but with the ever growing online betting facilities now available, the London Olympics will have a number of markets created. The main one of course will be the mens 100m and even now this particular market is taking money.
The Bookmakers quite understandably have Bolt as the hot favourite in the 100m odds, currently at 4/9! Blake is considered only an 11/2 option, while Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, both long standing rivals of Bolt’s are 13/2 and 7/1 respectively. However, outside of these four, it is a case of forget the rest as the bookmakers do not believe that anyone else can win the race.
Bolt is the current Olympic champion and is also the world record holder with a time of 9.58 which he achieved in the world championships in Berlin in 2009. This 100m time puts well clear of the best ever time recorded by Blake whose 9.82 would put him well behind in a 100m sprint.
Asafa Powell, also from Jamaica has a best time of 9.72 but at 29 years old he is probably past his best and is no longer a match for Bolt, although it should be pointed out that he has finished in front of Bolt on a number of occasions at the less important meetings, but has a reputation of being fazed when it comes to major finals.
Meanwhile Tyson Gay, who has bravely carried the ‘stars and stripes’ on his shoulders in the wake of the Jamaican sprint dominance, has a best recorded time of 9.65, making him the second fastest of all time in the 100m.
He won the world championship in 2007 but has yet to race in an Olympic games final due to injury. In fact Gay suffered with a hip injury during 2011 and missed the world championships.
He is now back in full time training and is set to make one last attempt to better Bolt but at 29, like Powell he is beyond his absolute best.
It looks set therefore that the ‘Blue Riband’ event of the London Olympics, which will be over in less than ten seconds will be won by the aptly named ‘Bolt’ unless of course the over-zealous nature of the sprint laws or an injury get to him again.
In essence, If Bolt runs, he wins and should be regarded as the nearest thing to a gold medal certainty than any other competitor in any of the other Olympic sports.