Time and Date of Men’s 100m Final: 22:25 BRT (14 AUG) / 03:25 CEST (15 AUG)
Defending Olympic Champion from London 2012: Usain Bolt
As always, the Olympic 100m final will be one of the most anticipated and watched events of the Games. You will not want to miss it.
There are quite a few medal contenders this year, so let’s see who they are (in my humble opinion, of course).
Jimmy Vicaut (France). He has the world’s 3rd fastest time this season at 9.86 s (+1.8 m/s) and with that sort of speed, his first aim should be the final. He’s by far the fastest European at the moment, but he disappointed me by not winning the European Championships this year. He seemed tense, unsure and simply choked under pressure. His start is very good and you can expect him to run some fast times in Rio, but from what I’ve seen at the European Champs, I don’t expect the best of him if he manages to claw his way into the final. He’ll almost surely have to run a new PB if he has any hopes of winning a medal.
Yohan Blake (Jamaica). The joint second fastest man in history is finally beginning to show signs of his former self after being out of contention since 2012 as a result of hamstring problems and injuries. He doesn’t want to be known as “The Beast” anymore, but just wants to enjoy the sport injury-free. He won the Jamaican Olympic Trials in the absence of Bolt, but Blake just doesn’t look like a really big threat at the moment. His season’s best is – in this day and age – a fairly modest 9.94 s, and while he’ll undoubtedly be in peak condition come Rio, I don’t think he’s in shape to be the best in the world this year. A medal is definitely a realistic goal though, but I think he’ll be much stronger next year, especially if he manages to stay healthy throughout 2016.
Andre De Grasse (Canada). He’s one of my favourite sprinters at the moment because he looks extremely mentally tough (and he’s only 21). It was no surprise to me that he picked up a joint bronze medal (shared with Trayvon Bromell) at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. It doesn’t matter who he lines up against, you can expect Andre to give his opponents a run for their money. He’s a strong finisher and seldom eases up before the tape which makes him a great competitor. The only problem is that he seems to be struggling with running under 10 s at the moment. I hope he can find his best form soon and I believe he will. A medal would be an immense achievement. Watch out for him.
Trayvon Bromell (USA). Another strong youngster (also just 21) from the factory of prodigious sprinters that are the United States. The fastest junior in history. His running form is pretty much perfect, the only weakness being his rather short to average stride length. This means that he’ll have trouble in the final stages of the race and that puts him at a slight disadvantage compared to the likes of Bolt and Gatlin. He’s the 2nd fastest man this year at 9.84 s, so he’ll be one of the favourites, but I don’t think it’s his time to shine just yet. He might win a medal, but definitely not gold if you ask me.
Justin Gatlin (USA). The villain? You might say so, but rules are rules and he’s eligible and clear to compete at yet another Olympics, 12 years after his golden 100m debut in Athens. He’s tough, experienced and probably the strongest medal contender and favourite to win next to Bolt. Gatlin could and should have won the last year’s World final, but after dominating all of the meetings throughout the season, he couldn’t maintain his form in the final meters of the most important race. Bolt was breathing down his neck and he faltered. He’s shown us the chink in his armour, but he might just come out stronger this year. This doesn’t seem to be happening though. He isn’t quite where he was last year when it looked like all he was able to do was run sub 9.80 s every single time. His best result this year is 9.80 s (+1.6 m/s) and while it puts him at the top of this year’s rankings, he’ll probably have to run close to 9.70 s (his PB is 9.74 s) if he has any hopes of beating an in-form Bolt.
Usain Bolt (Jamaica). If he wins in Rio he’ll become the first athlete in history to win three 100m Olympic gold medals. 9.88 s puts him in 4th spot in this year’s world rankings. There was a bit of a scare this month when it looked like his participation in Rio might be in jeopardy due to a slight hamstring problem, but everything seems to be fine now and he seems to be clear to compete at the Games – despite missing the Jamaican Olympic Trials. I must say that to me he looks to be in much better shape than last year. And that’s a scary preposition for his opponents if we consider that a not-quite-so-in-shape Bolt still ran 9.79 s in 2015. I had a dream this year where Bolt ran 9.67 s and won gold, with Gatlin coming in second. I wouldn’t mind if this dream came to fruition as Bolt is my clear favourite and I have a strong suspicion that he’ll bring his A-game once again. He’s my pick for gold.