Time and Date of Women’s 200m Final: 22:30 BRT (17 AUG) / 03:30 CEST (18 AUG)
Olympic Champion from London 2012: Allyson Felix
Due to the ruthless nature of American Olympic Trials, we sadly won’t see Allyson Felix defending her Olympic title from 2012. Nevertheless, the final should still be a fantastic race of great quality. The following is a list of women that I expect to be the main contenders.
Honorable mention: Maja Mihalinec (Slovenia). My compatriot seems to be in great shape this year. Her seasonal best from Amsterdam just three weeks ago is 23.01 s (also a personal best), but she was slowing down in the last few meters, so there’s definitely more to come. Reaching the semi finals and running under 23 seconds should be a realistic goal for her campaign in Rio.
Dina Asher-Smith (Great Britain). The likable young Brit (she’s still only 20) is beginning to make her mark in the senior ranks by placing 5th at the last year’s World Championships in Beijing and winning the European Championships in Amsterdam just three weeks ago. She’ll unquestionably be looking to make her first appearance in an Olympic final and I’m hoping she succeeds. She’s powerfully built and has great technique, but her short stature gives her a slight disadvantage in the closing stages of the longer sprint. I don’t expect her to medal, so securing a place in the final should be her first priority.
Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica). The veteran is 34 years old and will be coming back for her 5th Olympic appearance. She was a back to back champion in 2004 & 2008 and agonizingly 4th in 2012. She’s 8th in the world this year with 22.29 s, but there’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll only be looking to improve in Rio. A medal would be a huge surprise, but I’m not counting her out of the contention just yet.
Shaunae Miller (Bahamas). My 400m favourite will also run in the 200m (and the 100m!), so I’m hoping she doesn’t burn herself out. She the 3rd fastest in the world this season with 22.05 s. Her 400m strength and endurance should be prominent in the last 50m of the race, so I expect her to come charging down that home stretch if she finds herself in a situation where she’s trailing the other athletes. A medal is definitely not out of reach.
Tori Bowie (USA). With a newly acquired personal best of 21.99 s she’s the only woman next to Schippers to have dipped under the 22 s barrier in 2016. She’s a world class sprinter and her form is only improving, so I fully expect her to be competing for a medal in Rio.
Elaine Thompson (Jamaica). I’ve already picked her as my favourite for the 100m and I’m no Nostradamus in predicting that she’ll also be extremely dangerous for a win in the longer sprint. She’s probably the fastest sprinter in the world at the moment and with 21.66 s is also the 5th fastest 200m sprinter in history. That time came last year at the World Championships in Beijing where she picked up a silver medal behind Schippers. Elaine was actually leading for most of the race, but she decelerated just enough for Schippers to come through at the end and snatch the victory with a last second dip. Thompson will probably be hungry for revenge and I wouldn’t bet against her.
Dafne Schippers (Netherlands). The former heptathlete stunned us last year in Beijing when she won gold in a time of 21.63 s that propelled her all the way up to 3rd place in the all time rankings. She won bronze in heptathlon at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, so her switch to sprinting came as a surprise to many people, but if there were any doubters out there, they were emphatically silenced. Schippers is a true power sprinter. Her start is relatively weak in comparison to others, but her stride is long and she has great speed endurance. That’s a perfect combination for the 200m and is one of the main reasons for why I’m putting her at the top of my list of favourites for gold. Her main rival will probably be Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the Dutch woman. She’s my pick for gold.