Before the start of the Olympics, I wrote about who to look out for in some of my favourite track events and who I thought was going to win. I would like to have written more for some of the other events as well, but I started a bit too late and – since this was a bit of a personal challenge – I didn’t want to make any more predictions while the Games were already under way because then it would have been much easier to see who was in form and who wasn’t.
Anyway, let’s see how it all panned out:
MEN – Predicted Winners & My Comments:
- 100m: Usain Bolt CORRECT
If there were any doubters about Bolt’s form before the Olympics, they probably had a change of heart once they saw him in the heats and the semi-finals. He was utterly dominant from start to finish. Gatlin gave him a good run for his money in the final, but he’s probably getting too old to compete with Bolt’s still unrivaled top-speed. I was extremely happy for De Grasse to pick up a bronze medal. I knew he was a clutch performer and he again proved me right.
- 200m: Usain Bolt CORRECT
After the 100m final it was safe to say that Bolt was going to take this one with relative ease. The only unknown was whether LaShawn Merritt could be a threat for one of the medals. He made the final, but was probably still knackered after the rounds of the 400m and in the end he understandably failed to put up much of a fight. De Grasse fought well for silver and Lemaitre pleasantly surprised me by taking the bronze. I was a bit sad for Adam Gemili because he agonizingly missed the third place by just three thousands of a second. The big surprise here was that Gatlin failed to make the final.
- 400m: Wayde van Niekerk CORRECT
The highest quality 400m race of all time and the best individual performance of the Games for me. I quietly predicted a new Olympic record, but I never thought that we could see one of the toughest world records be so emphatically broken. Michael Johnson himself found the perfect words to describe it: “That was a massacre from Wayde van Niekerk. I mean he just put those guys away.” It was a three-way clash between van Niekerk and the last two Olympic champions, LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James. The latter two fought valiantly and went under 44 seconds, but you can only do so much when you run against a world record. Last placed Hudson-Smith ran 44.61 which would have been enough for a medal in most Global championship finals of the past.
- 800m: David Rudisha CORRECT
Rudisha seemed to be in good form this season, but the 800m is always unpredictable. In the end he won it quite comfortably though. I also correctly predicted that it was going to take a time of 1:42 for gold and the winning time was 1:42.15. I was very surprised when three of the big favourites Nijel Amos, Mohammed Aman and Adam Kszczot didn’t make the final.
- 4x100m Relay: Jamaica CORRECT
I predicted that the potential of this Jamaican team was 37.20 and they won in 37.27. Things can always go wrong in the relays and I thought that the guys would be under extreme pressure to help Bolt win his 9th gold medal, but they handled it very well. They were neck and neck with the Japanese when Bolt was given the baton and from then on there was no question about who was going to win. Americans had their problems again and were subsequently disqualified after initially finishing in third place. This meant that the Canadians were promoted to bronze, giving De Grasse his third medal of the Games.
WOMEN – Predicted Winners & My Comments:
- 100m: Elaine Thompson CORRECT
A lot of people seemed to have been surprised when Schippers failed to win, but I never saw her as that big of a threat even for just a medal (I gave her a 50% chance of winning a medal and a 10% chance of winning gold). In the end she was 5th in a very tight and extremely high quality final, but Thompson was in a league of her own.
- 200m: Dafne Schippers WRONG
This is where I thought that Schippers’ talents would really shine through – and they did – but in the end she came up just a bit too short. Elaine Thompson was too strong this time around and she wasn’t going to be overtaken like she was last year at the World Championships in Beijing. Thompson won with 21.78 ahead of 21.88 from Schippers.
- 400m: Shaunae Miller CORRECT
I correctly predicted that this was going to be a fierce duel between Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller. Indeed it was one of the tightest races we’ve seen. Miller optimistically took it out very hard over the first 300m and then desperately tried to hold on. Her legs were completely gone towards the end and she literally fell through the finish line, but it was enough to edge out the fast finishing Felix by just 0.07 s.
7 out of 8. I think I did pretty well. 🙂