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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Who will be the fastest man in the world?

After four years of training for these phenomenally fast athletes, their status in the Olympic history books now depends on a fiercely competed 10 second run. It is the most highly anticipated event at the Olympic Games this year. It is the 100m!

The line up for tonight's final (scheduled for around 9:50) goes as follows...

2 - Richard Thompson
3 - Asafa Powell
4 - Tyson Gay
5 - Yohan Blake
6 - Justin Gatlin
7 - Usain Bolt
8 - Ryan Bailey
9 - Churandy Martina

The surprising inclusion in this race is the flying Dutchman Churandy Martina, who had to record a personal best in order to beat Asafa Powell to have an automatic qualifying position. He is the only European to have reached the final, which is dominated by Caribbeans and Americans.

Most of the attention will be placed on Usain Bolt, for obvious reasons. The Jamaican sprinter literally jogged his way to the final, recording some fairly decent times on the way. Despite the 100m not being regarded as Bolt's strongest event, he is definitely the one to watch in this race. He starts in lane 7.

His closest competitors are Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin, who run side by side in lanes 6 and 7 respectively. Blake is currently the fastest man in the world this year. He has recorded a season's best of 9.75, outpacing his fellow world-record holding countryman by 0.01 seconds. He has beaten Bolt consistently, over 100m and 200m, ever since the World Championships in Daegu from which Usain was disqualified from for a false start.

Despite Gatlin surpassing the peak of his career (now aged 30) he is still has a very good chance of claiming gold at London 2012. He has regularly posted times faster than the 10 second mark this year, including the 9.80 seconds recorded at the US Olympic trials last month. Moreover, he goes into the final knowning that he was the fastest sprinter throughout the semi-final heats, which will provide him with great confidence as he attempts to upset the highly-favoured Jamaicans.

There is also an outside chance for Tyson Gay, who has the second fastest personal best in this race (only  beaten by Usain Bolt). Another runner who is in the latter stages of his career at the age of 29, he faced a difficult year in 2011 that was plagued with injury, but luckily he has returned to form for these Olympics. Posting a respectable time of 9.90 seconds during the semi final, he will be wary of the threat from Yohan Blake, who won the sprint ahead of him by 0.05 seconds. Being one of three runners in this final who have defeated Bolt throughout his career in the 100m, Gay will be secretly confident that he can do well in the race.

1st - Usain Bolt
2nd - Yohan Blake
3rd - Justin Gatlin

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