The crowns of the fastest men and women in the world reside in the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Both Sherry-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt have won gold in the premier track and field event, the 100-meter dash, at the past two Olympics in London and Beijing.
For Fraser-Pryce, winning gold in the 100-meters at the Rio Olympics will not be easy. Her fastest time in 2016 or 10.93 merits tenth best for the season, a few big competitors with faster times.
Dafne Schippers, 24, won gold in the 200 meters at the world championships, and silver in the 100 meters last year. But in quick succession, the Dutch sprinter has won gold in the 100 meters at the European Championships in Amsterdam as well as the Diamond League championship in Monaco on July 15. However, two huge rivals did not compete at that event, Elaine Thompson, 24, of Jamaica and English Gardner, 24, of the USA, owners of the two fastest times in 2016.
As for the men, the chief competitor to Usain Bolt is American Justin Gatlin, the much maligned sprinter who won gold in the 2004 Athens Games, but missed the Beijing Olympics in 2008 while serving his second ban for use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. He returned to the tour in time to place third at the London Games, and has recently won the US Olympic Trials in the 100-meters, sending him to Rio as the oldest sprinter ever to make a US team.
In 2016, Gatlin holds the fastest time in the 100 meters at 9.80. Usain Bolt has been cautious, holding himself back from competing, particularly as he had recently suffered a hamstring injury. But his fastest time this year is 9.88, and clearly Bolt rises to the occasion. Just recently Bolt demonstrated that the injury is not an issue by dominating in the 200-meters championships at the London Anniversary Games on July 22.
Will Jamaicans Bolt and Fraser-Pryce repeat as the first three-time gold medalists in the 100-meters, or will time catch up with them?
Can’t wait to find out.