2012 Olympics Preview

Happy New Year! It’s finally 2012, so now we can start talking about the London Olympic Games in earnest. On top of fish & chips, Union Jacks, and Royal Weddings these Olympic Games promise to be memorable for many reasons. Over the upcoming months, I’ll post on the most important storylines going into London so that by the time the opening ceremonies roll around, you too can be as excited as one of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects.

Part I: The Fastest Man Alive

Although most people may neglect world-class track & field three out of every four years, the Olympic 100m dash is the sexiest event there is. Olympic gold is awarded to the fastest sprinter on the biggest stage against the best competition in the world. Four years of bragging rights rest on the 10 seconds after that starting gun goes off. 2012 promises to give speed-o-philes more than they could hope for because it could be the first and only time Usain Bolt will race against a truly competitive field on the Olympic stage.

From Team USA Tyson Gay and Walter Dix promise to be a threat—if Gay can remain healthy, that is. Gay was running injured in Beijing and was then kept out of 2011’s World Championships due to a nagging injury, while Dix has turned heads by winning bronze in both the 100m and 200m in Beijing, and recently placing 2nd in the 100m at the World Championships. What’s more is that this could likely be Gay’s last Olympics, so a healthy Gay vs. Bolt will be the storyline everyone follows going into London.

Tyson Gay, Walter Dix

Tyson Gay at left, Walter Dix at right

Apart from Bolt, Team Jamaica comes stacked with Asafa Powell and the reigning 100m world champion, Yohan Blake. Bolt was DQ’d from the 2011 World Championships due to a false-start mishap and Powell was in the same boat as Gay dealing with an injury and will also have 2012 as his last Olympic chance, so Blake has been the Jamaican of note recently. However, Bolt obviously isn’t going anywhere just yet and seeing Bolt, Blake and a healthy Powell in competition would be incredible.

Jamaica

From left: Powell, Bolt, and Blake

Finally, Bolt, Gay and Powell own the three fastest 100m times ever posted. Adding in Blake and Dix as the upstart dark horses, sparks could fly. If all are grouped in the right heats, manage to stay healthy, free of PED controversy and unfortunate false-starts, the consensus top-flight sprinters Bolt, Gay, Powell, Blake and Dix could all potentially go head-to-head in the 100m Olympic Final. Witnessing what Bolt did last time around, imagine what could happen if he is surrounded by a competitive field.

That’s Bolt setting the world record in Beijing—notice how he SLOWS DOWN with 10m to go (Dix can be seen in 3rd place and Powell in 5th). After this mind-bending performance, Bolt broke his own record at the 2009 World Championships, leaving the current mark at 9.58s. Get excited, because with the potential field of world-class sprinters in London, the 9.5s barrier could be broken. In fact, it could very well be shattered and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games remembered as an historic moment in men’s sprinting.

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