On the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, all eyes will be on Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake when the men’s 100-metre race begins its qualifying on Aug. 5 at Olympic Stadium.
Bolt, 25, is the defending Olympic gold medalist and holds the world record (9.58 seconds set in August of 2009, in Berlin) but Blake, 22, beat him in both the 100- and 200-metres at the Jamaican Olympic trials.
Blake, who is nicknamed The Beast, has a personal best of 9.75. He won the 100 metres at the world championship last year in 9.92, becoming the youngest 100-metre world champion, after Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the semi-finals.
Bolt has been hampered by a variety of nagging injuries and minor off-track distractions since the 2008 Beijing Games while Blake, who is a polar opposite to the laid-back Bolt when it comes to training, has had his star ascend.
Fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell has also qualified while the United States will be led by Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, the latter of whom told reporters he believes it will take a time of 9.70 just to win a medal in London.
Gay ran 10.03 in London on July 13 in winning a Grand Prix meet, a warmup skipped by many of the world’s top sprinters.
Justyn Warner of Markham, Ont., is the Canadian champion who has run 10.15 seconds this year and says he is aiming for a spot in the final. Weather could be a determining factor. Even with the track’s impermeability, rain could impede a fast time.
MEN’S 100-METRES FINAL: Aug. 5, 4:50 p.m (Eastern)