Sun | Feb 25, 2018

Hubert Lawrence | History for Fraser-Pryce, Bolt

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Bolt (left) and Fraser-Pryce.

For different but equally sad reasons, Olympic track and field competition will start tomorrow without Jason 'Dadz' Morgan and Hansle Parchment.

It begins after a painful reminder, as experienced by swim star Alia Atkinson, that nothing is guaranteed.

Even so, with Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce overtaking injury issues to regain good form, the mood is hopeful. Both chase history in the first days of track and field in Rio. Should they win their respective 100m finals, the tall man and the little Empress of Sprinting would be the first to score hat-tricks.

In this golden era of athletics, having Bolt and Fraser-Pryce compete early has been a boost to the rest of the team. It's like having Pele kick first in a penalty shoot-out.

They have identical gold medal records in the 100 metres. Both burst onto the scene with Olympic victories in 2008 and then a fast follow-up at the 2009 World Championships. Both missed at the 2011 Worlds, when the little lady fought niggling injuries and placed fourth. Famously, Bolt false started in the men's 100m final.




Since then, they both won the 100m at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. Both are brilliant. If they twin win in Rio, no one will be able to avoid recognising their joint impact.

While Bolt is favoured to continue his dominance over Justin Gatlin and the rest of the world's best 100-metre runners, Fraser-Pryce is in traffic. Her fabulous training partner Elaine Thompson and flying Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers have been picked to finish ahead of her by the respected US publication Track and Field News.

The 100-metre heats, semis and final take place on the first weekend of the Games.

Beyond the realm of predictions is one truth that ties Usain and Shelly-Ann together. They both have the rare ability to be at their best on the days that count the most.

Bolt has run seasonal bests in every big championship final from 2008 onwards.

Fraser-Pryce gets to within a few percentage points of her best, plus or minus, every time.

That asset has helped them to win when the odds are stacked against them. Despite the quality of the opposition, it could happen again in Rio.

- HUBERT LAWRENCE has attended the Olympics in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.