Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Bolt's time to shine

Published:Saturday | August 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Usain Bolt

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil

The world will stand still for 10 or less seconds as sprinting icon Usain Bolt makes his first appearance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men's 100 metres heats inside the Olympic Stadium.

There are a few questions to be answered, and although we aren't expecting breakneck speed just yet, his appearance is sure to set the Games alight.

Will Usain Bolt create history - again, this time by becoming the first man to win three 100m gold medals at the Olympic Games?

Is the London 2012 silver medallist Yohan Blake really back his best after his injury issues?

What about Justin Gatlin, can he avenge last year's World Championships defeat and win the USA's first 100m Olympic gold since his last win in 2004?

Is there going to be a surprise? Can Trayvon Brommel or Nickel Ashmeade spring a surprise?

It wasn't quite as testing as the year he had in 2015, but it has nonetheless been a challenging season for Bolt, who had to pull out of the Jamaican trials and comes into the Olympics trailing Gatlin, Brommel and Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut for fastest time this season.

Gatlin has already gone 9.80 with Brommel, 9.84 and Vicaut 9.86 all bettering Bolt's 9.88, which was done on June 11 at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston.

It is perhaps part of the reason the Americans have been talking so much about beating the big Jamaican this time around, chatter that has certainly gotten the attention of Bolt, who has threatened to "unleash his wrath" on his rivals.

 

MORE CONFIDENT

 

That was not exactly meant for his stablemate Blake, but the double sprint silver medal winner from four years ago has also been sounding like the Blake of old - confident, assured and determined to make up for lost time.

"I am ready, anything is possible. I have been training well, and I can't wait to step on the track. I am definitely faster than I was in 2012," said Blake from the top of one of Rio de Janeiro's newest buildings the Metropolitano - maybe a symbolic position as he looked ahead today's start of competition in the event.

Blake's best time so far this season is the 9.94 that he ran in June but if those close to him are to be believed, then he is primed to go much faster by the time these Games are over.

By then, too, all those questions would have been answered, but not before the first strides are taken today.