After three Games of overwhelming dominance by the Jamaican, the 100 meters are looking for a new leader who will give them back their lost prominence
Usain Bolt’s overwhelming dominance in the 100 meters and the end of his reign have left the queen of speed in a state of waiting, in search of a leader who will once again guide one of the most spectacular tests of the world. athletic program. Since he burst into the 2008 Beijing Games with his stratospheric marks and his media spectacle, the Jamaican was the absolute king of the 100 meters and prolonged his dominance in London’12 and Rio’16. His march left the test touched, which still clung to Chris Coleman in the hope that the American sprinter would keep it afloat. But Coleman failed in the worst possible way, skipping a control and receiving an 18-month sanction that has prevented him from being in Tokyo. So this afternoon’s final (14.50 hours) is presented between the opportunity and the need to have a new leader, with a sprinter who hits the table and is able to assume in an Olympic Games that is up to par of the challenge, be the new king of speed.
A priori, the list of candidates must consist of Trayvon Bromell, Ronnie Baker, Fred Kerley, Akasi Simbine and Andre de Grasse, although Usain Bolt has his clear candidate. “Bromell has come a long way, he has shown that he is ready and fit. If it stays that way, it must be at the top. ‘ So if the Jamaican says so, we will have to accept that the American is ready to take the vacant position. A priori, he should have done it before. Because Bromell was, at 19, the first junior to break the 10-second barrier. In the 2015 World Cup he was already third and in winter 2016, world champion of 60 meters indoors. But there the problems began. He underwent surgery twice to solve his heel problems, the second in 2019. From there, recovery came and this year he has been able to run at 9.77, the only one that has been able to break the barrier of the 9.80.
However, although he is convinced of winning the gold, Bromell did not leave a good feeling yesterday in the first round. It is true that it was the fastest series, that it was not at the top and that it qualified with 10.05, but it was not the best cover letter to have to qualify by time and not directly, which is always an incentive for the rest of the aspirants.
On the prowl he has all three sprinters who have been able to drop below 9.90 this season. Ronnie Baker scored 9.85 in the US trials and has won two rallies (Stockholm and Monaco). “My rival is me and as long as I continue to feel good, I know what I am capable of,” he assured these days before the 100 meters in Tokyo. Yesterday it was imposed without problems with 10.03.
The most surprising case is that of Fred Kerley, for being an accomplished 400 meter specialist who has become an aspiring sprinter to take the gold in 100 meters. In fact, Kerley was bronze in the 2019 World Cup on the return to the track. But he assures that the distance is not strange to him because “I have been doing the 4×100 relay all my life.” Two months ago he dropped for the first time from ten seconds (9.91) and his personal best is now at 9.86. Yesterday it happened with 9.97.
The one facing a historic opportunity is Akani Simbine, who may become the first African 100-meter Olympic champion since Reggie Walker did it in London 1908. Simbine was fifth in Rio, fifth in the 2017 World Cup and fourth in 2019 , but now he is in the best moment of his life, as he demonstrated by beating the African record with 9.84. “I’m confident, I know I can do it,” says the South African sprinter, with 10.08 on his debut.
And given names, we should not forget Andre de Grasse. He has the experience of major competitions, he is always among the best and it seems that he has managed to arrive in a good moment of form, as evidenced by those 9.90 of his qualifying series, the fastest of the participants, where the American was allowed to win without problems Kerley. If he maintains the level today, the Canadian could be a very competitive rival at the Olympic.