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The need for speed: Bolt battles to retain his 100m crown

by Rob Dore | August 5, 2012

A POINT TO PROVE: Bolt will be made to fight to retain his Olympic crown in London

Who knows what kind of damning indictment it is on the attention span of human species that the shortest final at the Olympics is also the most high profile? In all likelihood tonight’s 100m men’s final will be won in less than ten seconds but it will be a burst of excitement which will captivate the world.

Defending champion Usain Bolt blew the competition away at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in both the 100m and the 200m, setting new world records in both finals, and added a third gold by helping Jamaica to the 4x100m relay title as well. After those games it seemed as though no one would ever be able to get close to the affable, laid-back sprinter.

Injuries, loss of form, bad luck and improvements amongst his competitor’s have seen him lose his air of invincibility and though he is still the favorite to win gold, at 8/11 to Yohan Blake’s price of 13/8, there isn’t expected to be much in it.

Bolt’s training partner Yohan Blake won the World Championship 100m gold in 2011 when Bolt false started in the final. Since that win the 22-year old has improved and beat Bolt in the Jamaican Olympic trials over both 100m and 200m. Setting a blistering time of 9.75 in the 100m. A repeat of that in the final tonight could be enough for gold.

Bolt has been slowly improving as he has built himself towards the Olympics. He has appeared comfortable in the heats and though his times haven’t been the fastest his start in his first heat did look better. If he can get away well, something he hasn’t done in some of his best races, then Bolt will be tough to stop if he’s anywhere near level going in to the second half of the race.

We have come to the conclusion we shouldn’t worry about the start,” Bolt said. “We should just focus on the rest of the race, which we always do. So I am working the last 50 meters. That is my strong point. That is what I am focusing on. – Usain Bolt

Bolt looks ready to fire and if the 8/11 for him to win gold is too short for you then the 11/4 on the world record to be broken is worth considering. If Blake and Bolt start beside each other in the final we may see the younger man pushing Bolt to pull out his best run yet.

Involved in the semi-finals are British pair 18-year old Adam Gemili and 34-year old Dwain Chambers. If Either man qualifies for the final it will be a massive achievement given their respective circumstances. A medal seems unlikely given that the likes of Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Justin Gaitlin and Ryan Bailey will be scrapping for medals ahead too. Gemili is 25/1 to win a medal with Chambers at 40/1 if fancy a little Team GB magic to occur.

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