Track and field is the Olympic sport in which you can win or lose your money the fastest. We’ve all been in running races when we were kids, but these men and women are fast enough to run for a living. They call the Kentucky Derby the “fastest two minutes in sports”, so I suppose you could call the men’s 100m the fastest ten seconds in sports. Talk about exhilarating.
Headlined by Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, the sprints are sure to be highly watched events. Bolt is looking to become the first man to ever win three straight Olympic gold medals in the 100m, but at age 29, he isn’t likely to best the Olympic Record time of 9.63 he set in 2012. He’s also looking to become the first man to win three straight golds in the 200m.
His biggest competition in both races is American Justin Gatlin. Gatlin is most well known for the four-year doping ban he received in 2006, just two years after winning the 100m gold in the 2004 Olympic Games. Despite being 34-years-old, Gatlin lost to Bolt by just one-hundredth of a second at the World Championships last year.
Bolt’s Jamaican country-mate Yohan Blake could be a smart bet in either the 100m or 200m races, listed at 15/1 in each. Blake took home the silver in each event at the 2012 Olympics, but dealt with injuries over the past few years. Considering the small margin of error in these races, Blake has the ability to capitalize if Bolt or Gatlin falter at the starting line.
|Andre De GRASSE||20/1|
|FIELD (all others)||15/1|
|Andre De GRASSE||30/1|
The 4x100m relay is a little more complex for a couple of reasons. First, there are a handful of different ways teams can be disqualified, which is far less likely to happen in the individual events. In 2012, team Canada had finished 3rd, but was disqualifed for a lane boundary infraction. Perhaps more important is the chance of a botched baton hand-off, which could cost a team valuable time.
Not surprisingly, team Jamaica has the best odds at 5/8. With Bolt and Blake on their team and former Olympic gold medalist Asafa Powell possibly joining them, the Jamaicans will be tough to beat. Team USA is headlined by Gatlin and Trayvon Bromell, who has the 4th best odds to win the 100m.
The women’s races are certainly more up for grabs. Five women have less than 10/1 odds in both the 100m and 200m, while the men have five in both races combined. Hailing from the Netherlands, Dafne Schippers is the favorite to win both races. She won the 200m at the World Championships last year, but lost the 100m race to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Fraser-Pryce, like her fellow Jamaican, Bolt, is looking to become the first female to win three straight Olympic golds in the 100m.
Elaine Thompson is vying to become the next great women’s sprinter from Jamaica, taking the crown from Fraser-Pryce. Five years younger, Thompson is competing in her first Olympics and currently holds the best time in the 100m this year at 10.70 seconds.
The best American sprinter is Tori Bowie, who has the 4th best odds in the 100m and 3rd best in the 200m. She currently holds the 2nd best time this year in the 200m, behind Schippers.
|Marie-Josee TA LOU||20/1|
|FIELD (all others)||100/1|
|Marie-Josee TA LOU||100/1|
|FIELD (all others)||20/1|
The women’s 4x100m will also likely be a two country battle between Jamaica and America. With Fraser-Pryce, Thompson, and Veronica Campbell-Brown as three of their four, Jamaica is the clear favorite. Team USA will likely feature Bowie, English Gardner, and Tianna Bartoletta, who are listed at 4th, 5th, and 7th on the 100m odds list.
|TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO||5/1|
|FIELD (all others)||20/1|
The 100m finals will be held on Saturday the 13th (women) and Sunday the 14th (men), the 200m finals will be on Wednesday the 17th (women) and Thursday the 18th (men), and the 4x100m finals will both be held on Friday the 19th.
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