Tokyo Olympics: Trayvon Bromell to Yohan Blake, 5 sprinters hoping to replace Usain Bolt
The Tokyo Olympics Games starting later this month on July 23, 2021, have kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Since the 2020 games were postponed to this year over coronavirus concerns, the excitement palable. With hundreds of trained sportspeople waiting to test their limits and give it their all, the world waits to declare new champions.
But who are the top 5 sprinters who are looking to claim Usain Bolt's crown. As Bolt is not going to be dominating the games on account of his early retirement, the field is open for anyone to lay their claim on the numero uno position. The 100 m record of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 World Championships by Bolt continues to remain an unattainable feat. Will anyone break it this year?
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Trayvon Bromell (USA)
Bolt's personal favourite contestant deserves the top place on the list of possible runners to take over the title in the 100 and later the 200 races.
At the 2015 World Championships in a race Bolt won when he passed Justin Gatlin at the line for a .01-second victory, Bromell was an up-and-comer who tied for third. Following the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, he was on the sidelines for a bit as he dealt with persistent Achilles-heel issues.
But Bolt is excited to see him in the race. "I'm competitive. And just to see somebody going out there and winning the 100 meters without me is going to be weird. But I'm excited to watch," he recently told The Associated Press. Speaking about Bromell, Bolt said: "I must say, it's something I'm looking forward to. He's been a talent over the years and proven himself to be good. But he's had some bad injuries. He's showing up this season. I'm looking forward to seeing him in the Olympics." He added, "I'm keeping my eyes on Bromell because I know the times and seen the work. I'm keeping my eyes on next year and the years to come." Bromell has returned to his peak form in 2021, recording a personal best and world leading time of 9.77 seconds in the 100m. He won the 2021 Olympic Trials ahead of Ronnie Baker and Fred Kerley
Ronnie Baker, USA
On July 4, 2021, Louisville native Ronnie Baker won a 100 metres race at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting in Stockholm. He is now headed to his first Olympics in Tokyo as a leading medal contender. The 27-year-old clocked 10.03 seconds, with Italian Marcell Jacobs coming in shortly after 0.02 seconds and Britain's CJ Ujah third in 10.10.
"I'm pleased to be able to run and compete and beat these guys," Baker told reporters. "There's a lot of guys running fast and some of the top guys are coming out of America but ultimately I try not to focus on my competition and focus on what I'm doing." He qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by running a PB of 9.85 in the 100m while finishing 2nd at 2021 US Trials. For his future, Baker had one thing to say. "I’m ready to run faster than I did today." When asked about heading to the Olympics, he said, "Not hit me yet," Baker said. "A weight lifted off my shoulders, and with God’s help I am here. I can’t wait to compete on a big stage. There is a place where I want to be and a place I am now. God comes in and puts the pieces together. He is the biggest part of me being here."
Andre De Grasse (Canada)
The Canadian sprinter who won the silver medal in the 200 m and bronze medals in both the 100 m and 4×100 m relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, just behind Bolt, is determined for the big win this time.
“I want to bring back a gold for Canada, whether it’s in the 100 or 200,” he reportedly said. After the 2016 Rio Games, he became a father, written a children’s book, suffered hamstring injuries and reportedly switched coaches. Athletics Canada’s national team head coach Glenroy Gilbert said, "His résumé is remarkable for such a young guy and I don’t see that changing in Tokyo." Andre De Grasse is reportedly predicted as one of a handful of athletes who could take the crown of fastest man in the world when the men’s 100-metre finals run on August 1, 2021.
Noah Lyles, USA
Noah Lyles, 23, might be better known for his speed over 200m, but he is a reigning 200m World Champion. Lyles is no slouch over a shorter distance either, having set a personal best of 9.86 in May 2019 for the 100 meters race.
As per Olympics.com, "He has the speed, the personality and the charm to be the next big sprinter in athletics history, and he is trying to be great, not just good. Tokyo is the beginning of something special."
On June 25, 2021, Blake qualified for his third Olympics by finishing second behind Tyquendo Tracey. This will be his first Olympic cycle without Bolt since 2000. Blake took silver behind Bolt at the 2012 Olympics in both the 100 and 200. He won the gold medal in the 4x100 relay in 2016, but did not make the podium in the individual sprints.