When the Rio Olympics 2016 starts in August, there’s a huge possibility that Usain Bolt will no longer be the fastest man alive. In fact, if his hamstring injury does not heal on time, Usain Bolt might not even make it to the starting block.
Just recently, the 29-year-old sprinter withdrew from the Jamaica Olympic track and field trials after the injury. Even though he missed the qualifiers, however, Usain Bolt can still take advantage of the medical exemptions given by the Jamaican team for its athletes.
That’s presuming the healing process is as fast as he runs.
It will now leave a small window for Justin Gatlin, Trayvon Bromell, and Tyson Gay of the U.S. team to speed past Bolt in the Rio Olympics 2016, even if by default.
But even Gatlin thinks the Jamaican will defeat all odds and run again.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 4, 2016
“Come on, man; he’s Usain,” the 34-year-old U.S. sprinter told reporters.
The prospect of Usain Bolt withdrawing from the Olympics doesn’t even enter Tyson Gay’s mind.
“It’s a tradition, 2012, last year,” he said. “If there’s a problem, I know he can come back strong.”
The mindset of the American sprinters is understandable; if they are going to prepare, they should prepare to meet the best that Usain Bolt has to offer. Tyson Gay, for instance, recently clocked 9.97 seconds in the 100-meter dash in Hayward Field, and that was only good enough for third place behind Christian Coleman’s 9.96 and Trayvon Bromell 9.94 seconds. Justin Gatlin, meanwhile, clocked in at 10.03 at the event.
Those times may be fast for the American athletes, but they still pale in comparison to Usain Bolt’s record-setting 9.58 seconds in the Olympic 100-meter race.
“It’s an Olympic year, man,” Gatlin said. “Crazy stuff always happens during an Olympic year. I think that’s just a mystery in the air about the Olympics. It’s full of dreams and sometimes dreams don’t come true. He’s Usain, so we’re going to see his face in Rio one way or another.”
Usain Bolt’s Jamaican teammate, 2011 100-meter world champion Yohan Blake, also expects the world record holder to defend his title at the Rio Olympics 2016.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) July 2, 2016
Blake has also proven that Usain Bolt is not invincible after defeating him in both the 100- and 200-meter competition at Jamaica’s National Stadium about four years ago.
Again, just like the U.S. sprinters, Blake is preparing to slug it out with Usain Bolt in the 2016 Rio Olympics. And that’s why he’s training like a madman.
“The plan is to go back in training,” he said. “I need to focus my driving my foot, so I can be faster… I could have gone 19 today. I just needed the win.”
But with his hamstring injury, it’s remarkable to think that Usain Bolt might be the underdog in the upcoming Rio Olympics. His rivals are showing off the results of their training during the qualifying trials in Eugene.
According to the Evening Standard, Justin Gatlin just recorded 9.80 seconds, which was good for the fastest time in the 100-meter dash this year.
Justin Gatlin sends Usain Bolt a warning message ahead of Rio Olympics 2016 https://t.co/d8JqfQs9fF
— Usain Bolt Daily (@UsainBoltDaily) July 4, 2016
And Gatlin is not even afraid to call out the very strong Jamaican team, Usain Bolt included.
He declared, “Team USA is going to go 1,2,3 in Rio.”
True to his competitive nature, Usain Bolt is not backing down from any challenge.
In a Twitter post shortly after his withdrawal from the Olympic qualifiers, the fastest man alive wrote, “I will seek treatment immediately and hope to show fitness at the London Anniversary Games on July 22 to earn selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.”
It remains to be seen, however, what version of Usain Bolt fans will see.
[Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]