Olympic Track and Field 2012: Power Ranking Usain Bolt and Top Sprinters
Jamaican track and field demigod Usain Bolt is currently the fastest man in the world, but his reign will be tested once more at the 2012 Olympic Games.
He completed a three-race sweep for gold at the 2008 Summer Games, winning the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4x100-meter sprints. His accomplishment was on par with what Michael Phelps did in the pool that year, and he has his sights set on more glory this year.
He's not the only talented sprinter in the field in London, though. American sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin have come on strong leading up to these Games. Additionally, Bolt's own teammate, Yohan Blake, is nipping at his heels.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how the top sprinters in the world stack up against one another in a good, old fashioned power ranking.
5. Asafa Powell, Jamaica
Don't fall asleep on this seemingly-forgotten Jamaican sprinter. He used to be the world-record holder before Usain Bolt came along and crushed his mark.
Asafa Powell, at the age of 29, is still one of the top sprinters in the world. He has legally broken the 10-second barrier more than any runner in the history of mankind, and he's ready to compete again this summer after dealing with a finicky groin last year.
Powell is a dark horse to finish on the podium in the men's 100-meter, but if he's healthy, he'll be a force to be reckoned with.
4. Justin Gatlin, USA
Justin Gatlin will likely be booed when he takes the field due to the fact that he served a four-year ban for testing positive for "testosterone or its precursors" back in 2006, according to BBC.co.uk.
He served his time, though, and hasn't had a positive test since. Not only that, but Gatlin has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, and he's as hungry as ever to prove his detractors wrong (h/t OutsideOnline.com).
Gatlin surprised everyone at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, by beating Tyson Gay and the rest of the Olympic hopefuls with a time of 9.80 seconds in the 100-meter dash—the fastest time of any man over the age of 30, according to NBCOlympics.com.
He's gotten better with age, it seems, and he'll be one of the top sprinters in London.
3. Yohan Blake, Jamaica
Jamaica's Yohan Blake is young and hungry. At 22, he's the youngest of these top-five sprinters, and he's got his sights set on one thing: He wants to equal Usain Bolt's achievement of four years ago.
According to the Guardian, Blake wants three gold medals, but insists it's not about beating Bolt.
Whatever his motivation may be, Blake has the game to back up his desires. He's recorded the eighth-fastest time in history in the men's 100-meter dash, and with a bit of luck and a phenomenal performance, Blake could challenge Bolt's achievements.
2. Tyson Gay, USA
Tyson Gay may not always get off to a great start in his sprints, but he's the world's best closer. His performance at the London Grand Prix in July was a clear example, as he fought a bad start and inclement weather to win that race.
Gay is the only sprinter in history besides Usain Bolt to go lower than 9.70 seconds in the 100-meter. He's mentally and physically tough, and if anyone is going to defeat Bolt in the 2012 Summer Games, I'm picking him.
That said, until someone does beat Bolt, he's going to remain at the top of this list.
1. Usain Bolt, Jamaica
Usain Bolt is the world's best sprinter.
He is the current world-record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter, and he's the favorite to win both of those races in the 2012 Games.
Bolt is still only 25-years-old, so it's not inconceivable to imagine he'll be back again in 2016 to continue testing himself against the world's best. He's one of the most spectacularly gifted athletes the world has ever seen, and I think he's going to put on another show this year.