Usain Bolt: Superstar Sprinter a Lock to Defend Double Gold

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica  looks on duing the Men's 100m Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Usain Bolt will defend his 100-meter and 200-meter gold medals in London, but it will not be easy.

Bolt sought medical attention for a hamstring issue following the Jamaican Olympic Trials, but the Jamaican team doctor, Winston Dawes, told The Guardian Bolt is healthy for the Olympics.

"He's back fully," Dawes said. "He has been training very, very hard and his performance is on track."

The 100 is first on the list. Bolt coasted to the semifinals in his first-round heat on Saturday, and will do the same in the semifinals. The other top sprinters will likely do the same.

Bolt's primary competition comes by way of his training partner, Yohan Blake. Blake has the fastest time this year with a 9.75, and defeated Bolt in both the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican Trials.

Other top competitors in the 100 include Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin of the USA, and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell. While these men can push Blake and Bolt, it is unlikely they will challenge for gold.

American Tyson Gay told Reuters sprinters will need to run a 9.7 or better to even medal in the 100. No doubt he knows the challenges the two Jamaican favorites pose to the rest of the field. They are that good.

I do not expect Bolt to top his unbelievable world record of 9.58, but I do think he can beat his Olympic record of 9.69. If you are to believe Tyson Gay, it is possible all three podium positions run quicker than that mark.

Bolt will have a big challenge getting out of the blocks quickly, but in the final 50 he will run away with gold.

The 200 will start with its first round on Tuesday. Blake again will be his biggest competition along with 21-year-old Jamaican Jason Young. It could be a Jamaican sweep in the event.

Much like the 100, Blake holds the fastest time of the year. He put up the world leading 19.80 at the Jamaican Trials, but it will take more than that to win gold at the Olympics.

Much like the 100, I expect Bolt to pull away in the second half of the race. When Bolt exits the turn and heads down the stretch he will hit the afterburners and put his competition away. His fellow Jamaicans will be close behind.

Carl Lewis and Bolt are the only two men to ever win the 100 and 200 in a single Olympic Games. Only Lewis has repeated the 100. No one has ever repeated the 200. If Bolt is able to win one event he will make history, but if he is able to pull off the double he will go down as the best ever.

I expect him to do just that.

If Bolt is still suffering from his hamstring injury things could get dicey for his shot at history. That's a big if. Bolt says he is fine and we should believe him until he proves to be slower than normal. He has had plenty of time to rest before the London Games.

Under the bright lights of the Olympics Bolt performs his best. These are the venues that superstars excel in. Bolt is the superstar of track.

He will defend his gold medals and complete a historic back-to-back double to go down in the history books as the greatest sprinter of all time.