A nagging groin injury will force Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell to miss the 4x100-meter relay, a race the country is heavily favored to win after earning gold at the last Olympics. Luckily for Jamaica, it still has enough star power to defend the title.
Powell has become the forgotten man due to the success of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. He has never claimed an individual medal at the Games despite being one of the fastest sprinters in the world for the last three cycles.
With Powell out of the picture there will be more pressure on Bolt and Blake to pull away from the field during their two legs. They have already proven themselves to be the two fastest men in the world by finishing first and second in the 100 meters.
As long as those two superstars remain on the team, the other two runners will only need to run average times in order to win gold. For a country with as much depth as Jamaica, that shouldn't be a major issue.
Powell clearly wasn't at full strength during the 100 meters anyway. He finished in dead last at nearly 12 seconds after quickly falling behind the pace due to injury. Even if he felt healthy, leaving him on the team would have been a risk after that run.
The only team with a realistic shot at challenging Jamaica is the United States. Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey all finished in the top five of the 100 meters, a strong showing from the Americans even though they only got one medal.
Based on the finishing times, however, Bolt still holds nearly two-tenths of a second lead over Gatlin, the top American, and Blake also has an advantage over all three. So they are going to make up plenty of ground during their 100 meters.
The rest of the Jamaican team won't be announced until closer to race day, but somebody like Warren Weir, who specializes in the 200 meters, would be a terrific replacement for Powell and should have no problem making the necessary adjustments if called upon.
All told, Jamaica has far too much top-end talent for one injury to slow them down. Bolt and Blake have both been in great form during their races in London so far and it would be a surprise if they don't repeat in the relay, even without Powell.
That's the luxury of having the two fastest sprinters on the same team.
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