Jamaican Olympic Track and Field Team: Usain Bolt and Co. Will Crush 4x100 Relay
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With two gold medals already in hand, there is no doubt Usain Bolt will lead the Jamaican track and field team to another in the 4x100-meter relay.
Compared to the 100- and 200-meter dashes, the path will not be quite as easy for Jamaica in the relay. On the other hand, that's more a commentary on the caliber of opponent Jamaica has faced than the quality of the relay team.
Bolt blew the doors off the world in the 100, setting an Olympic record of 9.63 seconds and beating his closest competitor by over a tenth of a second. That was countryman Yohan Blake, who beat out a trio of American sprinters to take the silver.
In the 200, the Jamaicans fully established their dominance in London, and did so emphatically. Bolt and Blake finished one-two again in breezy fashion, with times of 19.32 and 19.44, respectively. Taking the bronze was another Jamaican, Warren Weir, who ran the distance in 19.84 seconds.
Even if the 200 is obviously not quite as good of an indicator as the 100 for the 4x100, it's still a fitting display of just how dominant the Jamaicans have been at these Games.
However, there do seem to be a couple of chinks in Jamaica's armor, specifically the two members of the relay team not named Bolt or Blake.
Jamaica's third entry in the 100, Asafa Powell, is out of the relay, according to FOX Sports. The three-time Olympian was a member of his country's 4x100 team that took home the gold in Beijing, but he has been suffering from hamstring issues in recent years. He aggravated the injury in the 100 and had to pull up, resigned to an eighth-place finish in his final Games.
On the other hand, it's not like Jamaica has struggled in the 4x100 without Powell.
At the 2011 World Championships, Powell was forced to drop out of the 4x100 due to, you guessed it, a hamstring injury. Without him, the team of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Blake and Bolt set a new world record, completing the 400 meters in 37.04 seconds.
Neither Carter nor Frater are competing in London, but the point about Team Jamaica remains valid. As long as Bolt and Blake are both on board, the Jamaicans have too much sprinting talent to lose their favorite status.
Nipping at Jamaica's heels are the Americans. Those backing the underdog are touting the depth of the US relay team, which features Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey. Those three runners each finished in the top five of the 100, supporters say, so the US will have one more strong leg than will Jamaica.
Yes, it will be the toughest challenge the Jamaicans have faced in the sprints at these Games. Even if a team of Bolt, Blake and two other guys seems top-heavy, history has shown us it's the best in the world. On Saturday in London, they will go out and prove it.
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