Olympic Track & Field 2012: Breakout Stars Who Will Rule Field in 2016
The Summer Olympics is always the stage for the most hotly contested track events and to be decorated with an Olympic medal portrays complete prestige—especially when the event finals are as red hot as they have been thus far.
The perfect way for an eager athlete to create a name for themselves is to shock the 80,000 person crowd, letting their performance do all the talking.
This year's Summer Games have been no stranger to unpredictable performances by relatively unknown athletes, so lets take a look at the breakout stars who will rule the field in 2016.
Arguably among the hottest events at the Summer Olympics so far, the Men's 800-meter event left no stone unturned with every runner in the field recording either a personal best or a season's best, with the man of the moment, David Rudisha, taking the gold with a new world record breaking time.
Although Rudisha—the hot favorite—ate up the track, leaving the rest of the field in his wake, Nijel Amos was 1.0 seconds behind recording not only a lifetime best performance but also taking the silver medal.
What is even more impressive is that Amos is only 18 years of age and has the pleasure of giving Botswana its first Olympic medal after waiting patiently for 32 years.
Amos is now the second fastest man in the world, and with four more years of training under his belt before the next Summer Olympic games, the gap may be even smaller in 2016, and this man could be a real threat to Rudisha.
Kirani James of Grenada certainly rose to the occasion when he stormed to success in the 400-meters.
James put Grenada on the map and gave the little island country its first ever Olympic medal. The prime minister was so pleased with James success that he declared that everyone take the afternoon off to celebrate the reigning world champions' success.
James' Olympic gold may not be the last he wins either. The future looks bright for the ripe 19-year-old star. James is the only man to break the 44-second barrier outside of the US, and all eyes will be watching Michael Johnson's untouchable record, with many hoping the young man has the ability to wipe Johnson's name off the record board.
James coach calls him a "freak of nature" (per The Guardian) when talking of his ability, and at 19, it looks like he can only get faster.
Yohan Blake, second man in command to Lightning Bolt may not have blown Bolt away, but he did hold his own and managed to come away with two silver medals—a phenomenal tally by any means.
Blake had a taste of what it was like to be on top when he pushed Bolt into second place at the Jamaican Olympic trials. This lead to speculation of a takeover by Bolt's highly esteemed training partner, but Bolt's return to the Olympic stage was a big one, and he left no doubts about who was King.
Although Bolt is donning the gold medal at this year's Olympics, at 25 years of age, he is not getting any younger. Blake is only 22 years of age and is known for his relentless determination in training, while Bolt is more known for his raw talent.
There are four more years until Rio comes calling, and if Blake keeps churning out times like he has been this past year and driving the Jamaican trio in training, then those two silver medals may magically change to gold.
Mo Farah's training partner Galen Rupp took the 10,000-meters by storm when he crossed the line in silver medal position rattling the field in the last lap of the 25-lap race.
An alumni of the University of Oregon, Rupp was a successful college athlete, however his presence on the world stage has been quite limited until he crossed the line behind Farah and ruptured Ethiopia's dominance in this prestigious event.
Rupp, now 26, is coached by the great Alberto Salazar, who has been helping Rupp to hone his closing speed so he can compete with the best in the last lap.
Rupp's performance put American distance running back on the map and proved that the Kenyans and Ethiopians are not untouchable.
This performance may give Rupp new found confidence and might be the start of an American takeover in the distance events.
There are four more years for Rupp to perfect his almost perfect current form and repeat this performance, except tweak one thing, finish in gold medal position.
David Rudisha's 800-meter performance was perfect. Everyone watching was effusive in their praise to Rudisha, a man who had no doubt in his mind that the gold was his for the taking.
Not only did Rudisha win, but he broke his own world record, shattering the 1.41 mark for the first time ever.
Rudisha is only 22 years of age, which says that there is a lot more running in his legs. Although Rudisha pushed his fellow competitors to the limit, splitting a blazing 49 seconds for the first lap, he only slowed down marginally, allowing no room for error.
It is hard to see this man being beaten. His performance was even more spellbinding than Bolt's and if this continues, there is danger of the 1.40 mark being broken, something the sports world never envisioned.