London 2012 Track and Field: Contenders Who Could Take Down Usain Bolt in 2016

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIAugust 12, 2012

London 2012 Track and Field: Contenders Who Could Take Down Usain Bolt in 2016

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    Usain Bolt will be back in the Olympics in 2016. It's hard to imagine that he feels like he has anything left to prove, but as expected he will try to continue to add to his haul of gold.

    After winning the gold medal in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100-meter relay in the last two Olympics, he's up to six golds.

    Apparently he wants nine.

    The World's Fastest Man wants to go back-to-back-to-back in all three events, and can anyone stop him?

    At 25 years old he will still be in great shape in four years, but at 29 he may be vulnerable.

    Who has a chance to upset the man who is the favorite every time he steps on the track? These guys.

Nickel Ashmeade, Jamaica

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    Two of Bolt's top four competitors are from his home country of Jamaica, so it's not like they're going to sneak up on him.

    Nickel Ashmeade is just 22 years old. He is already one of the fastest men in the world with his season-best clocking in at 9.93 seconds.

    When the 2016 Rio Games roll around, Ashmeade will be 26 and in peak form. He will be at the prime time of his career, and he could bring his times low enough to beat an aging Bolt.

    Ashmeade didn't run a time under 10 seconds until 2011, but now his times are rapidly decreasing, taking off 0.46 seconds in the last two years. To put that in perspective, if he took off another 0.46 by the next Games, he would shatter Bolt's current world record.

Ryan Bailey, United States

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    Ryan Bailey got to race against Usain Bolt a few times in the 2012 Olympics, but none was as memorable as the 4x100-meter relay.

    Bailey and Bolt were running anchor for their respective teams and were given the baton with little gap between them. The two were running for a gold medal, and it looked like Bailey got a taste of just how fast the World's Fastest Man really is.

    Bolt ended up blowing Bailey away, winning by two-tenths of a second.

    That taste has to be a bitter one for Bailey, and it will motivate him to work even harder for the 2016 Games.

    Bailey will be 27 years old during the next Games, and he will be in great shape. If he works hard and Bolt proves to be human by having his times decrease, we could see Bailey pull out a gold-medal race.

Keston Bledman, Trinidad and Tobago

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    Keston Bledman isn't much younger than Bolt, at just 24. However, he is already the world's sixth-fastest man, running 9.86 this season.

    He's been running sub-10 since 2010, and as long as he continues to progress he could challenge Bolt in Rio.

    While he'll be age 28 and in the closing stages of his career as well, he might have a little bit more left in the tank than Bolt, which could propel him to victory.

    Yes, he needs to make huge strides, but as long as he stays healthy and continues to work we could see him bring Trinidad and Tobago a gold in 2016.

Yohan Blake, Jamaica

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    Like I said, Bolt's top competition may be sitting right next to him.

    Yohan Blake, who has been nicknamed "The Beast" for his relentless work ethic, is Bolt's top competitor.

    At just 22 years of age he is still very young, but he is already the second-fastest man in the world, running 9.75 this season as a new personal best.

    Blake already beat Bolt before, topping him in the 100-meter and 200-meter during Olympic trials in Jamaica. Now he'll look to improve and top him on the world's brightest stage.

    Since coming back onto the outdoor scene in 2010 he's taken off 0.3 seconds. That's a huge improvement for such a young runner, and if he can continue to improve he may become the world's best in four years.

    All we can do is watch him and his relentless work ethic keep improving.