It’s highly unlikely Usain Bolt will break his own sprint world records at the World Championships in Moscow.
Despite looking assured in victory at the London Anniversary Games, he "only" clocked a time of 9.85 seconds in the 100 metres and doesn’t look like he’s in the best shape to make history again.
Where are the records going to come from then? For one, there’s a high-jumper who looks ready to smash a 20-year-old mark. Plus there’s plenty of other athletes who have made a name for themselves in London.
So although Bolt will inevitably steal all the headlines, athletics has a lot more going for it than just one Jamaican. Let’s break down those track and field stars.
Bohdan Bondarenko (High Jump)
The high jump world record has stood at 2.45 metres since Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s clearance in Spain over 20 years ago. But on Friday, London’s Olympic Stadium fell silent when Bohdan Bondarenko put his finger to his lips as he mentally rehearsed the near-impossible task before him.
Bondarenko had already won the competition with a leap of 2.38 metres and asked for the bar to be set to 2.47 metres. As he took the first few steps on his curved path towards the bar, the crowd began to clap, softly at first, getting ever louder with each planting of his spikes. By the time he was airborne, the stadium was raucous, willing the Ukrainian over the bar.
His final attempt saw his torso go clear—the crowd ready to erupt—before the smallest of glances from his legs sent the bar crashing down. Why didn’t he ask for 2.46 metres?
Bondarenko looks unbeatable ahead of the World Championships, and on the record he told The Guardian, “I feel I will get it at Moscow."
Athletics fans across the world anxiously await the men’s high jump final.
Kirani James (400 Metres)
Surely Kirani James is the man to beat Michael Johnson’s world record of 43.18 seconds.
The 20-year-old Grenada athlete hasn't hit top form this season but continues to blow away the competition. As he entered the home straight on Friday night, his win was far from guaranteed, but his last 100 metres saw him pull clear of American Tony McQuay to notch another Diamond League victory.
His time of 44.65 seconds isn’t going to frighten the chasing pack, but the Olympic champion has run under 44 seconds this season and will likely do so again in Moscow as he seeks to defend his World Championship title.
His technique is questionable, leaning forward and not appearing overly relaxed, which suggests there is plenty more for the youngster to work on. Johnson’s record looks like a distinct possibility one day.
Yarisley Silva (Pole Vault)
The women’s pole vault looks destined to be a showdown between Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva. Suhr won their duel at London 2012, with Silva converting her surname into a medal of equal value, but she has struggled in the pair’s recent tussles.
Silva beat the Diamond League record with a clearance of 4.83 metres at the London Anniversary Games on Friday night to add to her victory over Suhr in Birmingham last month.
Moscow offers Silva the chance to gain her first major international title, and she will have a fantastic opportunity if she can get close to the 4.90 metres she jumped in the Netherlands earlier in 2013.