A world record is exactly what the World Athletics Championships needs.
It would shift the attention back where it belongs—on the athletes—after a build-up dominated by doping concerns and anti-gay laws.
Turn away now Usain Bolt fans. Your man isn’t going to reach any new individual heights, although three golds are practically guaranteed, with some lesser-known stars ready to steal the headlines.
Here we breakdown which world records are in danger.
Men’s High Jump (Final: Thursday, August 15)
Current WR: 2.45 metres, Javier Sotomayor (Cuba), 1993
Just when you thought humanity had leapt to its limits, a freak of nature comes along and expels the myth.
Ukrainian Bohdan Bondarenko is full of confidence ahead of Moscow. After winning the recent London Anniversary Games with ease, he narrowly missed out on a new world record as his legs clipped the bar just when the stadium was ready to erupt.
It’s unlikely that the Russian crowd will want to support his bid for a record high though. Their primary concern is that their man, Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov, claims gold.
Bondarenko is clear favourite though and if, as expected, he destroys the competition, get ready to witness a 20-year-old record blown to pieces.
Women’s Pole Vault (Final: Tuesday, August 13)
Current WR: 5.06 metres, Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia), 2009
The women’s pole vault world record is under threat, but for once it’s not Isinbayeva who’s closing in on it.
Although the Russian will compete in Moscow, the best she can realistically hope for is bronze behind indoor world record holder Jenn Suhr and Yarisley Silva.
Suhr and Silva, Olympic gold and silver medallists respectively, will have to push each other—as they have all season—to new heights if the record is to be rivaled. Either woman can claim gold, but if the world record is to go, it can only be the America who gets it.
During her dominance, Isinbayeva was capable of setting an unbeatable mark in the pole vault, but the financial rewards for breaking the world record centimetre by centimetre were far more lucrative than smashing it with one awe-inspiring jump.
Consequently, it might not be long now until Isinbayeva is wiped from the history books.
Men’s Decathlon (Final Event: Sunday, August 11)
Current WR: 9039 points, Ashton Eaton (USA), 2012
The most versatile sportsman on the planet heads to Moscow to push his own record points tally even higher.
Eaton surpassed decathlon legend Roman Sebrle’s total in the US Olympic Trials last year to become only the second man to beat 9000 points.
The American got off to a solid start on Saturday morning, setting season’s bests in the 100m and long jump, before faltering slightly in the shot with a throw of 14.39 metres.
Unsurprisingly, he tops the standings after three events, but if he really fancies a crack at the world record, he’ll have to do some serious damage in the remaining events.