This year has seen the berth of what many hope will become one of the great rivalries in track and field – the battle between the American stars Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt for supremacy in the 400 meters.
This rivalry will reach boiling point at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing later this month, where it is expected that these two powerhouses will battle it out for the gold right down the final straight.
But just who will reign supreme? I’ll do my best to provide you with an answer, however accurate it may be.
Gold: Jeremy Wariner (USA) – The reigning Olympic and World Champion and third fastest runner of all time will enter the final as slight favourite, however he will have to fight for it all the way against his compatriot in Merritt.
In the end, Wariner’s experience and endurance should prevail, although if he falls behind at the halfway mark he may struggle with the pressure of catching Merritt.
Silver: LaShawn Merritt (USA) – Merritt surprised many by defeating Wariner in their opening race of the season, and has followed it up by repeating the dose, proving that the first time was no fluke.
Even if he can’t ultimately defeat Wariner, Merritt should do no worse than the silver medal.
Bronze: Chris Brown (Bahamas) – Brown has comfortably and consistently been the third fastest man over 400 meters this season.
He will face challenges for the bronze medal from most of the finalists. However, he should have enough speed and experience to claim third position.
Martyn Rooney (Great Britain) – Rooney has been in great form recently, boosting his credentials with two sub-45 second personal best times in the last two weeks.
He should comfortably make the final and could challenge for a medal unless he has peaked too early.
Tyler Christopher (Canada) – The world indoor champion at 400 meters this year doesn’t seem to be in his best form leading up to the Olympics.
He has posted some impressive times this year however, and if he can get back to his peak for the final, Christopher is a medal chance.
Ricardo Chambers (Jamaica) – The Jamaican has been consistently fast over the last few years but has failed to make an impact in the major championships.
This is his chance to make a final and even come out with a medal.
Leslie Djhone (France) – Djhone was a finalist at the 2004 Olympics, and followed that up with a fifth placed finish at last year’s World Championships.
He seems to be in reasonable form after some good performances over the last couple of weeks, and should be able to make the final.
David Neville (USA) – Neville ran extremely quickly at the US Trials earlier this year to book a place in the team; however he has been unable to replicate this form in Europe since that race.
He will need to run well to make the final, and if he does, he is capable of reproducing another run like that at the Trials.
Andretti Bain (Bahamas)
Renny Quow (Trinidad and Tobago)
James Godday (Nigeria)
Johan Wissman (Sweden)
Gary Kikaya (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Sean Wroe (Australia)
Joel Milburn (Australia)
David Gillick (Ireland)