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Who will be crowned the fastest man in the world?

  Saturday 4th August 2012

Has it really been four years since Usain Bolt literally cruised past the line in 9.69 to become both Olympic Champion and global superstar?

We don’t have to wait long to see the next page in his legacy. The 100m sprint is the premier event at the Olympic games and starts on 4th August with the final the following night at the Olympic stadium.

It still isn’t a one-man race, despite the greatest runner of all time on the starting blocks.

His fitness and form have not been ideal suffering both injuries and a few alarming losses to World Champion, training partner and fellow Jamaican, Yohan Blake have set the doubters off.

Despite Jamaican doctor Winston Dawes’ claims that both Bolt and Blake are  “100% fit and rearing to go”, nobody really knows how true this statement is other than the runners themselves.

Sprinting is a sport where confidence is at a premium and any chink in the armor could feed off rivals.

Yohan Blake, or The Beast as Bolt nicknamed him, is riding a wave of confidence.

The 22-year-old has impressed in capturing the World Championships in 2011 and Jamaican titles in June where he edged out Bolt.

Blake has a personal best time of 9.75, the 4th fastest in history, which could more than challenge for line honors at the London Games on Sunday night.

Other contenders capable of an upset come August 5th include perennial-underachiever, and fellow Jamaican, Asafa Powell.

The twice world-record holder had long been predicted as a gold medal winner only to disappoint when it mattered most.

Powell has also been plagued by injuries in the lead up to the games and one would say he should be content with any medal realistically.

Two Americans could post a strong challenge to the Jamaican contingent and have been impressive in the lead up to the games.

Tyson Gay, the second fastest man of all time and the only man to beat Bolt in an international final since Beijing, could cause an upset should his fragile body hold up in time for the final.

Gay will be joined on the starting line with former Gold medal winner, Justin Gatlin.

There is no doubting Gatlin’s ability, however few will be cheering for the man who was banned from the sport twice after testing positive for what was believed to be amphetamines.

Although maintaining his innocence, a Gatlin win put a cloud over the event that has had a history of drug cheats.

Surprisingly, Europe’s great hope for a medal, Christophe Lemaitre has pulled out of the 100m to focus on the 200m event.

The first white man to break the ten-second mark and the winner of the last two European Championships in the event still may change his mind in the coming days.

Despite the strong list of challengers that are vying to spoil Usain Bolt’s quest for back-to-back gold medals, one feels that the ball is in his court.

For any of the contenders to stand a chance on Sunday evening, Bolt will have to put in a below-par performance, and hope they can capitalize on it.

Oliver Neave, Olympics correspondent

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