The 100-metre dash is the main event of the summer games.
Sure, basketball and tennis have more star power and swimming and cycling have their followings. But the entire sports world stops for nearly 10 seconds to see who will be crowned the world’s fastest man.
Heading into the 2012 summer games, that honor belongs to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who was the breakout star of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He shattered the world record with a time of 9.58 at the 2009 Berlin World Championships and is the favorite heading into the 100 meter at London 2012, priced at -138.
Bolt, however, opened as high as -250, according to the original numbers posted by British bookmaker bet365.com
. He was disqualified from the 100-meter dash at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu for a false start and has been defeated twice by Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake.
Blake topped Bolt during the Jamaican trials in Kingston in the 200 meter and 100 meter, posting a time of 9.75 seconds – the fourth-fastest time in history. Blake is listed at +163 to win the Olympic 100-meter gold but could have been bet as high as +550 earlier in the year.
“If going on form alone, then Blake is the favorite going into the Olympics,” Aron Black, of bet365.com
, told Covers
. “But Bolt still commands his respect and has shown what he can do on the big stage, with his two best performances being at the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships.”
Black believes the 100-metre dash is really a two-horse race, with other notables like Americans Tyson Gay (+1,200) and Justin Gatlin (+2,000) outclassed by the Jamaican pair. He says it will come down to whether or not Bolt can handle the pressure of defending his times and gold medal in London.
“He has shown before that he can crack on the line, with his world championships disqualification last year,” Black says of Bolt. “Combine that with his losses to Blake this year and Bolt comes in with a lot of pressure on him, whereas Blake can only impress. He’s got nothing to lose.”
“If nothing else, the rise of Blake has at least put a real buzz around an event that, as high profile as it is, was looking like another Bolt victory,” adds Black. “All eyes will be watching to see who can win.”
Outside of the two favorites, long-shot bettors have taken flyers on Gatlin, moving him from +4,000 to +2,800 following his win and personal-best time of 9.80 seconds at the U.S. trials in June. France’s Christophe Lemaitre (+10,000) and Britain’s Adam Gemili (+35,000 to +10,000), who won the World Junior Championships in Barcelona this year, have also received some action at larger odds.
Here’s a look at the current outright odds for the men’s 100-meter dash gold medal:
Usain Bolt, Jamaica -138
Yohan Blake, Jamaica +163
Tyson Gay, USA +1,200
Justin Gatlin, USA +2,000
Asafa Powell, Jamaica +3,300
Ryan Bailey, USA +8,000
Ngonidzashe Makusha, Zimbabwe +10,000
Keston Bledman, Trinidad and Tobago +10,000
Christophe Lemaitre, France +10,000
Adam Gemili, United Kingdom +10,000
Daniel Bailey, Antigua and Barbuda +12,500
Churandy Martina, Netherlands +12,500
Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, Norway +20,000
Richard Thompson, Trinidad and Tobago +20,000
Kim Collins, Saint Kitts and Nevis +20,000
Dwain Chambers, United Kingdom +25,000
James Dasaolu, United Kingdom +50,000