KINGSTON, Jamaica — THERE is no doubt that Jamaica’s men will enter the London Olympic Games 4x100m relay as the favourites and the team to beat, having set world records in the event twice in the last four years.
The Jamaicans are already expected to have as many as three sprinters — Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and Asafa Powell — in the Olympic men’s 100m final and those three would make the foundation of a strong bid to not only win, but to lower the current world mark of 37.04 seconds which the Jamaicans set at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
That team comprised Bolt, Blake and Michael Frater as well as Nesta Carter who were also members of the original world record team in Beijing in 2008.
Kemar Bailey-Cole is the only relay squad member who is inexperienced at the World or Olympic level in this London relay line up.
Bolt and Blake were already members of the Racers Track Club team which ran the fastest time (37.82) in a relay this year while Powell and Frater were members of an MVP line up which has run the second fastest (38.27) one lap relay this year.
With Blake, Powell and Bolt another 4x100 world record looms.
The only real challenge to the Jamaican bid comes naturally from the United States.
A squad featuring the US champion Justin Gatlin, fourth place finisher Mike Rodgers, fifth place finisher Darvis Patton, as well as another finalist Walter Dix, posted the seventh fastest time of the year 38.40 at the Penn Relays in April.
Gatlin, Rodgers, and Patton have all run under ten seconds this year and with the added speed and reliability of Tyson Gay, who, incidentally beat Gatlin in a Diamond League meeting just a few weeks after losing to him at the USA trials, this squad poses the best chance of upsetting the Jamaican apple cart.
Third place is up for grabs among Trinidad and Tobago — with the likes of Richard Thompson and the World Champs bronze medal under their belt; Great Britain, which won the title in Athens in 2004, and France with Europe’s fastest man, Christophe Lemaitre, in the line up.
The Olympic Relays are composed of the top 16 teams in the world with Jamaica heading that list based on their world record run in Daegu.
The USA sits second overall with a time of 37.79 seconds also run in Daegu.
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