Men’s 100m breaks out of the blocks

BEIJING, China – The National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, will be the scene for the biggest race of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the sprint to see who will be crowned the World’s Fastest Man.

This morning’s (August 15) heats saw all of the favorites qualify for the second round of qualifying which will take place tonight, August 15, at the National Stadium in Beijing.

Three competitors have been tagged as favorites going into the event.

Tyson Gay is now the Unites States best chance for gold. He is the reigning world champion in the 100m and 200m after winning the sprint double at last year’s Worlds in Osaka.

Gay doesn’t go into the event as the ultimate favorite, however, after sustaining a hamstring injury in the 200m at the US National Trials in Oregon, given the emergence of the new world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt.

Bolt came from relative obscurity to worldwide attention in the 100m at a Grand Prix event on Long Island, New York, in late May, after demolishing the field and breaking the world record in a time of 9.72 seconds, a stunning result for anyone, let alone a runner who had been seen as a 200m specialist.

He was then recognized as Gay’s main rival, along with fellow Jamaican, Asafa Powell.

Powell was formerly Gay’s only obstacle in the way of the Olympic title and had held the record at 9.74 seconds before Bolt’s run in New York.

With all three through to the final, it is sure to be an exciting meeting. The 100m is never a two, or three, horse race however. Great Britain’s Tyrone Edgar and Jamaican Michael Frater both ran faster than Powell in Round One.

No athlete from St. Kitts and Nevis has won an Olympic medal, but fourth fastest qualifier Kim Collins has gone the closest for the Caribbean nation. Twice a finalist in the 100m, he finished seventh in Sydney in 2000 and sixth in Athens in 2004.

“When you are out there, there are no favorites,” US athlete Walter Dix said this morning.

Round Two will be run at 7:45 p.m. this evening, August 15, at the National Stadium in Beijing.

The top ten qualifiers after round one:

1. Tyrone Edgar – Great Britain 10.13

2. Michael Frater – Jamaica 10.15

3. Asafa Powell – Jamaica 10.16

4. Kim Collins – StKitts/Nevis 10.17

5. Usain Bolt – Jamaica 10.2

6. Craig Pickering – Great Britain 10.21

7. Darrel Brown – Trinidad/Tobago 10.22

7. Pierre Browne – Canada 10.22

7. Tyson Gay – United States 10.22

10. Daniel Bailey – Antigua/Barbuda 10.24

10. Richard Thompson – Trinidad/Tobago 10.24

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