Usain Bolt has once again stolen the show at the Olympics and is on course to win a triple triple after claiming gold in the 100m and the 4x100m relay. The final piece of the puzzle is the 200m and it looks as though nobody can stop the Jamaican speedster.
The 200m was always the one he was more likely to win as he always grows stronger as a race progresses. The first 50m is typically his weakest but then his longer stride pays dividends and you watch him zip past his rivals towards the finish line. Over 200m his dominance is therefore even greater as he has longer to make his height advantage count. At the start of the Games, he was -200 to win the 100m and -350 to win the 200m. Since his dominant win in the 100m final, where he left American rival Justin Gatlin trailing in his wake, the betting odds on him winning the 200m have shortened to -1200.
It seems like folly to bet against him. He seems to have psychologically beaten his rivals before the race has even started, and the 200m final should be no different. Gatlin was supposed to be his biggest rival, but Bolt has consistently beaten him, at the last World Championships and at Rio. Bolt is the star that the sport of athletics needs right now: in the 100m he has posted nine of the 30 best ever times, and the other 21 have come from athletes that have at one time or another tested positive for doping. He is a breath of fresh air, a clean champion with a winning personality and the fans inside the stadium in Brazil love him.
For the past couple of years, we have been hearing that Gatlin will be too strong for him, but Bolt continues to make a mockery of that. He swatted him aside twice in Beijing last year and again in the 100m final. Over 200m Gatlin – a shorter, stockier runner and a pantomime villain for the crowd at Rio – looks to have little chance against the great man.
You might be better off predicting who will finish in the top three. Assuming Bolt and Gatlin will make it, we could be in for a straight fight between 100m bronze medalist Andre De Grasse and 400m bronze medalist LaShawn Merritt. One is running a longer distance than he specialises in and the other is running a shorter, but given him experience Merritt looks like he might just pip De Grasse to the line and is +137.5 to do so.
Here are the odds for the men’s 200m final, as of Bovada on August 16:
Usain Bolt (JAM) -1200
Justin Gatlin (USA) +1200
Andre De Grasse (CAN) +1800
LaShawn Merritt (USA) +2000
Yohan Blake (JAM) +2800
Ameer Webb (USA) +5000
Alonso Edward (PAN) +6600
Anaso Jobodwana (RSA) +6600
Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) +8000
Ramil Guliyev (AZE) +10000