The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

No Changes for Bolt in 2016

Oct 11th, 2012
12:05 pm PST

Usain Bolt I’m going to continue with my “Favorites” lists, but there is news that crops up even when things are “quiet”. So for those wondering what Usain Bolt plans to be doing in the year 2016, apparently it will be the same as in. 2012.  Word out on Twitter in the last couple days is that Bolt will not be changing events, and is looking to attempt to repeat as sprint king in Rio de Janeiro.

Personally I don’t find the news astounding. Bolt has always shied away from the 400 throughout his career in spite of showing promised in his youth. And the move to something like the long jump had always seemed like too big a stretch to me. So I’ve always looked at Bolt 2016 as a short sprinter, or out of the sport.
The real question now is: what are the chances of titles in Rio? The first issue on the table is that to get to Rio he will first have to make the Jamaican team. A squad that gets stronger each year, at a time when Bolt will be 30 – a task that could be somewhat daunting. Of this years’ teammates, Asafa Powell will be past his prime by ’16, while Yohan Blake will be entering his. That should mean one spot locked up in each sprint – two open.

So the next question is: what are the odds of a Blake like explosion by an athlete in each event, or by another strong doubler? Judging by recent results, I would say pretty good. Warren Weir win bronze in London and ran 19.84 in his first year with the big boys. For years of seasoned improvement could see him as a major contender. Ditto Nickel Ashmeade (19.85) & Jason Young (19.86) both of whom completed strongly on the Circuit. Either or all three could be muchfaster and nearing their peaks by Rio. So could Kemar Bailey Cole who found his way to 9.97 this summer. The tall, slightly built sprinter is young, but in for years could add some power to that frame – and we know what Not did in less than four years.

All of which says that making the team for Rio could be a more difficult task than some might think. The London team was more difficult to make than Beijing, and Rio will add even more competition. Then there is the competition once in Rio. While that should be lead by the US contingent, the rest of the Caribbean is improving rapidly as is Jamaica with athletes like Keston Bledman (TRI, 9.85) leading the way. France’s Christophe Lemaitre (9.92/19.80) should be growinginto his frame by Rio and teammate Jimmy Vicaut will beginning to mature.

The US crew should be lead by Ryan Bailey (9.88) who completed very well in London and is just beginning to learn the sprints under coach John Smith and stable mate Walter Dix (9.88/19.53) who missed most of this session to injury. And we may have one more strong cycle left for Justin Gatlin (9.79) and Tyson Gay (9.69/19.56). That’s without the athletes that emerge between now and then.

So we will see how a 30 year old Bolt does against what undoubtedly will be the strongest sprint fields ever – we seem to say that every Games. That is what the sport gets to look forward to. The build up of which will begin next spring. Moscow and Beijing should give a clue at the half way point as to what we might be able to expect. At any rate, the sprints are already shaping up as a good time for Rio.

12 Responses to “No Changes for Bolt in 2016”

  1. Aurelio Feldman says:

    The question the se have to ask about Bolt running in Rio has 2 parts:

    1 – how healthy Will he be 4 years from now?
    We Saw how his 2010 And the beginning of his 2012 season were when he was not 100% healthy And fit.
    4 years can make a big diference in the performance of An atlhete, And we know the he has a Back problem And If he do not take gold care right know he Will pay later.

    2 – how his competition Will evolve in the years between now And 2016.
    We know Blake, the next big jamaican, but there are a lot of them comming of age, like Bailey Cole, Dexter Lee.
    The americans problably Will see a new team with maybe 1 veteran in the olympic team, If dix can get Back he Would be my pick. I love Gay, but his injuries got the best of Him And I don’t think he could be Back 4 years from now.

    But, If Bolt is healthy And ready to go he still be my favorite to win because he still be the champion And we know how the olympics sometimes is as much about mind games as sprinting.

    And I don’t really mind about his age because we all Saw a 32 years old Linford winning olympic gold , and a 30 years old Carl lewis winning a World title breaking the WR.

    It is going to be awesome to watch Him try the 3 pit, because If he considers himself a legend right now, If he gets another 3 golds he problably Will be the sprint god.

    • CHill says:

      Health is always a question .. It’s what’s killed most repeat attempts ..

      I think the competition issue is going to be huge because I think we’ll see a lot of change in the next four years .. And the previous 30 year olds didn’t have to deal with this kind of competition ..

  2. Aurelio Feldman says:

    I agree with you, but if we look how good was Gatlin’s season, with 2 PB and a bronze medal and Gay’s season, coming back, and both are 30 we know that is possible for him to defend his tittles.

    Of course, The Beast by 2016 may get faster and I always believe that a new american can come around, but he is the fastest guy out there by far and if he only managed to keep running the same times as know, he would have a shot because nobody is getting closer.

    • CHill says:

      Here’s my take on Gat and Gay ..

      Gat lost almost six years. . He probably could have been 9.6x during that time and is now “slowing down” .. He missed his prime peaking period ..

      If you go back and look at Gay’s 9.69 he’s capable of approaching Bolt’s record if 100% .. So he was way off of his potential in ’12 and may be slowing as well .. We will know better in ’13 ..

      All that said, they are still our best which is testament to how good each may have been in their prime .. The question for them and Bolt is his well can they extend their prime ..

      I think the champion for ’16 may not have been identified yet. . If you look back at periods where times begin to drop on a wholesale basis many others follow and then we see athletes like Mo Greene and Usain Bolt emerge .. I think we see that by Rio ..

  3. Aurelio Feldman says:

    I love Gay but I think that his PB is a little misleading because he had a perfect 2.0 wind behind him while Bolt’s 9.69 was with 0 wind.

    After all those injuries, I do not see him coming back faster than this season. He is a great champion, a great guy and I really wish that he got better results in the Olympics but it did not happened.

    The future of the US I think is in Dix, if he can get back of injuries, and Bailey and the future kids.

    As for the Jamaicans, Bolt aside, it is about Blake and the new kids.

    As far as trini sprinters, only if a new kid comes along because the guys the are running today are good but not great.

    The european guys are Lamaitre, Vicault and maybe Gimili, but they are 3 steps behind and a I do not see any change in that.

    I believe that we still have USxJam in the next four years. The rest is just getting lanes 1 and 8.

    • CHill says:

      Wind readings are misleading .. The whole conversion thing only takes into account two basic variables and pretends that races happen in a vacuum .. Just as the wind limit is arbitrary .. One feels very little unless the wind gets into the 3.0 range ..

      The impressive thing about Gays run is that the start was horrendous .. He came from well back on Powell who was running 9.7x until he got caught and froze .. That was a 9.5x run with just a decent start ..

      They aside, my point wasn’t that I expect Gay to go 9.5, but that I think we can expect 9.7x .. Still not golden .. I expect gold to go in 9.6x for the next few titles ..

      That means Blake, Bailey (I think Smith can get him there) and one or two newbies as the primary challengers .. I’d love to see what Tyreek Hill or Abraham Half could do with the right coach .. Because both are young and raw .. I also think Harry Adams had more to show, as does Rakieem Salaam .. Just not sure how much more ..

      Europe is going to be about Gemilli in the short term . He goes sub next year .. Christophe shows no signs of cleaning up his technique, So his 100 is limited .. The drive is going to be his thing .. But even there he needs too clean up ..

      Caribbeans are falling off trees .. Could be anybody ,,

  4. Rohan says:

    Hey conway, although mayhe not in line with the topic, but who do your greatest/best sprinter of all time or better yet, could you name your top five or ten in rating order?

    • CHill says:

      Is this a set up ??? LOL .. I would have to think for a bit .. I still wouldn’t include current athletes because their stories are not done yet .. But perhaps I will do that if that’s what people want .. Are you talking all four combined sprints ??

  5. Aurelio Feldman says:

    I was thinking about Bolt’s decision and I believe that he made that right move.
    Stick with the 100 and 200 is better than to try the 400, a harder event that demmanded moe work that I think that he is ready to put on.
    The long jump, well, let’s just say that does not matter how fast he is, the event is very hard to learn. If it was easy every sprinter would do it.

    • CHill says:

      I’m on the fence .. Moving up as one ages is common in other events .. It could lengthen his career ..

      He’s shown the ability to run it and even if he “slows down” a bit he would bring more speed to the event than anyone ever has .. If he moved up and went 43 anything that would be legendary .. Because I think the records will go soon – as in five years or less .. But running what he had and then going sub 44, that would be difficult to duplicate ..

      The long jump is a pipe dream .. To technical for those that do it all the time !!

  6. Rohan says:

    Which records will go in four or five years, Bolt’s or the 400m? Niether is a given,

    • CHill says:

      Are you asking about these two records in particular, or referencing them all .. In that time frame I would say the 100 will go first .. A lot of great sprinters it there and coming up vs the 400 which has fallen off place ..

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