Aug 28, 2013, 3:22 PM EST
The World Championships are behind us, but there are still plenty of reasons to keep an eye on track and field. Foremost, the first of two Diamond League finals, Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland.
Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin will face off over 100 meters at 3:28 p.m. Eastern time on Universal Sports (full start lists here). Bolt beat Gatlin in the 100 at worlds earlier this month in his closest margin of victory in an Olympic or worlds final ever (.08 of a second). Gatlin handed Bolt a defeat in Rome in June by .01.
Bolt hasn’t raced a 100 since worlds, while Gatlin won a race into a slight headwind in rainy Linz, Austria, in 10.08 seconds Monday.
At a pre-meet press conference, Bolt reiterated what he’s been saying since 2012, that his plan is to enter three events at the Rio 2016 Olympics — the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay.
“For me, the key thing is just to go to defend my titles, and that’s my focus,” Bolt said, according to The Associated Press. “It would be the first time anybody has ever won three times in a row.”
Bolt and Gatlin are clear favorites in Zurich, as they were at worlds in Moscow. The Olympic silver medalist, Yohan Blake of Jamaica, is done for the season with a hamstring injury. The man with the fastest time this year, Tyson Gay, is out after failing multiple drug tests.
Don’t be surprised if Bolt goes faster than his season’s best 9.77 from the World Championships. That’s because he and other sprint stars have a history of posting fast times after worlds. In 2011, Bolt posted his season’s best 9.76 on Sept. 16. On that same day, Yohan Blake ran the second fastest 200 meters ever — 19.26. Bolt ran a meet record 19.66 in a 200 in Zurich last year.
Bolt spent Wednesday in Zurich, meeting FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who gave Bolt a ticket to the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, according to Reuters.
Bolt, a soccer lover who wishes to play for Manchester United, also touched the World Cup trophy for the first time. Somebody in Zurich suggested to Bolt he go into sports administration after he retired.
“I have thought about it, I have to admit I’m slightly lazy, but we’ll see where it goes,” Bolt said, according to Reuters.
The rest of the field in Zurich is led by Jamaicans Nesta Carter, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade and Americans Walter Dix and Mike Rodgers.
Other events to watch Thursday:
Men’s High Jump (2 p.m. ET): Ukrainian world champion Bohdan Bondarenko could take another shot at Javier Sotomayor‘s 20-year-old world record of 2.45 meters. Bondarenko tried and failed to better it at the London Anniversary Games in July and the World Championships earlier this month, where he won with a 2.41-meter jump.
Women’s 5,000 (2:13): Finally, we get to see the queens of distance running meet. Ethiopian world and Olympic champions Meseret Defar (5,000) and Tirunesh Dibaba (10,000) will go in the same race for the first time in competition in seven years, according to Agence France-Presse.
Women’s 200 (2:44): Triple world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is in the field. Can anyone beat her? American Olympic champion Allyson Felix is out with her torn hamstring. World silver medalist Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast will give it a shot.
Men’s 110 Hurdles (3:02): All four Americans from the worlds final are in the field, including world champion David Oliver and Olympic champion and world-record holder Aries Merritt. Merritt will be looking to make up for a disappointing sixth-place finish at worlds. Also Cuban Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic champion, is in the field after missing worlds.
Women’s 800 (3:10): Like Robles, Caster Semenya returns after missing the World Championships, A knee injury limited the 2009 world champion early in the season, and she failed to post a qualifying time for worlds.
Men’s 400 (3:20): LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James face off yet again. They’ve traded wins agains each other this year. Merritt took the world title in a personal-best 43.74, while James, the Olympic champion, finished a disappointing seventh.
Dec 21, 2014, 7:37 AM EST
The two-man battle for giant slalom supremacy continues.
Dec 21, 2014, 6:30 AM EST
Austrian becomes oldest woman to win a World Cup race.
Dec 20, 2014, 7:37 PM EST
Humphries, Meyers Taylor finished 15th, 16th out of 17 sleds.
Dec 20, 2014, 5:27 PM EST
Rio’s main Olympic Park will be half the size of London’s Olympic Park.
Dec 20, 2014, 8:40 AM EST
Background on the woman whose record Vonn is close to breaking.
Dec 19, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
Rome 2024 bid could include events in Vatican City.
Dec 19, 2014, 1:23 PM EST
Marathon route over Golden Gate Bridge.
Dec 19, 2014, 12:41 PM EST
Phelps was supported by retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:11 AM EST
Nyman has won three World Cup races, all in Italy.
Dec 18, 2014, 4:39 PM EST
“He was incredible at that, almost befriending you, and then he’d slip the knife in your back.”
Dec 18, 2014, 3:33 PM EST
Colbert had a memorable time at the 2010 Olympic speed skating oval and in an interview with Bob Costas in Vancouver.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Olympic champion tore an ankle ligament in November.
Dec 18, 2014, 11:14 AM EST
Vonn entered five races in Vancouver 2010. She may never do that again at a global championship.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:38 PM EST
Decision details Gay’s acquisition and use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Fukushima’s previous governor pitched the area to be part of Tokyo 2020, too.
Dec 17, 2014, 3:29 PM EST
A look at host nation medal contenders for Rio 2016.
Dec 17, 2014, 2:37 PM EST
“It is breach of privacy with malicious target to soil my name.”
Dec 17, 2014, 1:51 PM EST
Japanese teen says he wasn’t satisfied winning silver in Sochi.
Dec 17, 2014, 9:55 AM EST
History shows that’s quite an ambitious goal.
Dec 16, 2014, 7:12 PM EST
USOC could wait until February to announce its city.
- Lindsey Vonn OK after fall in Val d’Isere super-G 0
- Lindsey Vonn wins cow in Val d’Isere, one victory from record 0
- Michael Phelps gets probation after guilty plea in DUI case 6
- Stephen Colbert and the Olympics 0
- U.S. will bid for 2024 Olympics, no city chosen yet 6
- Adrian Peterson won’t try for Olympics, but other RBs might 2
- Rio Olympic track and field schedule released 1
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)