The road to the 2012 Olympic Games has officially started for track and field Olympic hopefuls.
Today the fastest men and women in the world are gathered in Rome to compete in the Samsung Diamond League.
This event also marks the return of track and field’s most electrifying personality and dominant competitor, Usain Bolt. The highly anticipated race will allow us to see Bolt compete for the first time since he lost to Tyson Gay in August 2010. Following the loss, Bolt immediately decided to take time off from the sport to properly recover from an ailing lower back.
During a press conference for today’s race, Bolt admitted that he’s nervous for the first time in his career. He also tweeted the following:
One more day to go I don’t know how to feel real talk lol
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) May 25, 2011
Hopefully Bolt can channel all of these mixed emotions and nerves into an impressive performance because the triple Olympic and World champion will be participating in the the marquee matchup of the day against Asafa Powell. The fellow Jamaicans are competing in the 100m and have both held the world record for this event at one time. In 2007, Powell set a new world record when he ran 9.74, but Bolt crushed his time by running 9.58 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
Bolt, who’s bulked up since his last race, has been hyping this event via twitter for the past few weeks, tweeting on May 9, “Rome is where it all begins ppl…26/05/11.”
This day has finally arrived and we are hours away from the showdown between Powell and Bolt; both with something to prove. Bolt must prove that he’s retained his speed, strength, and power needed to continue his reign as the king of men’s track and field. And for Powell, despite a 9.95 win on May 15 in Shanghai, Powell still needs to prove that he can outrun Bolt. After all, it’s been almost three years since he last defeated his rival.
On the women’s side, the race to watch includes American Sprinters Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross. They will both compete in the 200 and 400. Felix is the world champion in the 200, while Richards-Ross holds the title in the 400. Both women have stated that their goal is to run the 200/400 double next year in London. Today will be their first test and a possible preview of what to expect at the 2012 Games.
Felix is a three-time world champion in the 200, while Richards-Ross holds the title in the 400.
The women kick off today’s events at 2:30 pm/et and the men compete at 3:45 pm/et. I’ll update this post with video when it’s available.
Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell delivered a thrilling race which lived up to the hype! In a photo finish, Bolt pulled off the a win with a time of 9.91. Powell clocked in at 9.93. Third and fourth place went to France’s Christophe Lemaitre, 10.0, and Kim Collins of St. Kitts, 10.12; respectively.
Here are the Women’s results.
1. Bianca Knight, USA, 22.64
2. Kerron Stewart, JAM, 22.74
3. Debbie Ferfuson-McKenzie, BAH, 22.76
4. Allyson Felix, USA, 22.81
5. Sanya Richards-Ross, USA, 22.88
6. Charonda Williams, USA, 23.20
7. Lashauntea Moore, USA, 23.26
8. Aleksandra Fedoriva, RUS, 23.26
9. Consuella Moore, USA, 23.54
1. Allyson Felix, USA, 49.81 (World Leader)
2. Amantle Montsho, BOT, 50.47
3. Francena Mccorory, USA, 50.70
4. Debbie Dunn, USA, 50.79
5. Sanya Richards-Ross, USA, 50.98
6. Perri Shakes-Drayton, GBR, 51.47
7. Shericka Williams, JAM, 51.53
8. Marta Milani, ITA, 52.75
9. Libania Grenot, ITA 53.50
Universal Sports will air the races tonight at 10 pm/et.
Video via thesadeki
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