The London Olympics Games are just over three weeks away and, I, like a kid with a sweet tooth standing next to a candy shop, cannot wait for the delights they promise.
The father of the modern Olympics Pierre de Coubetin may have uttered these famous words:
“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part. The important thing is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
But, hey, forget about these ideals of the Games, everybody competing, particularly in this modern era of professional sport has one thing on their mind: to win.
As a Kenyan you would probably expect me to write about races my compatriots will be involved in and how I am looking forward to seeing the likes of David Rudisha, Pamela Jelimo and Vivian Cheruiyot scorching the Olympic track in London.
Or even our fearsome marathoners conquering the streets of London while Kenya’s best swimmer Jason Dunford attempts to create history.
I am certainly looking forward to taking a therapeutic trip of nationalistic pride because Kenya will certainly be chasing a big medal haul but my real excitement has been triggered by a race we have never excelled in.
Four-year doping ban
Last week the USA held their national trials and two of the world’s top sprinters served up notice of their Olympic ambitions.
Former Olympic champion Justlin Gatlin, coming back from a four-year doping ban after testing positive to excessive testosterone, won the 100m in a scorching 9.80 seconds, the third-best time in the world this year.
Gatlin was followed home by former world record holder Tyson Gay just 0.06 seconds behind. Gay holds a personal best of 9.69 and is ominously coming back from hip surgery performed almost a year ago.
“I think there’s a lot left in the tank,” the American said, a veiled warning to the dominant Jamaicans.
Gatlin’s season best was just four hundredth of a second outside the world leading time of 9.76 set by, you guessed it, the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt (PB 9.58 sec).
Bolt, in fact, also holds the second fastest time in the world this year of 9.79. But it will not just be the Americans he will have to watch out for.
Tickets for the Jamaican Olympic athletic trails sold out on the same day they went on sale on Tuesday as fans snapped up the chance to witness the showdown of Bolt, former world record holder Asafa Powell and reigning world champion Yohan Blake in the men’s 100m finals.
The race captured the imagination of an admiring Jamaican audience with no less than seven men having run under 10 seconds.
Looking ahead to London, the 100m men will be a show down between the Americans and the Jamaicans with the runners chasing the sports greatest crown and more.
The biggest athletic achievement man can ever attain is becoming the fastest human being that ever lived.
With such a fantastic field competing in London, the men’s 100m may very well become the greatest 100m race ever staged.
Will we see a sub 9.50 sec? Now you can understand my eagerness.