Athletics superstar Usain Bolt retired from sports in 2017, after winning eight Olympic gold medals, three of them in a row in the 100-meter event.

Athletics is therefore the orphan of its legend, but some runners like André De Grasse or Noah Lyles can shine in turn, Sunday, at the Tokyo Olympics.

It is a page in the history of athletics that is being turned in Tokyo.

The Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt will not line up for the main event of the 100 meters at the Olympic Games, a first since 2008. And for good reason: the sprinter, gold medalist three times in a row at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 retired after the 2017 World Championships. A question then arises: who will succeed the untouchable Jamaican, Sunday at the Tokyo Olympics (2:50 p.m.)?

There are a few of them, former rivals of the sprint legend or the successors of world athletics, to be able to run for this ultimate title.

The time has come for André De Grasse?

Among the contenders for the gold medal in the 100 meters, the Canadian

André De Grasse

.

Former direct opponent of Usain Bolt, especially in the 200 meters at Rio 2016 where he finished second behind the superstar, the 26-year-old Canadian sprinter bided his time to raise his ambitions on the queen race of athletics.

Bronze medalist over the distance at the last worlds in Doha, in 2019, with a personal best in 9.90, André De Grasse is progressing and he will seek to climb on the top step of the podium. A handover, in a way , which can occur between the Jamaican legend and the Canadian sprinter.

Usain Bolt congratulates André De Grasse after the 200 meters final at the Rio 2016 Olympics.


Credits: OLIVIER MORIN / AFP

The return of the Americans to the fore?

Usain Bolt's hegemony over sprint events has gradually eclipsed American athletes, despite being specialists in the discipline.

But the United States has more opportunity than ever to take revenge.

The American federation had found a new Carl Lewis in the person of Christian Coleman.

At 23, the runner had won gold in Doha in 2019 in an impressive time, clocking 9.76. However, the American sprinter received an 18-month suspension in June 2020 for failing to meet his anti-doping whereabouts obligations three times.

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The main hopes of the United States will therefore rest on the shoulders of another sprint relief, 

Trayvon Bromell. 

The 26-year-old runner recently posted a sensational time of 9.77 at a meeting in the United States on June 5, his personal best. Bromell will aim for Olympic gold in Tokyo, five years after leaving the Rio Games in a wheelchair where he was injured in the final of the 4x100m relay.

The young American

 Noah Lyles

, 24, can also leave his mark on these Olympics.

In 2019, the Floridian rider won the 200 meters of the Doha Worlds ahead of Canadian André De Grasse.

He also has good references in the shorter distance, with a personal best set at 9 "86 in May 2019. With

Ronnie Baker

, winner of the event at the Monaco meeting in early July in 9" 91 in front of several contenders for the Olympic title (De Grasse, Bromell ...), the American sprint has every chance of returning to the front of the stage in Tokyo.

9.91 to secure the win @ ronnie_baker14 # HerculisEBS # MonacoDL


: @ DanVernonPhotopic.twitter.com / kbG4rw7izE

- Herculis (@MeetingHerculis) July 9, 2021

The decline of the Jamaican men's sprint

Obviously, things are getting complicated for Jamaica, orphan of its superstar.

The best chance for this Caribbean country now lies in the legs of

Yohan Blake

, double Olympic champion in the 4x100 meter relay, but only 4th in the individual in Rio in 2016. The years go by and the 31-year-old sprinter will compete in his third Olympic Games, undoubtedly his last.

He has little chance of being invited to the podium.

The Jamaican men's sprint is in full doubt for these Tokyo Olympics.

African runners to surprise

Elsewhere in the world, there are a few who want to take advantage of Usain Bolt's withdrawal to put their name on the Olympic 100 meters list.

Nigerian

Divine Oduduru

has already run in a

9.86

in a meeting in 2019 in the United States, making him a credible outsider for the podium. The 24-year-old sprinter seems better armed than another contender from the African continent,

Akani Simbine

, originally from South Africa and setting a personal best at 9.89.

The latter even came second in Monaco, a few weeks before the Tokyo Games.

Europeans still far from the best sprinters in the world

It has been since 1992, with the victory of Briton Linford Christie, that a European has not won in the 100 meters final at the Olympic Games and except general surprise, this should not be the case this summer. Italy nevertheless has the greatest chances with two riders who can claim a result:

Lamont Marcel Jacobs

, third at the last meeting in Monaco in early July and

Filippo Tortu

, in the Worlds final in 2019. On the French side, all eyes will be on to

Jimmy Vicaut

, finalist in Rio in 2016. But the tricolor rider suffered treatment when arriving in Japan. It is therefore difficult for him to aim for a podium in the 100 meters among the best sprinters in the world.

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