Your last chance to watch Usain Bolt race is very likely Saturday.
Bolt, one week after being upset in the world championships 100m final, is expected to anchor the Jamaican 4x100m relay team during NBC’s live coverage from London from 3-5 p.m. ET.
Bolt and the Jamaicans crossed the finish line first in all seven Olympic and world championships relays dating to the 2008 Beijing Games.
However, the island nation is losing its sprint dominance. Not only was Bolt relegated to 100m bronze by Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, but Jamaica also lacks depth.
Former relay stalwarts Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter have aged and didn’t make the world team. Yohan Blake, the primary global rival to Bolt in 2011 and 2012, was a respectable fourth in the 100m last Saturday, but the Jamaicans are lacking depth.
Like in the 100m, the U.S. could spoil Bolt’s farewell party yet again in the relay.
Add up the 100m times from Gatlin, Coleman and U.S. bronze medalist Christopher Belcher, and the Americans were a net .01 faster than the Jamaican trio of Bolt, Blake and Julian Forte last Saturday.
The key will be clean baton handoffs. The Americans have botched the relay consistently, missing the podium due to bad exchanges or disqualifications at five of the last six global championships.
Jamaica is much cleaner passing the stick, plus it has the biggest intangible in its favor: Bolt on anchor, which could intimidate whoever is running the last leg for the Americans if it’s a close race.
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