Will Usain Bolt end his career with a gold medal? Find out in the 4x100m relay at the world championships, live on NBC Sports on Saturday.
One week after Bolt’s bronze in the 100m, he is expected to headline the Jamaican relay team in the last scheduled race of his illustrious career.
In fact, Bolt is favored to run in both the morning heats and the final, according to Reuters and the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.
If so, it would mark the first time Bolt races the relay heats at a global championship, after helping Jamaica to silver at the 2007 Worlds and gold at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics and 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 Worlds.
Jamaica later was stripped of the 2008 relay gold due to Nesta Carter‘s doping punishment.
WATCH LIVE: 4x100m relay HEATS — 5 a.m. ET (NBCSN) — STREAM LINK
WATCH LIVE: 4x100m relay FINAL — 3 p.m. ET (NBC) — STREAM LINK
WATCH LIVE: Bolt retirement special — 5 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Gold) — STREAM LINK*
The U.S. is expected to be Jamaica’s primary competition, though it hasn’t beaten the Jamaicans in a global championship relay since 2007.
But Jamaica has never been shallower in the sprints during the Bolt era than it is now. Not ony have Bolt and 2012 Olympic 100m silver medalist Yohan Blake slowed, but stalwarts Asafa Powell and Carter have also aged and didn’t make the world team.
The Americans, meanwhile, boast 100m gold and silver medalists Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman.
The third and fourth legs for both the U.S. and Jamaica are more questionable.
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 likely on anchor, which could intimidate whoever is running the last leg for the Americans if it’s a close race.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi