Christian Coleman was the world’s fastest man in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but now he is ineligible for the Tokyo Olympics, pending an appeal of a two-year ban for missed drug tests. The 100m title, a crown jewel event of the Games, is now even more up for grabs. Remember, Usain Bolt retired in 2017.
A look at the world’s other fastest men since the start of 2019:
Noah Lyles (9.86 seconds, May 2019)
Lyles, a 23-year-old who just missed the Rio Olympic 200m team coming out of high school, has been just as dominant over 200m as Coleman has been at 100m in this Olympic cycle. He added the 100m in earnest in 2018 and announced a bid to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. Lyles did not contest the 100m at the world championships — where he took the 200m gold — but won two of his three 100m starts on the Diamond League in 2019.
Divine Oduduru (9.86, June 2019)
The Nigerian won the 2019 NCAA 100m title for Texas Tech, but before that was known for his 200m — reaching the Rio Olympic semifinals at age 19 and winning the 2018 NCAA title. Oduduru entered the 2019 World Championships ranked second in the world in the 100m and third in the 200m. He did not contest the 100m and was eliminated in the 200m semifinals.
Michael Norman (9.86, July 2020)
The world’s fastest 400m sprinter in 2018 and 2019. Norman, eliminated in the 2019 World Championships 400m semifinals while injured, in July ran the 100m for the first time in four years. Though Norman last year ruled out a 200m-400m double at the Tokyo Games, the time put him on the 100m radar, should he choose to move down in distance for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Justin Gatlin (9.87, June 2019)
Bidding to become, at 39, the oldest man to win an Olympic medal of any color in any track (but not field or road) event. Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champ, was Bolt’s closest rival late in the Jamaican’s career, even winning the 2017 World 100m title over Bolt. Gatlin dealt with injuries in this Olympic cycle, but he upped his Tokyo prospects by taking silver behind Coleman at last year’s worlds.
Andre De Grasse (9.90, Sept. 2019)
The Rio Olympic 100m bronze medalist and 200m silver medalist. The Canadian suffered season-ending hamstring injuries in 2017 and 2018, then came back strong to take 100m bronze and 200m silver at 2019 Worlds.
Trayvon Bromell (9.90, July 2020)
Bromell, who clocked 9.84 at age 19 in 2015, went two years between races after Achilles surgeries in 2016 and 2017. When he clocked 9.90 on July 24, it was his first time breaking 10 seconds in more than four years. It put him back in contention for the U.S. Olympic team, which will be the top three at trials.
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