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Top track and field athletes to watch in Rio

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Usain Bolt


Bolt has looked unstoppable in recent years. The world’s fastest man swept his three events (100m, 200m and 4x100m) at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. He has lost only one 100m race since the 2012 Olympics.



But the biggest question surrounding Bolt is his health. He withdrew from Jamaica’s Olympic Trials in July, citing a hamstring injury. 


The six-time Olympic gold medalist heads to Rio with a perfect record in Olympic finals. 



Ashton Eaton


Eaton established himself as the world’s greatest athlete in 2012, when he broke the decathlon world record and won the Olympic gold medal in London.


Since then, he has only gotten better. He collected his first two decathlon world championships, and in 2015, broke his own decathlon world record.


In Rio, Eaton will attempt to become the first decathlete to successfully defend an Olympic gold medal since Great Britain’s Daley Thompson in 1984. 



Allyson Felix

Felix will run the 400m at the Olympics for the first time. She will be the favorite in the event after clocking 49.68 seconds, a world-leading time, at Trials.



But Felix will not run the 200m, a race that she often calls “my baby,” in Rio. She finished fourth in the event at Trials, just .01 seconds away from the third and final Olympic 200m spot. She has three Olympic medals in the 200m, including the 2012 gold medal. 


This year Felix has been dealing with a right ankle sprain, which has affected her start and ability to run the curve.


Justin Gatlin


Gatlin won the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medal, but he has yet to defeat Bolt in an Olympic final, and Rio will most likely be his final opportunity.


Gatlin was the fastest man in the world in 2014 and 2015. But at the 2015 World Championships, he finished second to Bolt in both the 100m and 200m. 


At 34, Gatlin became the oldest man to make a U.S. Olympic team in a sprint event since 1912. 



Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce


The Jamaican sprinter, who is nicknamed the “Pocket Rocket,” was the Olympic 100m champion in 2008 and 2012. In Rio, she will try to become the first woman to win three consecutive Olympic 100m gold medals.


But she will not run the 200m, an event in which she earned an Olympic silver medal in 2012. She scratched from the event at the Jamaican Trials, reportedly due to a toe injury. 


She will be Jamaica's flag bearer during Friday’s Opening Ceremony.



 



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