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Top track and field stories to watch in Rio

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Can anybody defeat Usain Bolt?

The world’s fastest man has never lost in an Olympic final.

He won three gold medals (100m, 200m, 4x100m), all in world record time, at the 2008 Olympics. Then at the 2012 Games, he became the first athlete to sweep those three events at consecutive Olympics.

Since the 2012 Olympics, Bolt has only lost one 100m race, to U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin.

Track and field experts discuss whether anyone will defeat Bolt in Rio:

What’s my age again?

Bernard Lagat and Sydney McLaughlin proved that age is just a number by qualifying for the 2016 Olympics. Lagat, 41, will become the oldest U.S. runner to compete at an Olympics. McLaughlin, 16, will become the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to compete at the Olympics since 1972.

Rio will be Lagat’s fifth Olympics. He made his Olympic debut in 2000 and earned the first of his two Olympic 1500m medals. He ran the 5000m for the first time at the 2008 Olympics, and finished fourth in the event in London. He will run the 5000m again in Rio.

McLaughlin will run the 400m hurdles in Rio. The high school student from New Jersey is the world junior record holder.

From the gridiron to the track

Two of the fastest players in football, Jahvid Best  and Devon Allen, are going to compete on the track in Rio.

Best, a former Detroit Lions running back, will represent Saint Lucia in the 100m. He and Nate Ebner, a safety for the New England Patriots who will play for USA Rugby in Rio, are set to become the first athletes to compete in a Summer Games after playing in the NFL.

Allen, a University of Oregon wide receiver, will enter the 110m hurdles for the U.S. He is a medal contender after running the third-fastest time of the year to win the 110m hurdles title at Trials. 

Which world records will fall in Rio?

When the world’s best athletes compete at the Olympics, world records tend to fall. Five world records were broken at the 2008 Olympics, and another four were broken at the 2012 Olympics.

World records that appear to be in jeopardy in Rio include:

Women’s hammer throw: Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, will challenge her own world record, which she set in 2015.

Women’s 800m: South Africa’s Caster Semenya has her eye on the 800m world record, which has stood since 1983. 

Women’s 4x100m: The U.S. women broke the 4x100m world record at the 2012 Olympics. They could run even faster this year with young sprinters Tori Bowie, 25, and English Gardner, 24, joining the relay pool. 

Track and field experts discuss which world records will fall in Rio:

Which athlete will be the breakout star in Rio?

Usain Bolt was only 21 when he electrified the track by winning three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics. Four years later, 24-year-old Ashton Eaton captured the hearts of the nation by running over to hug his mother after claiming the Olympic decathlon gold medal.

This year Tori Bowie seems to be in a position to utilize the Olympic stage to become a household name. The sprinter from a tiny community in Mississippi is expected to run the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in Rio, and she is a strong medal threat in all three events. 

Track and field experts discuss which U.S. athlete will be the breakout star in Rio:

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