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Tokyo 2021 Olympics: Mens & Womens 100m Contenders

Elaine Thompson-Herah achieves gold at Rio in 2016
Elaine Thompson-Herah achieves gold at Rio in 2016

The 100m races are the showpiece event of any Olympics with millions tuning in for the glorious 10 seconds of high-intensity sprinting. 

Men’s 100m

This year will have a new champion after Usain Bolt’s retirement in 2017. The Jamaican icon claimed gold in the last three Olympic Games; first at Beijing in 2008, before defending his title in London in 2012 and finally making it a treble in Rio in 2016. 

Who are the favourites?

Just over a year ago, reigning world champion and at the time was the only athlete to have broken 9.80 in the past five years, Christian Coleman, was top of everybody’s lists to win the title. That was until he was handed a two-year ban for missing three drug tests within a 12-month span.

Trayvon Bromell - 5/4 - William Hill

Going into the sprint, American Trayvon Bromell is the short priced favourite to win gold. The track and field athlete was the first junior to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres with a time of 9.97 seconds - the current junior record.

The 26-year-old is the 2016 world indoor 60m champion and competed for the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in what proved to be his breakout year. Despite finishing last of the field in the Rio final, that only leaves the man with unfinished business this time around. 

Most recently, Bromell won the 2021 Olympic Trials ahead of fellow compatriots Ronnie Baker and Fred Kerley.

Ronnie Baker - 9/2 - William Hill

The second fastest American in last month’s Olympic Trials is the shortest price behind Bromell.

Baker was dominant over 100m in the Diamond League circuit in 2018, winning four races and never placing any worse than second, including the final where he finished behind only Christian Coleman. 

Having run the third-quickest time in history over 60m, he’ll be eager to set the pace in the final. But with that comes a great lack of experience, having never made a US team, World Championships or Olympics before now.

Akani Simbine - 8/1 - Unibet

Simbine recorded the second quickest time during his Olympic Trials two weeks ago, only 7/10s of a second slower than the hot-priced favourite.

The 27-year-old finished fifth in this race at the 2016 games, with him also being a World Championships finalist in 2017 where he finished fifth, along with a fourth placed finish at the 2019 competition. He also boasts titles of 100 metres champion at the 2018 African Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

To boot, Akani anchors the South African 4x100m relay team, helping his nation to become champion at the African Championships in 2016 and 2018, along with a gold at the 2021 World Relays.

Andre De Grasse - 11/1 - Unibet

De Grasse is the 2016 Olympics bronze medallist and possesses a wealth of experience under his belt.

The sprinter also earned silver in the 200m, as well as another bronze medal in the 4x100m relay in Rio de Janeiro - making him the first Canadian in history to win three medals in a single Olympics.

Despite this, the Canadian has been off the boil of sorts with his season’s best time recorded at 9.99, making him the 21st fastest during his trial in April this year.

Fred Kerley - 15/1 - Unibet

The former silver medallist at the World Championships in the 400m decided to drop that event to focus his attention to the 100m and 200m at the Olympic Trials this year.

He significantly improved his personal best in this field with his time reducing from 10.49 to 9.86 and securing his qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kerley’s accolades at 400m speak for themselves. He has earned several medals at the World Championships in both the 400m and 4x400m relay, which includes an individual bronze and a relay gold.

Women’s 100m

The last three Games have been dominated by Jamaica, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce winning it twice and Elaine Thompson-Herah also claiming victory. But the women's 100m is a far more attractive proposition than the men's equivalent at this year's Games, with the two aforementioned champions battling it out against one of GB’s brightest prospects in Dina Asher-Smith.

Who are the favourites?

May saw a real contender emerge when Asher-Smith ran to victory at Gateshead, beating Sha’Carri Richardson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

There will be some notable absentees from the running, with the favourite heading into Tokyo, Sha-Carri Richardson, missing due to a one-month ban after testing positive for marijuana.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce - 5/6 - Betfred

But the 2016 bronze medallist still remains the outright favourite for this race. 

The experienced Jamaican is widely regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of all time, achieving 6 Olympics medals and a further 11 at the World Championships.

After winning bronze in Rio, she became the first female sprinter to win medals at three consecutive Olympic Games.

The reigning world champion will be aiming for a historic third 100-meter gold at the Tokyo Olympics and the bookies rightly have her down as odds-on to achieve the feat. 

Elaine Thompson-Herah - 2/1 - Betfred

Another fierce competitor and defending Olympic champion. Elaine Thompson-Herah might have something to say about Fraser-Pryce’s ambitions to create history in Japan.

She became the first Jamaican female sprinter to win 100-metre and 200-metre at a single edition of the Olympics.

Thompson-Herah has recorded the second fastest 100m time this season, only 7/10ths of a second behind the market leader and fellow Jamaican. 

Elaine has taken a prolonged break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although, she did clock a 10.88s sprint at an athletics meet in Kingston last year - a time that was registered as the second fastest on the year’s world list.

Dina Asher-Smith - 6/1 - Betfred

More recognisably a 200m sprinter with a world champion medal to her name, Dina is Great Britain’s strong hope for not only winning a medal, but also winning the race.

She is aiming to be Team GB’s first women’s 100m Olympic finalist since Jeanette Kwakye in Beijing 2008.

The 25-year-old beat out competition from this year’s Olympics to earn a superb victory in their last outing.

It’s worth remembering that Asher-Smith is the fastest British woman in recorded history and won a silver medal in the 100m, in addition to being the first Briton to win three medals at a World Championships.

Shericka Jackson - 10/1 - William Hill

One third of the Jamaican trio to have all gone below 10.8 seconds.

Jackson has dropped down from the 400m and has been tipped to spring a surprise by quite a few in Tokyo.

She’s in a position where she’s essentially got nothing to lose and that can sometimes give an individual all the confidence they need to defy the odds.

Her record in her speciality speaks for itself - a bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympics, 2015 World Championships and 2019 World Championships in the 400m. 

This switch has seen her achieve sub-10.8 seconds and sub-22s personal bests at the Jamaica Olympic Trials in Kingston for the 100m and 200m events respectively.

Marie-Josee La Tou - 13/1 - Unibet

La Tou earned bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, finishing behind Fraser-Pryce and Asher-Smith at the event.

She finished fourth in the 100 metres and 200 metres at Rio 2016, missing out on a medal in the 100m by only seven-thousandths of a second.

At the 2017 World Championships she recovered with a silver medal in both events, recording a national record time of 22.08 seconds in the latter.

The Ivorian athlete has a 100 metres best of 10.85 seconds from 2018 and 2019 which is 0.1 second faster than the fastest 100m time she recorded this season.

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