RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – USA Today sports writer Paul Meyerberg is backing American LaShawn Merritt to beat Usain Bolt in the 200m at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, later this month.
Merritt, who finished second to Justin Gatlin in the half-lap event at the American Team Trials last month, holds the fastest time in the world this year, at 19.74 seconds and has decided that he will try the 200/400 double at the Games.
Meyerberg’s complete track and field medal predictions, which can be found on the USA Today website here, listed U.S. American to grab gold and bronze, with Gatlin finishing behind Merritt and Bolt in third.
Conversations with several track and field pundits and fellow writers about their own predictions have opened my eyes to see the diversity in the world of athletics, with one of my associates going as far as forecasting Bolt for the bronze.
It is not impossible for Merritt to win the gold medal and for Bolt, who has a season’s best of 19.89 seconds, to even finished outside the medal places.
However, history has shown that the Jamaican world record holder has a coach in Glen Mills, who always seem to get him ready for major global championships.
It is quite obvious that Mills has found the right formula to get Usain Bolt ready for the big stages.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist always brings his “A” game at the major championships, which means he and his coach knows exactly what works for him to peak at that moment.
In fact, I have been told that since his stunning senior breakthrough season in 2008, Bolt and Mills have been taking notes of the things that works just for him to be ready.
There is no secret that Bolt and double Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake, who shares the same coach at the Racers Track Club in Kingston, does not do regular sessions at the same time in the latter segments of some seasons, unless it is a routine session.
Both are world-class sprinters, but Mills apparently thinks it is better to keep their sessions apart so as to work on their individual flaws before a global championship.
Bolt and Merritt have met three times over 200m in the past and the Jamaican has a 3-0 record against his American challenger.