For nearly a decade, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt was the fastest man in the world. Bolt reigned supreme in the men’s 100m as the only sprinter to ever win the event in three straight Olympic Games (2008, 2012 and 2016).
But with Bolt now retired, a new athlete will rise to assume the mantle of “world’s fastest man” at the Tokyo Games. The field looks wide open as a number of contenders have risen over the past five years.
Here is everything you need to know about the men’s 100m at the Tokyo Games:
When does the Olympics men’s 100m event begin?
Here is how to watch each round of the 100m:
- The first round: Saturday, July 31, at 6:45 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Semifinals: Sunday, Aug. 1, at 6:15 a.m. ET (Stream)
- Final: Sunday, Aug. 1, at 8:50 a.m. ET (Stream)
Watch all the action from the Tokyo Olympics live on NBC
The men’s 100m consists of four rounds. A preliminary round will be held for athletes that have not met the qualifying standard. Those that meet the standard will move on to the first round.
Athletes will be placed into heats in the first round based on their best time of the season. The top two sprinters in each heat, followed by the next eight fastest not already qualified, will advance to the semifinal round.
The semifinal consists of three heats featuring eight athletes each. The top two athletes in each heat and the next two fastest not already qualified will advance to the final.
Eight athletes will compete in the final and the first one to cross the finish line will be awarded the gold medal.
Who will represent the U.S. Olympic team in the 100m?
Trayvon Bromell, Ronnie Baker and Fred Kerley will be racing for the U.S. Olympic team in the 100m.
Bromell currently holds the world-leading mark for the 100m in 2021, running a 9.77-second time 15 days before making the U.S. team at the Olympic track and field trials. The 26-year-old has run step-for-step with some of the best in the world, including Bolt before a left heel injury sidelined him ahead of the 2016 Rio Games. After two surgeries, hours upon hours of rehab and persevering through some of the darkest times in his life, Brommell enters the Tokyo Games as a favorite to medal in the event that was dominated by Bolt for nearly a decade.
Baker was once featured as an up-and-coming sprinter that could rise to become the 100m Olympic champion in the book “The Fastest Men on Earth: The Inside Stories of the Olympic Men’s 100m Champions.” Now, Baker has a chance to write his own chapter in Tokyo as a contender in the 100m. Baker qualified for the Olympics by finishing second to Bromell with a personal best of 9.85 seconds. Only three men -- Bolt (Olympic record 9.63 in 2012, 9.69 in 2008), fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (9.75 in 2012) and American Justin Gatlin (9.79 in 2012) -- have run under 9.8 in Olympic history. With a similar time, Baker could walk away with a medal in Tokyo.
Kerley is the U.S. champion and world bronze medalist in the 400m, but he decided to concentrate on the 100m and 200m at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Kerley, 26, turned heads in April with personal bests of 9.91 in the 100m and 20.24 in the 200m. He ranks fourth in the world this year at the 100m and could give the U.S. a sweep of the 100m podium with a strong showing in Tokyo.
Who poses the biggest threat to Team USA in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics?
Canada’s Andre De Grasse, Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru, and Britain's Zharnel Hughes are just some of the non-American names that could medal in the 100m in Tokyo.
Andre De Grasse
De Grasse already has three Olympic medals and four world championship medals to his name heading into Tokyo. He made history at the 2016 Rio Games, becoming the first Canadian athlete to win Olympic medals in all three sprint events. He took home bronze in the 100m with a personal best of 9.91 seconds, finishing just behind American Gatlin and Bolt. De Grasse followed his 100m performance with a silver medal in the 200m and closed his Olympic debut by anchoring the Canadian 4x100m relay team to a bronze medal. De Grasse will look to add an Olympic gold medal to his collection this year.
Oduduru is one of Nigeria’s best athletes. He is an NCAA champion in the 100m and 200m and won the 100m at the 2019 NCAA Championships with a personal best of 9.86. Oduduru has a chance to contend with some of the very best in Tokyo.
Hughes has been competing for Great Britain since 2015. He was a clubmate of Bolt and Blake at the Racers Track Club in Jamaica. Hughes was the 2019 Commonwealth and European champion in the 100m and 4x100m relay. He sports a personal best of 9.91 in the 100m.