One of the marquee events of any Summer Olympics is the men’s 100-meter dash, and American Trayvon Bromell is the +130 favorite to take home gold next week from Tokyo.
Olympic Games | American Trayvon Bromell favored
Bromell won the USA Trials in the 100-meter dash and won his final warm-up event ahead of the Games, running a 9.98 in Gateshead, Great Britain, for his first career Diamond League victory. It marked his first victory outside of the U.S. in five years.
“I’ll take the race. I’m just happy to cross the line with no injuries,” he said. “Just trying to tune up and get ready for Tokyo.”
Bromell’s fastest time this year is a 9.77, which is best in the world. This will be Bromell’s second Olympics. He ran in Rio five years ago but struggled with a bone spur that led to him finishing eighth and last in the 100-meter final. Then, he tore his Achilles tendon in the 4x100m relay. He missed most of the 2017 season after surgery, didn’t run in 2018 after needing another operation and 2019 suffered a serious hip injury.
“I really want people to understand this, doctors, people who wait years learning about this stuff, told me I will not be able to run,” Bromell said recently. “All I had was my faith. All I had was my strength, perseverance.”
Bromell was once a prodigy in high school in St. Petersburg, Fla., winning the Florida Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2013. He then went on to become a standout at Baylor. As a freshman in 2014, he won the 100 meters at the NCAA championships. In 2016, Bromell won the world indoor 60m title and was touted as a successor to Usain Bolt.
His rivals include fellow American Ronnie Baker, who won the Diamond League meet in Monaco earlier this month in 9.91 seconds while Bromell finished a disappointing fifth. Baker is a +400 second favorite for this event. Another American, Fred Kerley, the 400m bronze medalist from the 2019 world championships, is +800.
The current men’s world record is 9.58 seconds, set by Jamaica’s Bolt in 2009. He won gold in this event in the past three Olympics but is now retired.
“The fact I get to watch, it’s wonderful and it’s a breath of fresh air for me,” Bolt said recently. “But I’m competitive. And just to see somebody going out there and winning the 100 meters without me is going to be weird. But I’m excited to watch.”
Bromell finished tied for third at the 2015 world championships in a race Bolt won when he passed Justin Gatlin at the line for a .01-second victory.
Canada’s Andre De Grasse is +700. He finished third in the 100 meters at the Rio Olympics, his first games. De Grasse became the only Canadian sprinter to win three medals in a single edition of the Games. Apart from his bronze in 100m, he took a silver in 200m and a bronze in 4x100m relay. The 26-year-old has yet to lower a 9.99 second best from his outdoor opener on April 17 in Gainesville, Fla., however. Bromell has won two of three showdowns this season against De Grasse.
The first round of the Olympic 100 is scheduled for July 31 at National Stadium in Tokyo. The semifinals will be held the following day along with the final, slated for 9 a.m. Eastern.
- Expert Prediction Ronnie Baker