When you consider the Tokyo Olympics, it is hard to look past athletics as the kind of sport that has had the most impact on global sports fans. By far, the sport has the highest number of Olympic events and shares a proud history of achievement at the Games.
It will be no different in Tokyo when athletes prove their worth against the best by chasing a hatful of titles.
The men’s 100m race is the marquee event of any Olympic Games. No one is quite as intrinsic to sports as the shortest 100m sprint race on the Olympic schedule.
Over the years, athletes at the Summer Olympics have held titles for the most surprising sprint speed. But what all of them have in common, apart from being Olympic champions, is the achievement that leaves a lasting mark on the event's history.
Ranking top five medal contenders for 100m at Tokyo Olympics
On that note, let's take a look at the top five male contenders who will attempt to rewrite the 100m history at the Tokyo Olympics.
#5 Noah Lyles
The United States is known for nurturing some of the world's best athletic talents. The list is long and impressive, with 23-year-old Lyles being one of the strongest American hopefuls to keep up with the world-class sprinters at the Tokyo Olympics.
Lyles has blossomed into one of the world's best sprinters, with a 200m personal best mark of 19.50s. His 100m potential is understated, given he is a world champion over the longer distance.
By demonstrating his mettle during qualification events, Lyles will ensure he is in good shape heading into the Tokyo Olympics.
#4 Andre De Grasse
Andre De Grasse will spearhead the Canadian challenge in the men's 100m event at the Tokyo Olympics. He bagged a 100m bronze medal in Rio behind Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin before pocketing another bronze in the men's 4x100m relay.
Besides an Olympic medal, he also won the 2015 and 2019 World Championships titles. De Grasse will also be eager to add an Olympic gold medal to his Rio silver in the 200m race at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ranked World No. 6 in the 100m event, De Grasse looks assured of an Olympic medal this year.
#3 Akani Simbine
South African sprinter Akani Simbine will enter Tokyo as the outright favorite for a podium finish. He has reiterated his desire to break his Olympic medal drought at the Tokyo Olympics after falling short at major events in recent years.
The 100m Commonwealth Games champion Simbine finished fifth in the Rio Olympics final to narrowly miss out on a podium finish. A year later, he once again came fifth in the 100m final at the World Championships and could better his mark by one place in 2019.
Simbine told Athletics South Africa in an interview,
"I'm really, really hungry - there's nothing really in my way. I just want to race hard and race fast, and when I get to the circuit I will be a totally different beast."
#2 Yohan Blake
It is a common fact that the past three Olympics were not just dominated by the legend Bolt himself, but were more Jamaica-dominated. Apart from Bolt, Jamaica also nurtured the likes of world champions Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake.
Blake clinched silver at the London Olympics a year after winning the World Championships when Bolt was sensationally disqualified.
Looking at his seamless upward career trajectory, Blake appears to be a threat at the Tokyo Olympics even though his best time in the past year is only 10.27s.
#1 Justin Gatlin
Bolt is long gone, and American Justin Gatlin looks poised to create history in a way not even the Jamaican has made history on the track. When Bolt clinched the 100m titles at three successive Olympics since Beijing, Gatlin returned home with gold from Athens in 2004.
Gatlin, a five-time Olympic medalist, made his comeback after a ban in 2016 and became the oldest man to win an 100m Olympic medal. Five years later, Gatlin still cannot be ruled out for an Olympic gold. He ran four of the 13 fastest times in the world in 2019.
He will be in the race to become the oldest man to win an Olympic medal in any race if he manages a podium finish in Tokyo.