Who is the best 100m runner in 2011?
While many seem to have jumped onto the Yohan Blake bandwagon, I feel Bolt's achievements have been overlooked this year. Don't get me wrong: Blake is poised to step into Bolt's shoes (spikes) when he decides to hang them up, but even with the DQ in Daegu, Bolt posted enough numbers to merit the top spot.
After Bolt was DQ'd in Daegu, Blake (Usain's training partner and teammate) stepped up to win and become the new World 100m Champion. There is much discussion at the moment as to who is the best 100m runner of the 2011 season. Bolt ran the fastest times, Asafa Powell won the Diamond League and Yohan Blake won the World Champs. To enter the debate, and focussing specifically on the 100m, the short list is made up of three athletes – all Jamaicans: Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell. In my humble opinion, the following statistics show that Bolt is the top 100m runner in the world this year.
1). Fastest Time
Bolt ran the fastest time in the world with 9.76 secs in the IAAF DL in Brussels. This was 0.02 secs faster than Asafa Powell who ran 9.78 secs in Lausanne and 0.06 secs faster than Yohan Blake who ran 9.82 secs in Zurich and Berlin. Bolt ended the season on top of the world list with Powell 2nd, Tyson Gay 3rd, Steve Mullings 4th (tbd) and Yohan Blake 5th.
World Top 5 Times
1) Usain Bolt 9.76
2) Asafa Powell 9.78
3) Tyson Gay 9.79
4) Steve Mullings 9.80
5) Yohan Blake 9.82
While somemay argue that you cannot base an entire season on one fast race, I completely agree! So let's just take a look at the stats, shall we? If we average the top five legal times of the 3 athletes, Bolt has the fastest average with 9.862 secs compared to Asafa Powell’s average of 9.87 secs and Yohan Blake’s average of 9.892.
Top 5 Average Times
1) Usain Bolt 9.862 [9.76, 9.85, 9.88, 9.91, 9.91]
2) Asafa Powell 9.87 [9.78, 9.86, 9.90, 9.90, 9.91]
3) Yohan Blake 9.892 [9.82, 9.82, 9.92. 9.95, 9.95]
If we average the top three legal times the order stays the same –
Top 3 Average
1) Usain Bolt 9.830 [9.76, 9.85, 9.88]
2) Asafa Powell 9.846 [9.78, 9.86, 9.90]
3) Yohan Blake 9.853 [9.82, 9.82, 9.92]
Head to Head Competitions -
Obviously, head-to-head has always been one of the major factors for T&Fn in regards to determining ranking so looking at these stats as well, Bolt won all his 100m races in 2011 with the exception on the 100m final in Daegu where he was DQ'd. He is the ONLY athlete to go through the season unbeaten by one of the other competitors (I don't consider a DQ as being beaten, but more a "non-compete.") Asafa Powell won five out of the eight races he took part in (beaten 3 times) while Yohan Blake won seven of the nine finals he contested (beaten twice). Bolt beat Powell in their only match up in Rome while Powell beat Blake in the Jamaican Championships and Blake beat Powell in the Zurich DL. Blake’s other loss came in Strasbourg to Daniel Bailey, while Powell was also beaten in Rabat where he placed 7th (injury).
Bolt v Powell
Bolt v Blake
Powell v Blake
If we look at the level of competitions over the whole season we will see that Bolt and Asafa Powell won three DL meets each, while Blake won two DL meets. Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake won two IAAF World Challenge meetings, but Asafa Powell won the DL and the Jamaican Champs.
IAAF Diamond League wins
Usain Bolt 3 [Rome, Monaco, Brussels]
Asafa Powell 3 [Shanghai, Birmingham, Lausanne]
Yohan Blake 2 [London, Zurich]
IAAF World Challenge wins
Usain Bolt 2 [Ostrava, Zagreb]
Yohan Blake 2 [Kingston, Berlin]
Asafa Powell 0
The skeptics and critics may say that all of this doesn't add up to squat, and that the only thing that matters is Blake won the World Champs. But given the form which Bolt showed leading up the final, most would admit that he would have won the race. One might even argue that the false start was a sign of nerves or weakness, but in that case it should also be pointed out that it was clear from replays that Blake's leg twitched immediately before Bolt took off. It's quite possible Bolt caught this movement with his peripheral vision and didn't even realize it...We'll never know.
Last, But Not Least, Overall Impact
While it may not seem relevant to the ranking, if we take into consideration the overall impact that any athlete made over 100m, there is no contest. Usain Bolt is clearly a miles ahead when it comes to popularity and impact on the sport of Track&Field. He is (still) the world’s fastest man and the only global superstar who can fill a stadium by himself. It is estimated that 20,000 extra fans turned up to watch him run in the Golden Gala in Rome while the stadiums in Ostrava, Monaco, Zagreb and Brussels were sold out.
The gauntlet of debate has been thrown.