News04 May 2016

History set to be made at Rio 2016 Olympic Games


Allyson Felix leads the 200m final at the London 2012 Olympic Games (© Getty Images)

The athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games gets under way in exactly 100 days’ time.

With 47 titles on the line, 2000 athletes from more than 200 nations are set to compete in the Brazilian city. And some of those athletes and countries, covered in these 10 points below, are on the brink of rewriting Olympic history.

• Usain Bolt became the first man to win back-to-back Olympic sprint doubles when he successfully defended his 100m and 200m titles in London four years ago. In Rio the Jamaican sprinter could win an unprecedented third sprint double. And if he also wins the 4x100m, as he did so in Beijing and London, Bolt’s Olympic gold medal tally would stand at nine; only one man – USA’s Ray Ewry – has ever won more Olympic gold medals in athletics.

• Allyson Felix has stated her intention to compete in the 200m and 400m as well as both relays in Rio. If she triumphs in all of those events, she would join Fanny Blankers-Koen as the only woman to have won four gold medals at one Games. Simply reaching the final in those events would mean that Felix will have contested 11 Olympic finals; Merlene Ottey is the only woman to have featured in more Olympic finals.

• Veronica Campbell-Brown is just two Olympic medals away from tying Ottey’s tally of nine Olympic medals, the record number for women. Felix, meanwhile, is three medals away from that figure.

• Sanya Richards-Ross and Felix already share the record for the most Olympic gold medals won by a woman, along with Blankers-Koen, Betty Cuthbert, Barbel Wockel and Evelyn Ashford, all of whom have four Olympic titles. If either Felix or Richards-Ross wins one more gold medal in Rio – or if Campbell-Brown wins two golds – they would become the first woman to win five Olympic titles in athletics.

• Jesus Angel Garcia, already selected to represent Spain in the 50km race walk, will be making his seventh Olympic appearance, tying Ottey’s overall record and breaking the men’s record of Olympic appearances.

• Tirunesh Dibaba, Valerie Adams, Barbora Spotakova and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce all stand a chance of becoming the first woman to win three successive Olympic titles in an individual event.

• Brazil could be inspired by the home crowd to achieve a record medal haul. Their best tally at a single Games to date is two medals, achieved in 1988 and 1952.

• Australia, France, Great Britain & Northern Ireland and Greece will be represented in athletics for a record 29th Olympics. They are the only nations to have participated in athletics since the start of the modern Olympics.

• Bhutan, Nauru, Kosovo and South Sudan could be the next nations to make their Olympic debut in athletics. Of the 12 IAAF member federations yet to compete at the Olympics, these are the only four eligible for Olympic participation.

• Ethiopia, having filled the podium places in the women’s 5000m at last year’s IAAF World Championships, stands a chance of becoming the next nation to achieve a medal sweep in an athletics event at the Olympics. To date, 10 nations have achieved the feat: USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Russia, Soviet Union, Finland, Kenya, Unified Team, East Germany and Jamaica.