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Stars Richardson and Lyles are among the athletes who want to win their first gold medals in Paris

Stars Richardson and Lyles are among the athletes who want to win their first gold medals in Paris

There are big races and then there are the Olympics.

When Sha’Carri Richardson, Noah Lyles and all the other fastest runners and best jumpers and throwers of 2024 compete in the Olympic athletics meetings, little of what they have achieved on the road to Paris will mean much. What will matter is how they respond to the pressure when the spotlight is on.

Will they ultimately shine as brightly as a Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis, who became a larger-than-life icon through his performance, even when it came to Olympic gold medals?

Or will they be more like Jamaican sprinters? Shericka Jackson And American hurdler Grant Hollowayone of the best athletes of his generation, but still trying to convert his talent into a place at the top of the Olympic podium?

“Right now, I don’t have an Olympic gold medal,” said Lyles, who counts the bronze medal he won in the 200 meters at the Tokyo Games as one of his biggest disappointments. “I’ve won several world championships and national championships as well. The only thing missing from the list is an Olympic gold medal. And I plan to go home with plenty of them.”

The drama surrounding Richardson, Lyles and everyone else will be played out in 48 events over 10 days, with most of the action taking place at the Stade de France from August 2. As a bonus, there is a bonus: a first of its kind $50,000 payout to all 48 gold medalists, courtesy of World Athletics, the organization that organizes the world’s track and field competitions.

The nearly 2,200 athletes competing in the biggest Olympic sport are well aware that there is a lot of money at stake, but the gold medal also confers a touch of immortality that only an Olympic title can offer.

“This moment only comes every four years,” Holloway said. “If you’re not training to be an Olympic champion, what the hell are you doing? That’s my mentality.”

Richardson’s first Olympic Games

Richardson makes her Olympic debut after her much-discussed absence from the last Olympic Games due to a positive marijuana test.

Her current form, her status as reigning world champion and the Absence of two-time defending champion Elaine Thompson-HerahAll of this makes Richardson the sprinter to beat in the women’s 100-meter race. But it won’t be an easy feat.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce competes in her fifth (and final) Olympic Games and has won this race twice. Jackson is a 200 specialist (see below), but also one of the fastest in the world at this distance.

Lyles tries to win the sprint double

Lyles writes many of his bad end in 2021 to depression that kept him from concentrating. This race is the only 200-meter sprint he lost at a major championship.

When the 200m final takes place on August 8, the 100m will already be over and we will know if Lyles has the chance to pull off a sprint one-two like Bolt and Lewis before him. Lyles is the reigning world champion with 100but he has less experience at this distance.

Just last month, another Jamaican, Kishane Thompson, ran 9.77, heading into his first Olympics with a world-leading time. Jamaica’s Oblique also beat Seville Lyles in a head-to-head competition in Kingston in June. But a warm-up run in Kingston and the Olympics in Paris are two different things.

Distance demons

In Tokyo, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan achieved one of the most amazing performance s in Olympic history by winning medals over 1,500 (bronze), 5,000 (gold) and 10,000 meters (gold).

She plans to do more and has even expressed the thought that she might do those three races and then add the marathon, which takes place on the last day of the Olympics, to her schedule.

“I’ll decide a week before,” Hassan said in a recent interview. “Maybe I’ll have a great training session somewhere.”

As always, Hassan will face a tough challenge in her quest for medals: Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, the reigning world champion in the 1,500 and 5,000 metres. Kipyegon broke her own world record at an Olympic preparation this month on 1,500 m and achieved a time of 3:49.04.

Holloway’s bad race

Holloway is a three-time world champion in the 110-meter hurdles and is considered the favorite to win on August 8. He was also the favorite three years ago in Tokyo, but slacked off in the home stretch and lost to Hansle Parchment from Jamaica.

Holloway has a 9-3 record against Parchment in direct duels and a 2-1 record against him at the Olympics. However, both of his victories came in preliminary rounds and the loss was for the gold medal.

Jackson’s bad day

Jackson is the only woman other than the late Florence Griffith Joyner to run the 200 meters in 21.48 or faster, so why hasn’t most of the world heard of her?

At the last Olympics, she hit the brakes too early in the first run, finished fourth and failed to even make it to the gold medal final. It’s a mistake she described as the most devastating of her career and one that paved her way to Paris.

Now there is more trouble. She was unable to finish a preparatory race on July 9 in Hungary, and it was unclear whether she would be healthy before the Olympics. If Jackson is not there, The American Gabby Thomaswho has this year’s best time (21.78) and a bronze medal from Tokyo, would be the clear favorite.

Jumping for Ukraine

Anyone who thinks that sport and politics have nothing to do with each other should tune in on August 4th when Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh takes the field.

Mahuchikh arrives just a few weeks after break a 37-year-old world record In her discipline, she jumped 2.10 meters during an Olympic preparatory training session in Paris.

World Athletics has banned Russians from international competitions since the outbreak of war with Ukraine. This means that Maria Lasitskene will not be there to defend her Olympic title. Lasitskene was also not there last year when Mahuchikh won the title on the emotional final day of the World Championships.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games