With Andre De Grasse out, who can beat Bolt?
Betting odds suggest an upset is highly unlikely
The stunning news that Andre De Grasse is out of the world track and field championships due to a hamstring injury has put a damper on the meet's marquee event.
Saturday's men's 100-metre final (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 4:45 p.m. ET) had been billed, at least in Canada, as a showdown between De Grasse and Usain Bolt. The rising young star vs. the greatest sprinter of all time.
- INTERACTIVE: How Bolt dominates the 100 metres
- Canada's Aaron Brown: Why not me in the 100?
- SCHEDULE: Track and field worlds on CBC Sports
Even with no De Grasse, the race is a must-watch. Bolt says this will be his final time running the 100 metres, and it will be fascinating to see whether the nearly 31-year-old Jamaican can hit a walk-off shot by capturing his fourth world title in the 100 to go with his three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the event.
Is anyone capable of spoiling the show? De Grasse's withdrawal certainly made things easier for Bolt, who (per betting odds available from the online bookmaker Pinnacle) has gone from a -209 favourite before the De Grasse news broke to -280. The new odds, which mean a bettor would have to wager $280 to win $100, imply Bolt has a better than 70 per cent chance of capping his brilliant career with a victory.
Here's a look at some possible contenders and their chances of dethroning Bolt, based on odds available from Pinnacle on Thursday morning.
Justin Gatlin — United States
Odds to win: +749 (wager $100 to win $749)
Implied probability: 11.2 per cent
The runner-up to Bolt at last year's Olympics, Gatlin carries an impressive resumé that includes both an Olympic gold medal and a world title in the 100. But he's 35 years old and those wins came in 2004 and 2005, respectively. On the other hand, he's run 10.00 seconds flat or under four times this season, so maybe there's enough left in the tank.
Yohan Blake — Jamaica
Odds to win: +775
Implied probability: 10.9 per cent
The only man not named Usain Bolt to win the 100-metre world title since Bolt reached stardom at the 2008 Olympics, Blake took the gold in 2011 after his countryman's disqualification for a false start. Blake, 27, took silver at the 2012 Olympics and finished fourth last summer in Rio. This season, Blake owns two of the four fastest times — a 9.90 and a 9.93 — that were both run on home turf in Kingston.
"No one should sleep on Yohan because he could be a spoiler," former world and Olympic champ Donovan Bailey told CBC Sports.
Christian Coleman — United States
Odds to win: +1189
Implied probability: 7.4 per cent
He's never run an individual race at the worlds or Olympics, but the 21-year-old might be the most tempting option for a long-shot bet because of this simple fact: he owns, by far, the best 100 time in the world this year — a 9.82 he put down in June in the semifinals at the NCAA championships. That's a U.S. collegiate record, it made him the ninth-fastest man of all time, and no one this year has come within .08 of a second of matching it.