Usain Bolt Dominates First 100m Heat

usain-bolt-2016-rioUp until now, swimmer Michael Phelps has grabbed most of the headlines at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But Usain Bolt recently took the track in his first 100-meter heat and has already stolen the show.

Bolt, who’s trying to sweep the 100m and 200m races again for the third straight Olympics, breezed through the first heat.

He posted a time of 10.07 seconds, which easily qualified him for the semifinals at 8pm EST on Sunday (Aug 14). The finals, which you can bet on here at GTBets, will take place at 9:25 EST on Sunday.

Bolt seemed to be toying with the competition, almost jogging the second half of the race. Bahrain’s Andrew Fisher (10.12 seconds) began to close on him, which prompted Bolt to speed up a little to secure the win.

“It wasn’t the best start,” Bolt said afterward. “I felt kind of slow.”

Almost 30 years old, Bolt is attempting to become the first man to win three consecutive 100-meter gold medals. It’s unclear whether he has another world record in him after dealing with a hamstring injury and inactivity.

For most mortals, this would be a death knell on a stage where one needs to be their best to medal. But Bolt is no normal athlete, and South African competitor Akani Simbine thinks that the Jamaican is once again the favorite to bring home gold.

“Most definitely,” Simbine said of Bolt’s chances of winning. “He’s the king. If he puts it together, he’ll win.”

Rodman Teltull of Palau, a Pacific Island Nation, told Yahoo Sports that he isn’t confident in his or anybody else’s chances of beating Bolt.

“I’m going to beat him,” said Teltull, before laughing and adding. “Ten years from now.”

Not everybody is ready to concede. American Trayvon Bromell, who qualified for the semis (10.13), isn’t intimidated by running against the world’s fastest man.

“I don’t really get excited about racing Bolt,” said Bromell. “I’m just here to do my job.”

Bromell and the other competitors will need to step up if Bolt runs anywhere close to what he’s capable of doing. The 6’5″ sprinter owns both the 100m world record (9.58) and Olympic record (9.63).

usain-bolt-olympicsBut given Bolt’s injury and limited training up until Rio, nobody’s sure how close he is to top form. However, Bolt’s first race showed that he’s at least within striking distance.

What’s more is that he also drew a full stadium in what would otherwise be a mundane day of first-heat qualifiers. Fans went crazy and numerous mobile phone cameras snapped photos of Bolt as he walked to the starting block. They also chanted his name and created a deafening sound.

It didn’t take Bolt long to win over the Brazilian crowd, as they also stomped their feet for him, and continued chanting up until the start of the race. There were also plenty of high fives in the stands after he cruised to victory.

“He just steps onto the track and the crowd goes crazy,” said Simbine. “It was wild. He brings a whole different atmosphere.”

Perhaps more than any runner at the Olympics, Bolt is a showman, which he showed by doing is patented bow-and-arrow move after winning.

Justin Gatlin, another medal hopeful, also appreciated the crowd and atmosphere.

“The crowd was great,” said Gatlin, who turned in the day’s best time at 10.03. “It’s the culture to party.”

Despite Gatlin’s fast time, this still seem’s like Bolt’s race to lose. He beat the fastest 100m field ever assembled in London – some of which are in Rio. The competition wasn’t even close, which makes one wonder if, four years later, anybody can dethrone the champion.

And what’s scary is that Bolt didn’t even feel his best.

“Hopefully tomorrow I’ll come out and I’ll feel much better,” he said.

2016 Olympics Basketball Betting: Team USA Overwhelming Favorites

team-usa-argentinaUnfortunately for Team USA basketball, elite players like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, and Kawhi Leonard will skip the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. But this won’t affect their odds of winning, though, since they’re overwhelming gold-medal favorites.

Vegas sportsbooks have the team at 1-10 odds of winning, which is vastly better than the two next-closest teams – Spain (10-1) and France (10-1).

What’s impressive about Team USA being such big favorites is that many of their top picks declined to play for reasons ranging from injury to the Zika virus. Aside from the players mentioned above, others who said no include Blake Griffin, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis.

Despite fielding a so-called “B Team,” the Americans will trot out a talented roster that includes 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant, 2-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony, and 2016 NBA champ Kyrie Irving.

Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo, who went deeper into the reserve talent than he expected to, told Reuters that he’s please to have such a deep talent pool.

“We are blessed with a lot of talent here in the USA, we have the ability to withstand players dropping out for various reasons,” said Colangelo. “With the depth of our national team roster we were able to select a very strong team.”

Players who’ll be joining Anthony, Durant, and Irving in Rio include DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMarr DeRozan, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kyle Lowry, and Paul George. The players will compete in the Olympic Games from Aug. 5 to 21.

With an interesting mix of outside shooters (Butler, Durant, Irving, Lowry, Thompson), low-post presences (Cousins, Jordan), and all-around players (Anthony, Barnes, DeRozan, George, Green), this team has all phases of the game covered.

The lone problem for Colangeo’s roster is the lack of Olympic experience because only Anthony and Durant have played on this stage. It’ll be head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s job to prepare the other players for what to expect in Rio, despite their immense talent advantage.

Kzyzewski, who’s won 5 championships at Duke University, has had great success with USA basketball, winning gold at the 2008 and ’12 Olympics, as well as the 2010 and ’14 FIBA World Cups.

As a whole, Team USA boasts a 17-game win streak that dates back to winning the bronze medal game at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Colangelo took control of US basketball operations following this disappointing third-place effort, instilling a more-detailed program that sees NBA players involved at all stages of qualifying. Before this, Team USA relied on putting together talent before the Olympics and forming a team concept shortly before the tournament.

team-usa-olympic-oddsTeam USA is currently on a 63-game international winning streak, and sits at 75-1 overall in Colangelo’s tenure.

The only time that a Colangelo-constructed team lost was in the 2006 World Championship semifinals, when a less-talented Greek team beat a squad that boasted Anthony, James, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, and Paul.

“That loss proved the point that on any given night a team that hits their shots, makes their free throws, doesn’t turn the ball over and you miss your free throws and turn the ball over (a loss) can happen and it did happen,” Colangelo said.

He added that this game was a turning point with how Team USA now approaches Olympics basketball. They haven’t lost in over a decade since that game.

The current group that’ll head to Rio may not be the 1992 “Dream Team,” which is considered the greatest collection of basketball talent ever assembled. But this will be a well-prepared group of excellent players.

“There is certainly enough shooting, a couple of players are outstanding shooters. Durant and Klay and Kyrie are three of the outstanding shooters in basketball,” explained Colangelo. “Each Olympics is a challenge and each one is a little bit different.

“Our biggest rival is ourselves. If we take care of business, if we maintain our focus, if we keep our eye on the prize then all things should work out because of our talent and coaching.”

Other teams that are expected to contend include France and Spain. France is especially formidable since they feature Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets), Boris Diaw (Utah Jazz), Rudy Gobert (Jazz), and Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs).

Spain will boast a roster that includes Pau Gasol (Spurs), Nikola Mirotic (Chicago Bulls), Willy Hernangomez (New York Knicks), Sergio Rodriguez (Philadelphia 76ers), and Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves).