Which world record(s) will fall in Rio?
When the world’s best athletes compete at the Olympics, world records are in jeopardy.
Five world records were broken at the 2008 Olympics, and another four were broken at the 2012 Olympics.
Several track and field experts responded to the following question via email from NBCOlympics.com: Which world record(s) will fall in Rio?
This is the third in a three-part series.
Women's 800 meters, South Africa's Caster Semenya. That record is currently 1:53 and change. When that happens, and Semenya ran a 1:55 jogging in Monaco in July, bring on the controversy.
I think most of the records on the books are safe. The sprint records are otherworldly and the distance/mid-distance records are difficult to break at the Olympics where there is no pacing and most races play out as sit-and-kick affairs. But there are a handful that could be broken in Rio.
On the men’s side there are two possibilities:
400m: Michael Johnson’s 43.18 will go if and only if LaShawn Merritt, Wayde van Niekerk and Kirani James are at their best and throw down in an all-out assault against each other and the clock.
Decathlon: You can never count Ashton Eaton out. He is constantly improving and evolving as a decathlete, which makes another world record possible. Given this is likely his last go at the Olympic dec, he may even be targeting it. But it’s a grueling 10 events over two days, with a high margin for error which is what makes it so difficult.
On the women’s side, I think there are two more likely choices:
800m: I think Caster Semenya is going to emerge from Rio as the biggest story/controversy. She has been downright unbeatable so far in 2016 while off her testosterone-regulating meds. I think this is the best likelihood since 1983 to see Jarmila Kratochvilova’s suspect 1:53.28, and replaced by a faster, equally-questioned time.
Hammer: Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland is in a league of her own in this event and has proven capable of record-setting throws both in lower-key settings, as she did in throwing the current record of 81.08m last August, or in closed-stadium championship settings, as she did at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, throwing 77.96m.
The women's 4x100 meter record is in jeopardy. I figured the London 2012 team was fantastic at the time but a younger and faster squad comprised of English Gardner, Tori Bowie and the returning stars like Allyson Felix and Tianna Bartoletta may bring down 40.82 a notch.
The women’s hammer throw is the only world record that I’m fairly confident could be broken. Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk has the seven best throws of all time, with four of them coming this year. Plus, Wlodarczyk will be competing in Rio with a chip on her shoulder after taking silver in London behind dubious Russian Tatyana Lysenko. The women’s 4x100m record could also fall. I am less confident than others that Caster Semenya will break the women’s 800m mark.