World Power Rankings: Men’s Sprints and Hurdles

Now that the Olympic Trials are over not only for the United States but for Jamaica and other nations, the rest of the summer season is takings shape. In an Olympic year, everything goes into preparing for that meet and the Diamond League points chase is barely a blip on the radar.

(Don’t believe me? Quick — who is leading Diamond League points standings in the men’s 100 meters? Don’t know? Thought so.)

The way we watch races and evaluate what happens is in prognosticating the Olympics. Who looks good? What does this race mean? These are the questions we ask, because the wins and losses by themselves don’t have a lot of meaning.

As a result, I will be publishing my Power Rankings in different event areas as the rest of July rolls along. I’ll update every week or two or whenever there is major movement in the power rankings.

These are sort of a reflection of who is best right now and sort of a reflection of who is looking best for the Olympics.

100 meters

1. Yohan Blake (JAM)
2. Usain Bolt (JAM)
3. Asafa Powell (JAM)
4. Tyson Gay (USA)
5. Justin Gatlin (USA)
also watch: Nickel Ashmeade (JAM), Ryan Bailey (USA), Keston Bledman (TRI), Michael Frater (JAM), Christophe Lemaitre (FRA)

Blake takes the #1 spot by winning the Jamaican trials race over Bolt. Powell has been running better than Gay so far. Gay lost to Gatlin at the US trials, but turned the tables yesterday in Paris and his improvement curve is much sharper.

200 meters

1. Yohan Blake (JAM)
2. Usain Bolt (JAM)
3. Wallace Spearmon (USA)
4. Churandy Martina (NED)
5. Warren Weir (JAM)
also watch: Marvin Anderson (JAM), Nickel Ashmeade (JAM), Maurice Mitchell (USA), Calesio Newman (USA), Isiah Young (USA)

As with the 100, Blake beat Bolt in the Jamaican trials and assumes the favorite’s role. Spearmon has clearly been the best of everyone else. Weir is new to this event, a 22-year-old who switched from the high hurdles last year due to knee issues.

400 meters

1. LaShawn Merritt (USA)
2. Kirani James (GRN)
3. Tony McQuay (USA)
4. Luguelín Santos (DOM)
5. Kévin Borlée (BEL)
also watch: Chris Brown (BAH, Joshua Mance (USA), Bryshon Nellum (USA), Demetrius Pinder (BAH), Martyn Rooney (GBR)

Merritt has yet to be beaten this year, although James came very close while running under protest after a false start at the Prefontaine Classic. Santos will be competing at the upcoming World Junior Championships.

110m Hurdles

1. Xiang Liu (CHN)
2. Aries Merritt (USA)
3. Jason Richardson (USA)
4. Sergey Shubenkov (RUS)
5. Dayron Robles (CUB)
also watch: Garfield Darien (FRA), Dexter Faulk (USA), Antwon Hicks (USA), David Oliver (USA), Jeff Porter (USA)

For me, picking a favorite event would be like anyone else picking a favorite child. So don’t tell the other events that I like this one the best. Liu is the world record holder while Merritt and Richardson are the reigning indoor and outdoor world champions. Not yet 22 years old, Shubenkov has made big improvements this year and appears to be the best of the rest — Robles has done little this outdoor season.

400m Hurdles

1. Javier Culson (PUR)
2. Michael Tinsley (USA)
3. David Greene (GBR)
4. Angelo Taylor (USA)
5. Felix Sánchez (DOM)
also watch: Kerron Clement (USA), Jehue Gordon (TRI), Bershawn Jackson (USA), Takayuki Kishimoto (JPN), Amaechi Morton (NGR)

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