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Five potential record breakers at the Olympics

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | August 5, 2016

Five most likely record breakers at the Olympics

Sometimes the ultimate goal for athletes is to be record breakers at the Olympics, surpassing all who have come before them.

Medals may not be motivation enough for some of the best men and women in their disciplines; so, bearing that in mind, Coral’s athletics expert looks at the times and marks most likely to be eclipsed in Rio de Janeiro.

In many cases below, it’s individuals just going it alone for glory, but a pair of contenders in the men’s High Jump odds are bringing the best of one another…

Men’s Triple Jump

US Track Trials Athletics

US athlete Christian Taylor has talked openly about being among record breakers at the Olympics, and has his sights set on bettering Jonathan Edwards’ all-time best Triple Jump distance of 18m 29cm.

“Every time I touch a track that’s my mindset,” Taylor told an athletics magazine in an interview back in July. “I’m going for the world record.”

During the 2015 World Athletics Championships final in Beijing last summer, Taylor became the second best triple jumper of all-time, coming with 8cm of Edwards’ record en route to the title.

With the right wind behind him, 8/11 Olympics event favourite Taylor could well go further and break this 21-year record.

Women’s Hammer

China Athletics Worlds

Anita Wlodarczyk is one of the all-time greats in field athletics, with this Polish lady setting five Hammer world records in her career to date.

As if that isn’t impressive enough, she has the seven furthest throws in history. Wlodarczyk stands alone as the only woman to go over 81m.

Competing against herself is the only way to ensure standards don’t slip, and given how she set the World Athletics Championships record last summer that is how Wlodarczyk performs.

Overwhelming odds-on 1/20 favourite for the Hammer title in Rio, Wlodarczyk at her best can easily be one of the record breakers at the Olympics.

Decathlon

China Athletics Worlds

Ashton Eaton is one of just two men to record a cumulative Decathlon final score of over 9000 points – the other being Czech legend Roman Sebrle.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Eaton is virtually unopposed in this gruelling 10 discipline two-day events these days, and that explains why he is 1/10 favourite for a second Gold in Rio.

Having twice eclipsed Sebrle’s best-ever effort of 9026 points, excellent Eaton will be hoping he can go past 9050 at the Olympics with his current best being 9045.

His wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, meanwhile, is the world leader in the women’s equivalent, the Heptathlon, but she will be challenged by Team GB duo Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Women’s 1500m

China Athletics Worlds

There’s not many potential record breakers at the Olympics for track events, but Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba comes from a proven family of long-distance runners.

Sister Tirunesh has won three titles at previous Olympics, but now it’s time for Genzebe to shine. If able to build on last year when she broke the world record for three-and-three-quarter laps of the track, then it could be in danger again.

While there’s been a low key campaign for Genzebe Dibaba this term, some athletes purposely try to go into an Olympics under the radar. Could she be the first woman under 3:50 for the 1500m?

Kenyan counterpart and rival Faith Kipyegon is even-money favourite for the title in Rio, but Genzebe is right behind her in the betting at 11/10.

Men’s High Jump

Russia Athletics Worlds

And finally, one of the most thrilling field events at recent athletics majors has been the battle between Bohdan Bondarenko and Mutaz Essa Barshim. Both men are literally a few centimetres away from clearing the world record height of 2m 45cm.

Qatari athlete Barshim’s personal best is 2m 43cm set last year, while rangy Ukrainian rival is hot on his heels at 2m 42cm in 2014, and that is why men’s High Jump odds are so close between them.

In stark contrast to some of the above who are battling themselves and what they’ve achieved previously, the sense of competition between these two is driving them to eclipse Javier Sotomayor’s mark set in 1993.

With Barshim made a narrow 7/4 favourite and Bondarenko behind him at 2/1, all that remains to ask is which one could rise to the occasion and join a legendary list of record breakers at the Olympics?

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