Usain Bolt will have a good chance at securing a spot at his fourth Summer Olympics despite not earning an official qualification at Jamaica’s Olympic Trials earlier this month.
On Monday, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Associated granted the superstar sprinter a medical exemption, freeing up a spot for track and field’s biggest star to take his place in the 100- and 200-meter dashes — and help the Jamaicans in the 4×100-meter relay as well, Jon Ackerman of Olympic Talk reports.
Unlike Team USA, which does not grant exemptions for those who fail to qualify out of the Trials, Jamaica has a policy in which certain athletes can be granted Olympic team spots, provided they show fitness. Bolt, who scratched out of the 100-meter final and the 200-meter event altogether due to a hamstring injury at the Trials, will attempt to do so July 22 at a Diamond League meet in London.
Injuries are nothing new for the 29-year-old icon. Neither are unremarkable regular seasons. But the world record-holder at 100 and 200 meters has won a gold medal in every Olympic event in which he participated during the 2008 and 2012 Games, helping the Jamaicans to world-record times in the 4×100 relay in both Beijing and London as well.
An abbreviated season didn’t deny Bolt a world championship in last year’s 100 and 200 meters, when he defeated the favored Justin Gatlin — he of a superior regular season in ’15 — at both distances. Bolt ran a 9.88-second 100 in his first race of the season. Gatlin, the 2012 100-meter bronze medalist and silver medalist at the 2013 and ’15 world championships, won the 100 and 200 at the U.S. Olympic Trials last week.
Being a stretch Jamaica will deny Bolt a chance to defend his titles, 100- and 200-meter third-place finishers Jevaughn Minzie and Julian Forte will be bumped from those respective races.
Jamaica also granted Elaine Thompson, a key contender to win both short sprint races, a medical exemption for the 200 after she scratched out of the event at the island nation’s Trials.