Six events that you really won’t want to miss at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The August 11 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine includes in-depth event-by-event previews and here we get you warmed up with a look ahead to six events that you really won’t want to miss. Times stated are UK (four hours ahead of Brazil).

Check out the current edition of AW for more than 30 pages of previews, an Olympic form guide, timetable and more!

Men’s 200m

Usain Bolt is not quite firing on all cylinders as he tries to win his third consecutive Olympic 200m title.

However, the Jamaican superstar has made a habit in recent years of producing the goods when it counts even if he has looked sub-par in what is if normally his stronger event.

But there is the real prospect of a great contest as Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt also make double attempts.

Contenders

» Usain Bolt (JAM): has suffered one defeat since 2008, having won every global title on offer in the event since. His 19.89 in London, his sole outing in 2016, shows he is capable of retaining his title.

» Justin Gatlin (USA): as in 2015, the US champion is the in-form athlete but in Beijing he was demoted to silver by Bolt.

» LaShawn Merritt (USA): 2008 Olympic 400m champion and twice world gold medallist has shown unprecedented form over 200m this year, but may be tired after up to three rounds over the previous four days in the one-lap event.

» Ameer Webb (USA): newcomer to major events has run 19.85 this year so a definite medal contender.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Reigning champion: Usain Bolt

British hopes: Adam Gemili, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Danny Talbot

Outside tip: Gemili, who is returning to form rapidly and could get himself on the podium if he can lower the British record to 19.8.

Records: 19.19 Bolt (world); 19.30 Bolt (Olympic); 19.94 John Regis (British)

Killer stat: LaShawn Merritt could become only the second male after Michael Johnson to complete the 200m-400m Olympic double at the same Games.

When: Heats: Aug 16, 3.50pm. Semi-finals: Aug 18, 2am. Final: Aug 19, 2.30am.

Men’s 10,000m

Mo Farah hasn’t lost a 10,000m race since Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan beat him to the 2011 world title and the 25-lap event gets his Olympic double title defence under way.

Farah ran 27:30.42 to win the 2012 title from USA’s Galen Rupp on “Super Saturday” and the 33-year-old will be hoping for similar success on a night which again also sees Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford in action. Farah ran 26:53.71 in Eugene in May, but the quality of the African contingent in Rio means it will be far from a walk in the park for the Briton.

Contenders

» Mo Farah (GBR): the man to beat as he looks to add to his world double-double.

» Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor (KEN): was out-kicked to the 2015 world title but the world cross-country champ has since further shown his strength in retaining his world half-marathon title ahead of bronze medallist Farah.

» Yigrem Demelash (ETH): the 2012 world junior champion ran a world-leading 26:51.11 in Hengelo.

» Tamirat Tola (ETH): has run sub-27 minutes twice this summer, his 26:57.33 when finishing third behind winner Farah in Eugene.

» Paul Tanui (KEN): ran 26:51.86 behind Farah in Eugene last year.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Reigning champion: Mo Farah

British hopes: Farah, Ross Millington, Andy Vernon

Outside tip: London 2012 silver medallist Rupp claimed his eighth successive US 10,000m title at the trials, but he also targets the marathon

Records: 26:17.53 Kenenisa Bekele (world); 27:01.17 Bekele (Olympic); 26:46.57 Farah (British)

Killer fact: Farah is looking to follow in the footsteps of Lasse Viren, who won Olympic 5000m and 10,000m titles in Munich in 1972 before retaining both titles in Montreal four years later. After that 5000m final, he placed fifth in the Olympic marathon.

When: Final: Aug 14, 1.25am.

Men’s long jump

If Greg Rutherford had any doubters when he won the title in London 2012, he has since silenced them by proving himself among the most successful long jumpers in history, by adding the European, Commonwealth and, last year, the world title.

Top performances particularly at the US Championships mean the Brit could face the highest standard at a major championships in several years.

Contenders

» Greg Rutherford (GBR): Olympic, European, Commonwealth and world champion, the man for the big occasion.

» Jarrion Lawson (USA): world No.1 this year with 8.58m.

» Jeffrey Henderson (USA): won US title with wind-assisted 8.59m, although his best legal mark in 2016 is 8.19m.

» Michael Hartfield (USA): Late replacement for the injured Marquise Dendy has jumped 8.34m this year.

» Mikel Torneus (SWE): Swedish record with 8.44m at altitude but has been inconsistent.

» Fabrice Lapierre (AUS): world silver medallist outdoors last year and indoors in 2016.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Reigning champion: Greg Rutherford

British hopes: Rutherford

Outside tip: China’s Gao Xinglong, who was fourth in last year’s Worlds.

Records: 8.95m, Mike Powell (world); 8.90m, Bob Beamon (Olympic); 8.51m, Greg Rutherford (British)

Killer fact: Jarrion Lawson’s legal 8.58m at the US Championships is the furthest jump in the world since 2009.

When: Qualification: Aug 13, 1.20am. Final: Aug 14, 12.50am.

Women’s 100m

As well as beating her rivals, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is also looking to pip her fellow Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt in Rio. Both athletes are going for a record third consecutive Olympic 100m victory in Brazil, and with the women’s final the night before the men’s, the “pocket rocket” could beat Bolt to the feat.

However, Fraser-Pryce, who carried the Jamaica flag at the Rio opening ceremony and won the 2008 title in 10.78 before the 2012 title in 10.75, has had a toe injury interrupt her Games build-up this time around and she faces fierce competition.

Contenders

» Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM): goes for a hat-trick of victories but has suffered a toe injury.

» Dafne Schippers (NED): is more dominant over 200m but will be a threat if she chooses to double up.

» Elaine Thompson (JAM): pipped Fraser-Pryce to the Jamaican title and is world leader with 10.70, which equalled Fraser-Pryce’s national record.

» English Gardner (USA): led three women under 10.80 with her 10.74 PB to win the US trials last month.

» Tori Bowie (USA): ran 10.78 at the US trials.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Reigning champion: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

British hopes: Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Daryll Neita

Outside tip: Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare is the Commonwealth champion and an Olympic and world medallist in the long jump but she’s not shown her top sprint form so far this year.

Records: 10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner (world/Olympic); 10.99 Dina Asher-Smith (British)

Killer fact: In 2012 Fraser-Pryce became the third woman to successfully defend the Olympic 100m title after Wyomia Tyus (1964 and 1968) and Gail Devers (1992 and 1996).

When: Prelims: Aug 12, 3.55pm. Heats: Aug 13, 2.40am. Semi-finals: Aug 14, 1.00am. Final: Aug 14, 2.35am.

Women’s 100m hurdles

With world record-holder and owner of six of the seven fastest times in 2016, Kendra Harrison, absent from Rio, Brianna Rollins starts as favourite, in an event that always promises to be full of thrills and spills. Rollins clocked 12.34 to win the US trials ahead of Kristi Castlin and world indoor champion Nia Ali, both of whom could also feature.

Americans aside, the rest of the world’s best hopes lie with the top three from the Europeans: last year’s world silver medallist Cindy Roleder of Germany, Belarus’s Alina Talay and Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter, all of whom have gone sub-12.70 this season.

Other contenders include Germany’s Nadine Hildebrand, Belgium’s Anne Zagre, Canada’s Phylicia George and last year’s world champion, Danielle Williams of Jamaica.

Contenders

» Brianna Rollins (USA): the 2013 world champion is in good form and fastest on paper.

» Kristi Castlin (USA): PB of 12.50 to qualify from the US trials.

» Nia Ali (USA): twice world indoor champion and 12.51 in US trials.

» Danielle Williams (JAM): ran only the 50th fastest time in 2016 (12.57), but with many ahead of her not in Rio, the world champion could be in the reckoning for a medal.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Reigning champion: Sally Pearson (AUS)

British hopes: Cindy Ofili, Tiffany Porter

Outside tip: Roleder caused a surprise when she claimed 2015 world silver and has taken the European title in 2016.

Records: 12.20 Kendra Harrison (world); 12.35 Pearson (Olympic); 12.51 Porter (British)

Killer fact: US athletes hold the 24 fastest times in 2016 and, such is the nation’s strength in depth, 40 of the world’s 50 fastest times

When: Heats: Aug 16, 3.05pm. Semi-finals: Aug 18, 12:45am. Final: Aug 18, 2.55am.

Women’s heptathlon

Can Jessica Ennis-Hill emulate Jackie Joyner-Kersee and successfully retain the Olympic heptathlon title? Her win in Ratingen with 6733, which ranks her second in the world, suggests she can, but it will not be easy.

Canada’s world No.1 Brianne Theisen-Eaton appears to be her main rival, while it remains to be seen if Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson can return to her best and also challenge. The latter has struggled this year in the throws, but if she can rectify that and replicate her recent jumps form, she has a chance. For Ennis-Hill, much could also depend on the long jump and she will hope her recent 6.63m PB wasn’t a one-off.

Contenders

» Jessica Ennis-Hill (GBR): may well need an improvement on Ratingen performances to retain her title.

» Brianne Theisen-Eaton (CAN): world indoor pentathlon champion and world No.1 in heptathlon.

» Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR): former European indoor champion looks to put behind her her three fouls in the long at the 2015 Worlds.

» Akela Jones (BAR): potentially better than her 6371 PB suggests, the rising star could just match the leaders over the first five events and even cause a big upset if she strengthens up her weak links, the javelin and 800m.

» Annouk Vetter (NED): European champion this year with 6632.

» Laura Ikauniece-Admidina (LAT): world bronze medallist was second behind Brianne Theisen-Eaton in Gotzis.

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Reigning champion: Jessica Ennis-Hill

British hopes: Ennis-Hill, Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Outside tip: Nadine Broersen, the 2014 world indoor champ

Records: 7291 Jackie Joyner-Kersee (world/Olympic); 6955 Ennis-Hill (British)

Killer fact: Jessica Ennis-Hill began her memorable campaign in London 2012 with a British record of 1254 in the 100m hurdles.

When: Day 1: Aug 12. Day 2: Aug 13.

» Check out our dedicated online Rio 2016 section for reports, news, interviews, results and more, while you can find a downloadable athletics timetable here. See the August 11 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine for our full in-depth event-by-event previews