With the preliminary stage of the men's 100 metres set to take a centre stage today in the ongoing London Olympic Games, the surprise humanisation of the defending champion, Usain Bolt by fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake prior to the championship has ensured that the showdown will be a race worthy of the Games rather than a mere time trial for the defending champion.
World champion Blake beat Bolt over 100m and 200m in the Jamaican trials and though the double world record holder was carrying a minor injury, the upsets have added real spice to the London 2012 sprints. With fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell and Americans Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin also in hot form and injury free, the 100m final is promising to live up to its billing as the hottest gold in the London Games.
Host as one of the few countries to send organised supporter tours to overseas athletics events, Britain has a long-standing love of the sport and the atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium is certain to be something to remember.
It is likely to peak when Mo Farah bids to become the first Briton to win a long distance gold when he goes in the 10,000 metres and possibly again in the 5,000.
Heptathlete Jessica Ennis and 400 metres hurdler Dai Greene represent Britain's other best hopes of gold in a programme again likely to be dominated by the United States, Russia, Jamaica and the East African nations.
The U.S. topped the athletics medal table in Beijing with seven golds among a haul of 23 but they were knocked off their traditional perch in the sprints by Jamaica.
Usain Bolt having wowed the world with his showboating world record run in Beijing then lowered his mark to a stunning 9.58 seconds in Berlin two years later, all the talk since has been about how fast he could go in London.
But training partner Blake, who won the 2011 world title when Bolt was disqualified for a false start, showed that there is a race to be won first when he clocked a personal best and season-leading 9.75 to win the Jamaican trials then repeated the dose with victory in the 200m.
Bolt opted out of a planned race in Monaco last month to have treatment on a tight hamstring so the next time he leaves the blocks competitively will be in his 100m heat today. Nobody, least of all Blake, will be thinking Bolt Has had his day, but the champion will have to be fully recovered physically, and mentally secure of his fitness, to explode out of the blocks and avoid the shocking start he had in the trials.
This could open the door for his rivals. "I'm the Olympic champion so I have to show the world I am still the best," said Bolt, who will team up with Blake to defend Jamaica's 4x100m relay title.
"I know what I need to do to get it right. I just have to get my stuff together."
Fraser-Pryce, who ran a personal best 10.70 to win the Jamaican trials, Stewart and Veronica Campbell-Brown will line up in the 100, with the latter also bidding for an unprecedented third successive 200m gold.
Standing in her way, and looking to make her own unique mark on the Games, is American Allyson Felix, who clocked the best 200m time in 14 years when she won the U.S. trials in 21.69.
Felix will go over 100m, 200m, 4x100 and 4x400 where she will hope to mine the gold that has proved so elusive at Olympic level despite coming freely in world championships.
The national rivalry is even more intense in the longer distances, where Kenya and Ethiopia are likely to dominate and will happily use team tactics to achieve individual glory. In Beijing the two countries won every men's race above 400m, including the marathon, while East African women triumphed in the 800m, 1500, 5,000 and 10,000 and took silver in the steeplechase and marathon.
Somalia-born Farah is hoping to become the first European 10,000 metres champion since Italy's Alberto Cova in 1984.
His chief rival, world record holder Kenenisa Bekele, is seeking an unprecedented hat-trick over the distance having also won the 5,000 four years ago.