Usain Bolt was, of course, the premier men's sprinter of 2012 as he became the first man to successfully defend the 100-200 Olympic sprint double. Bolt's winning time of 9.63 seconds in the London Olympic 100-meter final led the world in 2012, as he and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake posted the year's seven fastest times. Blake's best 100-meter times were 9.69 and 9.75 seconds, the latter of which beat Bolt in the Jamaican Olympic Trials. Bolt also won the Diamond League 100-meter title. Justin Gatlin had the best non-Jamaican time, finishing eighth on the year when he took the Olympic bronze at 9.79. Gatlin also took the 60-meter gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in 6.46.
Bolt and Blake also own the top seven spots in the world 200-meter charts for 2012. Bolt led with his 19.32 performance in the London final. Blake's season-best was 19.44 in the Olympic final, and he also nipped Bolt in the Jamaican Trials. Warren Weir had the season's eighth-best time, also in London, giving Jamaica a medals sweep in the 200.
Early in the season, defending Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt looked like the man to beat in the 400 meters, but a pre-Olympic injury prevented him from competing for the London gold. Merritt still posted the second and fourth-best times of the year, but Kirani James took the top spot with his gold medal-winning 43.94 performance in the Olympic final. James more than made up for his disappointing non-medal finish at the World Indoor Championship, where Nery Brenes took the gold.