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Articles tagged #Usain Bolt
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World champion Noah Lyles wins award for best U.S. track and field athlete for third time

The world 100m and 200m champion is only the second U.S. athlete to win the Jesse Owens Award three times.

The 2023 season has been one to remember for double sprint world champion, Noah Lyles, who became the first sprinter since the renowned Usain Bolt in 2015 to win both the 100m and 200m events at a World Athletics Championships. On Wednesday, he added one more award to his impressive list of accolades, winning the 2023 Jesse Owens Award for the best U.S. male track and field athlete.

This is Lyles’s third time winning the prestigious award given annually by the U.S.A. Track and Field (USATF), putting him in elite company with only Michael Johnson as the only other athlete to win the award three times.

Lyles was the most dominant sprinter in the world this year, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay this past summer at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. The three world titles were added to the previous three he won at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in the 200m and in 2019 in the 200m and 4x100m relay.

“It’s an honor to receive my third Jesse Owens Award and to be associated with such a legendary athlete,” said Lyles in his acceptance speech. “I want to thank USATF for this award, as well as my coach, Lance Brauman, my family and everyone who supported me on this historic season. I couldn’t have done this alone and I can’t wait to pick up right where we left off for 2024.”

The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award was also awarded by the USATF to the top female athlete of the year, which went to newly-crowned world 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson. Richardson is the first female 100m sprinter to win the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award since Carmelita Jeter in 2011.

Richardson and Lyles were both nominees for World Athletics’ Athlete of the Year. Lyles was announced as one of the five finalists for the award earlier this week. 

(11/16/2023) Views: 149 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

Want to Win a Race With No End? Work on Your Poker Face.

Harvey Lewis, who recently ran 450 miles to win Big’s Backyard Ultra, discusses the mental trickery that goes on during ultrarunning’s hardest race 

Not many people can run 400 consecutive miles and still stand upright—fewer can complete this athletic feat and continue running. I think there’s just one person alive who could do it and then unleash a sprint that would make Usain Bolt proud. That’s Harvey Lewis, the newly crowned world champion for the niche sport of Backyard Ultrarunning.

Lewis, 47, won his title at the October 21 Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra in Tennessee—the race known simply as “Big’s” in ultrarunning parlance—by running 450 miles over the course of 108 hours. Lewis is also the star of the hilarious video below (credit to which made the rounds on social media as the race was still going on. Give it a watch.

Some quick context: the clip was captured a the race’s 400-mile mark (yes, 400!), and the eight runners in it have been jogging around a 4.1667-mile loop every hour for four consecutive days. When the starting bell sounds, seven of the eight shuffle onto the course looking like extras from The Walking Dead. And then there’s Lewis, who cracks a grin, kicks up his heels, and Usain Bolts away. He looks like he’s having a blast.

As it turns out, he was. “I’m really fired up in that video,” Lewis recently told me. “There are times during races when I have to hype myself up, but not there. I am already so hyped up, just mentally and physically. That’s what you have to do to keep yourself in the game.”

The game that Lewis is referring to is the strategy—nay, the psychological warfare—that goes on during one of these grueling races. At Big’s and other backyard ultras, participants run around a 4.167-mile loop every hour, hour after hour, for days on end (the distance means they complete 100 miles every day). They start and finish in the same location, and can rest or eat or use the toilet in the time between each lap, which is never long enough for them to sleep for more than a minute or two. As the event goes on, participants drop out due to sleep deprivation or blisters or diarrhea or because their brains simply cannot fathom any more running. The winner is the final person left standing.

This twisted format was dreamed up by Gary Cantrell—known as “Lazarus Lake”—the designer of the infamous Barkley Marathons. Backyard ultras foster some unorthodox head games amongst the handful of elite runners. At some point, they become hardcore body-language analysts, eyeing each for signs of injury or exhaustion. Simultaneously, they mask their own ailments in an attempt to convince their peers that they are feeling just fine and dandy—even thought every one of their muscles throbs with pain.

“There’s a lot of poker faces out there,” Lewis says “If one of the competitors starts to show weakness, it just adds thunder to everyone else. Part of the game is showing that you’re strong.”

There are plenty of telltale signs that a runner is nearing the end: limping, wincing, sitting down. Some athletes, after running hundreds of miles, begin to list to one side like a torpedoed warship. Oftentimes, runners nearing the limit will finish each lap just a few seconds before the next one is to begin—the countdown is marked by three whistles and then a bell.

There are also all manners of tricks for covering up the pain. Lewis said that his toughest competitor at Big’s, Ihor Verys of Ukraine, maintained a stoic and expressionless demeanor—think Ivan Drago from Rocky IV—right until the moment he dropped out at mile 445. Dutch ultrarunner Merijn Geerts, who dropped at mile 417, told the Bad Boy Running podcast that he will purposely start a race looking disheveled so that competitors cannot notice a meaningful change in his appearance as the event goes on. “If someone looks very fresh from the beginning, and suddenly he doesn’t look fresh anymore, you know there is a problem,” Geerts said. “If you don’t look very [fresh] all the time, then your opponent doesn’t know you are suffering.”

Fibbing is another formidable tactic. As Big’s stretched past the two-day mark, Lewis heard some competitors respond truthfully to a familiar question that runners ask one another on the trail: how are you feeling? “I was surprised to hear people saying ‘I was hallucinating’ or ‘I have a blister on my foot,‘” Lewis said. “Loose lips sink ships.” Lewis, who teaches U.S. government at a high school in Cinncinatti, Ohio, told me that he’d never divulge his aches and pains to a competitor.

“I don’t know why anyone would ask me how I feel during a race,” he says. “I could have blood pouring out of my head and I’d still say, ‘I feel amazing!’”

And then there’s the whole sprinting thing. Running fast is absolutely a psychological flex—a way to show the competition that you are supremely confident and also feeling fantastic. Think of it as the backyard ultra version of Steph Curry’s highly-intimidating pregame warmup. Lewis’s mad dashes were an integral weapon in his psychological war chest, he said, and he sprinted out of the gate again and again during Big’s.

“It’s like here we are at mile 400 and I can just go man,” Lewis says.

Here he is starting mile 300.

Here he goes at mile 425, looking considerably less spry.

But the sprinting tactic can also backfire, because a sprint puts more strain on leg muscles than a steady jog. In June, Lewis participated in Australia’s Dead Cow Gulley Backyard Ultra, and after two days of racing he employed the sprinting tactic. But the maneuver began to wear his body down, and he dropped out at mile 375 with two competitors remaining.

“I did it way too much and got carried away feeling invincible and not reigning myself in,” Lewis admits. “Because the counter to it is to just run your own race.”

At Big’s, Lewis only sprinted at the start—he actually didn’t complete the loops fastest, and during many laps he finished several minutes behind Bartosz Fudali of Poland, who exited the race after completing 429 miles. For all of the psychological gamesmanship that goes on in a backyard ultra, Lewis said there’s really no way to overcome a runner who has a steady rhythm, an expert nutrition plan, and the steely attitude to keep going—no matter what. Lewis said his winning tactic was more about mindset than about mind games.

“I don’t care what distance anyone else goes—I’m just going to commit to going further,” he says.

(11/05/2023) Views: 114 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online

24 Hours with One of the World’s Best Marathoners

As the 2023 Boston Marathon winner and Olympian Hellen Obiri puts final touches on her build for the NYC Marathon, she’s aiming to become the seventh woman ever to win two majors in one year

Four weeks out from competing in the 2023 New York City Marathon, one of the world’s most prestigious road races, an alarm clock gently buzzes, signaling the start of the day for 33-year-old Hellen Obiri.

Despite having rested for nearly nine hours, Obiri, a two-time world champion from Kenya, says the alarm is necessary, otherwise she can oversleep. This morning’s training session of 12 miles at an easy pace is the first of two workouts on her schedule for the day as she prepares for the New York City Marathon on November 5.

The race will be her third attempt in the distance since she graduated from a successful track career and transitioned into road racing in 2022. Obiri placed sixth at her marathon debut in New York last November, finishing in 2:25:49.

“I was not going there to win. I was there to participate and to learn,” she says, adding that the experience taught her to be patient with the distance. This time around in New York, she wants to claim the title.

Obiri drinks two glasses of water, but she hasn’t eaten anything by the time she steps outside of her two-bedroom apartment in the Gunbarrel neighborhood of Boulder, Colorado.

In September 2022, the three-time Olympian moved nearly 9,000 miles from her home in the Ngong Hills, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, to Colorado. She wanted to pursue her marathon ambitions under the guidance of coach and three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who is the fourth-fastest U.S. marathoner in history. Ritzenhein retired from professional running in 2020 and now oversees the Boulder-based On Athletics Club (OAC), a group of elite professional distance runners supported by Swiss sportswear company On.

Obiri, who was previously sponsored by Nike for 12 years before she signed a deal with On in 2022, said that moving across the world wasn’t a difficult decision. “It’s a great opportunity. Since I came here, I’ve been improving so well in road races.”

In April, Obiri won the Boston Marathon. It was only her second effort in the distance, and the victory has continued to fuel her momentum for other major goals that include aiming for gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics and also running the six most competitive and prestigious marathons in the world, known as the World Marathon Majors.

Obiri says goodbye to her eight-year-old daughter Tania and gets into a car to drive six miles to Lefthand trailhead, where she runs on dirt five days a week. She will train on an empty stomach, which she prefers for runs that are less than 15 miles. Once, she ate two slices of bread 40 minutes before a 21-mile run and was bothered by side stitches throughout the workout. Now, she is exceptionally careful about her fueling habits.

Three runners stretch next to their cars as Obiri clicks a watch on her right wrist and begins to shuffle her feet. Her warmup is purposely slow. In this part of Colorado, at 5,400 feet, the 48-degree air feels frostier and deserving of gloves, but Obiri runs without her hands covered. She is dressed in a thin olive-colored jacket, long black tights, and a black pair of unreleased On shoes.

Obiri’s feet clap against a long dirt road flanked by farmland that is dotted with horses and a few donkeys. Her breath is hardly audible as she escalates her rhythm to an average pace of six minutes and 14 seconds per mile. This run adds to her weekly program of 124 miles—some days, she runs twice. The cadence this morning is hardly tough on her lungs as she runs with her mouth closed, eyes intently staring ahead at the cotton-candy pink sunrise.

“Beautiful,” Obiri says.

Her body navigates each turn as though on autopilot. Obiri runs alone on easy days like today, but for harder sessions, up to four pacers will join her.

“They help me to get the rhythm of speed,” Obiri says. For longer runs exceeding 15 miles, Ritzenhein will bike alongside Obiri to manage her hydration needs, handing her bottles of Maurten at three-mile increments.

After an hour, Obiri wipes minimal sweat glistening on her forehead. Her breathing is steady, and her face appears as fresh as when she began the run. She does not stretch before getting into the car to return home.

The remainder of the morning is routine: a shower followed by a breakfast of bread, Weetabix cereal biscuits, a banana, and Kenyan chai—a mix of milk, black tea, and sugar. She likes to drink up to four cups of chai throughout the day, making the concoction with tea leaves gifted from fellow Kenyan athletes she sees at races.

Then, she will nap, sometimes just for 30 minutes, and other times upwards of two hours. “The most important thing is sleeping,” Obiri says. “When I go to my second run [of the day], I feel my body is fresh to do the workout. If I don’t sleep, I feel a lot of fatigue from the morning run.”

Obiri prepares lunch. Normally she eats at noon, but today her schedule is busier than usual. She cooks rice, broccoli, beets, carrots, and cabbage mixed with peanuts. Sometimes she makes chapati, a type of Indian flatbread commonly eaten in Kenya, or else she eats beans with rice.

The diet is typical among elite Kenyan athletes, and she hasn’t changed her eating habits since moving to the U.S. Obiri discovered a grocery store in Denver that offers African products, so she stocks up on ingredients like ground corn flour, which she uses to make ugali, a dense porridge and staple dish in many East African countries. She is still working through 20 pounds of flour she bought in June.

Obiri receives an hour massage, part of her routine in the early afternoon, three times a week. Usually the session is at the hands of a local physiotherapist, but sometimes Austin-based physiotherapist Kiplimo Chemirmir will fly in for a few days. Chemirmir, a former elite runner from Kenya, practices what he refers to as “Kenthaichi massage,” an aggressive technique that involves stretching muscles in short intervals.

Ritzenhein modifies Obiri’s training schedule, omitting her afternoon six-mile run so she can rest for the remainder of the day and reset for a speed workout tomorrow morning. Last fall, he took over training Obiri, who was previously coached by her agent Ricky Simms, who represented Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, an eight-time gold medalist and world record holder, and British long distance runner Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic gold medalist.

Ritzenhein has programmed Obiri’s progression into the marathon with more volume and strength training. The meticulous preparation is essential to avoid the aftermath of her marathon debut in New York City last fall, when she was escorted off the course in a wheelchair after lacking a calculated fueling and hydration strategy. Obiri had averaged running 5:33-minute miles on a hilly route that is considered to be one of the most difficult of all the world marathon major races.

“It’s a real racing race. You have to make the right moves; you have to understand the course,” Ritzenhein says of the New York City Marathon. “We’ve changed some things in training to be a little more prepared. We’ve been going to Magnolia Road, which is a very famous place from running lore—high altitude, very hilly. We’ve been doing some long runs up there. In general, she’s got many more 35 and 40K [21 and 24 miles] runs than she had before New York last year.”

In New York, Obiri is aiming to keep pace alongside a decorated elite field that will include Olympic gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir, former women’s marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei, and defending New York Marathon champion Sharon Lokedi, all of whom are from Kenya. In fact, Kenyan women have historically dominated at the New York City Marathon, winning nine titles since 2010 and 14 total to date, the most of any country since women were permitted to race in 1972.

“They are all friendly ladies,” Obiri says. “But you know, in sports we are enemies. It’s like a war. Everybody wants to win.”

While Obiri is finishing her massage, her daughter returns from school. Though Obiri arrived in Colorado last fall, her husband Tom Nyaundi and their daughter didn’t officially move to the U.S. until this past March. The adjustment, Obiri says, was a hard moment for the family.

“We didn’t have a car. In the U.S. you can’t move [around] if you don’t have a car. We had a very good team that helped us a lot,” Obiri says of the OAC, whom she refers to as her friends. “The athletes made everything easier for us. They were dropping my daughter to school. Coach would pick me up in the morning, take me to massage, to the store. I was lucky they were very supportive.” Now, Obiri says she and her family have fully adjusted to living in the U.S.

Obiri returns home and makes a tomato and egg sandwich before taking another nap. Usually she naps for up to two hours after lunch. Today, her nap is later and will last for two and a half hours.

Obiri doesn’t eat out or order takeaway. “We are not used to American food,” she says, smiling. “I enjoy making food at home.” Dinner is a rotation of Kenyan dishes like sukuma wiki—sautéed collard greens that accompany ugali—or pilau, a rice-based dish made with chicken, goat, or beef. This evening, she prepares ugali with sukuma wiki and fried eggs.

Before bed, Obiri says she can’t resist a nightcap of Kenyan chai. She will pray before falling asleep. And when she wakes up at 6:00 A.M. the next day, she will prepare for a track session, the intervals of which add up to nearly 13 miles: a 5K warmup, followed by 1 set of 4×200 meters at 32 seconds (200 meter jog between each rep); 3 sets of 4×200 meters at 33 seconds  (200 meter jog between each rep); 5×1600 meters at 5:12 (200 meter jog between each rep) and finishing with a 5K cool down.

The workout is another one in the books that will bring her a step closer to the starting line of the race she envisions winning. “I feel like I’m so strong,” Obiri says. She knows New York will be tough. But “when I go to a race I say, ‘you have to fight.’ And if you try and give your best, you will do something good.”

(10/29/2023) Views: 191 ⚡AMP

Molly Seidel Stunned the World (and Herself) with Olympic Bronze in Tokyo. Then Life Went Sideways.

She stunned the world (and herself) with Olympic bronze in Tokyo. Then life went sideways. How America’s unexpected marathon phenom is getting her body—and brain—back on track. 

On a clear December night in 2019, Molly Seidel was at a rooftop holiday party in Boston, wearing a black velvet dress, doing what a lot of 25-year-olds do: passing a joint between friends, wondering what she was doing with her life.

“You should run the Olympic Trials,” her sister, Izzy, said, as smoke swirled in the chilly air atop The Trackhouse, a retail shop and community hub on Newbury Street operated by the running brand Tracksmith. “That would be hilarious if you did that as your first marathon.” 

Molly, an elite 10K racer who’d spent much of 2019 injured, looked out at the city lights, and laughed. Why the hell not? She’d just qualified for the trials, winning the San Antonio Half with a time of 1:10:27. (“The shock of the century,” as she’d put it.) True, 13.1 miles wasn’t 26.2—but running a marathon was something to do. If only because she never had before. 

A four-time NCAA track and cross-country champion at The University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Molly had moved to Boston in 2017, where she’d worked three jobs to supplement her fourth: running for Saucony’s Freedom Track Club. The $34,000 a year that Saucony paid her (pre-tax, sans medical) didn’t go far in one of America’s most expensive cities. Chasing kids around as a babysitter, driving around as an Instacart shopper, and standing around eight hours a day as a barista—when you’re running 20 miles a day—wasn’t ideal. But whatever, she had compression socks. And she was downing free coffee and paying rent, flying to Flagstaff, Arizona, every so often for altitude camps, and having a good time. Doing what she loved. The only thing she’s ever wanted to do since she was a freckly fifth-grader in small-town Wisconsin clocking a six-minute mile in gym class. 

“I was hustling, and I loved it. It was such a fun, cool time of my life,” she says, summarizing her 20s. Staring into Molly’s steely brown eyes, listening to her speak with such clarity and conviction about her struggles since, it’s easy to forget: She is still only 29. 

After Molly had hip surgery on her birthday in July 2018, her doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of running professionally again. By summer 2019, she’d parted ways with FTC, which left her sobbing on the banks of the Charles River, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and uncertainty. Her biggest achievement lately had been being named #2 Top Instacart Shopper (in Flagstaff; Boston was big-time).

The day after that rooftop party, Molly asked her friend and former FTC teammate Jon Green, who she’d newly anointed as her coach: “Think I should run the marathon trials?” Sure, he shrugged. Nothing to lose. Maybe it’d help her train for the 10K, her best shot—they both thought—at making a U.S. Olympic team. 

“I’m going to get my ass kicked six ways to Sunday!” she told the host of the podcast Running On Om six weeks before the trials in Atlanta.

Instead, on February 29, 2020, she kicked some herself. Pushing past 448 of the fastest, most-experienced women marathoners in the country, coming in second with a 2:27:31, earning more in prize money ($60,000) than she had in two years of racing—and a spot on the U.S. trio for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with Kenyan-born superstars Aliphine Tuliamuk and Sally Kipyego. “I don’t know what’s happening right now!” Molly kept saying into TV cameras, wrapped in an American flag, as stunned as a lottery winner. 

Saucony who? Puma came calling. Along with something Molly hadn’t anticipated: the spotlight. An onslaught of social media followers. And two weeks later, a global pandemic and lockdown—and all the anxiety and isolation that came with it. She was drowning, and she hadn’t even landed in Tokyo yet.

The 2020 Olympics, as we all know, were postponed to 2021. An emotional burden but a physical boon for Molly, in that it allowed her to get in a second marathon. In London, she finished two minutes faster than her debut. When the Olympics finally rolled around, she was ready. 

Before the race, Molly says, “I was thinking: ‘Once I cross the starting line, I get to call myself an Olympian and that’s a win for the day.’” 

But then she crossed the finish line—with a finger-kiss to the sky and a guttural Yesss!—in third place with a 2:27:46, just 26 seconds behind first (Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir). And realized: She gets to call herself an Olympic medalist forever. Only the third American woman to ever earn one in the marathon.

Lots of kids have fleeting hopes of making it to the Olympics. I remember thinking I could be Mary Lou Retton. Maybe FloJo, with shorter fingernails. Then I decided I’d rather be Madonna or president of the United States and promptly forgot about it. But Molly held tight to her Olympic aspirations. She still has a poster she made in 2004, with stickers and a snapshot of her smiley 10-year-old self, to prove it. “I wish I will make it into the Olympics and win a gold medal,” she wrote, and signed it: Molly Seidel, the “y” looping back to underline her name. In case there was any doubt as to who, specifically, would be winning the medal.

Molly grew up in Nashotah, Wisconsin, and is the eldest of three. Her sister and brother, younger by not quite two years, are twins. Izzy is a running influencer and corporate content creator for companies like Peloton; and Fritz favors Formula 1 racing and weightlifting and works for the family’s leather-tanning business. The family was active, sporty. Dad, Fritz Sr., was a ski racer in college; Mom, Anne, a cheerleader. You can tell. Watching clips of Molly’s mom and dad watching the Olympic race from their backyard patio, jumping up and down, tears streaming, is the kind of life-affirming moment you wish you could bottle. “I’m in shock. I’m in disbelief,” Molly says into the mic, beaming. “I just wanted to come out today and I don’t know…stick my nose where it didn’t belong and see what I could come away with. And I guess that’s a medal.” When the interviewer holds up her family on FaceTime, Molly breaks down. “We did it,” she says into the screen between sobs and smiles. “Please drink a beer for me.

Molly hasn’t always been unabashedly herself, even when everyone thought she was. A compartmentalizer to the core, she spent most of her life hiding a huge part of it: anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, debilitating depression. 

It started around age 11, when she learned to disguise OCD tendencies, like compulsively knocking on wood, silently reciting prayers “to avoid God getting mad at me,” she says. “It was a whole thing.” She says her parents were aware of the behaviors, but saw them more as odd little habits. “They had no reason to suspect anything. I was very high-functioning,” she says. “They didn’t realize that it was literally taking over my life.” 

She wasn’t officially diagnosed with OCD until her freshman year of college, when she saw a therapist for the first time. At Notre Dame, disordered eating took hold, quietly yet visibly, as it does for up to 62 percent of female college athletes, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. As recently as the Tokyo Olympics, she was making herself throw up in the airport bathroom, mere days before taking the podium. Molly hesitates to share that detail; she fears a girl might read this and interpret it as behavior to model. “Having been in that place as a younger athlete, I know I would have,” she says. But she also understands: Most people just don’t get how unrelenting eating disorders can be. 

In February 2022, she finally received a diagnosis of the root cause for all of it: ADHD. About being diagnosed, she says, “It made me feel really good, like [I don’t have] a million different disorders. I have a disorder that manifests itself in a lot of different symptoms.”

She waited to try Adderall until after the Boston Marathon in April, only to drop out at mile 16 due to a hip impingement. Initially, the meds made her feel fantastic. Focused. Free. Until she realized Adderall hurt more than it helped. She couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, lost too much weight. Within weeks, she devolved. “The eating disorder came roaring back,” she says, referring to it, as she often does, as its own entity, something that exists outside of herself. That ruthlessly takes control over her very need for control. “I almost think of it as an alter ego,” she explains. “Adderall was just bubblegum in the dam,” as she puts it. She ditched the drug, and her life—professionally, physically—unraveled.

In July 2022, heading into the World Championships, she bombed the mental health screening, answering the questions with brutal honesty. She’d been texting Keira D’Amato weeks prior. “Yo girl, things are pretty bad right now. Get ready…” Sobbing on the sidewalk in Eugene, Oregon, she texted D’Amato again. And the USATF made it official: D’Amato would take her spot on the team. Then Molly did what she’d been “putting off and putting off”— checked herself into eating disorder treatment for the second time since 2016, an outpatient program in Salt Lake City, where her new boyfriend was living at the time. 

Somehow (see: expert compartmentalizer) mid-meltdown, in February 2022, she had met an amateur ultrarunner named Matt, on Hinge. A quiet, lanky photographer, he didn’t totally get what she did. “I didn’t understand the gravity of it,” he tells me. “I was like, Oh she’s a pro runner, that’s cool. I didn’t realize she was, like, the pro runner!” 

Going back to treatment “was pretty terrible,” she says. At least she could stay with Matt. Hardly a honeymoon phase, but the new relationship held promise. “I laid it all out there,” says Molly. “And he was still here for it, for all the messiness. It was really meaningful.” And a mental shift. “He doesn’t see me as just Molly the Runner.”

Almost a year later, on a freezing April evening in Flagstaff, Molly is racing around Whole Foods, palming a head of cabbage, grabbing a thing of hummus, hunting for deals even though she doesn’t need to anymore. 

“It’s all about speed, efficiency, and quality,” she says, explaining the secret to her earlier Instacart success. She checks the expiration date on a container of goat cheese and beelines for the butcher counter, scans it faster than an Epson DS3000, though not without calculation, and requests two tomato-and-mozzarella-stuffed chicken breasts. Then she darts over to the beverage aisle in her marshmallow-y Puma slip-ons that Matt custom-painted with orange poppies. She grabs a case of La Croix (tangerine), then zips to the checkout. We’re in and out in under 15 minutes and 50 bucks, nothing bruised or broken.

Other than her body. Let’s just say: If Molly were an avocado or a carton of eggs, she probably wouldn’t pass her own sniff test. The week we meet, she is just coming off a month of no running. Not a single mile. She’s used to running twice a day, 130 miles a week. No wonder she’s spraying her kitchen counter with Mrs. Meyer’s and scrubbing the stovetop within minutes of welcoming me into her new home. 

The place, which she shares with Matt and his Australian border collie, Rye, has a post-college flophouse feel: a deep L-shaped couch draped in Pendleton blankets, a bar cluttered with bottles of discount wine, a floor lamp leaning like the Tower of Pisa next to a chew toy in the shape of a ranch dressing bottle. Scattered about, though, are reminders that an elite runner sleeps here. Or at least tries to. (“Pro runner by day, mild insomniac by night” reads the bio on her rarely used account on what used to be Twitter.) There’s a stick of Chafe Safe on the coffee table. Shalane Flanagan’s cookbooks on the counter. And framed in glass, propped on the office floor: Molly’s Olympic kit—blue racing briefs with the Nike Swoosh, a USA singlet, her once-sweat-drenched American flag, folded in a triangle. “I’m not sure where to hang it,” she says. “It seems a little ostentatious to have it in the living room.” 

With long brown curls and a round, freckly face, Molly has an aw-shucks look so innocent that it’s hard, at first, to perceive her struggles. Flat-out ask her, though—How are you even functioning?—and she’ll tell you: “I’m an absolute wreck. There’s no worse feeling than being a pro runner who can’t run. You just feel fucking useless.” Tidying a stack of newspapers, she adds, “Don’t worry, I’ve had therapy today.” 

She’s watched every show. (Save Ted Lasso, “too sickly sweet.”) Listened to every podcast. (Armchair Expert is a favorite.) She’s got nothing else to do but PT and go easy on the ElliptiGo in the garage, onto which she’s rigged a wooden bookstand, currently clipped with A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. “I don’t read running books,” she says. “I need something different.”

Like most runners—even the most amateur among us—running, moving, is what keeps her sane. “What about swimming? Can you at least swim?” I ask, projecting my own desperation if I were in her size 8.5 shoes. “I fucking hate swimming,” says Molly. Walking? “Oh, yeah, I can go on walks. Another. Long. Walk.”

The only thing she has on her schedule this week is pumping up a local middle school track team before their big meet. The invitation boosted her spirits. “Should I just memorize Miracle on Ice?” she says, laughing. “No, I know, I’ll do Independence Day.”

Injuries are nothing new for Molly. Par for the course for any professional athlete. But especially for women, like her, who lack bone density—and have since high school, when, according to a study in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, nearly half of female runners experience period loss. Osteoporosis and its precursor, osteopenia, are rampant in female runners, leading to ongoing issues that threaten not just their college and professional running careers, but their lives.

Still, Molly admits, laughing: She’s especially accident-prone. I ask her to list every scratch she’s ever had, which takes her 10 minutes, and goes all the way back to babyhood, when she banged her head against the bathtub spout. There was a cracked spine from a sledding incident in 8th grade, a broken collarbone from a ski race in high school, shredded knee cartilage in college when a driver hit her while she was riding a bike. “Ribs are constantly breaking,” she says. In 2021, two snapped, and refused to heal in time for the New York City Marathon. No biggie. She ran through the pain with a 2:24:42, besting Deena Kastor’s 2008 time by more than a minute and setting the American course record.

Molly’s latest injury? Glute tear. “Literally a gigantic pain in the ass,” she posted on Instagram in March. Inside, Molly was devastated. Pulling out of the Nagoya Marathon—the night before her 6:45 a.m. flight to Japan, no less—was not in the plan. The plan, according to Coach Green, had been simple. It always is. If the two of them even have one. “Just to have fun and be consistent.” And get a marathon or two in before the Olympic Trials in February 2024. 

She’d been finally—finally—fit on all fronts; ready to race, ready to return. She needed Nagoya. And then, nothing. “It feels like I’m back at the bottom of the well,” says Molly, driving home from Whole Foods in her Toyota 4Runner. “This last year-and-a-half has been so difficult. It’s just been a lot of doubt. How do I approach this, as someone who has now won a medal? Like, man, am I even relevant in this sport anymore?” She pops a piece of gum in her mouth. I wait for her to offer me some, because that’s what you do with gum, but she doesn’t. She’s so in her head. “It’s hard when you’re in the thick of it, you know, to figure out: Why the fuck do I keep doing this? When it just breaks my heart over and over and over again?” 

We pull into her driveway. “I was prepared for the low period after Tokyo,” she says. “But this has been much longer and lower than I expected.” 

The curse of making it to the Olympics, let alone coming back with a medal: expectations. Molly’s own were high. “I think I thought, after the Olympics, if I win a medal, then I will be fixed, it will fix everything.” Instead, in a way, it made everything worse. 

That’s the problem that has plagued Molly for most of her running career: Her triumphs and troubles intermingle, like thunder and lightning. Which, by the way, she has been struck by. (A minor backyard-grill, summer-thunderstorm incident. She was fine.)

The next morning in Flagstaff, Molly’s feeling like she can run a mile, maybe two. It’s snowing, though, and she doesn’t want to risk the slippery track, so we meet at Campbell Mesa Trails. She loops a band around the back of her truck to stretch and sends me off into the trees to run alone while she does a couple of laps on the street.

Molly leaves for an acupuncture appointment, and we reunite later at Single Speed Coffee (“the best coffee in Flagstaff,” promises the ex-barista who drinks up to three cups a day). We curl up on a couch like it’s her living room, and she talks as freely—and as loudly—as if it was. Does she realize everyone can hear her? She doesn’t care. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve grown so comfortable sharing—in therapy, on podcasts, in a three-part video series on ADHD for WebMD—you just…share. Loud and proud. 

Mental illness is so insidious, says Molly. “It’s not always this Sylvia Plath stick-my-head-in-a-fucking-oven thing, where you’re sad all the time,” she says. “High-functioning depressed people live normal successful lives. I can be having the happiest moment, and three days later I’m in a total downward spiral.” It’s something you never recover from, she says, but you learn to manage. 

“I’m this incredibly flawed person who struggles so much. I think: How could I have won this thing when I’m so flawed? I look at all the people around me, all these accomplished people who have their shit together, and I’m like, ‘one of these things is not like the other,’” she says, taking a sip of her flat white. “I was literally in the Olympic Village thinking: Everybody is probably looking at me wondering: Why the hell is she here?” 

They weren’t. They don’t. She knows that. 

And yet her mind races as fast as she does. It takes up So. Much. Space. When she’s running, though, the noise disappears. She’s not Olympic Molly or Eating Disorder Molly, she’s not even, really, Runner Molly. “When I’m running,” she says, “I’m the most authentic version of myself.” 

Talking helps, too. Molly first shared her mental health history a few years ago, “before she was famous,” as she puts it. After the Olympics, though, she kept talking and hasn’t stopped. The Tokyo Games were a turning point, she says. Suddenly the most revered athletes in the world were opening up about their mental health. Molly credits Simone Biles’s bravery for her own. If Biles, and Michael Phelps and Naomi Osaka, could come clean... then maybe a nerdy, niche-y, unlikely medaling marathoner could, too.

“Those guys got a lot more shit for it than I did,” says Molly. “I got off easy. I’m not a household name,” she laughs. She knows she can be candid and off the cuff—and chat freely in a not-empty café—in a way Biles never could. “I’m a nobody!” she laughs.

Still, a nobody with 232,000 Instagram followers whom she has touched in very IRL ways—becoming an unintentional poster woman for normalizing mental health challenges among athletes. “You are such an incredible inspiration,” @1percentpeterson posts, one comment of a zillion similar. “It’s ok to not be ok!” says another. Along with all the online love is, of course, online hate. Molly rattles off a few lowlights: “She’s an attention-seeking whore,” “Her bones are so brittle she’ll never race again,” “She’s running so badly and posting a lot she should really focus on her running more.” Molly finds it curious. “I’m like, ‘If you hate me, you don’t need to follow me, sir.’” 

It’s Molly’s nobody-ness—what Outside writer Martin Fritz Huber called her “runner-next-door” persona, and I’ll just call “genuine personality”—that has made her somebody in running’s otherwise reserved circles. 

Somebody who (gasp!) high-fives her sister in the middle of a major race, as she did at mile 18 of the 2021 New York City Marathon. “They shat on me in the broadcast for it,” she says. “They were like, ‘She’s not taking this seriously.’” (Except, uh, then she set the American course record, so…) 

Somebody who, obviously, swears like a sailor and dances awkwardly on Instagram, who dresses up like a turkey, and viral-tweets about getting mansplained on an airplane. (“He starts telling me how I need to train high mileage & pulls up an analysis he’d made of a pro runner’s training on his phone. The pro runner was me. It was my training. Didn’t have the heart to tell him.”)

Somebody who makes every middle-aged mom-runner I know swoon like a Swiftie and say: “OMG! YOU HUNG OUT WITH MOLLY SEIDEL!!?” Middle-aged dad-runners, too. “I saw her once in Golden Gate Park!” my friend Dan fanboyed when he heard. “I waved!” Did she wave back? “She smiled,” he says, “while casually laying down 5:25s.”

And somebody who was as outraged as I was that I bought a $16 tube of French toothpaste from my hip Flagstaff motel. (It was 10 p.m.! It was all they had!) “For that price it better contain top-shelf cocaine,” she texted. Lest LetsRun commenters take that tidbit out of context: It’s a joke. It’s, in part, what makes Molly America’s most relatable pro runner: She’s not afraid to make jokes. (While we’re at it… Don’t knock her for smoking a little legal weed, either. That’s so 2009. Per the World Anti-Doping Agency: Cannabis is prohibited during competition, not at a Christmas party two months before it. Per Molly: “People would be shocked to know how many pro runners smoke weed.”)

I can’t believe I never asked to see it. Molly’s medal. A real, live Olympic medal. Maybe because it was tucked into a credenza along with Matt’s menorah and her maneki-neko cat figurines from Japan. But I think it was because hanging out with Molly felt so…normal, I almost forgot she’d won one. 

People think elite distance runners have to be one-dimensional, she says. That they have to be sculpted, single-minded, running-only robots. “Because that’s what the sport has been,” she says. 

Molly falls for it, too, she says. She scrolls the feeds, sees her fellow pros living seemingly perfect lives. She wants everyone to know: She’s not. So much so that she requested we not print the photos originally commissioned for this story, which were taken when she was at the lowest of lows. (“It’s be pretty open and real with Rachel [about] the challenges of the last year,” she wrote in an email to Runner’s World editors. “But the photos [were taken at] a time when I was really struggling and actively trying to hide how bad my eating disorder had become.”)

Molly finds the NYC Marathon high-five thing comical but indicative of a more serious issue in elite running: It takes itself too seriously. It’s too…elitist. Too stilted. “Running a marathon is a pretty freaking cool experience!” If you’re not having fun, she asks rhetorically, what’s the point? Still, she admits, she isn’t always having fun. Though you wouldn’t know it from her Instagram. “Oh, I’m very good at making it seem like I am,” she says.

She used to enjoy social media when it was just her friends. Before she gained 50,000 followers in a single day after the trials, and some 70,000 on Strava. Before the pandemic, before the Olympics. Keeping up with content became a toxic chore. “You feel like you’re just feeding this beast and it’s never going to stop,” she says. She’s taken to deleting the app off her phone, reloading it only to fulfill contractual agreements and post for her sponsors, then deleting it again. 

As much as she hates having to post, she enjoys plugging products the only way that feels natural: through parody. As does Izzy, her influencer sister, who, like Molly, prefers to skewer rather than shill (à la their idea behind their joint Insta account: @sadgirltrackclub). “The classic influencer tropes make me want to throw up,” she says (perverse pun as a recovering bulimic not intended). “New Gear Drop!’ or ‘This is my Outfit of the Day!’ Cringe. “Hot Girl Instagram is not how I identify,” she says. 

Nor is TikTok. “Sponsors tell me all the time: You should TikTok! I’m like, ‘I am not doing TikTok.’ I know how my brain works. They’ll say, ‘We’ll pay you less if you don’t’—and I’m, like, I don’t care.”

And to those sponsors who ghosted her after she returned to eating disorder treatment, good riddance. “Michelob dropped me like a bad habit,” she says. “Whatever. You have watery-ass beer anyway.”

To those who have stood by her, though, she’s utterly devoted. Pissed she couldn’t wear the Puma panther head to toe in Tokyo, Molly took off her Puma Deviate Elites and tied them over her shoulder, obscuring the Nike logo on her Olympic singlet for all the world to see. Or not see. “Nike isn’t paying my fucking bills.”

The love is mutual, says Erin Longin, a general manager at Puma. After decades backing legends like Usain Bolt, Puma was relaunching road running and wanted Molly as their guinea pig. “She’s a serious athlete and competitor, but she also has fun with it,” says Longin. “Running should be fun. Molly embodies that.” At their first meeting, in January 2020, Molly made them laugh and nerded out over their new shoes. “We all left there, fingers crossed she’d sign with us,” says Longin.

Come February, they all flipped out. Longin was watching the trials, not expecting much. And then: “We were all messaging, “OMG!!” Then Molly killed in London. Medaled in Tokyo. “What she did for us in that first year…” says Longin. “We couldn’t have planned it!” 

Then came the second year, and the third, and throughout it all—injuries, eating disorder treatment, missed races, missed opportunities—Puma hasn’t flinched. “It’s easy for a company to do the right thing when everything is going great,” Molly posted in April, heartbroken from her couch instead of Heartbreak Hill. “But it’s when the sh*t hits the fan and they’re still right there with you….” She received 35,000 hearts—and a call from Longin: “You make me feel so proud.” 

Does it matter to Puma if Molly never places—never races—again? “Nope,” Longin says. 

My last afternoon in Flagstaff, it’s cloudy skies, still freezing. I find Molly on the high school track wearing neoprene gloves, black puffy coat, another pair of Pumas. Her breath is white, her cheeks red. Her legs churning in even, elegant strides. Upright, alone, at peace, backed by snow-dusted peaks. Running itself is what matters, not racing, she tells me. “I honestly don’t give a shit about winning,” she says. All she wants—really wants, she says—is to be healthy enough to run until she’s old and gray.

Molly’s favorite runner is one who didn’t get to grow old. Who made his mark decades before she was born: Steve Prefontaine. “Pre raced in such a genuine way. He made people feel something,” she says. “The sports performances you truly remember,” she adds, “are the ones where you see the struggle, the work, the realness.” 

Sounds familiar. “I hate conversations like, ‘Who’s the GOAT?’” Molly continues. “Who fucking cares? Who’s got the story that’s going to get people excited? That’s going to make some kid want to go out and do it?” 

I know one of those kids: My best friend’s daughter, Quinn, a rising track phenom in Oregon, who has dealt with anxiety and OCD tendencies. She has a picture of Molly Seidel, and her times, taped to her bedroom wall. This past May, Quinn joined Nike’s Bowerman Club. She was named Oregon Female Athlete of the Year Under 12 by USATF. She wants to run for Notre Dame. 

“Quinn loves running more than anything,” her mom tells me, texting photos of her elated 11-year-old atop the podium. “But I don’t know…” She’s unsure about setting her daughter on this path. How could she not, though? It’s all Quinn wants to do. Maybe what Quinn, too, feels born to do. 

It’ll be okay, I tell her, I hope. Quinn has something Molly never had: She has a Molly. 

Molly and I catch up via phone in June. A team of doctors in Germany has overhauled her biomechanics. She’s been running 110 miles a week, feeling healthy, hopeful. Happy. A month later, severe anemia (and accompanying iron infusions) interrupts her summer racing schedule. She cancels the couple of 10Ks she had planned and entertains herself by popping into the UTMB Speedgoat Mountain Race: a 28K trail run through Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon—coming in second with a 3:49:58. Molly’s focus is on the Chicago Marathon, October 8th; her first major race in almost two years. 

Does it matter how she does? Does it matter if she slays the Olympic Trials in February? If she makes it to Paris 2024? If she fulfills her childhood dream and brings home gold? 

Nah. Not if—like Matt, like Puma, like, finally, even Molly herself—you see Molly the Runner for who she really is: Molly the Mere Mortal. She’s the imperfect one who puts it perfectly: What matters isn’t her time or place, how she performs on the pavement. Or social media posts. What matters—as a professional athlete, as a person—is how she makes people feel: human. 


She’d been finally—finally—fit on all fronts; ready to race, ready to return. She needed Nagoya. And then, nothing. “It feels like I’m back at the bottom of the well,” says Molly, driving home from Whole Foods in her Toyota 4Runner. “This last year-and-a-half has been so difficult. It’s just been a lot of doubt. How do I approach this, as someone who has now won a medal? Like, man, am I even relevant in this sport anymore?” She pops a piece of gum in her mouth. I wait for her to offer me some, because that’s what you do with gum, but she doesn’t. She’s so in her head. “It’s hard when you’re in the thick of it, you know, to figure out: Why the fuck do I keep doing this? When it just breaks my heart over and over and over again?” 

(10/08/2023) Views: 309 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World

How robotics tech can help elite athletes get faster

Runners wearing an exoskeleton suit were able to sprint nearly one second faster over 200 metres, a recent small study found. Researcher Giuk Lee out of Seoul, South Korea, has been working with a team to create an “exosuit” that helps people sprint faster, the New Scientist reported on its website. The suit may have the potential to help elite athletes significantly improve their running performance.

Lee explains that the exosuit weighs 4.4 kg and has electrical motors on its back that control two steel cables attached to the wearer’s hips and thighs, The length of the cable running between each hip and thigh shortens as the wearer extends their legs backward, assisting them and speeding up the motion.

The team asked nine non-elite runners to sprint 200 metres to test the exosuit’s performance, twice while wearing the suit and twice without it. The participants ran 0.97 seconds faster, on average, when wearing the suit. The team has recently developed an exosuit that weighs only 2.5 kilograms and are currently investigating whether this may be a potential tool for elite athletes to use in training.

“One of the elite runners has been training with the lighter exosuit and it has helped them run faster even without wearing it,” Lee said to New Science. “This may be because it helps them to feel and remember how to engage the right muscles to run faster.”

The team is working on a customized exosuit for Kyung-soo Oh, a former national elite runner in South Korea. They’re hoping Oh will be able to beat the world record for running 100 metres while wearing the suit. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt holds the men’s record is 9.58 seconds, set in 2009.

This is certainly not the first time robotic science and running have crossed paths. In 2022, a U.S. start-up called Shift Robotics launched a Kickstarter campaign for what they claim is the world’s fastest shoe. The “Moonwalker” apparently lets you walk at the speed of a run while maneuvering stairs, through crowds, hills and even getting on public transit. The Moonwalker is available for the public to order now for USD $999.

(09/30/2023) Views: 162 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine

4 Stunning Moments at the World Track and Field Championships

Here are the top moments at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, and what to watch for this weekendThere’s just three action-packed days of track and field remaining in Budapest, Hungary for the 2023 World Athletics Championships. Whether you’ve spent the past six days glued to your streaming service or you’re just catching up, here’s a refresher on the top highlights so far, and what we’re looking forward to most this weekend.Sha’Carri Richardson proved that she is here to stay by winning the 100-meter final with a new championship record of 10.65. To do it, she had to take down her Jamaican rivals Shericka Jackson, the fastest woman in the world this year, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the reigning LLP world champion and 15-time world medalist.

After a poor showing in her semifinal, Richardson failed to achieve one of the auto-qualifiers and was placed in lane nine for the final. None of that mattered on race day, though, as the 23-year-old showcased the best acceleration over the final 30 meters of any runner in the field to claim gold from the outside lane. Jackson took silver in 10.72, while Fraser-Pryce ran a season’s best of 10.77 for bronze.

The victory marks Richardson’s first appearance at a global championship. She won the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021, but was unable to compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana, a banned substance. In 2023, Richardson said, she’s “not back, [she’s] better.”

Can magic strike twice, and can she earn another medal in the 200 meters? She’ll again face Jackson, the second-fastest woman in world history, as well as American Gabby Thomas, the bronze medalist in Tokyo and the fastest woman in the world this year.

The women’s 200-meter final is on August 25. On Saturday, August 26, Richardson and Thomas will team up to compete against Jackson and Fraser-Pryce in the 4×100-meter relay.The flamboyant American Noah Lyles has made clear his ultimate goal of breaking Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19 in the 200 meters for nearly a year now, ever since breaking the American record, en route to his second world title last summer in Eugene. But to get there, coach Lance Brauman reveals in NBC docuseries “Untitled: The Noah Lyles Project,” the 200-meter specialist would need to improve his speed by focusing on the 100m.

Despite never making a U.S. team in the 100 meters before, Lyles muscled his way onto the podium at the USATF Track and Field Championships a week after getting COVID, and executed his race plan perfectly in Budapest to claim gold with a world-leading time of 9.83. Letsile Tebogo of Botswana set a national record of 9.88 to earn silver and become the first African to podium at a world championship, while Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain took home his first bronze medal.

“They said I wasn’t the one,” he said immediately after the race, in what is sure to be one of this world championship’s most memorable moments. “But I thank God that I am.”

Now his attention turns to a third world title in the 200 meter—and a potential world record. Only Bolt has won three straight world titles over 200 meters, and the Jamaican world record holder is also the last man to win the 100-meter/200-meter double back in 2015.

In a bizarre turn of events on Thursday, a golf cart transporting athletes including Lyles to the track for the 200-meter semi-finals collided with another cart. Several athletes had to be seen by a doctor before the race, and Jamaica’s Andrew Hudson was automatically advanced to the final after competing with shards of glass in his eye. Lyles was reportedly fine.

Tebogo and Hughes will be back for the 200-meter final, as well as Kenneth Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton, who completed the USA sweep with Lyles last year, and Tokyo Olympic champion Andre de Grasse of Canada.

The 200-meter finals are on Friday, and the 4 x 100-meter final is on Saturday.For the second year in a row, the best middle-distance runner in the world was outkicked in the world championship 1,500-meter final by a British athlete. This time, it was Josh Kerr who delivered the kick that broke Jakob Ingebrigtsen, winning his first world title in 3:29.38.

For the fiercely competitive Ingebrigtsen, the second-fastest man in world history in the event, silver is hardly any consolation for losing. Yet he nearly lost that as well — his Norwegian countryman Narve Gilje Nordås (who is coached by Jakob’s father Gjert) nearly beat him to the line, with Ingebrigtsen finishing slightly ahead, 3:29.65 to 3:29.68.Kerr, the Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo, seemed to employ a similar tactic as last year’s upset winner Jake Weightman, who similarly sat and kicked with about 180 meters to go. Kerr and Weightman actually trained together as youth rivals at Scotland’s Edinburgh Athletic Club. Kerr now trains in the United States with the Brooks Beasts.

Ingebrigtsen revealed after the race that he had a slight fever and some throat dryness. He competed in the preliminary round of the 5,000 meters on Thursday, advancing to the final with the third-fastest time of the day. He is the reigning world champion and will race the final on Sunday.

While the path to victory looks difficult, at least one heavy hitter has removed himself from conversation — world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, who already won the 10K this week, pulled out of the 5K with a foot injury.On the very first day of competition in Budapest, the Netherlands track and field federation suffered not one but two devastating falls while running within reach of gold.

Femke Bol was leading the anchor leg of the mixed 4×400-meter relay when she fell just meters from the finish line, leaving the Dutch team disqualified while Team USA captured the gold medal.

On the same night, countrywoman Sifan Hassan stumbled to the ground in the final meters of the 10,000 meters, going from first to 11th, while the Ethiopian trio of Gudaf Tsegay, Letesenbet Gidey and Ejgayehu Taye swept the podium positions.

Hassan was the first to get redemption, earning a bronze medal in the 1,500 meters in 3:56.00 behind only world record holder Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (3:54.87) and Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia (3:55.69). She reportedly did a workout immediately following the race, calling it “not a big deal,” and the next morning won her 5,000-meter prelim in a blistering 14:32.29 over Kipyegon, who also owns the world record over 5K (14:05.20). The two will face off in the final on Saturday.

On Thursday, 23-year-old Bol got her redemption run. With the absence of world record holder Sydney McLaughlin in her signature event of the 400-meter hurdles, the gold was Bol’s for the taking and she left no mercy on the field. She stormed to her first World Championships gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles with a dominant effort of 51.70, with the United States’ Shamier Little nearly a full second behind in 52.80. Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton took bronze in 52.81.

Bol will return to the track for the women’s 4 x 400-meter relay final on Sunday. The Dutch was also disqualified in this event last year at Worlds and will seek to record a result at all expense.

(08/26/2023) Views: 348 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online

10 Things to Know About the World’s Fastest Man

Zharnel Hughes is the British record holder and the world’s top-ranked 100-meter sprinter this year who will bid for his first individual title at the World Championships in Budapest

American athletes have long dominated the 100-meter dash ever since the inaugural World Championships in 1983, amassing 11 titles in the event, the most of any nation. But for this year’s World Championships that kick off this Saturday—the most prestigious senior track competition outside of the Olympic Games—British record holder Zharnel Hughes wants to change the tally. 

He enters the field with the fastest 100-meter time in 2023 (9.83 seconds), which he achieved in June at the USATF New York Grand Prix. The mark ranks Hughes as the 15th fastest of all time in the event, 0.25 seconds behind the world record held by eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. 

Hughes, who has competed at three World Championships throughout his career, has twice-earned a silver medal in the 4 x 100-meter relay. And though he has come close—he was second in the 100-meter dash at the previous world champs—Hughes has never won an individual gold medal. If he is successful at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, August 19-27, Hughes will become the second man ever representing Great Britain to win the men’s 100-meter title, the marquee event of track and field. 

Here are 10 things to know about the fastest man in the world in 2023: 

Zharnel Hughes, 28, was born and raised on the island of Anguilla, a British territory in the Eastern Caribbean that is a mere 16 miles long and three-and-a-half miles wide. He holds dual citizenship for Great Britain and Jamaica. During his youth, Hughes competed for Anguilla, which is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee. In 2015, he opted to transfer his allegiance to represent Great Britain at international competitions. 

Hughes hails from a family of runners on his father’s side, and his two younger brothers ran until high school. He got into the sport at age ten, often running against (and beating) peers. He competed in various track events, including the high jump, long jump, 400 meters, and 1500 meters. 

“There was an annual sports day [at school], my first competition. At the end of it, I got seven medals—five gold, two silver. I got a trophy for being the most outstanding athlete of the day,” Hughes said. It gave him an early and strong impression of what else he might be capable of on the track. 

Growing up, Hughes often watched YouTube videos of elite Jamaican sprinters, like world record holder Usain Bolt, as well as Yohan Blake, the third-fastest man in history. As fate would have it, Hughes would train alongside both of them when he moved to Jamaica as a teen to join the Racers Track Club, led by legendary coach Glen Mills. 

Hughes describes his first in-person encounter with Bolt in 2012 as surreal. “I was striding on the grass field. I saw Usain on my left. He looked like a giant. He was striding as well. I just started mimicking everything he was doing. I don’t know why. I was young, 16. I was looking at Usain all in shock,” Hughes recalled. “Here’s the world’s fastest man. I’m right next to him!” 

Hughes modified his training schedule to gym work in the morning and a two-hour sprint session in the afternoon and can be seen sprinting alongside “the youths” on the Racers Track Club, he says, adding, “they’re fast, they push me, and I like a challenge.”

Hughes points to nearly outrunning Usain Bolt in the 200-meter race in 2015 at his debut Diamond League meet—the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City—as one of his most memorable races. “Just before coming off the turn, I realized I was right there with Usain. I started running for my life,” Hughes said. “I was getting close to the line, and I was still there with him. I tried to lean forward, but his stride was longer than mine. The entire stadium thought that I won. Everybody was like, ‘Noooo!’” The race made headlines in Anguilla, and Hughes remembers motorcades and banners went up with his name on them.

The morning of June 24, 2023, prior to heading to the starting line of the New York City Grand Prix, Hughes wrote down the time he predicted he’d run: 9.83 seconds. He achieved exactly that, and it was a victory that shaved 0.04 seconds off the British record, previously set by Jamaican-born British Olympic champion Linford Christie at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. 

Hughes tore a ligament in his right knee after falling in a race in 2016 and consequently was absent from the Rio Summer Olympics. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he qualified for the 100-meter final, but he couldn’t contend for a medal after a false start. Hughes later said the mishap was due to a sudden cramp in his left calf while in his set position in the starting blocks. 

Hughes started investing in his nutrition at age 18. To this day, his diet is very conservative, partly the influence of a close friend, who is a bodybuilder. His morning routine includes a fruit smoothie, preferring bananas, pineapples, watermelon, and cantaloupe. He’ll sometimes blend spinach and oats. Boiled eggs, omelets, fish, and chicken are his protein staples. He likes to hydrate with coconut water every day, and he never leaves home without a snack, typically a Nature Valley granola bar. “Nutrition helps a lot, trust me,” Hughes said. “It helps keep injury away. Because your body is always being fed, it doesn’t feed on itself.” 

While he had to wean himself away from his vice, chocolate cake, he maintains a nightly ritual of a bowl of corn flakes, which he says helps him sleep. On a rare occasion he splurges on a Burger King cheeseburger. 

During a flight, Hughes will go to the back of the aircraft to stretch. “I don’t care if anyone is looking at me,” he said. As soon as he lands, he tries to do a shakeout run, sprinting 50 meters on a hotel walkway for up to 15 minutes, or else he’ll put on compression boots and later have his physio flush out his legs. 

When he was 11, Hughes flew with a pilot from Anguilla to the British Virgin Islands. He remembers sitting in the cockpit, tempted to play with the instruments inside the aircraft. Only after the plane landed and was switched off did he have the opportunity to grab the control wheel. The experience encouraged his dream of becoming a pilot. He fulfilled his childhood goal of earning a pilot’s license in 2018, seven months after studying at the Caribbean Aviation Training Center in Jamaica.

So as not to interfere with track, he’d often arrive at the aviation center as early as 5 A.M.  “I had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it happen,” he said, noting that on a couple of occasions he reconsidered pursuing the license. Flying is now one way he spends time before mid-afternoon track sessions. At times he has flown a Cessna 172, a single-engine prop plane, up to four days a week for an hour and as far away as Montego Bay in Jamaica. 

Catch Hughes in action when he takes the starting line on August 19, day one of competition, for the first round of heats for the men’s 100-meter dash.

(08/19/2023) Views: 200 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online

Usain Bolt kicks off 2024 Olympic torch relay in Paris

On Tuesday, under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt helped kick off the Olympic torch relay ceremony, unveiling the torch and marking 365 days until the start of the 2024 Olympic Games.

The world record holder in the men’s 100m, 200m, and 4x100m events, Bolt proudly hoisted the torch high into the air, captivating the audience with his signature lightning-bolt pose. The sight of the world’s fastest man with the symbolic torch filled the air with excitement as thousands of Parisians turned up in anticipation of the upcoming games.

“I’m happy to be here,” said Bolt, the retired sprinter. “Paris has always been a city that I enjoyed competing and hanging out in. I’m excited for the Olympics next year. I’ll be here with my family.”

During the ceremony, Bolt unveiled the Olympic torch alongside Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet. The eight-time Olympic champion was paraded through the cheering crowd of spectators, waving French flags, as he unveiled and carried the torch around.

The opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympics is scheduled for July 26, 2024, and it will be the first Olympic ceremony in history to take place outside the traditional stadium setting, on boats, along the picturesque River Seine in front of an audience of over half a million spectators. The unveiling took place on the banks of the iconic river, which also inspired the design of the torch.

“I think it’s gonna be one of the best, if not the best, opening ceremony,” said Bolt to reporters. “Imagine everybody standing outside, across the bridges cheering people up. It’s never been done before…”

The torch, crafted with lightweight polished steel and a champagne hue, boasts a remarkable design imitating the reflection of the Eiffel Tower on the rippled surface of the Seine. This creative touch aims to convey a sense of peaceful energy, reflecting the spirit of Paris and the Games.

The Olympic flame will be ignited on April 16, 2024, in the ancient city of Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Games, symbolizing the beginning of the torch’s journey to Paris. The torch relay will pass through various French cities and landmarks, including the Pantheon in Paris and the picturesque Mont Saint-Michel, before the torch is passed to some of France’s overseas territories.

(07/26/2023) Views: 267 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

For this historic event, the City of Light is thinking big! Visitors will be able to watch events at top sporting venues in Paris and the Paris region, as well as at emblematic monuments in the capital visited by several millions of tourists each year. The promise of exceptional moments to experience in an exceptional setting! A great way to...


Ferdinand Omanyala Confident Ahead of World Athletics Championships: Nothing but Gold

In the last few years, Ferdinand Omanyala has become one of the best sprinters in the world and is looking to cement that in August at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Hungary.

He comfortably qualified for the event and will face stern competition from the Americans as he seeks to win one of the most important titles in his career.

The 27-year-old is Africa's fastest man but has yet to win a Diamond League race so far this season. He will take part in the Monaco Meet later this month. He recently clocked 9.85 seconds to win the national trials. Unfortunately, he will be the only man to represent Kenya in the 100m race.

The Commonwealth Games champion has a personal best of 9.77 seconds and wants to run 9.60 seconds. Only three men in history have run under 9.70 seconds, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and Tyson Gay, per World Athletics. Therefore, it will be an uphill task for the Kenyan star.

Omanyala's mindset heading to Budapest

Kenya is known for their middle and long-distance running, producing world-beaters for decades. Omanyala will make history if he beats defending world and Olympic champion Fred Kerley to win gold in Budapest.

He is confident going to the showpiece.

Kenya has never won a medal in the 100m race, and Omanyala will be the first if he wins it.

Omanyala leads Diamond League standings

Sports Brief previously reported on Omanyala being on course to qualify for the Diamond League finals, with the Commonwealth champion leading the standings after five legs.

He raced in his second-ever Diamond League race against an elite field in Rabat on May 28. He then followed it up with back-to-back races in Florence, Italy, and in Paris, France.

Omanyala - Africa's fastest man - took podium places in all three races. He came in third in Morocco before claiming two consecutive second-place finishes in Italy and France.

(07/18/2023) Views: 297 ⚡AMP
by Edwin Kiplagat
World Athletics Championships Budapest 23

World Athletics Championships Budapest 23

From August 19-27, 2023, Budapest will host the world's third largest sporting event, the World Athletics Championships. It is the largest sporting event in the history of Hungary, attended by athletes from more than 200 countries, whose news will reach more than one billion people. Athletics is the foundation of all sports. It represents strength, speed, dexterity and endurance, the...


When Will Eliud Kipchoge Slow Down?

What we can learn from the world’s greatest distance runner of all-time while he’s still in his prime

Eliud Kipchoge has expanded the universe of what’s humanly possible in the marathon, and he will forever remain a legend in the sport of long-distance running.

Not only for himself, but especially for those who have come after him. That includes everyone, both elite and recreational runners, who are preparing a marathon this fall or some distant point in the future. His current 2:01:09 world record and his barrier-breaking 1:59:40 time-trial effort in 2019 are legendary feats, both for the current generation of runners and for all time.

The 38-year-old Kenyan marathoner is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete, but time waits for no one, and especially not a long-distance runner. Like all elite athletes, his time at the top is limited, but fortunately, there is still time to immerse in the inspirational examples he’s providing.

Kipchoge recently announced he’ll return to the Berlin Marathon on September 24, where, last year, he won the race for the fourth time and lowered the world record for the second time. It is most likely what will be the beginning of a grand denouement as he goes for another gold medal at the 2024 Olympics next summer in Paris.

Given that he won his first global medal in the City of Light—when, at the age of 18, he outran Moroccan legend Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopian legend-in-the-making Kenenisa Bekele to win the 5,000-meter run at the 2003 world championships—it would certainly be one of the greatest stories ever told if he could win the Olympic marathon there next year when he’s nearly 40.

Certainly he’ll run a few more races after the Olympics—and maybe through the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles—but, realistically, it is the start of a farewell tour for a runner who will never be forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not at all writing Kipchoge off. In fact, I am excited to see him run in Berlin and can’t wait to watch next year’s Olympic marathon unfold. But just as we’ve watched Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Shalane Flanagan, Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix, and other elite athletes succumb to the sunsetting of their peak performance level, so too will Kipchoge eventually suffer the same fate.

What I’m saying here is that we still have time to watch and appreciate Kipchoge eloquently working his magic and continue to be inspired in our own running and other pursuits in life. Remember how we marveled at Michael Jordan’s greatest in “The Last Dance” more than 20 years after his heyday? This is the start of the last dance for Kipchoge, who, like Jordan, is much, much more than a generational talent; he’s an all-time great whose legacy will transcend time.

Running has seen many extraordinary stars in the past 50 years who have become iconic figures— Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Ted Corbitt, Carl Lewis, Steve Jones, Paul Tergat,  Catherine Ndereba, Paula Radcliffe, Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Mary Keitany, Brigid Kosgei, and Kilian Jornet, to name a few—but none have come close to the body of work and global influence of Kipchoge.

Not only is Kipchoge one of the first African athletes to become a household name and truly command a global audience, but he’s done more than other running champions because of he’s been able to take advantage of this advanced age of digital media to deliberately push positive messages and inspiring content to anyone who is willing to receive it.

Kipchoge has won two Olympic gold medals, set two world records, and won 17 of the 19 marathons he entered, but he’s so much less about the stats and bling and more sharing—to runners and non-runners alike—that “no human is limited” and also that, despite our differences, we’re all human beings faced with a lot of the same challenges in life and, ultimately, hard work and kindness are what put us on the path to success.

How can an average runner who works a nine-to-five job and juggles dozens of other things in daily life be inspired by an elite aerobic machine like Kipchoge?

He is supremely talented, no doubt, but many elite runners have a similar aerobic capacity to allow them to compete on the world stage. What Kipchoge uniquely possesses—and why he’s become the greatest of all-time—is the awareness and ability to be relentless in his pursuit of excellence, and the presence and good will of how beneficial it is to share it.

If you haven’t been following Kipchoge or heard him speak at press conferences or sponsor events, he’s full of genuine wisdom and encouragement that can inspire you in your own  running or challenging situation in life. His words come across much more powerfully than most other elite athletes or run-of-the-mill social media influencers, not only because he’s achieved at a higher level than anyone ever has, but because of his genuine interest in sharing the notion that it’s the simplest values—discipline, hard work, consistency, and selflessness—that make the difference in any endeavor.

This is not a suggestion to idolize Kipchoge, but instead to apply his wisdom and determination into the things that challenge you.

“If you want to break through, your mind should be able to control your body. Your mind should be a part of your fitness.”

“Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions.”

“If you believe in something and put it in your mind and heart, it can be realized.”

“The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second-best time to plant a tree is today.”

Those are among the many simple messages that Kipchoge has lived by, but he also openly professess to giving himself grace to take time for mental and physical rest and recovery. It’s a simple recipe to follow, if you’re chasing your first or fastest marathon, or any tall task in life.

Kipchoge seems to defy age, but his sixth-place finish in the Boston Marathon in April proved he’s human. As much as it was painful to watch him falter, it was oddly refreshing and relatable to see him be something less than exceptional, and especially now that he’s tuning up for Berlin. He has nothing left to prove—to himself, to runners, to the world—but he’s bound to keep doing so just by following the same simple, undaunted regimen he always has.


There will be other young runners who will rise and run faster than Kipchoge and probably very soon. Fellow Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum—who has run  2:01:53 (Valencia) and 2:01:25 (London) in his first two marathons since December—seems to be next in line for Kipchoge’s throne of the world’s greatest runner. But even after that happens, Kipchoge’s name will go down in history alongside the likes of Paavo Nurmi, Abebe Bikila, Emil Zátopek, Grete Waitz, Shorter and Samuelson because of how he changed running and how he gave us a lens to view running without limits.

Berlin is definitely not the end of Kipchoge’s amazing career  as the world’s greatest long-distance runner. I fully expect him to win again in an unfathomable time. But the sunset is imminent and, no matter if you are or have ever been an aspiring elite athlete at any level, a committed recreational runner, or just an occasional jogger trying to reap the fruits of consistent exercise, his example is still very tangible and something to behold.

(07/16/2023) Views: 946 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online

How to Get a Faster GPS Signal on Your Smartwatch

We tested affordable and high-end watches to see which located satellites quickest, and asked Garmin and Apple for their best troubleshooting tips.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried not to look awkward on the curb waiting for your smartwatch to get a GPS signal before a run. Like you, I’ve had my fair share of feigning interest in cloud formations, overstretching my quads, or just holding my wrist up to the sky while crossing the street with the faintest hope that maybe reaching for a satellite will make it engage with my watch.

During the winter months when I lived in a city apartment surrounded by tall buildings, I used to risk theft instead of freezing before my run. I’d leave my watch on the sidewalk, hoping an opportunist wouldn’t snatch it as I bundled up inside. Sometimes it’d get a signal. Mostly, I’d still be standing outside, shivering, waiting for one. Nobody ever stole my watch because no one was crazy enough to be outside on days I ran (every day, every season).

Those days are far behind me. My current watch, the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, gets a signal when I’m wearing it around my apartment in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. It’ll give me the green light even when I’m in my windowless bathroom or foyer.

My previous Garmin watches were the Forerunner 10, 45, 345 Music, and 745 Music. Considering this history, I wondered if a higher model number correlated with getting a quicker GPS signal. Or was it just my move outside the city to a skyscraper-free valley? Or, maybe enabling the watch’s Bluetooth connection to my smartphone helped me get a signal more easily. Wanting to find answers—and get a few tips— I contacted Apple and Garmin with troubleshooting questions. I also tested several watches to see which found GPS signals fastest.

GPS Signal Test—and Bust

To compare the times it takes different smartwatches to get a GPS signal, I asked the RW test team to relinquish their models. (Fools.) The watches tested included:

For my “lab” setup, I reset each watch to its factory settings (with the blessing of my coworkers) and synced it to my phone. After flitting through app download upon app download and creating user profiles for each one, I then used my phone’s timer to measure how long each took to get a signal in four different situations:

Indoors next to a window, with Bluetooth connection to my phone

Indoors next to a window, without Bluetooth connection to my phone

Outside with Bluetooth connection to my phone

Outside without Bluetooth connection to my phone

Testing was...frustrating. Results were everywhere. I recorded at the office and at home. There were lots of outside variables and other issues that led to mixed outcomes. 

For example, ideally I would test the watches at different altitudes, in an open field, in the middle of Times Square, beneath an overcast sky on one day and cloudless skies on another. But time and travel had me abbreviate testing conditions. And in the end, it seems all of the above wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

By chance, I was able to do the window test on both a cloudy and sunny day, and results varied—for each watch. For instance, the Coros Vertix 2 clocked 01:16.64 by an office window with Bluetooth on a cloudy day. On a clear and sunny day, it found a signal in 00:15.89. Just minutes later on that same day, in that same position, it located a satellite in 00:09.78. 

The $700 Coros Vertix 2 also took longer to get a signal, both with and without Bluetooth, compared to the more affordable Garmin Forerunner 45. The fastest times from my Coros and Garmin tests are compared below:

The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar performed as expected, beating the Forerunner 45 by approximately two seconds in both trials.

What could cause a high-end smartwatch like the Coros Vertix 2 to underperform? And how does a $130-Garmin get a signal faster than Usain Bolt’s world record-breaking 100-meter dash (00:09.58)?

On Coros’s support webpage, users are advised to download GPS satellite location data and send it to their watch before their runs. Data validity depends on the watch model and will last three to seven days. When location data expires, the watch can take over two minutes to receive a signal. Usually, the data updates automatically if the watch is synced with the Coros companion app on your smartphone. However, sometimes you will need to perform this update manually. 

Talking With Garmin

Joe Heikes, who is Garmin’s international product manager, said the model number and price of a watch will sometimes have an effect on the time it takes to get a signal. “Higher end models have additional satellite reception technologies that can improve performance. For example, the Forerunner 255, 265, 955, and 965 all have multi-band satellite receivers, whereas our entry-level Forerunner 55 does not.”

To get a faster signal, syncing your watch with your phone is the number one most important thing a user can do. 

“Through that phone sync in the background, we send the watch satellite data that helps tremendously with the speed of signal acquisition—and accuracy, too,” said Heikes. “To be clear, you don’t have to always be connected to the phone, and you certainly do NOT have to take the phone along on the run to get the benefit. However, if you are normally connected to the phone on a daily basis, then the watch will have the best, most up-to-date satellite data to work with when you do head out the door for your run.”

Heikes also confirmed that tall buildings do block satellite signals. But when it comes to congested areas—say, a race corral—the amount of time for your watch’s GPS to kick in is in no way delayed due to the crowd of runners also waiting for a signal. 

“It’s not like cellphones where everyone is vying for a channel,” said Heikes. “All the watches can listen to the satellites at the same time, just like all the cars on the freeway can be listening to the same FM radio station at the same time.”

Going Ultra

Out of the five tested, the one watch that made using a timer obsolete was the Apple Watch Ultra. This is because the watch doesn’t alert you before a workout when it has acquired a GPS signal. It features a precision dual-frequency GPS system—the watch already has a signal and provides data (pace, time, map, etc.) postrun. The standard system on smartwatches is a single L1 GPS frequency band, which can go wonky when tall buildings or dense foliage block satellites. The Ultra uses both L1 and L5 frequency GPS, allowing it to have the most accurate GPS in dense areas. 

Additionally, L5 combined with Apple’s map-matching software greatly improves accuracy for city workouts. For example, if you’re running the Chicago Marathon, Apple Maps data is used in combination with data from Apple Watch. This gives you an accurate route map, as opposed to showing that you’re running in the river.

This system, however, has its flaws. Jeff Dengate, Runner-in-Chief and director of product testing, found the Apple Watch Ultra’s distance measurements a little off, cutting his runs shorter compared to the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar. (Dengate ran with both watches simultaneously to test their accuracy on a USATF distance-certified racecourse.) You can use the Precision Start feature, which omits the “3-2-1 Ready!” countdown before your run and lets you know when it locks a GPS signal on the top left of the watchface. It’s an ideal shortcut when you’re toeing a race’s start line.

Dual-frequency and Precision Start are major pluses for the Apple Watch Ultra. But there are other features to consider when choosing a smartwatch besides which one gets GPS the quickest. (Battery life, weight, and ease of navigation are especially important for runners.) However, if your patience costs $800—well, I’ll leave you to make that decision on your own.

(07/08/2023) Views: 263 ⚡AMP
by Runner's World

Why Are Runners Suddenly So Fast?

Records are falling and times are dropping. Is it the shoes, or something else?

Consider the Paris Diamond League meet in early June. Jakob Ingebrigtsen smashed the two-mile world best by more than four seconds, becoming just the second man to run back-to-back sub-four-minute miles. Then Faith Kipyegon notched her second world record in a row, outsprinting the reigning record-holder over 5,000 meters just a week after becoming the first woman under 3:50 in the 1,500 meters. Then, to cap the night, Lamecha Girma took down the steeplechase record.

It was a great night—but it was just one of many great nights that track fans have been treated to recently. A week later, at the historic Bislett Games in Oslo, eight men broke 3:30 for 1,500 meters in one race, setting a new record—including Yared Nuguse, who set a new U.S. best. Meet records fell in almost every event. At the collegiate level, an analysis by Oregon-based coach Peter Thompson shows that the number of middle- and long-distance runners hitting elite benchmark times has doubled, tripled, or in some events even quadrupled in the last two years. Earlier in June, four high-school boys broke four minutes for the mile in a single race, matching the total number of people who’d done it in history prior to 2011.

I could go on.

There are two main questions that arise from this buffet of speed. First, is it real? Are runners getting faster across the board, or are we just being fooled by the brilliance of a few individuals and random fluctuations in the depth of different events? Second, if it’s really happening, then why? The easy answer is, “It’s gotta be the shoes” (or, in this case, the super spikes), but does the data really back that up?

I don’t have any definitive answers at this point, but here are my thoughts on some of the possible explanations.

It’s easy to make an anecdotal case that runners are faster than ever. Backing that up with data isn’t quite as straightforward. If you look only at whether the top-ranked time in the world is getting faster or slower from year to year, any trends will depend on whether you happen to have a generational athlete in the event at a given point in time. The effect of an Usain Bolt is bigger than the effect of, say, a new shoe design. Even if you go deeper, the top ten times in any year often come from just one or two races that took place in exceptionally good conditions. So you’re better off looking farther down the list.

For example, here’s some data for the men’s 1,500 meters between 2009 and 2022, drawn from the World Athletics database. I’ve shown the first, tenth, 100th, and 1,000th ranked performers (not performances) for each year. The horizontal dashed lines show the average for 2009 to 2018. The first super spike prototypes had shown up on the circuit by 2019 at latest, and were widely available by 2021. The big spike of slower times in 2020 is because there were so few races due to the pandemic.

The number-one times don’t show any particular trend. The tenth-best times show a dip since 2021, but no bigger than the dip in 2014-2015 (which corresponded to two particularly fast races in Monaco). For the 100th and 1,000th best times, the pre-pandemic data finally starts to look more consistent, which makes the dip since 2021 more telling. The 1,000th-best performer is now 0.9 percent faster than the pre-pandemic average, and the 100th-best is 0.5 percent faster. This is smaller than the 1.3-percent estimate derived from lab testing of super spikes, but in the ballpark.

Here’s comparable data for the women’s 5,000 meters:

Again, the first- and tenth-ranked times fluctuate too much to draw any conclusions. The 100th and 1,000th places do show an apparent drop in the last few years, by 1.9 and 2.0 percent respectively—more than the lab estimate. There are lots of possible explanations for this discrepancy, including that the benefits of super spikes are reduced at faster speeds.

I’ll add one more graph just for context. Supershoes came to road running way back in 2016 (for prototypes) and became widely available by 2018. I think most observers agree that these shoes really have affected road-running times. So what does the comparable data show for, say, men’s marathon times? Here it is:

The data is confounded by the effects of the pandemic, particularly in 2020. Still, the post-supershoe improvement looks fairly similar to the track data. Compared to the 2009 to 2016 average, last year’s times were 0.7 percent faster at tenth, 1.6 percent faster at 100th, and 1.3 percent faster at 1,000th.

The conclusion I take from all this data? It does like there’s something going on, both on the track and on the roads. But it’s way less obvious in the data than I expected. My subjective feeling was that the last few years have seen records broken and times redefined at a totally unprecedented rate. I thought I’d see robust improvement of at least three or four percent. But that scale of change is not there, at least in the events I sampled.

So with that in mind, what explains the changes we do see?

My starting assumption is that any performance improvements we’ve seen in the last few years are because of the shoes. I’m not going to belabor that point here, because I’ve already written plenty on both road supershoes and super spikes.

But I do want to make one key point. The reason my prime suspect is the shoes is that we have direct laboratory evidence that both types of shoes improve running economy, by around 2 percent on the track and at least 4 percent on the roads (and, to complete the circle, lab evidence that improved running economy directly translates to faster race times). It would take some weird and hitherto undiscovered science in order for the shoes not to make us faster. In contrast, the other hypotheses that I’m going to discuss below may be compelling to various degrees, but all rely on some assumptions and guesses and hand-waving.

Here’s a sentence you wouldn’t have read prior to 2018, from Letsrun’s description of Kipyegon’s thrilling 1,500 world record in Florence: “Kipyegon sprinted away from the pacing lights with 200m to go, lengthening her gap from the green lights as she rounded the turn and entered the home straightaway.” I wrote about World Athletics’s introduction of Wavelight pacing lights when Joshua Cheptegei set the 5,000-meter world record in 2020, positing that more even splits could make a notable difference to times. Good pacing has been a hallmark of this year’s records too, all assisted by Wavelight.

Wavelight doesn’t factor in on the roads, but ever since Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two marathon exhibitions, big-time marathons have devoted more attention to providing top-notch pacers for their elite runners. That has the double benefit of saving the mental effort of setting the pace, and of reducing air resistance. I think good pacing and drafting are both beneficial. But that can’t explain why the 100th and 1,000th performers seem to be getting faster, because Wavelight and paid rabbits are generally reserved for the front of the pack.

Freed from the tyranny of over-frequent racing during lockdowns, runners spent 2020 building up a massive base of endurance that has catapulted them to new levels. It’s even possible that, having learned their lesson, they’ll continue with this more patient approach to training. This theory has the disadvantage of being both unprovable and unfalsifiable. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s untrue, but if performance levels don’t start regressing to their pre-pandemic means over the next few years, I’ll remain skeptical.

It’s the “big, sexy thing” in endurance training these days, as miler Hobbs Kessler put it in a recent interview: lactate-guided double-threshold training, as popularized by Norwegian Olympic champions Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Kristian Blummenfelt. As I explained in this article, the approach emphasizes high volumes of threshold training with very tight control on the intensity to avoid going too hard. Whether it’s objectively better than other training approaches remains to be seen—but it hasn’t yet been adopted widely enough to make a noticeable impact on the top-1,000 list.

In the past, when I’ve looked at broad trends in performance over time, one of the first factors I’ve considered is changes in drug availability or drug testing. It’s extremely noticeable (though of course not proof of anything) that long-distance track times took off like a rocket shortly after the introduction of EPO in the early 1990s. If you look carefully, you can find what seems to be the performance signature of various drug-related events like the introduction of EPO testing and, more recently, the implementation of athlete biological passports.

Is there something new on the scene over the last few years? Or are we still seeing the effects of pandemic-related disruptions in out-of-competition drug testing? I certainly hope it’s not the case, but you’d have to be amnesiac to discount the possibility entirely. Once again, the best counterargument is that the performance improvements are noticeable even at the 1,000th-best level—though perhaps I’m being naive.

As you can probably tell, I don’t think any of the alternative explanations I’ve offered so far hold water compared to my default assumption that it’s the shoes. But this last category is a little different. If you spend enough time arguing with people about why runners are getting faster, you’ll encounter a number of broad, hand-waving theories that are hard to substantiate but nonetheless sound reasonable.

For example, I can attest to the fact that the Internet has made training knowledge far more widely accessible than it was when I was a young athlete in the 1990s. Ideas and approaches (like the Norwegian model) are endlessly debated and dissected, and any student of the sport is exposed to multiple perspectives. (In contrast, when I arrived at university and found that the workouts were different from those I’d done in high school, I thought the world was ending.) This theory has been offered frequently over the last decade or more as an explanation for steadily improving U.S. high school times. Maybe it’s true more broadly: people everywhere simply know more about the principles of training, and are doing it better (or at least fewer people are doing really stupid training) compared to the past. Even if elite coaching was always pretty good, this creates a wider pyramid of prospective talent feeding into the elite coaches.

I also have the sense that the pendulum has swung away from sit-and-kick racing towards aggressive front-running. After the 2019 world championships, where super spikes first made headlines, I wrote an article about the unusually fast early paces of the races. Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the current king of the 1,500, is notable for running from the front and pushing the pace rather than relying on a finishing sprint—which likely helps explain why he led those seven other men under 3:30 in Oslo. If runners these days are more focused on running fast times rather than trying to win sprint finishes, it stands to reason that times would get faster overall.

And there are plenty of other theories out there—broader support for professional training groups, better nutrition and recovery, the inevitable march of progress, and some that I’ve undoubtedly missed completely. As I said at the top, I don’t know the answers, and I don’t think anyone else does either. Times do seem to be improving, but not as much as I would have guessed based on all the hype about recent record-breaking. The shoes almost certainly play some role—but if there’s some other secret sauce in there, it’ll be fun trying to figure out what it is.

(07/01/2023) Views: 700 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online

Is Wavelight technology good for the sport?

Last week at the Paris Diamond League, we witnessed one of the most extraordinary single-day spectacles in the history of the sport. Over the course of two hours, two world records and a world best were shattered; the races were nothing short of spectacular, particularly when Faith Kipyegon skilfully closed the gap on the Wavelight during the final two laps, leaving Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey in the dust and achieving the seemingly impossible: a new women’s 5,000m world record.

The question of whether Wavelights are beneficial for the sport remains subjective, with opinions among track fans varying. On one hand, they enhance the performance and make races more engaging for spectators at the track or watching from home. On the other hand, they provide a precise pacing strategy for elite athletes, potentially facilitating faster times and diminishing the traditional element of intense competition.What is Wavelight technology?

Wavelight technology, named for the Mexican Wave, was introduced by World Athletics in 2019. It serves as a tool for athletes and spectators, offering assistance with pacing and providing a visual representation of the race’s progression. A wave of lights appears along the inside edge of the track, moving at the desired pace for the race. Typically used in distance events like the 800m, 1,500m, or 5,000m, these lights are programmed to signify specific benchmarks, such as world championship standards, meeting records or world record times.Pros

People are drawn to track and field events to witness athletes breaking records, and Wavelight can serve as a valuable tool for athletes to gauge their paces and attempt to break records. A notable example: at the Paris Diamond League on June 9, where Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway and Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia ran ahead of the lights to set new records in their respective races. In Girma’s case, the lights pushed and challenged him throughout the 3,000m steeplechase, with Girma narrowly staying ahead in the final 100m to break the previous world record by one second.

Girma’s reliance on the lights became evident as his pace dropped off after 1,000m, and he had to dig deep to maintain the pace set by the flashing lights. Without them, it is unlikely he would have achieved the record.Track and field has faced challenges since the departure of Usain Bolt in 2017, with the sport seeking its next superstar. The success of major events like the World Championships and the Olympic Games significantly increases the sport’s popularity.

World Athletics recognizes the importance of world or national records in the Diamond League circuit, which contribute to increased viewership. The implementation of Wavelight technology allows athletes to run faster and challenge these record times, catering to the audience’s desire for exciting and fast-paced performances.While not every race will produce record-breaking times, Wavelight enhances the potential for thrilling performances that captivate viewers and generate greater interest in the sport.


When Ingebrigtsen shattered Daniel Komen’s two-mile record, which had stood for 26 years, my immediate thought was how fast Komen could have run with today’s technology. Komen had pacers guide him through the first 2,000m before running the final kilometre alone against the clock. Similarly, Ingebrigtsen had pacers until around the 2,000m mark, but they gradually dropped off, leaving him with a lead of 10-15 metres over the lights.

Depending on the race style or purpose, I believe Wavelight can have a positive impact on the sport. But they also detract from what track and field is fundamentally about—the world’s best athletes competing against one another. Watching a Diamond League event where one athlete outpaces the rest of the field by 15 to 20 seconds in the 3,000m steeplechase does not benefit the sport. While celebrating superstars is important, track and field legends like Komen, Kenenisa Bekele, Genzebe Dibaba and David Rudisha never had events specifically set up for them to chase world records.

They achieved their records in the heat of competition, racing against other competitors. This is where I believe Wavelight technology crosses a line.A compelling comparison was published in Track & Field News in 2020, analyzing the current and former 10,000m world records—Joshua Cheptegei’s record with pace lights versus Bekele’s record without them. The analysis revealed that Cheptegei maintained much more even splits than Bekele, with a variance of less than a second (0.8s) between his kilometres, which is truly remarkable. In contrast, Bekele’s variance was five times greater, with a difference of nearly five seconds between his fastest and slowest kilometres.I am not suggesting that Wavelights are ruining the sport of track and field, but I believe their use should be limited to specific situations, such as aiming for world standards or being present only during the final lap or two of distances ranging from 1,500m to 10,000m.

By implementing such limits, World Athletics can strike a balance between using technology for pacing assistance and preserving the essence of competitive racing.

(06/17/2023) Views: 529 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine

Faith Kipyegon smashes women’s 1500m world record in Florence

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon smashed the women’s 1500m world record, clocking 3 minutes, 49.11 seconds at a Diamond League meet in Florence, Italy, on Friday.

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic champion and two-time world champion, took 96 hundredths of a second off Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba‘s world record from 2015. Kipyegon began the day as the second-fastest woman in history at 3:50.37.

The 29-year-old was already the most decorated female miler in history, the only one with four global 1500m titles. Her Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 2021 were separated by a 22-month maternity leave from competition (that included 12 months without running).

Kipyegon was the eighth of nine children growing on a farm in the Kenyan Rift Valley. She was a soccer player at age 14 when she lined up for a one-kilometer run in PE class, according to World Athletics.

“I won that race by 20 meters,” Kipyegon said, according to World Athletics in 2016. “It is only then I knew I could run fast and be a good athlete.”

In 2010, a barefooted Kipyegon placed fourth in the world cross country championships junior race as, at age 16, the youngest finisher in the top 21. The next year, she won it. The year after that, she made her Olympic debut at age 18. By 2015, Jenny Simpson, arguably the best American miler in history, had a nickname for her: “The Sniper,” for her ability to run people down in the final lap.

She ran her last lap on Friday in under 59 seconds.

Next year, Kipyegon can become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track race three times, joining Usain Bolt. She said last year that she may shift to the 5000m after the 2024 Paris Games, according to

Also in Florence, world champion Fred Kerley extended a year-plus win streak in the men’s 100m, prevailing in 9.94 seconds over Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala (10.04) and American Trayvon Bromell (10.09).

(06/02/2023) Views: 321 ⚡AMP
by Olympic Talk

Usain Bolt wants to return to track and field

The fastest man in history, Usain Bolt, who dominated men’s sprinting for nearly a decade, has expressed interest in reviving the sport that brought him worldwide fame.

In an interview with Reuters, the 36-year-old Jamaican sprinter revealed he has aspirations to make a significant impact in track and field, highlighting a need for charismatic personalities to inspire and bring back the sport’s glory. He disclosed he has reached out to World Athletics on multiple occasions, expressing his willingness to make a larger impact in the sport if given the opportunity. Bolt said the discussions are ongoing, but he eagerly awaits a position where he can actively contribute to the growth and development of the sport.

Bolt acknowledged that the sport experienced a slight decline after his departure. However, he sees promising signs in young athletes like U.S. sprinter and 200m world champion Noah Lyles. “Lyles has the charisma and big personality required to engage and captivate audiences,” said Bolt to Reuters. He believes emerging personalities (like Lyles) will help fill the charisma gap, leading to a resurgence of interest in track and field.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist also reflected on the lack of popularity of the sport in the U.S. and on the disappointing crowd turnouts at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Ore. “Sometimes it’s all about where it is, America is not the biggest track and field place,” he said. But he anticipates that the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics will be a significant moment for the sport, citing its accessibility, historical presence and talented athletes as contributing factors.

While Jamaica’s men’s team has struggled to replicate its success since Bolt’s departure, the 100m world record holder also sees a resurgence in the nation’s sprinting program in young sprinters Oblique Seville, who finished fourth in the 100m at the 2022 World Championships last year, and Ackeem Blake, who ran a personal best of 9.89 seconds at the L.A. Grand Prix last weekend.

“Hopefully, these two will motivate other youngsters to step up and want to train harder and dedicate themselves,” Bolt said.

(06/02/2023) Views: 349 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

German sprinter runs 9.51 seconds, discovers clock was broken

Those in attendance at the Puma Fast Arms, Fast Legs track meet on Wednesday in Wetzlar, Germany, were in shock when German sprinter Milo Skupin-Alfa stopped the clock at 9.51 seconds in heat two of the 100m qualifying round. The timing clock showed Skupin-Alfa ran the fastest 100m time in history, but moments later it was discovered to be broken.

Germany is well known for its fast tracks–it’s where the great Usain Bolt set his 100m world record of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. But Skupin-Alfa will have to go back to the drawing board to run 9.51 seconds.

The time would have been a massive result for the 24-year-old, Skupin-Alfa, who held a personal best of 10.23 seconds heading into the race. Meet officials managed to get the clock fixed shortly after and credited him with the heat win and a time of 10.36 seconds (+2.4 m/s).

Only one sprinter in history has, unofficially, run faster than Bolt’s world record. In 2011 on a Japanese TV show, U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin ran 9.45 seconds for 100m with the help of several massive wind fans gusting +20.0 m/s tailwinds. The 2004 Olympic 100m champion had a large industrial fan behind his starting blocks and four wind fans strategically placed in the lanes beside him.

Even though Skupin-Alfa did not run a personal best or world record in Wetzlar, he has a promising career ahead of him.

(05/28/2023) Views: 383 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine

10 Reasons to Start Following Track and Field This Year

The 2023 season should be full of record-breaking performances from the sport’s biggest stars. Here are the most important things to know. 

Track is back, and if the results from the indoor season and early outdoor meets are any indication, it should be another year of eye-popping results around 400-meter ovals this summer.

Why is track and field relevant to the average recreational runner?

Perhaps you’re running some of the same distances in your training and racing. Or maybe you have a connection to some of the events from your youth, days in gym class or on the playground. From a human performance perspective, no sport showcases the all-out speed, red-line endurance, max power, dynamic agility, and meticulous bodily control as track and field does.

Here’s a primer on the most awe-inspiring athletes and events of this summer’s track season. Because, come on: with a sport that includes events as multifaceted as the pole vault, as primal as the shot put, and as wild as the 3,000-meter steeplechase—a 1.8-mile race with 28 fixed barriers to hurdle and seven water pits to jump—what’s not to like?

One of the many things that makes track and field so special is that it’s one of the most diverse sports on the planet, both culturally and athletically.

Last summer, athletes from a record 29 different countries earned medals in the 25 different running, jumping, and throwing events at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

At the highest level, there are athletes of all shapes and sizes from every culture and socioeconomic background. While there certainly are racial and cultural stereotypes that need dissolving and vast inequality among competing countries, from a performance point of view the sport is largely meritocratic, based on the time or distance achieved in a given competition.

Watching American Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone masterfully win the 400-meter hurdles in a world-record time last summer in front of a deafening crowd at Hayward Field in Eugene was a riveting experience. It was vastly different than watching Grenada’s Anderson Peters win the javelin world title with a career-best throw of 90.54 meters on his final attempt to beat India’s Neeraj Chopra, but both had edge-of-your-seat excitement, athletic excellence, and cultural significance.

One of the knocks against track and field in recent years is that it hasn’t done enough to attract casual fans the way professional football, basketball, hockey, and soccer have. Following the On Track Fest, the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix on May 26-27 in Los Angeles is trying to up the ante by combining a mix of elite-level competition, an interactive fan festival, and top-tier musical performances.

Billed as the one of the deepest track meets ever held on U.S. soil, it will feature a star-studded 400-meter face-off featuring Americans Michael Norman, the reigning world champion, and Kirani James, a three-time Olympic medalist from Grenada, and a women’s 100-meter hurdles clash with world champion Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, Olympic silver medalist Keni Harrison of the U.S., and Olympic gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico.

Saturday’s action will be broadcast live on NBC Sports from 4:30 P.M. to 6 P.M. ET and be followed by a concert event called the Legends Jam, which will include appearances from some legendary athletes and be headlined by Grammy-winning singer Judith Hill.

American sprint sensation Sha’Carri Richardson will be racing the 100-meter dash at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix. You probably remember her for her perceived failures more than the astounding times she’s actually achieved on the track.

Two years ago, the sprinter from Dallas blew away the field in the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a 10.86 effort, but then she was famously suspended after testing positive for cannabis (which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances) and missed the Tokyo Olympics as a result. (She admitted using the drug to cope with the pressure of qualifying for the Olympics while also mourning the recent death of her biological mother.)

Then last year, despite strong early season performances, Richardson failed to make the finals of the 100-meter or 200-meter at the U.S. championships, so she missed out on running in the first world championships held on American soil.

This year, the 23-year-old sprinter appears to be locked in and better than ever, posting a world-leading 10.76 100-meter time on May 5 in Doha (she also ran an eye-popping 10.57 with an over-the-limit tailwind on April 9 in Florida) and posted the second-fastest time in the 200-meter (22.07) on May 13 at a meet in Kenya.

If she keeps it all together, expect Richardson to finally contend with elite Jamaican sprinters Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100 and 4×100-meter relay in August at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

A few years ago, American sprinter Fred Kerley was on his way to becoming one of the world’s best 400-meter runners. But he wanted more than that. What he really had his heart set on was becoming the world’s fastest man, a moniker that goes with the most dominant sprinter in the 100-meter dash.

Ignoring doubters, Kerley retooled his training and earned the silver medal in the 100-meter at the Tokyo Olympics (.04 seconds behind Italy’s Marcell Jacobs) and then continued his ascent last year by winning the U.S. championships (in 9.76, the sixth-fastest time in history) and world championships (9.86).

The 28-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, also became one of just two other runners (along with American Michael Norman and South African Wayde van Niekerk) to ever run sub-10 seconds in the 100-meter, sub-20 seconds in the 200-meter, and sub-44 seconds in the 400-meter. So far this year, Kerley has two of the four fastest 100-meter times of the season, including a speedy 9.88 on May 21 in Japan.

After trading barbs on social media this spring, Kerley and Jacobs are expected to face off in an epic 100-meter showdown on May 28 at a Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, marking the first time the Olympic gold medalist and the world champion in the men’s 100m face off since the 2012 Olympic final, when Jamaican Usain Bolt beat countryman Yohan Blake. American Trayvon Bromell, the silver medalist at last year’s world championships, is also in the field, so it should be an extraordinary tilt.

If you’re a gambler, bet on Kerley to win that one and eventually get close to Bolt’s 9.58 world record. (To do so, he’ll be running faster than 26 miles per hour!) But don’t count out Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, the early world leader (9.84), or fellow American sub-9.9 guys Bromell, Norman, Christian Coleman, and Noah Lyles at the 2023 World Athletics Championships on August 20, in Budapest. Depending on which three Americans join Kerley (who has an automatic qualifier) at the world championships, it’s actually quite likely the U.S. could sweep the top four spots in the 100 in Budapest.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the world’s top track and field stars competing live in the U.S., this is the year to do it. The May 26-27 USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix meet and June 3-4 Portland Track Festival are part of what might be the mosst compelling outdoor track season ever held on U.S. soil.

If you’re looking for an athlete to marvel at, start with Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the Olympics in 2021 and World Athletics Championships last summer. She’s been one of the sport’s rising stars since she was a teenager and yet she’s only 23. Her trajectory is still rising—especially since she moved to Los Angeles to train under coach Bob Kersee. Driven by her strong faith, McLaughlin-Levrone is the personification of hard work, grace and competitiveness.

This year she’ll temporarily step away from her primary event to show off her pure sprinting prowess when she opens her season in a “flat” 400-meter race at the Diamond League meet in Paris on June 9. Her personal best in the 400-meter is 50.07 seconds, set when she was a freshman at the University of Kentucky, but she clocked a speedy 50.68 while running over hurdles, en route to a world-record setting win at last summer’s world championships.

Her best 400-meter split as part of a 4×400-meter relay is 47.91, so it’s within reason to think she could be one of several runners to challenge the long-standing world record of 47.60 set in 1985 by East German Marita Koch. Because McLaughlin-Levrone has an automatic qualifier to the world championships in the 400-meter hurdles, she will likely run the open 400-meter at the U.S. championships and decide after the meet which one she’ll focus on.

American 800-meter ace Athing Mu has looked unbeatable for the past several years as she won Olympic gold in the event at the Tokyo Olympics and last year’s world championships. In fact, she has been unbeatable, having won 13 straight races since she dropped out of a mile race at the Millrose Games in January 2022. Going back to 2020 (when she was a senior in high school) and 2021 (during her one season at Texas A&M), she’s finished first in 51 of her past 53 races (relays included), with her only loss being a narrow runner-up finish to Kaelin Roberts in the 400-meter at the 2021 NCAA indoor championships.

Mu, who is also coached by Kersee and trains with McLaughlin-Levrone, seems to be the most likely athlete to challenge the women’s 800-meter world record of 1:53.28, set in 1983 by the Czech Republic’s Jarmila Kratochvílová. It’s the longest standing record in track and field, and only two runners have come within a second of it in the past 15 years. Her personal best of 1:55.04 is an American record and the eighth-fastest time in history. She’s still only 20 years old, so she has many years to keep improving and other historic opportunities ahead of her.

Mu said earlier this year she’d like to try a 400-800-meter double at an Olympics or world championships if the schedule permits—it’s only been done once successfully by Cuba’s Alberto Juantorena at the 1976 Games—but her coach has said she might attempt a 800-1,500-meter double next year at the Paris Olympics.

This year, Mu will run the 1,500 meters at the USATF Championships in July, but will likely defend her 800-meter title at the world championships in Budapest, as well as potentially running on the U.S. women’s 4×400-meter relay and the mixed-gender 4×400-meter relay (with McLaughlin-Levrone) for an opportunity to win three gold medals in a single championships.

With apologies to quarterback extraordinaire Patrick Mahomes, gymnastics all-arounder Simone Biles, and skiing superstar Mikela Shiffrin, pole vaulter Armand Duplantis just might be the most dynamically talented athlete in the world. That’s because he’s the world’s most dominant athlete (and has set six world records) in arguably the most demanding discipline, not only in track and field but quite possibly in any sport. No sport discipline involves such a dynamic combination of speed, power, precision and agility, and Duplantis, who is only 23, is already the greatest of all-time.

Prove me wrong or watch him set his latest world record (6.22 meters or 20 feet, 5 inches) at an indoor meet on February 25 in Clermont-Ferrand, France. That’s the equivalent of vaulting onto the roof of a two-story building, and in his case, often with room to spare.

Duplantis, who grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, to athletic parents with Swedish and Finnish heritage, represents Sweden in international competitions. He started pole vaulting at age three, set his first of 11 age-group world-best marks at age seven, and won an NCAA title in 2019 as a freshman competing for LSU before turning pro.

All indications are that North Carolina State junior Katelyn Tuohy could become the next American running star. All she has done since she was young is win races and break records.

After winning the NCAA outdoor 5,000-meter a year ago, she won the NCAA cross country title in November. During the indoor track season this past winter, she set a new collegiate mile record (4:24.26) and won both the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter title at the NCAA indoor championships in March. On May 7, the 21-year-old from Thiells, New York, broke the NCAA outdoor 5,000-meter record by 17 seconds, clocking 15:03.12 at the Sound Running On Track Fest.

Tuohy will be running both the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter at the NCAA East Regional May 24-27 in Jacksonville, Florida, with the hopes of eventually advancing to the finals of both events at the June 7-10 NCAA Division I championship meet in Austin, Texas.

University of Arkansas junior Britton Wilson is a top collegiate star who is ready for prime time at the pro level. She won the 400-meter in a world-leading and collegiate record time of 49.13 in mid-May at the SEC Championships, where she also won the 400-meter hurdles (53.23) in a world-leading time. The 22-year-old from Richmond, Virginia, was the runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles at last year’s U.S. championships and fifth in the world championships, and could contend for a spot on Team USA in either event at the July 6-9 U.S. championships.

Kerley and Lyles are expected to square off in a 200-meter race at the USATF New York Grand Prix meet on June 24 at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City. There are also two high-level Puma American Track League meets in Tennessee—the Music City Track Carnival June 2 in Nashville and the Ed Murphey Classic August 4-5 in Memphis—and two Under Armour Sunset Tour meets organized by Sound Running on July 22 in Los Angeles and July 29 in Baltimore.

The best U.S. meet of the year, though, will be the USATF Outdoor Championships held July 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon, where American athletes will be vying for top-three finishes to earn a chance to compete for Team USA at the 2023 World Athletics Championships August 19-27 in Budapest.

The U.S. season will culminate with the September 16-17 Pre Classic in Eugene, Oregon, a two two-day meet that will double as the finals of the international Diamond League circuit and should include many of the top athletes who will be representing their countries in next summer’s Paris Olympics. (And if you want to see the country’s top high school athletes run unfathomable times for teenagers, check out the Brooks PR Invitational on June 14 in Seattle, Washington.)

At the June 2 Diamond League meet in Rome, Italy, the men’s field in the 5,000-meter run will have what might be the fastest field ever assembled, with 13 runners who have personal best times of 12:59 or faster.

The field will be headlined by Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, who lowered the world record to 12:35.36 in Monaco three years ago. (That’s a pace of 4:03 per mile!). But it will also include Kenya’s Jacob Krop (12:45.71) and Nicholas Kipkorir (12:46.33), Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha (12:46.79), American Grant Fisher (12:46.79), Canadian Mohammed Ahmed (12:47.20), and Guatemalan-American Luis Grijalva (13:02.94), among others. With a big prize purse at stake and pacesetters ramping up the speed from the start, it should be a race for the ages.

(05/28/2023) Views: 311 ⚡AMP
by Outside Online

Jamaican sprinter Bouwahjie Nkrumie, 19, runs 100m in 9.99, setting U20 national record

March 29 was quite a day for 19-year-old sprinter Bouwahjie Nkrumie of Kingston, Jamaica. Nkrumie stormed to a U20 national record time of 9.99 seconds (+0.3 m/s) at the Jamaica High School Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, becoming only the third runner in the world to break the 10-second barrier before turning 20.

Nkrumie, 19, nicknamed “Dr. Speed,” became the youngest Jamaican sprinter to break the barrier, which is an incredible feat considering the small Caribbean nation’s rich sprinting history (including Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake). The future of the 100m looks bright as Nkrumie joins American Trayvon Bromell and U20 world record holder, Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo, in the U20 sub-10 club. 

Last year, Tebogo beat Nkrumie in the 100m final at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia. Nkrumie ran his previous best of 10.02 seconds in the final, but was second to Tebogo, who won in a U20 world record of 9.91 seconds.

Nkrumie’s time of 9.99 was also a 2023 world lead for 100m, but it only lasted a few hours until Akani Simbine of South Africa ran a time of 9.98 seconds (+1.0 m/s) in the men’s 100m heats at the South African Championships.

The new Jamaican record holder is in his final year of high school at Kingston College, an all-male sports and academic-focused secondary school in Kingston. We will likely see Nkrumie take on the world’s best later this year at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August.

(03/31/2023) Views: 497 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
World Athletics Championships Budapest 23

World Athletics Championships Budapest 23

From August 19-27, 2023, Budapest will host the world's third largest sporting event, the World Athletics Championships. It is the largest sporting event in the history of Hungary, attended by athletes from more than 200 countries, whose news will reach more than one billion people. Athletics is the foundation of all sports. It represents strength, speed, dexterity and endurance, the...


Why marathoners should do sprint work, sprinting isn't just for short-distance racers

Whether you’re running a 100m dash, a 5K road race or a marathon, you should incorporate speedwork into your weekly schedule. We know that the saying is, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some sprinting in training. Here are a few reasons why you need to add sprints to your repertoire, and a few ways to do so. 

Sprinting helps your speed 

Sprinting makes you faster. Well, duh, right? If it’s so obvious, then why haven’t you been doing sprint work forever? Sprinting in training, even when working toward a marathon, will help you get faster, not just in short bursts, but overall. If you incorporate a sprint workout into your schedule even once a week, you’ll likely see your average marathon pace improve over time. 

Sprinting increases endurance 

This one sounds a bit counterintuitive. After all, “sprint” and “endurance” seem like polar opposites. You’re not going to be able to sprint for very long, no matter how hard you train (there’s a reason Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse only do it for 100m or 200m) but in doing so, you’ll improve your overall running form, which will help you run more efficiently, thereby improving your endurance (at least in theory). You’ll even notice your endurance improve in the sprints themselves, as you’ll be able to go fast for longer in training. 

This newfound speed and improved endurance could come in handy in competitive situations when you’re trying to drop someone mid-race. If you have the speed to throw down a quick surge, you’ll lose them, and your endurance will help you stay ahead of them until you reach the finish.

The best way to start is to introduce hill sprints to your training schedule. You don’t even have to do that many, maybe five to eight short hills (20 to 30 seconds of uphill sprinting) per session, but the benefits will be huge. You’ll be used to running fast in tiring situations, which will take you far in racing. 

Improve your sprint finish

Everyone wants to finish strong in races. If you practice sprint training, your body will know how to react when you want to kick to the finish line. To practice this, add a few strides (short sprints of 100 m or so on flat ground) to the end of your workouts. You’ll be running on tired legs, and in doing so, you’ll grow accustomed to sprinting after 20K, 30K or even a full marathon. Try six to eight strides at the end of your next long run, gradually picking up the pace until you hit about 80 per cent of your maximum speed.


(02/08/2023) Views: 911 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs signs with Puma

On Feb. 2, German sports brand Puma announced they have signed the reigning Olympic 100m champion, Italy’s Marcell Lamont Jacobs, to a long-term contract.

In 2021, Jacobs sprinted onto the scene by winning a series of big races, including Olympic gold in the 100m and the 4x100m relay. He is also the reigning European 100m champion and the world and European 60m indoor champion, two titles he won in 2022. His personal best over the 100m is 9.80 seconds.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jacobs, as Usain Bolt’s successor, to the PUMA Family,” said Pascal Rolling, head of sports marketing at Puma. “With Jacobs, Andre de Grasse, Shericka Jackson, Elaine Thompson-Herah and many others, PUMA has an incredible lineup of sprint athletes ahead of some very important track and field events this year and next.”

Last summer, Jacobs pulled out of the World Championship semi-final in Eugene due to an injury he suffered to his biceps femoris (part of the hamstring). His injury also resulted in him withdrawing from three Diamond League meets earlier in the season.

Jacobs has over one million followers on Instagram, where he is known as “crazylongjumper”, a reference to the event he first competed in as a pro—the long jump. Jacobs was previously with Nike during all four of his major championship wins.

“The combination of his athletic success and his great personal style makes him an ideal ambassador for Puma,” said Rolling in a press release.

Jacobs will make his season debut this Saturday in Poland, wearing Puma’s new exclusive evoSPEED Tokyo Nitro spikes, which offer the ultimate combination of power and propulsion for maximum speed.

(02/03/2023) Views: 464 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

Jamaica’s Yohan Blake to retire after Paris Olympics

Former 100m world champion Yohan Blake, who is also the third fastest man in history over 100m, will hang up his spikes after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The 33-year-old Jamaican sprinter revealed to insidethegames that the Paris Olympics will be his “last dance.” The four-time Olympic medalist will be 34 at the start of Paris 2024.

“Doing the 200, 100 and relays simply takes a lot out of you, so these are the events I want to focus on for 2024,” Blake said.

In 2011, at only 21, Blake became the youngest sprinter in history to win the 100m at a World Championships when he claimed gold in Daegu, South Korea.

A year later, Blake went on to win two silver medals at the London 2012 Olympics in the 100m and 200m behind his training partner Usain Bolt, who had been disqualified in Daegu for a false start.

His time of 9.69 seconds over 100m is the third fastest in history, behind only Bolt and Tyson Gay of the U.S.A. He also has the fastest 100m and 200m in Olympic history among athletes who did not win an individual gold medal.

Blake still won two Olympic golds as part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay teams in London and Rio 2016. He will always be known for his nickname, “The Beast,” which represents his eccentric personality, his impressive physique and aggressive sprinting style.

At the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Ore., Blake bowed out of the semi-finals in the 100m and 200m, and it was the first time since 2000 that Team Jamaica did not reach the podium in the 4x100m relay.

(01/25/2023) Views: 519 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

For this historic event, the City of Light is thinking big! Visitors will be able to watch events at top sporting venues in Paris and the Paris region, as well as at emblematic monuments in the capital visited by several millions of tourists each year. The promise of exceptional moments to experience in an exceptional setting! A great way to...


Usain Bolt missing millions from investment fraud scheme

The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, has run into some financial issues in Jamaica after his manager reported the sprinter is missing millions of dollars from an investment account with Jamaican firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).The eight-time Olympic champion’s manager told Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner that Bolt had noticed discrepancies with his accounts on Jan. 11 and has since launched an investigation with Jamaica’s Financial Investigations Division and Financial Services Commission.

Bolt has reportedly been a client of the investment firm for 10 years, but the firm has no idea where the money went; they suspect fraud.

“His entire portfolio is being reviewed,” said his manager Nugent Walker to the newspaper. Walker did not specify the exact amount of money missing from Bolt’s account, but claimed it is in the millions.

However, The Gleaner reported that a former SSL employee has been involved in a widespread fraud scheme, which may relate to the same developments in Bolt’s case.

Representatives for Bolt and SSL did not respond to requests for a comment on this story.Bolt is one of the highest-earning track and field athletes of all time, earning a reported 33 million dollars in 2016 alone. In 2018, Bolt was listed as the 45th highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes.

Bolt set the 100m and 200m world records at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, where he won double gold. He is the only sprinter to have won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in the men’s 100 metres and 200m, from Beijing 2008 to Rio 2016.

Since 2017, Bolt, 36, has stepped away from athletics, besides racing one unofficial 800m for an insurance advertisement.

(01/14/2023) Views: 466 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine

Sydney chasing Kipchoge in race to join world’s ‘major’ marathons

Sydney Marathon officials are in talks to bring the greatest marathon runner in history, Eliud Kipchoge, to the 2024 race and help Sydney secure a prestigious new status as a world “major” marathon.

The Sydney Marathon, which began in 1999, is bidding to formally become one of the world’s leading 42.195km races, alongside legendary events such as the London Marathon and the New York Marathon.

Similar to tennis and golf, the top six marathons in the world – Boston, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago, London and New York – are known as the “World Marathon Majors”. Each event attracts elite fields, and huge amounts of amateur applicants, every year.

Many marathon enthusiasts set out to collect a six-star medal, earned by running in each of the majors.

In coming years, however, the medal is likely to be upgraded with the organisation taking on three candidates for potential entry into the elite club: Sydney, Cape Town and Chengdu in China.

The Sydney Marathon announced its candidacy in July and the evaluation process runs for three years. It is already regarded as the strongest candidate.

“It’s a big deal for a number of reasons,” Sydney Marathon race director Wayne Larden said. “The main one is just the sheer volume of runners that take part in these events. Every single one of the Abbotts World Marathon Major events is oversubscribed by between 250,000 and 400,000 runners.

“Which means when we become a major, our numbers are going to leap, with people wanting to get that seventh star. We are expecting a huge boost in numbers, a massive increase in economic impact.”

Though recently upgraded on World Athletics’ ranking system to a “platinum” marathon – making it the eighth best in the world – the Sydney event is relatively modest compared to the majors, which have about 50,000 finishers. Sydney usually has about 5000 finishers, although many thousands more compete in the half-marathon and 10km events run simultaneously.

Destination NSW is backing Sydney’s candidacy for major status and the reasons are straightforward, says Larden. With tens of thousands of tourists coming to race each year, studies show cities gets a massive financial boost. The Chicago Marathon generated almost $600 million for the city’s economy this year.

Sydney must meet certain criteria for two years in a row over the next three years before a vote of other race directors can upgrade it to a major. The tourism and grandeur components are well-covered, with the race route including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House as a finish line.

But Sydney will also have to increase its finishers to 15,000 and support the race in bigger numbers like the other major marathons, where there is a culture of people lining the course to cheer on runners, entertainment and a festival atmosphere.

“There are benchmark things, you either have it or you don’t. Is the air clean? Is it a marketable city? Do people want to visit? These are things we have; Sydney is a beautiful place and a global destination,” Larden said.

“More specific things, there are a few key things. We have to triple our number of finishers in the marathon, we have to engage the Sydney community and get them out on the course, like what runners experience in Boston or New York or London. We have to get people out and cheering people on their journey.”

The Sydney Marathon course – which this year saw the fastest time ever run in Australia by Kenya’s Moses Kibet (two hours, seven minutes, two seconds) – will also be altered slightly, replacing the narrow sections of course winding along the edge of wharves at Pyrmont, with more roadway. And it will become a standalone race, with a half-marathon and shorter runs done a day before.

Australian marathon legend Steve Moneghetti, who won the Berlin Marathon in 1990 and is an adviser to the Sydney Marathon, believes the event can be the equal of any in the world.

“I can tell you that in all the world’s top marathons, and I ran a fair few of them, that no one has anything close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House on the course. They are iconic,” he said.

“You name me any city in the world and if you can name a better start/finish than that, then you’ve got me. That’s the selling point.

“It is really exciting. And I was a bit surprised, I thought, ‘The world marathon majors? Hey the six is the six and that’s that’. When I sort of considered it, I thought, ‘Yeah, why should it be just those six?’ Marathon running is booming around the world and it’s nice to think they are open to adding to it and Sydney is in the running for it.”

Kipchoge is undisputedly the greatest marathon runner ever, and proved as much by breaking the world record in Berlin in September, running 2:01.09.

The 2016 and 2020 Olympic gold medallist became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours in 2019, in an event that didn’t qualify for a record.

Kipchoge, 38, has vowed to collect a six-star medal before he retires, but Sydney hopes to lure the Kenyan to Australia even before it becomes an extra point on the medal, with an appearance in 2024. Kipchoge running in Sydney would give the race a major boost of global credibility, and be a big help in meeting the targets for finisher and crowd numbers, too.

“He would definitely bring Sydneysiders out. He is like Usain Bolt on a track - when Bolt ran, the stands were full,” Larden said.

“We are talking to Kipchoge’s management and have been since we got nominated. He wants to finish the six next year, so our goal is to try and get him to Sydney in 2024, as that big drawcard.”

Moneghetti said having Kipchoge run across the Harbour Bridge in 2024 would be a massive coup: “To say you ran in a race when Kipchoge ran, that’s a selling point. That’d be huge.”

(01/07/2023) Views: 629 ⚡AMP
by Iain Payten
Sydney Marathon

Sydney Marathon

The Sydney Marathon is a marathon held annually in Sydney, Australia. The event was first held in 2001 as a legacy of the 2000 Summer Olympics, which were held in Sydney. In addition to the marathon, a half marathon, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) "Bridge Run", and a 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) "Family Fun Run" are also held under the banner...


Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles and Ronnie Baker to Clash in Epic 60m at 2023 Millrose Games

The 115th Millrose Games, the world’s most historic indoor track & field event is only six weeks away. The Men’s 60m will surely be one of the most anticipated races of the entire meet, as Christian ColemanNoah Lyles, and Ronnie Baker, three of the best sprinters in the world, will be taking their talents to the infield straightaway at the iconic New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory.

The 115th Millrose Games is scheduled for Saturday, February 11th.

Coleman is the defending Millrose Games champion, World Record holder, and 2018 World Indoor Champion in the 60m. His lightning-quick starting ability makes him nearly unstoppable over this short distance, and he set the current world record of 6.34 seconds in 2018. Outdoors, he has two World Championship gold medals and three silver medals in the 100m and 4x100m relay.

Lyles is the reigning back-to-back World Champion, American Record holder, and the third-fastest man ever in the 200m. He also claimed the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo. Lyles, the 2022 USATF Male Athlete of the Year, has been open about his pursuit of the world records held by Usain Bolt, and by dropping down in distance to challenge the short-sprint specialists, he hopes to continue improving his start and putting the pieces together for another year of dominance.

Baker is the third-fastest 60m runner in history, and one of the most consistent sprinters competing on the circuit. He is an Olympic finalist, World Indoor bronze medalist, and two-time NCAA champion. Baker is no stranger to the Millrose Games stage, winning the 60m in both 2018 and 2020.

Other athletes in the field include:

–Josephus Lyles, Noah’s younger brother. Lyles is a former World Junior Champion, and he placed fifth in the 200m final at this year’s USATF Outdoor Championships.

–Ackeem Blake of Jamaica, NACAC 100m Champion, and semifinalist at the World Championships.

–Miles Lewis, the 60m national record holder for Puerto Rico.

As always, the Millrose Games will feature the absolute best athletes in the sport, including dozens of Olympians and world champions. Some of the big names already announced include Alicia Monson, Konstanze Klosterhalfen, Abby Steiner, Jenna Prandini, Geordie Beamish, Cooper Teare, Josh Kerr, Katie Nageotte, Sandi Morris, Katerina Stefanidi, Ryan Crouser, and Joe Kovacs, with many more still to come.

The Millrose Games is a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meet. With the highest-level competition at the youth, high school, collegiate, club, and professional levels, there is truly something for everyone at the Millrose Games.

(12/29/2022) Views: 461 ⚡AMP
by Letsrun
NYRR Millrose Games

NYRR Millrose Games

The NYRR Millrose Games,which began in 1908 as a small event sponsored by a local track club, has grown to become the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States. The NYRR Millrose Games meet is held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armony, which boasts a state-of-the-art six-lane,...


Usain Bolt honored to join great names who have won lifetime achievement award

Usain Bolt was delighted to join a stellar list of sporting greats after being chosen as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2022.

The 36-year-old Jamaican retired from athletics five years ago but he has left an indelible and so far unbeatable mark on his sport.

Bolt became a global superstar at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, lowering his own world record mark to win the 100m gold and then breaking Michael Johnson’s 200m record to also win gold in that event.

A year later he again broke his 100m world record in winning the world title in Berlin – and his time of 9.58 seconds still stands today. Four days later he lowered his 200m mark to 19.19secs which has also not been beaten.

He went on to retain his 100m and 200m Olympic titles at the next two Games in London and Rio de Janeiro.

Bolt retired in 2017 after the World Championships in London, where he won a bronze in the 100m.

“For me it’s an honour to be amongst the greats who have received this before like Pele, Muhammad Ali,” Bolt said in a message to the awards ceremony from Jamaica.

“For me these guys are some of my favourite athletes and I look up to them.

“Also, I want to thank my family, my friends and the fans for everything throughout the years. I’ve worked hard and to get this award means a lot.”

(12/23/2022) Views: 448 ⚡AMP
by Jamie Gardner

Jamaica´s Asafa Powell, 100m world record holder before Usain Bolt, retires

Jamaican Asafa Powell, who held the men’s 100m world record before Usain Bolt, has retired from track and field.

Powell held a 40th birthday and retirement party on Wednesday. Bolt filmed a video to wish his countryman well upon retirement.

Powell last raced in May 2021, according to World Athletics, and did not compete at Jamaica’s Olympic Trials last year.

He raced at the Olympics in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, earning 4x100m relay gold in Rio. His best individual finish was fifth in the 100m in 2004 and 2008.

Powell owns the record of 97 career sub-10-second 100m performances, the last coming on Sept. 1, 2016.

Powell lowered the 100m world record to 9.77 seconds on June 14, 2005. He held the mark until Bolt broke it on May 31, 2008, for the first of three times. He is the fastest man in history without an Olympic or world 100m title.

In 2004, Powell had the fastest semifinal time at the Athens Games, then placed fifth in the final won by Justin Gatlin.

In 2008, after injuries early in the year, Powell had the second-fastest semifinal time in Beijing. He placed fifth in the Olympic final again.

In 2012, Powell pulled up in the 100m final and was the last finisher. In 2016, he made the Jamaican Olympic team strictly for the relay.

Powell is the fourth-fastest man in history with a personal best of 9.72 seconds, trailing contemporaries Bolt (9.58), Tyson Gay (9.69) and Yohan Blake (9.69).

Bolt retired in 2017. Gay, also 40, last raced in May 2021. Blake, 32, ran 9.85 in June, his best time since 2012, when he took Olympic 100m and 200m silver behind Bolt.


(11/25/2022) Views: 602 ⚡AMP
by Olympic Talk

Usain Bolt is hoping to trademark his famous lightning bolt celebration

Eight-time Olympic champion and Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt is hoping to trademark a logo of his famous lightning bolt celebration. Last week, he filed a trademark for the distinctive pose at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Bolt submitted an image that depicts his signature lightning bolt pose, where he leans back with one arm bent, and the other pointed toward the sky.

The 100m and 200m world record holder is trademarking the image to monetize the pose on clothing, shoes, jewellery and restaurants.

According to the USPTO, it can take up to 24 months for a trademark to be approved after filing.

The pose made its first appearance when Bolt won 100m gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and by the London 2012 Olympics, the pose was a full-blown fad. This viral move is also known as the “to di world” pose, a popular Jamaican dancehall move before Bolt embraced it.

The 36-year-old retired from athletics at the 2017 World Championships in London after finishing third in the 100m behind U.S. sprinters Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman. Bolt still holds the 100m and 200m world records and is often described as the greatest sprinter of all time.

(08/31/2022) Views: 604 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

Botswana sprinter Letsile Tebogo could be the next Usain Bolt

On Tuesday evening, Botswana’s rising sprint star Letsile Tebogo smashed his U20 world record, clocking 9.91 seconds in the 100m final at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia. The 19-year-old could have gone faster but celebrated over the final 30 metres on his way to his second straight U20 gold. 

This is the third time Tebogo has broken the world U20 100m record this season. Tebogo ran a personal best time of 9.94 seconds in the 100m heats at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene to set a Botswanan national record and U20 record. He made it to the semi-finals at his first senior championship but did not qualify for the final in Oregon.

Many have compared Tebogo to the Jamaican track legend Usain Bolt, who celebrated early when he won the first of eight Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he ran a world record time of 9.69 seconds before breaking it the following year in Berlin in 9.58 seconds.

After Tebogo won gold, he addressed his early celebration in the mixed media zone. “The goal was to come out and enjoy the race,” said Tebogo. “If somebody took offence or as disrespect, I’m sorry.”

Track fans online speculated that Tebogo could have posted a time in the 9.70 to 9.80 range if he didn’t celebrate.

The intention of his celebration wanted to remind everyone of what Usain Bolt did back in the day. “He is my idol, the person I look up to,” Tebogo said.

(08/04/2022) Views: 739 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

The second fastest woman in history Elaine Thompson-Herah has signed with Puma, and now wants the world record

Five-time Olympic champion and the second fastest woman of all time has signed a sponsorship deal with Puma Running. Elaine Thompson-Herah, the back-to-back Olympic 100m and 200m champion, will boost the company’s impressive roster of track and field athletes ahead of the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.

“Puma just felt like the right fit,” says Thompson-Herah. “The company has been working with the world’s fastest athletes for decades and I can’t wait to be part of such an elite group.”

In 2021, Thompson-Herah became the second fastest woman in history when she clocked 10.54 seconds at the 2021 Prefontaine Classic. The 30-year-old Jamaican 100m and 200m record holder spent several years with Nike, and now has her sights set on breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 100m world record of 10.49 seconds from 1988.

“Now is the time to break it,” says the double Olympic champion. “I think there’s still a lot I can unleash.”

Puma has a long history in the sport of track and field, and has sponsored the Jamaican Athletics Team since 2002. Thompson-Herah now joins her Jamaican compatriot, 100m and 200m world record holder and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt.

Thompson-Herah kicks off her 2022 World Championship campaign on Saturday evening in the women’s 100m heats.

(07/16/2022) Views: 686 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

The world's fastest man is once again putting on his football boots for a good cause

Usain Bolt is back to captain the Rest of the World XI against England in Soccer Aid.

The former Olympic sprinter is once again involved as skipper, having played in the past few matches. Fittingly, the match is taking place at London's Olympic Stadium - a football venue in its own right as the home of West Ham, but also the place where Bolt set the Olympic record on the way to defending his 100m crown in 2012.

London 2012 was a highlight in a storied career that saw Bolt establish himself as the fastest man in the world and set records that have yet to be beat. The 9.63 seconds it took him to win gold in 2012 remains an Olympic record - beating the one he'd set in 2008 - but the overall world record was set by himself a few years before that.

Bolt set the current 100m world record at the 2009 IAAF World Championships, clocking an incredible 9.58 seconds for the feat. His average ground speed was 37.58km/h (23.351 miles per hour), whilst reaching a top speed of 44.72km/h (27.788 miles per hour) in the 60-80m stretch – numbers fitting for the world’s fastest man.

He first held the 100m world record in 2008 at the Reebok Grand Prix in the Icahn Stadium in New York, clocking 9.72 seconds to beat fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell’s record of 9.74 seconds set at the IAAF Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy, a year before. He brought the record down further to 9.69 seconds at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, before hitting his peak in 2009.

9.58 seconds remains the world record for the 100 metres and Bolt has commemorated that in past Soccer Aids by wearing the number - complete with decimal point - on the back of his shirt. For added measure, Bolt also holds the record for the 200 metres - running 19.19 seconds at the 2009 World Championships.

(06/13/2022) Views: 906 ⚡AMP

18-year-old U.S. sprint star Erriyon Knighton becomes fourth fastest man over 200m

On Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge, La., American Erriyon Knighton, who last year, at age 17, broke Usain Bolt’s junior sprint records, shattered his U20 world record in the 200m at the LSU Invite to become the fourth-fastest man in history over 200m. 

Knighton clocked 19.49 seconds, which is the fastest time recorded since the 2012 Olympics, where Usain Bolt clocked 19.32 at age 25. Knighton now only trails Bolt (19.19s), Yohan Blake (19.26s) and Michael Johnson (19.32s) on the all-time list.

The 18-year-old sprint star lowered his personal best and U20 record from 19.84 seconds, which he set at last year’s U.S.Olympic Trials. He went on to finish fourth in Tokyo, becoming the youngest U.S. male track and field runner to reach an Olympic final.

Knighton turned pro last year as a high school junior, signing a professional contract with Adidas. He is now the second-fastest American 200m runner after Johnson’s then-world record of 19.32 at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

He will next have his eyes on the U.S. Outdoor Championships in June and the World Championships in July, which are both in Eugene, Ore., where he ran his previous PB of 19.84 seconds last summer.

Another world U20 record was broken on Saturday at the Gaborone International Meet, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting in Botswana. U20 world champion Letsile Tebogo became the first man from Botswana to break 10 seconds for 100m. The 18-year-old pulled away from an experienced international field to win in 9.96 seconds (+1.9m/s), taking 0.01 off Trayvon Bromell’s world U20 record of 9.97 set in 2014.

(05/02/2022) Views: 789 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine

Going once, going twice … gold! Men’s 100m Olympic medal up for auction

Harrison Dillard took gold at the London Games in 1948 and this weekend, nearly 75 years on, that medal is up for sale

Harrison Dillard should never have won the 1948 Olympic 100 metres gold medal on a blazing July day at Wembley Stadium. He shouldn’t have been in the final. This weekend, that gold medal is up for sale.

He entered the event at the American trials to sharpen his speed work for the high hurdles, his specialist event. Back then, the 25-year-old Clevelander was the greatest sprint hurdler the world had seen and had racked up 82 consecutive wins before the trials and held the world record of 13.6sec in the 120-yard hurdles. He was deemed unbeatable. Then catastrophe struck.


“All I had to do was finish third and I was in the team,” he said. “But on that particular day, as history shows, I finished dead last. I hit the first hurdle, got over the second and then hit every other hurdle in succession, stopping completely at the eighth. I had totally lost the rhythm of the race and my timing was so completely destroyed I just stopped and didn’t even finish.

“Here I was, the world record-holder and American champion and it all went for naught because under the American system you qualify on that day or you don’t make it at all.”But he had managed to squeak third spot in the 100m, so he was able to join the US team on the boat to London for what became known as the austerity Games, a unifying moment of hope and spectacle for the British public in a city scarred by six years of war and blighted by strict rationing.

The skinny Dillard, 143lb soaking wet and known to his teammates as “Bones”, then ran the race of his life to win one of the closest 100m finals in Olympic history.

The Omega photo finish camera, used for the first time at the Games, captured the inches that separated Dillard, running on the outside lane, and the US No 1, Barney Ewell, in Lane 2, who was so convinced he had won the race he bounded almost halfway around the track before realising the result had not gone his way.

On a cinder track, in front of 83,000 spectators, Dillard had posted a time of 10.3sec, with Ewell second in 10.4sec and Panama’s Lloyd LaBeach third. Scot Alistair McCorquodale was fourth, with the 100 yards world record-holder, Mel Patton, plagued once again by big competition nerves, fifth, and Britain’s highly fancied McDonald Bailey last.

“To see the flag, the Stars & Stripes, as it goes up the flagpole while the national anthem is playing, with the medal around your neck, that’s when I think it really hits you,” he said. “I remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck as I stood to attention in that proud and particular moment. I don’t think I teared up, but I felt terrific emotion.”Nearly 75 years on, his medal, along with other Olympic medals, is in the Ingrid O’Neil Olympic auction, in California. The estimate is somewhere north of $120,000 (£92,000). Olympic gold medals at auction are as rare as hen’s teeth and this is reckoned to be the first men’s 100m gold to come up for public sale. The big hope is one of the grander museums, either the Olympic Museum in Lausanne or the History Center in Cleveland, will acquire it and display it to the public. But the pandemic has played merry hell with museum budgets, so no one is sure where it will go or what price it will fetch.

What would Dillard have made of it all? He would certainly have taken it all with a customary big smile and in that very large stride of his. He was a charming, humble and articulate man who won the hearts of everyone he met.

He served in the second world war as one of the Buffalo Soldiers, a segregated black division who fought their way through Italy in some of the toughest battles of the conflict. He hardly mentioned it. Or the fact that none other than General George S Patton said, after watching Dillard win four events in a postwar GI track meet, that he was “the best goddam athlete I’ve ever seen in my life”.But he did love that he had emulated his childhood idol and fellow Cleveland high-schooler Jesse Owens. Dillard marvelled at the modern sprinters, especially Usain Bolt, but well into his 90th year he said: “Jesse and I could have taken him, if we trained real hard.”

His daughter Terri decided to sell the 100m medal – the first of four golds Dillard won at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics – but the other three will stay in the family. “It was a tough call to make but I’m hoping it will go to someone who will appreciate and honour it. Hopefully a museum where it can be on display.

“My dad never kept the medals on display at home, but he’d always get them out if anyone asked. My mother actually put one of them on a gold chain for him and he’d wear it sometimes.”After the 100m triumph in London, he collected another gold in a controversial sprint relay (the US team won, was disqualified, protested and was reinstated), then went back into training for the Helsinki Games of 1952. He chose not to defend his 100m title, but to set the record straight in the 110m hurdles, running an Olympic record of 13.7sec to take gold and collected another in the relay.

He retired from the track after failing to make the US team for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, working first in the back office of the Cleveland Indians baseball club, before forging a long and successful career with the Cleveland Board of Education.

He was always a popular visitor to big track meets around the world and returned to London in 2012 to watch Bolt claim his second Olympic sprint title. Cleveland mourned when he died, in November 2019, at the age of 96.

(04/09/2022) Views: 758 ⚡AMP

American sprinting legend Justin Gatlin has announced his retirement

Gatlin will be hanging up his spikes after a 19-year career that included an Olympic gold medal, multiple World Championship titles and several doping bans.

On Feb. 10 (his 40th birthday), American sprinting legend and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin announced his retirement from athletics via Instagram. Gatlin will be hanging up his spikes after a 19-year career that included an Olympic gold medal, multiple World Championship titles and several doping bans.

Gatlin won the 100m and 200m sprint double at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005, and gold in the 100m at the 2017 World Championships in London, achieving a rare victory over Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. 

He was also a part of the U.S. gold-medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the Doha World Championships in 2019.

His career was also tainted by doping scandals. Gatlin served two suspensions – one in 2001 and again in 2006 – for his use of testosterone.

(02/12/2022) Views: 818 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson

Zach Bates' 100 Mile Dream

Zach Bates loves statistics. Ever since he was a kid, he's scoured Guinness world records for longest, shortest, fastest, coldest or hottest. He could recite the Scoville rating for every hot pepper. Being autistic, that's how his mind has always worked. He loved to focus on specific topics, and the numbers called to him.

That might be why he fell for running. He joined the cross country and track teams his junior year of high school, memorizing his teammates' PRs and paces. Eventually, his sights  turned to the pros. From Usain Bolt to Zach Bitter, he studied all of their career numbers. He also got the itch.

"He didn't want to just know these times, he wanted to do it, too," says Rana Bates, Zach's mother. "He begged me to sign him up for a marathon during his senior year. He was really interested in the longer stuff in track. He wanted to go even farther."

Because of the pandemic, most marathons during his senior year had been cancelled. So the 19-year-old waited patiently until graduation day in May 2021. That day, he turned to his mom and said, "I want to do a 100 miler before I turn 20."

Rana was thrown off by the request. No one in their family ran. Not his father, his mother, his sister or his twin brother. Now Zach wanted to run triple-digits in less than 10 months. She let the idea sit for a few days before Zach followed up. "Did you sign me up for a 100-mile race yet?"

"He's really mild tempered and doesn't ask for much,"  Rana said. "When he does ask for something, he really means it and we take him seriously. So, I bought some books."

A Crash Course

Rana found herself whisked into the world of her son's dreams, researching and formulating a plan for Zach to be able to run 100 miles in a safe and healthy way. With Zach unable to plan himself, Rana had to take a broader approach, acting as his coach and  instructing him on every logistical necessity for training.

"All of the thinking end stuff, I do," Rana said. "Zach does the running."

Rana's crash course worked smoothly for the first few months, but books only went so far. One of the first things she learned about distance running was the generosity of the community. The more she mentioned the goal to people, the more people came into Zach's life. 

First, there was John Hendrix, a local ultrarunner. He offered knowledge about injury prevention, gear and nutrition for ultradistance running. But more than anything, he shared knowledge of the local trail systems and became an occasional running partner for Zach.

When it came to training, Zach and Rana had a process for each new trail. First, they had to hike it together so Zach could familiarize himself with the route and what landmarks to look for. Then, Rana would tag along in the car, driving between trailheads to meet Zach and field calls in case he got lost.

It's a lot of work, but Rana wants to live out the message she and Zach want to share.

"There's a list of things you do when you find out your child has autism," Rana said. "But we need to be careful not to let those things become the priority of what our children want. We need to listen to them, hear their dreams. Zach wanted to run so badly, he just didn't have the resources to find routes, sign up for a race, or things like that. You can't just say, it's too hard for us. We need to respect them as individuals and help them reach their dreams."

As Zach started to race, more and more people noticed him. By October, he'd finished the High Mountain Half, the Beaver Canyon Marathon, and the Do-Wacka-Do Trail Run 50 miler. He made friends everywhere he went, astonished at someone his age running the distances he was. At races, autism wasn't the defining feature of who he was.

The Rumble

There's an infinite number of variables in a 100-mile race; often, things simply go well until they don't. For Zach, the first roughly 80 miles went smoothly. He was far way ahead of the cutoff when he picked up de la Rosa as a pacer for the final 20 miles. But he started to get quiet, only occasionally breaking the silence. 

"If my legs could talk, they would say, 'Whyyyyyyy!" de la Rosa recalls Zach saying.

Then a problem arose at mile 88. A hip flexor tweak forced Zach into a limp. They tried stretching, but that only worked momentarily. The limp lingered, but they pressed on. 

De la Rosa could see the teenager doing calculations in his head, watching his time goals get further and further away. It was a place de la Rosa had been many times since he started running ultras in 2008. In that moment, captured on video, de la Rosa thought of what he would've wanted to hear if it were his teenage self.

In the next miles, Zach slowed to a painful trudge, about 45-minutes per half mile. Finally, a stroke of luck found them at mile 94: a runner with two Tylenol. The pain wasn't gone, but Zach started running again, dropping three straight 12-minute miles. With that, finishing under the 32-hour cutoff was assured.

"That's called a comeback!" de la Rosa hoots in the video. "That's called rallying! Woohoo!"

Runners treated him like anyone else. For one 40-mile training run, Zach was supposed to pace Hendrix for the Javelina Jundred. Hendrix dropped out at mile 60, but word got around in the crew area that Zach was willing to pace.

"There was such an openness and willingness from runners," Rana said. "He paced one guy from Boulder, Colorado, and the guy came back stoked, saying this was the most fun he had with a pacer. Another guy from California picked him at mile 80 and Zach paced him to a sub-24 finish. It's the coolest thing ever to have a support system like this. These runners have stayed in touch with us and offered help. It's amazing."

After finishing the 50, Zach signed up for the Coldwater Rumble 100 in January and started  TikTok and Instagram accounts (@running.farther) to share his progress. That left three months to prepare, but Zach was feeling burned out. Rana was out of her depth for guiding him, so they sought a professional coach. With a reference from Run Flagstaff, they connected with Nickademus de la Rosa.

"You can always tell if there is a deep, intrinsic reason someone does a 100 miler, and that often proves if they will do whatever it takes," said de la Rosa. "Zach had a deep reason to be there. You see it in his eyes when he talks."

They dropped Zach's mileage down to get him healthy, mentally and physically, then began ramping it slowly back up. The biggest week came four weeks before race day: 10, 20, and 30 mile runs back to back to back.True to form, Zach hit all his splits on the dot.

At the finish line, the Bates family waited. Zach's watch had died in the night, leaving them reliant on texts from de la Rosa to track his progress. Finally, the final text came in. Zach was moving slower again, but they were a mile away.

Rana rallied a friend who rallied the entire 250-yard string of tents along the final stretch. When Zach arrived, a massive cheer tunnel awaited him. Zach looked at de la Rosa, as if to ask permission to run through it. 

"You've got this," de la Rosa said.

Alone, beneath the roaring crowd, Zach ran. He stopped when he crossed the finish and embraced his family. His time was 28:06:36, good for 38th overall.

'I'll cherish that moment forever," Rana said. "Our family will never be the same."

Zach's royal entrance was completed with a camping-chair throne and a parade of well-wishers. Unable to stand when it was time to leave, Zach was lifted by his father and uncles over the crowd and carried like a king to the car.

The limited mobility lasted a few days. After a long postrace nap, Zach eventually made it to the bath, an endeavor so challenging he made a TikTok of himself easing up the stairs set to the "Mission Impossible" theme song. 

By a week later, he was moving better, already eyeing what's next. He's got the Canyons 100K and Javelina Jundred on the calendar for 2022, but it doesn't stop there. He also wants to do the Cocodona 250, but that's for down the road. For now, he's back to running and chasing his dream.

"Even if Zach never ran again, the last eight months have changed us as a family," Rana said. "The outpouring of love from everyone, everywhere, for this kid chasing his dreams and making them come true. Not everyone is able to. Because of everyone, Zach did."

(02/12/2022) Views: 803 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine

World 100 meters champion Christian Coleman to make his return from 18 months suspension at Millrose Games

Christian Coleman, who served an 18-month ban for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules, plans to race for the first time in nearly two years at New York's Millrose Games, the American told Reuters.

Millrose Gemes will be his first since February 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-doping suspension curtailed the 25-year-old's career.

"I think it will be emotional to get out there and finally display my talents again," the indoor 60m world record holder said by telephone from Lexington, Kentucky, where he trains.

The Atlanta sprinter had been given a two-year suspension by an independent tribunal of track and field's Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) before it was reduced to 18 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Under the so-called whereabouts rule, elite athletes must make themselves available for random out-of-competition testing and state a location and one-hour window where they can be found on any given day.

"I think it comes down to being more responsible," said Coleman, 25, who has never failed a doping test but was suspended after three failures to be at a location provided to anti-doping officials.

"Those are the rules and I just have to do better."

An alarm on his phone that reminds him to update his schedule daily and a new doorbell that alerts him to visitors are helping to prepare for testers, he said.

Training continued throughout most of the suspension, which ended in November, and he had begun speed work, Coleman said.

He does not see Millrose as just a trial run.

"I want to win," said Coleman. "I think I have a higher standard for myself than just being back out there and being average."

He said he would see how his body feels before determining his indoor season, though defending his world indoor 60m title in March in Belgrade is definitely on his schedule.

"The ultimate goal is to be ready for the world (outdoor) championships" said Coleman.

That meet in Eugene, Oregon in July will be the first World Championships held in the United States.

Whether Coleman will just defend his 100m title or add the 200 remains to be seen but he plans to run both during the regular season.

While he said he had "come to terms" with missing the Tokyo Games because of his suspension he wants to compete in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles four years later.

Beyond that, Usain Bolt's 100m world record of 9.58 seconds remains on his bucket list.

"As time goes on, I think it is possible," said the American, who ran a personal best of 9.76 in winning the 2019 world championships.

Coleman said he wanted to be remembered as "one of the great competitors in sport".

"I want people to think of me as one of the legends, one of the great sprinters who have come through the USA ranks," he added.

(12/20/2021) Views: 811 ⚡AMP
by Gene Cherry
NYRR Millrose Games

NYRR Millrose Games

The NYRR Millrose Games,which began in 1908 as a small event sponsored by a local track club, has grown to become the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States. The NYRR Millrose Games meet is held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armony, which boasts a state-of-the-art six-lane,...


Michael Johnson's iconic gold spikes join the Heritage Collection

To mark the 226th World Athletics Council Meeting in Monaco, a special Heritage display was staged this week in the foyer of Le Meridien Beach Plaza. The exhibit contained 15 recent acquisitions made by the World Athletics Heritage Collection, which will soon be on display in glorious 3D in the virtual Museum of World Athletics (MOWA).

One of the oldest artefacts exhibited was a solid silver trophy donated by Kenya’s Olympic legend Kipchoge Keino, and one of the youngest items on show was a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch.

Yet arguably the greatest recent addition to the collection are three running spikes worn by eight-time world champion and four-time Olympic Games gold medalist Michael Johnson.

Entering the collection is one of Johnson’s iconic gold spikes from Atlanta 1996 (right foot), one from Sydney 2000 (left foot), and thirdly, a shoe from Johnson’s final race in 2001 (right foot). Each shoe is autographed.

“I can still vividly remember the chills I felt…”

The trio now form part of the World Athletics Heritage Collection thanks the extraordinary generosity of Brad Hunt, who was Johnson’s agent during his outstanding running career.

“I visited the Heritage exhibition while at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha,” commented Hunt. “The scale of the collection was particularly impressive, considering it had only been created in 2018.

“The historic display of artefacts included items from the careers of Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt. In men’s sprinting history, there was one glaring omission. By offering the spikes which Michael (Johnson) gave me after some of his most memorable races, I hope to have helped fill that gap in the World Athletics Heritage Collection,” added Hunt.

Johnson stunned the world of sport in 1996. At the Atlanta Games he won an unprecedented Olympic men’s 200m and 400m double. In the process, with a 19.32 clocking, Johnson destroyed his own 200m world record (19.66) which he had set less than two months before the Games on the same track at the US Olympic Trials.

“Both Olympic shoes were given to me two or three weeks following the Games they were used in,” confirmed Hunt. “The 1996 shoe was given to me in Hawaii, where we travelled for our post-Olympic celebrations. The 2000 shoe was given to me in Los Angeles.

“I can still vividly remember the chills I felt when I became the first person Michael told of his decision to wear gold spikes in the 1996 Olympic Games. We were sitting on a flight to Los Angeles from the Atlanta Olympic Trials to Los Angeles for Michael's first appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

“Michael had just set his first world record (19.66 200m) the day before (23 June). We were discussing how much attention his purple spikes had received when he declared he would be wearing gold in the Games.”

14c gold in the material

Four years later, Johnson retained his Olympic 400m title in Sydney, Australia. Johnson had become world record-holder for the distance (43.18) at the World Championships in Seville, Spain, the previous year.

“Although the 2000 shoe is made with actual 14c gold in the material, thus making them shinier (with significantly more material value), the 1996 shoe is my favourite because these gold shoes were an actual media phenomenon!

“The amount of secrecy involved with the shoes' clandestine development and historical Olympic debut created one of the strongest identities an athlete has ever had with his or her footwear,” concluded Hunt.

The following year Johnson undertook his ‘Golden Victory Lap’ tour, finishing his career at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane. It is one of the shoes which he wore in that last season which completes this extra special induction of footwear into the World Athletics Heritage Collection.

The three spikes will soon be on display in the virtual MOWA.

In 2022, the spikes will also go on public show at MOWA’s onsite public exhibitions in Portland and Oregon, USA, in the lead into and during the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

(12/02/2021) Views: 1,069 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics

Olympic champs Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Karsten Warholm of Norway have been named the World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Karsten Warholm of Norway have been named the World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021, a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday (1).

Thompson-Herah produced one of the finest sprint seasons in history this year, retaining her Olympic 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo and adding a third gold medal in the 4x100m relay. On top of her Olympic triple, she also clocked world-leading times of 10.54 and 21.53 over 100m and 200m respectively, moving to second on the world all-time lists and coming within touching distance of the long-standing world records.

“I just take it year by year,” said Thompson-Herah. “I went very close to the world record so you know, anything is possible. No spikes hanging up any time soon!

“The World Championships in Oregon is most definitely my next big target,” she added. “It is close to home, I hope friends and family can come out and watch. I hope I get some crowd as well. That couldn’t happen in Tokyo but hopefully in Eugene I can get my friends and family to come and cheer me on.”

Warholm uncorked one of the most remarkable performances in athletics history when he stormed to gold in the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics. Having already broken the world record with 46.70 in Oslo in the lead-up to the Games, Warholm exceeded all expectations in the Japanese capital to claim gold in a stunning world record of 45.94. In a race of incredible depth, the top three athletes finished inside the pre-2021 world record.

“I’m so happy for this,” said Warholm. “First when I saw the time (in Tokyo), I was like, ‘This must be a mistake!’ Because I didn’t see that one coming. And I didn’t see the victory coming before crossing the finish line.

“It was a very intense race, I knew the American and the Brazilian and all the other guys were really chasing me. I always go out hard and I never know what is going on behind me. I was just fighting all the way to the finish line. When I realised 45.94 was the reality, I was thinking: ‘This is not too bad. I’ll take it!’"

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe congratulated all of tonight’s winners and finalists on their extraordinary achievements this year.

"We have this year celebrated some jaw-dropping performances in Tokyo, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi and through our one-day meeting circuits – the Wanda Diamond League and the Continental Tour. So we’re delighted to recognise some of our stars at tonight’s awards.

"As a sport, we are in an incredibly strong position. 2021 has been an excellent year. We cemented our position as the number 1 Olympic sport coming out of Tokyo, we have the most God given talented athletes on the planet and our sport is the most accessible of all sports. Thank you to all our athletes around the world. I am looking forward to watching what you can all do in 2022."

The other award winners were:

Female Rising Star

Athing Mu

The US teenager was undefeated at 800m all year, winning Olympic gold at the distance following a long but successful collegiate season. She broke the senior US 800m record with her triumph in Tokyo and then improved it to 1:55.04 just a few weeks later. She also excelled at 400m, clocking a North American U20 record of 49.57 for the distance.

“It means the world to know that my support goes beyond friends and families and extends worldwide,” said Mu. “This award shows all young girls that your dreams can, indeed, come true."

Male Rising Star

Erriyon Knighton

Throughout 2021 the 17-year-old took down several marks that had belonged to sprint legend Usain Bolt. Knighton first set world U18 bests of 20.11 and 20.04 over 200m, but his rapid rise continued and he broke Bolt’s world U20 record for the distance with 19.88 and 19.84. He went on to finish fourth in the Olympic final with 19.93.

“I’m really thankful for this award,” said Knighton. “One of my most memorable moments of this year was making it to the Olympic final in Tokyo and finishing fourth at the age of 17.”

Member Federations Award

Federacion Costarricense de Atletismo (Costa Rica)

In recognition for their outstanding training, competition and development programme roll-out over the past 12 months, for their consultative work on the World Athletics Kids’ Athletics programme, and for successfully staging a host of international events over the past year.

Inspiration Award

Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi

The shared high jump victory between Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi became one of the biggest talking points of the Olympic Games – not only for everything it represented in their own individual careers, having both battled serious injuries since the last Games, but mainly for the act of respect and sportsmanship between two friends.

“It is just crazy if I think about this story,” said Tamberi. “Thank you very much for this trophy.

“I now call Mutaz like five times a week because I need to speak with him. I feel that now we are not just friends, we are really like blood brothers.”

Barshim added: “I hope to inspire more people to love our sport and maybe share a gold one day!”

President’s Award

Peter Diamond, Executive Vice President of NBC Olympic programming

“Athletics owes Peter a massive debt of gratitude,” said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. “Peter has worked alongside us for effectively 40 years and has been a constant source of great advice and wise counsel, and occasional humour that has softened the edges of any particular situation. And he has made athletics a lot better.”

Coaching Achievement Award

Bobby Kersee

The US coach has guided the careers of many legendary athletes over the years, but this year two of his charges made history. Allyson Felix became the most decorated female track and field Olympian in history after winning her 10th and 11th Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, while training partner Sydney McLaughlin broke two world records in the 400m hurdles and claimed Olympic gold in the discipline.

Woman of the Year Award

Anju Bobby George

The former international long jump star from India is still actively involved in the sport. In 2016 she opened a training academy for young girls, which has already helped to produce a world U20 medallist. A constant voice for gender equality in her role as Senior Vice President of the Indian Athletics Federation, Bobby George also mentors schoolgirls for future leadership positions within the sport.

Jean-Pierre Durand World Athletics Photograph of the Year

Ryan Pierse’s photograph of the women’s high jump qualifying at the Tokyo Olympic Games

This year’s award is dedicated to the memory of Jean-Pierre Durand, one of the sport’s most prolific photographers and photo chief for a number of World Athletics Series events, who died in October.

“This winning image was taken on one of the morning sessions in Tokyo and it was a hot one,” said Pierse, who is from Australia. “I wanted to illustrate the heat and how it was affecting the athletes. It is a picture that I worked on for a while, and it all came together. I am really happy with it.

“I think it’s incredibly fitting that this award is named in memory of Jean-Pierre Durand,” added Pierse. “I had the pleasure of working alongside him, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics.”

(12/01/2021) Views: 945 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics

Italy's Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs challenges Usain Bolt to charity race

Italy's Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs has challenged Usain Bolt to a charity team sprinting contest after the retired Jamaican said he could have won the blue riband race in Tokyo.

Bolt told AFP in an interview last week that it was frustrating to watch the delayed 2020 Games from his home in Jamaica as his male countrymen flopped and Jacobs, a relative unknown before the Olympics, claimed a shock victory.

The 35-year-old Jamaican, the world record holder over 100m with a best of 9.58 seconds set back in 2009, said Jacobs' winning time of 9.80sec in Tokyo was still within his reach despite having hung up his spikes in 2017.

Jacobs, who has not raced since winning the coveted sprint gold, turned to social media on Monday to challenge Bolt, the winner of eight Olympic gold medals and an 11-time world champion.

"You are my hero, so thanks for the hat's off!" said Jacobs, born in the United States to an American father but raised in Italy by his Italian mother.

"But you also said you're sure you'd win, so I'm up for the challenge!

"How about starting with a charity capture the flag? You bring your team and I'll bring mine!"

Capture the flag, or "rubabandiera" as it is known in Italy, is a schoolyard game played by children in which two teams race to capture the other team's flag, located at the team's "base", and bring it safely back to their own base.

(11/23/2021) Views: 917 ⚡AMP

Jamaican Usain Bolt thinks he could have won 100m gold at Tokyo Olympics

Sprint legend Usain Bolt said he could have emerged from retirement to win a fourth straight Olympic 100m title in Tokyo this year, insisting the winning time was within his reach.

Bolt, 35, told AFP that it was frustrating to watch the delayed 2020 Games from his home in Jamaica as his male countrymen flopped and Italy's Lamont Jacobs claimed a shock victory.

"I really missed it. I was like, I wish I was there," he said in an interview at the Dubai offices of his sponsor PepsiCo on Sunday.

"Because for me, I live for those moments. So it was hard to watch."

Bolt dominated sprinting for a generation, winning eight Olympic gold medals and only losing a ninth when his 2008 4x100m relay team-mate Nesta Carter failed a retrospective drugs test.

The first Olympic 100m final since the great showman's departure was a subdued affair, with Jacobs clocking 9.80sec at a Covid-emptied Tokyo National Stadium.

"My coach said something to me at the end of my career. He said, 'People are not getting faster. I was getting slower.' I never looked at it that way," said Bolt.

"And it's the facts because a lot of guys don't really get faster. Because I have pushed the barrier so far and then I started going backwards time-wise, so for me 9.80 was possible to get done."

But Bolt, who has dabbled in football and music since retiring, said it was "all about motivation" when he was considering a potential comeback in Tokyo.

"For the Olympics, it was gonna be different," said the father of three.

"I always show up ready because I think this is the highest level, but I've already done everything in the sport so it was all about motivation."

'Lightning Bolt' loses sparkle

With a rueful shake of the head, Bolt said it was "not looking good" for Jamaica's men's sprinters after they failed to reach the Tokyo 100m final and were fifth in the 4x100m relay.

And he said none of the current athletes looked capable of beating his 100m and 200m world records of 9.58 and 19.19, rarely threatened since he set them in 2009.

"I don't think I've seen anybody in this generation right now which I personally feel will break the records," he said.

"So I think I have a couple more years before somebody will actually break my world records."

Bolt, instantly recognisable worldwide, said he'd "love" to help World Athletics promote the sport and had approached its leader, Sebastian Coe, about a formal role.

But he said he had no designs on the presidency.

"No, I don't want that job. That's a lot of stress and a lot of work," he said.

He added that he would "definitely" have taken the knee to protest against racism on the Tokyo podium, where it was banned under International Olympic Committee rules.

"I understand what it's about. Racism, we've been through it so I understand the necessary aspect of it and what is needed," he said.

But he revealed that after years of striking the 'Lightning Bolt', his signature pose was beginning to grate.

"Sometimes it gets a little bit, I wouldn't say annoying. But I understand that I've done it to myself," he said with a chuckle.

"People really enjoy it and it's for the fans, you know. I mean, it's a picture that they will treasure forever.

"So for me, I'm not always happy doing it, but I do it anyways because it's for them and it makes them happy."

(11/16/2021) Views: 796 ⚡AMP
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...


Usain Bolt turned musician released his first album, Country Yutes, on September third

After Usain Bolt retired from track and field, fans everywhere wondered what the eight-time Olympic gold medalist would do next. Would he coach? Become a professional soccer player? Ride off into the sunset and enjoy retirement? Instead, he did what few people expected: he turned his focus to music.

Last Friday Bolt finally released his debut album, Country Yutes, giving his fans a chance to hear what he’s been up to over the last few years.

“If you have followed my career over the years, you would see me always dancing and listening to music,” Bolt said in a press release. “It’s no secret to the world that I love music. Music has just always been a part of my DNA.”

This is not the first time we’ve gotten a taste of Usain Bolt the musician. You may remember in 2019 he produced three dancehall EPs, Olympe Rosé Riddim, Immortal Riddim and Clockwork Riddim, which featured Jamaican artists. The first song on his new album, Living the Dream, which he produced with his close friend and vocalist, NJ Walker, was released earlier this year.

The rest of the album includes 14 tracks that feature Walker, along with Jamaican artists. You can stream Country Yutes on most streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.

(09/07/2021) Views: 794 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton

Sifan Hassan will headline classy Brussels Diamond League field

Dutch all-rounder Sifan Hassan, who won two golds and a bronze in an unprecedented effort at a distance treble at the Tokyo Olympics, heads up a talent-loaded field at the penultimate meeting of the 2021 Diamond League series in Brussels on Friday.

In the last event before the two-day Diamond League finals in Zurich on September 8-9, the men's 100m featuring Tokyo silver medallist Fred Kerley of the US will also be a highlight.

Kerley will be up against compatriots Trayvon Bromell, Michael Norman and Ronnie Baker, along with Canada's Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse.

Kerley, fresh from a personal best of 19.79sec in the 200m in Paris last week, said: "I've got a lot of confidence in my current form and want to show what I've got in the upcoming weeks.

"My goal is very clear: I want to be the fastest man in the 100m, 200m and the 400m."

Kerley joined an exclusive club this year of sprinters who have broken 10 seconds in the 100m, 20 seconds in the 200m and 44 seconds in the 400m. Only Norman and South African Wayde van Niekerk have also achieved the feat.

"I want to be the best at all three distances. What makes someone the best, maybe a world record? I know I have got the potential to break the 400m record.

"I want to be a legend, like Usain Bolt. I see him as a big brother. To me he will always have a spot on the podium of the greatest of all time, he is a big example."

Hassan will race the mile at the King Baudouin Stadium, a venue she knows well, having broken the one-hour world record there last year.

The Ethiopian-born Dutch runner is also the world record holder in the mile and, given her sparkling form, it would take a brave person to bet against her winning once again.

The women's 200m is packed full of quality, with Tokyo bronze medallist Shericka Jackson, Olympic finalist Marie-Josee Ta Lou and a handful of sprinters who have a point to prove after Olympic disappointment this summer.

Outspoken American Sha'Carri Richardson missed out on a trip to Tokyo after being handed a one-month ban after testing positive for cannabis while Britain's Dina Asher-Smith was forced to pull out through injury.

Christine Mboma, the 18-year-old Namibian who is barred from running events between 400m and the mile because of her high testosterone levels, won a surprise silver in the 200m in Tokyo and will likely be a strong contender in Brussels.

Having rebounded from a disappointing outing at Lausanne with an emphatic win in Paris, Olympic pole vault champion Armand "Mondo" Duplantis is likely to again attempt to better his own world record of 6.18m.

(09/02/2021) Views: 957 ⚡AMP

Tokyo Olympian runs fast 400m time in a baggy, oversized T-shirt

As the Olympics have transitioned into track and field from road cycling and swimming, there is a debate on Twitter on why all track athletes do not wear aerodynamic suits, as cyclists and swimmers do.

Bahamian 400m sprinter Steven Gardiner won the 400m semifinals in a speedy time of 44.14, which put him into Thursday’s final. 44 seconds for 400m is spectacular, but fans on Twitter were more impressed he ran that time while wearing an oversized Bahamas training T-shirt. Our sources did not confirm if he actually forgot his race singlet in the Athletes’ Village, or if he just prefers his sleeves flapping in the wind. Gardiner was the inspiration for the Twitter debate about the aerodynamics of sprinters’ racing kit. (Spoiler alert: we published this story the day before the 400m final, which Gardiner would go on to win in 43.85, wearing appropriate racing attire, but still an untucked shirt, not unlike many others.)

Aerodynamics refers to the concept of forces resulting in the motion of objects through air. The study of the motion of air around an object allows us to measure how gravity and resistance work while the object travels through it.

As we’ve seen, aerodynamics are very important to cyclists. Any stray fabric flapping in the breeze is potentially slowing them down. On a flat road, aerodynamics are by far the greatest barrier to a cyclist’s speed, accounting for 70 to 90 per cent of the resistance riders experience when pedalling. The only greater obstacle is climbing up a hill, as gravity far outweighs the effect of wind resistance. Over the past five years, there has been a major development in more stretchy, lighter and breathable fabrics for cyclists to slice through the air while competing at high speeds.

Technology is constantly evolving to benefit the athlete and allows them to operate at a high level of performance. At these Olympic Games, male and female athletes are given a choice on what they can wear during competition. In certain events such as the 10,000m, where you have to run 25 laps around the track, a majority of distance athletes will wear the classic singlet and shorts, due to their loose-fitting and comfortable feel for 30 minutes of high-intensity running. During a 10,000m race, speed does help, but cutting the air is less important, as most runners will reach a top speed of 25 km/h and will remain tucked into a pack for most of the race.

When Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2-hour marathon barrier at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Austria, scientists at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands analyzed wind formations when running at 21.2 km/h. They ended up proposing a special arrangement of runners who would pace around Kipchoge in order to lower his output of power against resistance, which ultimately allowed him to perform at a higher level. This formation is very similar to those in a bike peloton at the Tour de France. The athlete who takes the wind has to work harder than the athlete tucked in behind him.

Unfortunately, sprinting events do not have the luxury of pack-aided performance. When Usain Bolt set the 100m and 200m world records, he achieved his top speed of 45 km/h in a singlet and half tights. According to scientists, when a human reaches a speed faster than 40 km/h, 80 per cent of the human’s power output goes into overcoming air resistance and gravity. During his six gold medal performances in the 100m and 200m, Bolt never used the aerodynamic speed suit. Who knows what he could’ve run wearing 400mH champion Karsten Warholm’s Puma speed suit?

A few of the world’s top track athletes are beginning to transition to the speed suit to gain any aerodynamic benefits they can. Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Mohammed Katir of Spain, two of the fastest men on earth over the 1,500m and 5,000m distances this year, were both wearing one-piece speed suits during their Olympic heats. Newly crowned 800m gold medallist Athing Mu has been racing in wind-cutting suits since turning pro earlier this year. Clearly, science has proven wind-cutting technology can make a difference, but World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, gives each athlete a strict guideline on what can be worn during competition at the Olympic Games and World Championships:

According the World Athletes under rule 143 section 5 of World Athletics – competition and technical rules:

In short, this means that all athletes competing have to abide by the competition rules of their countries’ athletic governing body, which must abide by the rules and regulations set by World Athletics.

At these Games, men and women are given the choice of three options for competition; a singlet and short shorts, one-piece aero-speed suit, or (a combination of speed and comfort) a singlet and half tights – the best of both worlds. Women are offered one more option, with the crop top and short shorts.

As technology advances, the world’s best athletes continue to chase world records. The athletes will always lean towards wearing the lightest or fastest gear to give their performance a slight edge over competition. Who knows? Maybe the Sydney Olympics gold medallist, Cathy Freeman, was ahead of her time when she won the 400m in a head-to-toe speed suit.

(08/07/2021) Views: 745 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine

Canada's Andre de Grasse wins 200-meter gold

Andre de Grasse of Canada has won the Olympic gold medal in the men's 200 meters five years after finishing second to Usain Bolt, ending a string of close calls for the 26-year-old.

De Grasse won in a national-record time of 19.62 seconds, holding off two Americans for the medals.

Kenneth Bednarek won silver in a personal-best 19.68 seconds, and 2019 world champion and race favorite Noah Lyles took bronze in 19.74. Erriyon Knighton, the youngest member of the U.S. men's track team at 17, placed fourth in 19.93.

De Grasse has now filled out a medal collection that was missing only a gold. He won bronze four nights earlier in the 100 meters to go with the third-place medal he took in Rio de Janeiro. He also won a silver in the 200 in Rio, when he famously challenged Bolt in the semifinal -- drawing a playful finger wag -- before being blown away by the Jamaican champion in the final.

Given all he has been through, it was no surprise when De Grasse revealed that he had been crying behind the bronze-colored shades he wore for the race.

"It's my first time being so emotional on the track," said De Grasse, the first sprint gold medalist for Canada since Donovan Bailey won the 100 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. "I always thought I came up short winning bronze and silver, so it's just good to have that gold medal. No one can take that away from me."

Lyles made a mistake the night before in the semifinals, slowing down too far before the line, getting edged out for the two automatic spots and being forced to wait to see if his time would earn him a qualifying spot.

It cost him in the final. Forced to start in Lane 3, Lyles pushed out too quickly. He had the lead heading into the homestretch but had nothing more to give.

(08/05/2021) Views: 859 ⚡AMP
by ESPN News Services
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...


Norway´s Karsten Warholm breaks the 400m hurdles world record at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Nearly two and a half hours have passed since Karsten Warholm blasted across the finish line of the Olympic 400m hurdles final and the sporting world is still trying to grasp what it had witnessed at Tokyo's National Stadium on Tuesday (3) afternoon.

Thirty-three days ago, the Norwegian broke the world record in the event which had stood for nearly 29 years, clocking 46.70. This morning he won the most anticipated face-off of the 2020 Olympic Games by obliterating that mark with an unfathomable 45.94* performance to rip another 0.76 from his own world record.

Adequate superlatives don't yet exist to describe the magnitude of what the 25-year-old has just accomplished – world records over one lap of the track simply don't get smashed by the margin that Warholm managed to concoct this morning. For now, calling this the finest race in athletics history will have to suffice.

Indeed, all the more astounding is that Warholm had Rai Benjamin, his chief rival, for company for nearly those entire 45.94 seconds. Benjamin crossed the line in 46.17, itself an extraordinary performance that would have shattered the previous world record. Illustrating the race’s extraordinary depth, Alison dos Santos of Brazil finished a well-beaten third in 46.72, a performance that would have broken the world record just over a month ago.

Nearly three decades had passed before someone managed to chip 0.08 from Kevin Young's legendary mark set at the 1992 Olympics. Today's performance eclipsed that by nearly a full second, blasting the record into sub-46 territory, something utterly incomprehensible – until today.

Even Warholm looked at the scoreboard in disbelief as he powered down after crossing the line, his jaw dropping, eyes popping. The only obvious reaction was to rip open his singlet and let out a series of roars.

“It's so crazy,” Warholm said. “This is by far the biggest moment of my life.”

To the former, Benjamin concurred.

“I don’t think Usain Bolt’s 9.5 was better than this,” he said, referring to Usain Bolt’s 9.58 100m world record set in 2009.

The pair – Benjamin in lane five, Warholm in six – set off on an aggressive pace, marking clear distance on the field by the second hurdle. Warholm chiseled together a visible advantage by the third barrier and carried a clear lead into the final bend. But Benjamin didn't panic.

Warholm led as the pair entered the final straight, but wasn't gaining ground as they approached hurdle nine. Benjamin managed to chip away at the lead and nearly caught Warholm at the final hurdle, but that surge cost him, leaving him drained as he landed, unable to respond as Warholm began to pull away.

(08/03/2021) Views: 836 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...


Jacobs stuns with Olympic 100m win as no one saw this coming

Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs, a former long jumper appearing in his first Olympics, stunned the field on Sunday (1) to claim the first men’s 100m gold medal of the post-Usain Bolt era.

Overlooked as a serious medal contender, the 26-year-old Jacobs clocked a European record of 9.80 to win Italy’s first ever Olympic 100m gold and claim the unofficial title of the world’s fastest man.

The Italian pulled in front after 60 meters and glanced to his right as he crossed the line in front of the USA's Fred Kerley, who took silver in a personal best 9.84, and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, who earned his second consecutive bronze in a PB of 9.89.

Three other runners also ran sub-10 seconds in the final: South Africa’s Akani Simbine finished fourth in 9.93, the USA's Ronnie Baker was fifth in 9.95 and China’s Su Bingtian was sixth in 9.98.

The pre-Olympic favorite, US champion and world-leader Trayvon Bromell, failed to qualify for the final.

In a race with no obvious favourites, Jacobs was still a major surprise.

The bald-headed, barrel-chested Italian did not come completely out of nowhere. He is the European indoor 60m champion and broke the Italian 100m record in May with a time of 9.95. But he chose the right time and place to announce himself on the world’s biggest stage.

“It’s a dream, it’s fantastic,” Jacobs said. “Maybe tomorrow I can imagine what people are saying, but today it is incredible.”

It was the first time since 2004 that gold in the marque event was won by someone other than Bolt, the Jamaican great who swept three consecutive 100m titles in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, as well as three straight 200m crowns.

Few would have predicted that the man to succeed Bolt on the top podium would be Jacobs, who became the first European to win the 100m at the Olympics since Britain’s Linford Christie in Barcelona in 1992.

Even his race rivals didn’t see Jacobs as much of a threat.

“I really didn’t know anything about him,” Kerley said.

De Grasse added: “I didn't expect that. I thought my main competition would have been the Americans, but definitely he came to play. He executed. He did his thing so congrats to him."

Jacobs is the first Italian to win a sprint event since Pietro Mennea took gold in the men’s 200m in 1980. And his time? The fastest in the men’s 100m by an athlete not from the US or Jamaica.

Jacobs’ victory capped a golden night for Italy, coming minutes after another Italian, Gianmarco Tamberi, shared gold in the men’s high jump with Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim. The two Italians embraced and celebrated together on the track.

“Being here together is something spectacular," Jacobs said. “I believe in him and I believed in myself.”

Jacobs’ story may not be known by the general public: He was born in El Paso, Texas, to an American father and Italian mother. He moved to Italy with his mother when he was one-year-old. Jacobs started out as a long jumper but, after a series of injuries, he changed to the sprints.

Signs that something special was about to happen in the final came earlier during the semifinals, which produced some stunning results, including a record-breaking heat in which three men ran under 9.85.

Su blazed to victory in the third heat in an Asian record 9.83 to become the first Chinese sprinter to reach an Olympic 100m final. Baker finished second with a personal best 9.83 and Jacobs was third in a European record 9.84. For good measure, Simbine clocked 9.90 to finish fourth in that heat.

Only twice previously had three men gone inside 9.85 in the same 100m race – the Olympic final in 2012 and the 2009 World Championships final in 2009.

Kerley (9.96) and Britain’s Zharnel Hughes (9.98) won the other two semifinals. Hughes was disqualified from the final after a false start.

Bromell missed out after finishing third in his heat in 10 seconds flat. He got off to a quick start and took the early lead but never found a second gear and was passed in the final metres by Nigeria’s Enoch Adegoke and Hughes.

There were signs that Bromell was not in medal-winning form a day earlier when he finished only fourth in his first-round heat in 10.05.

It was a stunning fall for Bromell, who had made a remarkable comeback to the top of the sport after tearing his achilles during the 4x100m relay at the 2016 Rio Games and being carried off the track in a wheelchair.

After two years out of the sport, Bromell worked his way back and established himself as the world’s top 100m sprinter. He clocked a world-leading 9.77 in June, the seventh-fastest time in history, then sealed his spot in Tokyo by winning the 100m at the US Olympic Trials in 9.80.

But since then he has not been his dominant self. Bromell’s 14-race winning streak was snapped when he finished fifth in Monaco in June in 10.01, his first race in Europe since 2016. He bounced back four days later with a victory in Gateshead, England, in 9.98 but still looked far from his best.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who's been with me on this journey,” Bromell said on Twitter on Sunday after failing to reach the Olympic final. “Lord knows how much I wanted to be in that final. BUT I walk away with a smile because I know I showed many that after four years out, you can still fight and make dreams come true.”

The day also marked the end of the Olympic career of Jamaica’s 31-year-old Yohan Blake, the 2011 world 100m champion who won silver at the 2012 Olympics and is a two-time Olympic relay gold medallist. Blake finished sixth in his semi-final in 10.14.

“Definitely my last Olympics,” Blake said. “You know track is not easy. I won't be ungrateful. I've gained a lot. I'm still the second fastest man in history, no one can take that away from me.”

(08/01/2021) Views: 974 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...


Without Jamaican Usain Bolt the 100m is suddenly a race again

The post-Usain Bolt era in the Olympic 100 meters begins this weekend as the United States seek to regain supremacy in the event they dominated for more than a century.

Jamaican Bolt won the last of three straight titles in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and since his retirement the following year nobody has really stepped up to stamp their authority on the sport's most-watched race.

The U.S have won more golds in the event than all other nations combined, having taken 16 of the 28 Olympic titles contested, but their last success came via Justin Gatlin in 2004.

This year, though, they are back gunning to top the podium, even without the presence of banned world champion Christian Coleman.

Seven out of the eight sprinters with the fastest times in 2021 have been Americans, led by Trayvon Bromell whose 9.77 second run in Florida last month is the fastest of the year and marks him as the race favorite.

He won the U.S. trials in 9.80 to put a long and troublesome injury history behind him, but the self-described "silent killer" is not happy with the favorite tag.

"When you put yourself into that bubble, into that box, a lot of expectations come into it," he said recently. "When you start living in other people's world then you get off of your own plan."

Bromell's closest challenger is probably his compatriot Ronnie Baker, who came second to him at the U.S. trials with a time of 9.85.

Baker beat Bromell in Monaco, his second successive Diamond League win, and has run an impressive wind-aided 9.78s seconds in the past.

Unlike his compatriot, Baker is happy to blow his own trumpet. "I am one of the best runners in the world, hands down. I have been, since 2018," he said after his win in Monaco, a race that included his rivals in Tokyo.

He has also had to overcome injuries over the last few years, but he said that he was feeling confident heading into Tokyo.

"This year is probably the most technically sound I have been," he said. "I know I can run way faster than anyone."

While the U.S. sprinters, that include Fred Kerley, the 2019 400m world bronze medalist, are definitely contenders for all three medals, there are other runners coming to Tokyo with a mission, though unusually Jamaica look a touch off the pace.

Another non-American who can make some noise in Tokyo is the South African sprinter Akani Simbine who finished fifth five years ago and boasts the second fastest time of the year.

(07/29/2021) Views: 923 ⚡AMP
by Omar Mohammed
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...


Jamaican Usain Bolt slams unfair, laughable advances in spike technology

Usain Bolt has said advances in spike technology that could help wipe out his world records are laughable and that the new shoes also give an unfair advantage over any athletes not wearing them.

After athletes ripped through the record books in distance running with carbon-plated, thick-soled shoes, the technology has now moved into sprint spikes, where -- although there is less time in a race for the advantage to make an impact -- it is still enough to make a difference.

"When I was told about it I couldn't believe that this is what we have gone to, you know what I mean, that we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it's now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster," Bolt told Reuters in an interview from Kingston.

The 100m and 200m world record holder competed in Puma spikes throughout his career.

"It's weird and unfair for a lot of athletes because I know that in the past they [shoe companies] actually tried and the governing body said 'No, you can't change the spikes,' so to know that now they are actually doing it, it's laughable," the eight-time Olympic Champion added.

American Trayvon Bromell is favourite to take Bolt's 100m title in Tokyo. He is the fastest in the world over the distance this year with 9.77 secs, but the 2015 world 100m bronze medallist is less convinced about the impact of the shoes.

"I don't think there's a lot of data to show that they're having such a big improvement," Bromell, who runs for New Balance, told reporters last week.

"I know we [New Balance] are constantly building onto what we have to make the perfect spike, but for me personally as a runner I still feel like it's not enough data to really show."

While other companies now have similar shoe models, Nike looks set to dominate and is priding itself on being a leader in the technology.

"We're just smarter about how we engineer and assemble them," Nike said in an email to Reuters.

The company added that it works to keep its athletes on the cutting edge while staying within the rules.

Weighing in on developments in shoe technology, World Athletics said: "The current regulations [July 2020] were designed to give certainty to athletes preparing for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to preserve the integrity of elite competition and to limit technological development to the current level until after the Olympic Games in Tokyo, across all events."

It said a working group on shoes aimed to set parameters to achieve a balance between innovation, competitive advantage and availability of the products.

Performing in the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly, Jamaican two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocked the fastest 100m time in 33 years on June 5 in Kingston with a career-best 10.63 seconds.

Only American world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner has gone faster, with 10.49 seconds in Indianapolis in 1988.

But Fraser-Pryce was unwilling to discount the work she has done to become the fastest woman alive, even as she trains and competes in the spike.

"You can give the spikes to somebody else and they'll probably not do the same things that I've done, so I'm not counting myself out of the hard work me and my coach has put in," the four-time 100m world champion told Reuters.

"Maybe the combination of both -- having good products and good runners combined -- makes for a very good end-product. So for me, I can't single-handedly point to the spikes."

Veteran Jamaican sprint coach Stephen Francis admitted that faster times are being run in Nike's new sprint spikes.

"Based on anecdotal evidence and based on the fact that you have people who never would have run as fast as they are running, I suspect that there may be a point, but there is no scientific basis to make that point," Francis told Reuters from Kingston.

Whatever the advantage, he said, anyone can benefit from Nike's technology based on the rules set by World Athletics.

(07/20/2021) Views: 875 ⚡AMP
by Reuters

A new generation of champions set to emerge in Tokyo

While some reigning Olympic and world champions might be missing from the Games in Tokyo, the extra year as a result of the postponement in 2020 has allowed a number of new talents to emerge.

For some it means a debut Olympic experience which may not originally have been expected until at least 2024, while for others it is a realistic opportunity to win medals and titles.

Of the 43 individual events contested at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the winners from just 18 of those will defend their titles in Tokyo.

The likes of world 800m champion Donavan Brazier and Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod missed out on being selected for their national team, while other stars, such as world and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, are currently sidelined with injury.

But while those global champions won't be able to contend for top honours in Tokyo, here are some of the new generation of stars who are set to emerge.

Selemon Barega, 10,000m

After winning world U18 and U20 titles in 2017 and 2016 respectively, Ethiopia’s Barega stepped up to secure senior 5000m silver at the World Athletics Championships in 2019. Still aged just 21, he is now preparing for his debut Olympics, where he will race the 10,000m.

Barega started the season with intent, running an Ethiopian all-comers’ record of 27:58.5 at altitude in Addis Ababa in January. He then went even faster at the Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo in June, clocking 26:49.51 on the same track on which he ran his 26:49.46 PB in 2019. That, together with the speed he demonstrated by running PBs of 3:32.97 for 1500m and 7:26.10 for 3000m during the indoor season, means he is set to be a strong force in Tokyo

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, 100m hurdles

Medal success in Tokyo would see Camacho-Quinn become the first Puerto Rican woman to secure an Olympic podium place in athletics and this season she has certainly demonstrated her ability to achieve that feat.

The 24-year-old improved her own national 100m hurdles record to 12.32 to move to equal seventh on the world 100m hurdles all-time list in Eugene in April and hasn’t been beaten since. She clocked 12.38 to win at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Florence and 12.34 for success in Szekesfehervar, meaning she has the three fastest times in the world so far this year. “I'm looking forward to the Olympics this year - it will be like redemption from my fall in 2016,” she said after her Florence run as she reflected on missing out on the final in Rio. “I'm really excited. Training really hard, working really hard, but really looking forward to it.”

Tara Davis, long jump

Davis leapt into the seven-metre club in March, breaking the US collegiate long jump record with 7.14m at the Texas Relays. The longest jump in the world since the 2019 World Athletics Championships final, that mark moved the 22-year-old to fifth on the US all-time list.

The world U20 bronze medallist had also broken the collegiate indoor record with 6.93m at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier in the year and finished second at the US Olympic Trials, going beyond seven metres again with a best of 7.04m. “I’m shocked still because seven metres as a jumper is the biggest thing ever. Hitting it in the Olympic Trials is unreal,” she said after her performance in Eugene, where she finished second to four-time world gold medallist and 2012 Olympic champion Brittney Reese. “I’m freaking jumping with my idol, Brittney Reese. Being with her and competing with her in 2016 I was so starstruck. I was like, ‘I see her on TV and now I’m jumping with her’.”

Alison Dos Santos, 400m hurdles

After running in the lane next to Karsten Warholm during his world record in Oslo, improving his South American record to 47.38 to finish second, Brazil’s Dos Santos went even quicker to win three days later in Stockholm, taking another 0.04 off that mark.

This season has seen the 21-year-old build on his 2019 breakthrough, having that year improved his PB and the South American U20 record seven times, eventually clocking 48.28 to finish seventh at the World Athletics Championships in Doha. Also a key member of Brazil’s relay team, he ran the fastest split of the mixed 4x400m final at the World Athletics Relays in Silesia, recording a 44.62 anchor leg. “I'm looking forward to the Olympics, and yes, I think I can get a medal,” he said with a smile after his run in Stockholm.

Mondo Duplantis, pole vault

While some may argue that a world record (or two) rules an athlete out from being considered part of a ‘new generation’, pole vault star Duplantis is still aged only 21 and has much more he hopes to accomplish during his career, including winning Olympic gold.

This season he has cleared six metres or higher in four competitions, capped by his 6.10m in Hengelo - a height only he, Renaud Lavillenie and Sergey Bubka have ever achieved. After winning 2019 world silver behind Sam Kendricks - who ended Duplantis’ 23-competition win streak in challenging conditions in Gateshead in May - Duplantis will be looking to go one better in Tokyo. He also believes he can go higher than his 6.18m world record this season and after attempting 6.19m in Oslo, he said: “I really think I can get that record soon. But for now I feel good, a month away from the most important meet of my life. I am in good shape, I am running well on the runway and keeping up the rhythm well.”

JuVaughn Harrison, long jump and high jump

Harrison secured his two Olympic spots in style at the US Trials, soaring over 2.33m and then leaping a PB of 8.47m to improve his own best-ever single-day high jump and long jump double. As a result, he will become the first male athlete to represent the USA in both events at the Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912. No other athlete has ever achieved both a 2.30m high jump and 8.40m-plus long jump.

The 22-year-old is no stranger to juggling both events on the same day and in March he cleared 2.30m and jumped 8.45m at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In Tokyo, the high jump final is on the evening of day three and the long jump final is on the morning of day four. He is expecting to rise to the challenge. “It will be harder competition which will make me push harder and jump farther,” he said.

Erriyon Knighton, 200m

Running 19.88 at the age of just 17, Knighton broke not one but two world 200m age-group bests which had previously been held by a certain Usain Bolt. At the US Olympic Trials, the former American football player ran 20.04 in the heats to improve Bolt’s world U18 best before taking 0.16 off that mark in the semifinals to break the world U20 record of 19.93 set by Bolt in 2004. In the final he went quicker still, clocking 19.84 to finish third and become the youngest man to represent the USA in athletics at the Olympics since Jim Ryun in 1964, also in Tokyo.

Racing outside of the USA for the first time, Knighton then placed third at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Szekesfehervar, running 20.03. “It hasn't sunk in, it’ll probably sink in when I get home,” he said after claiming his Olympic place. “I'm happy. I feel it's a really big achievement.”

Nicola McDermott, high jump

As an eight-year-old, McDermott dreamt of becoming a consistent two-metre-plus international high jumper and having already achieved the latter, this year her two-metre aim was accomplished, too. Clearing 2.00m at the Australian Championships in April, the 24-year-old broke Eleanor Patterson’s Oceanian record and then added another centimetre to the mark in Stockholm earlier this month, despite not feeling 100 percent.

McDermott didn’t manage to register a height when she made her World Athletics Championships debut in London and two years later the Commonwealth bronze medallist finished 15th in qualifying. This time, as she makes her Olympic debut, her mind is on medals. “I’m not going to say it’s impossible to get a medal,” she said. “I’ll be aiming and I think 2.01m will maybe get me in the medals so I am aiming and training for that and believing that I can do it.”

Sydney McLaughlin, 400m hurdles

Like Duplantis, McLaughlin is already a world record-breaker having taken the 400m hurdles to another level with her time of 51.90 at the US Olympic Trials. She also was no stranger to making history before that, with world U18 best and world U20 record times among her age-group accomplishments.

Now aged 21, she made her first Olympic team at just 16, finishing fifth in her semifinal nine days after her 17th birthday, and then secured silver at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, a race won by her compatriot Dalilah Muhammad in a world record of 52.16. It was that mark McLaughlin improved in Eugene. “So many amazing women have come before me and will come after me,” she said after her world record. “I'm excited for what the future holds. I just want to leave my mark and be part of such an amazing sport, because the glory isn't forever.”

Athing Mu, 800m

Mu is another athlete to have risen impressively through the ranks, having stormed into the spotlight in 2019 when as a 16-year-old she ran the second-fastest ever indoor 600m time of 1:23.57. This year she has broken the world U20 indoor 800m record with 1:58.40 and then dominated the two-lap final at the US Olympic Trials, running a world-leading 1:56.07 to improve her own North American U20 record.

The 19-year-old also ran an area U20 record in the 400m with 49.57 to win the NCAA title earlier in the month. “This is my first year coming out here running to my potential,” she said after her trials win. “I wouldn't want to say I'm dominant at it yet. My confidence takes a lot from it. In 2019, I wasn't confident, but I was good enough. Gaining confidence has contributed to my dominance thus far in the 800m. Being good at it, knowing it's my event.”

Great experience

While some reigning global champions may be missing out on Tokyo, there are a number of vastly experienced stars who will be adding another Olympics to their impressive tally of major events. The USA’s Allyson Felix has already won six Olympic gold medals and 13 world titles, while shot put star Valerie Adams has claimed two Olympic and four world titles for New Zealand, with Tokyo being a fifth Olympic Games for both athletes.

Spain’s 51-year-old Jesus Angel Garcia, meanwhile, will compete at his eighth Olympics – the most ever for a track and field athlete. Who knows whether some of this new generation of stars will still be in action come the Olympic Games in 2048!

(07/17/2021) Views: 772 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics

Olympic champion Usain Bolt will be running 800m race as a promotion for CarMax

The reigning 100m and 200m Olympic champion is coming out of retirement for one race and one race only — not in either of his signature events, but in the 800m. Usain Bolt, who recently became the father of twins, will be making a brief comeback to run a promotional race for the used vehicle retailer, CarMax.

Bolt, whose 13-year reign as Olympic champion is set to come to an end this summer, said in an interview with NBC Sports that he’s enjoying being back on the track. “I definitely miss it a little bit,” he said. “I’m excited to be training and just running and seeing what I can do.”

To get ready for the race, Bolt has been riding his Peloton bike and hitting the track for some interval sessions. “Just to get my legs ready for the lactic acid and my lungs for the air that I need,” he explained. His best time over 800m is 2:05, but he says he did that without spikes. “If I put the spikes on, I can make it under 2 minutes,” he insisted.

The race is set to take place on July 13, and will be broadcast on his Facebook page. He won’t be racing against anyone, and instead, his opponent will be a CarMax customer who is getting an instant online offer for a vehicle on their phone while Bolt sprints around his home track. Much to his fans’ disappointment, he made it clear that no, this is not a sign of a future comeback.

“Definitely not,” he said. “This is just a one-off challenge to see if I still got it.”

(07/11/2021) Views: 804 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton

I would have run under 9.5 seconds with super spikes, says Usain Bolt

The fastest man in history is pondering just how much more destructive he could have been in the super spikes that have swung a wrecking ball at so many world records. Briefly, there is a battle between Usain Bolt the diplomat and Usain Bolt the competitor. The competitor wins. “Me and a friend were talking about this the other day,” he tells the Guardian. “And I was like, ‘should I be upset?’ Because I know over the years everyone has tried to make spikes different and better but …”

Bolt stresses he is not worried about the current crop shredding his 100m world record of 9.58sec or his 200m best of 19.19sec. Yet he sounds uneasy about where the arms race in shoe technology will lead. “How can I argue if World Athletics decide that it’s legal? I can’t do anything about it. The rules are the rules. I don’t think I’ll be fully happy, but it’s just one of those things.”

He wants to make one thing absolutely clear: he would have gone a whole lot faster in the new wave of super spikes – which feature a superlight, energy-returning foam and are said to be worth at least a tenth of a second over 100m. He is just not sure by how much. “We have guessed and we have talked about it, but I don’t know for sure,” he says. “But definitely much faster. Below 9.5 seconds for sure. Without a doubt.”

It is a punchy statement, but the greatest and most popular athlete of his generation is only just getting started. When asked about Britain’s Adam Gemili’s pledge to take a knee on the podium at the Olympics in support of Black Lives Matter he doesn’t procrastinate or play the politician. “If you believe in something, then you should do it. It’s something that we need to make the world aware of, what’s going on with racism.”

While the International Olympic Committee recently reiterated that protests on the field of play and the podium are banned Bolt suggests they are swimming against the tide. “I’ve seen it big in football now. If a track athlete decides to do it, they should be able to voice their opinion.”

It is rare for Bolt to grant an exclusive interview with a British newspaper and rarer still to hear him so reflective on so many subjects, including fame and falling short. Such sentiments are not usually associated with someone who won 134 of his 146 races between 2008 and 2017, winning eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles along the way. But when Bolt looks back at his career he believes he was capable of winning 200m gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, when he was 17.

It may sound preposterous, but Bolt makes his case with the thoroughness of a Harvard law professor. He believes people forget that, as a 16-year-old, he ran 20.13sec to finish 2003 ranked ninth in the world. But after moving to Kingston, and discovering Burger King and nightclubs, he did not always want to train. That, and a subsequent injury, meant he didn’t emerge out of the heats in Athens.

“In 2003, I was running faster than almost everybody,” he says. “If I had run in the world championships that year I would have probably medalled. And if I’d continued on that road, I would have run 19 seconds earlier in my career, so for sure I could have won gold in Athens if I’d dedicated myself more.”

“But it was tough for me because even in high school I was famous. Everyone knew who I was in Jamaica. And I didn’t have somebody who had already been through it to say: ‘You have to take this seriously, because this is what you could do.’ It was just my coach telling me to train hard.

“That’s why I try to talk to the younger athletes now and explain to them ‘get serious early man’. Because the possibilities are endless.”

There is a second confession. After Bolt’s career ended with him tumbling to the track after tearing his hamstring during the 2017 world championships in London, he was twice tempted to make a comeback. “It was something I thought about in the first and second year after I retired,” he says. “I even went to my coach. But he was like, ‘It’s going to be harder than before – coming back is not going to be a cakewalk.’

“When I look back I have no regrets. I did extremely well in my career. True, it didn’t end on the greatest note but the legacy I left is wonderful.”

For years Bolt has been asked whether he will run again. Until now the answer has always been no. But on 13 July he will return to the track over 800m, a distance he has never run professionally, in a promotion for the US firm CarMax.

(07/06/2021) Views: 763 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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