So, I’m looking through the splits of the men’s 4x400m relay at the NCAA East Regional meet, and I see, “43.94 FR Kirani James.” To provide more context: A 17-year old freshman at the University of Alabama ran a lap around the track in 43.94 seconds! That’s the type of performance that keeps me perusing track results looking for the next track and field star. This guy is from Grenada. He won the 400m dash at the World Youth Championships last year in a time of 45.24. That’s .01 secs. faster than what Lashawn Merritt ran when he won the World Junior Championships back in 2004. Lashawn went on to win the 400m at the Beijing Olympics a full second ahead of the second place athlete – Jeremy Wariner, another athlete who stamped his mark as a star at a very young age. His sophomore year at Baylor University, Jeremy won the 400m dash at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, the US Championships, and the Athens Olympics.
I owe you an apology for taking so long to update the blog. Life had been really busy leading up to my wedding on May 1. My wife and I are settling well into married life. I’m really grateful to have her as my teammate. She’s been gently nudging me to honor my commitment to maintain this blog. The amazing performances athletes have posted have also nudged me to keep my readers up-to-date on what is going on in the world of track and field. Late in the spring, 20-year old Teddy Tamgho broke the indoor world record in the triple jump. Today, Chaunte Lowe set the American record in the high jump. University of Oregon senior Ashton Eaton set the indoor world record in the decathlon. This has been a happening year in athletics!
My favorite performance to date is Tyson Gay breaking a record held by an icon in both the athletics world and Civil Rights Movement. Tommie Smith is best known for raising his gloved right fist into the air after winning the 200m dash at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. A few weeks ago, Tyson Gay ran 19.41 in the straightline 200m dash. Back in 1966, Tommie Smith ran the straightline 200m dash in 19.5 secs a world record. Since this event is no longer in official competition, Tommie Smith still holds the official record. Notice the speed suit Tyson is wearing. The suit Jesse Owens wore when he mastered the 1936 Berlin Olympics is the inspiration for this design.
Tyson Gay is in great form, and will continue to run some amazing times as the summer progresses. He left me wide-eyed with his 44.89 in the 400m dash at a meet back in April: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os2Q0QSAqNM. He is the first athlete to run under all three significant time barriers: 10 secs in the 100m dash, 20 secs in the 200m dash, and now 45 secs in the 400m dash. Moreover his 9.69 sec 100m and 19.58 sec 200m make him the second fastest human ever in each of those events. I believe he is in better shape than Usain Bolt at the moment, and may threaten Bolt’s current dominance of the 100m and 200m dash. Look forward to my updates.