Powell enters the sprint record book


Powell enters the sprint record book

Tuesday 23 November 2004

Ask any athletics fan what Asafa Powell’s claim to fame is and the answer will likely be his potential as the next great Jamaican sprinter or that he was the youngest Athens Olympics 100 metres finalist. But that race was also a part – one ninth to be exact – of another accomplishment that put him in record book alongside some pretty prominent company.

With his season-ending 9.98 seconds time at Monaco on September 18, Powell equalled the single season record for most sub-10.00 clockings with nine such wind-legal clockings. Namibian Frank Fredericks first ran 9 sub-10s in 1997 and Maurice Greene equalled that achievement two years later.

Before 2004 Powell, who competed this year as a 21-year-old, had never broken 10 seconds with electronic timing. Fredericks was 29 when he set the single season record, and Greene turned 25 midway through 1999.

Powell, or anyone else for that matter, will still have long way to go to surpass Greene’s lifetime total of sub-10s. Whether or not the self-proclaimed “G.O.A.T” is the greatest of all time is subject to debate, but he is certainly the greatest producer of fast times for the 100 metres.

In the qualifying round of the Olympics he posted his 50th sub-10 and he went on to add two more in the semifinal and final round. Greene also extended his record consecutive years string of sub-10s to eight. His year-by-year totals (wind-legal only): 1997 (8), 1998 (8), 1999 (9), 2000 (6), 2001 (7), 2002 (5), 2003 (1), 2004 (8).

Greene’s has figuratively lapped the field with his lifetime total and figures to stay that way for a long time, as both men closest to him, Ato Boldon (28) and Fredericks (27) recently announced their retirements.

Marty Post for the IAAF

If Powell stays healthy, and wants to continue running he’ll be right up there to challenge Greene.