Christian Coleman broke the NCAA 100m record, ran the fastest time ever for somebody that young and put Usain Bolt and the sprint world on notice Wednesday evening.
And the Tennessee junior did it in a semifinal heat.
Coleman, a 2016 U.S. Olympic 4x100m relay runner, clocked 9.82 seconds (+1.3 meter/second wind) to open the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
“You know if you execute your accelerations, hit your zones properly, but you never know what pace you’re on,” Coleman said. “I came across the line. I saw the time. I was pretty ecstatic about it. So, it was a pretty good run.”
He is now the joint-ninth-fastest man all time on a list topped by Bolt with his 9.58 world record. The only Americans to run faster than Coleman are either Olympic or world 100m champions — Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Maurice Greene.
Coleman, 21, improved his personal best from 9.95 seconds. That was set at the 2016 Olympic Trials, where Coleman placed sixth to squeak onto his first Olympic team.
Now he’s primed to make his first world championships team, should he finish top three in the 100m at the U.S. Championships in two weeks.
Coleman’s 9.82 is the fastest time in the world this year by .06. Bolt won the Rio Olympics in 9.81 seconds, albeit with less tailwind. Bolt debuts in his farewell season Saturday.
Coleman is best known for a viral 40-yard dash from earlier this spring. He clocked 4.12 seconds, one tenth faster than Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross‘ NFL combine record. Ross had challenged Bolt to a 40-yard dash, but Coleman’s effort hushed the No. 9 overall draft pick.
Coleman is now the overwhelming favorite in Friday’s 100m final in Eugene. How fast can he go?
“The sky’s the limit,” he said.
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