Fred Kerley

Fred Kerley leads U.S. medals sweep of men’s 100m at track worlds

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Fred Kerley is the world champion in the 100m, completing an extraordinary journey to the title of world’s fastest man.

Kerley, the 27-year-old American who took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, won the crown jewel men’s event of the world track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday night. He prevailed in 9.86 seconds, leading a U.S. medals sweep ahead of Marvin Bracy-Williams and Trayvon Bromell, who each ran 9.88.

It marked the U.S.’ first medals sweep in the world men’s 100m since 1991 and the first in any event at worlds since 2007.

Kerley overtook Bracy-Williams to his left in the final 10 meters.

The same Fred Kerley who was considered a 400m sprinter up until the start of last year. The same Fred Kerley who nine years ago walked onto the track team at South Plains community college. The same Fred Kerley who might never have pursued sprinting had he not broken his collarbone in the last football game of his high school career in Texas.

“I said I was going to do some great things at the junior college,” Kerley said Saturday night. “I speak crazy things. I think I’m still speaking crazy things.”

The same Fred Kerley who has the words “Aunt” and “Meme” tattooed inside his biceps.

TRACK WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule | Results | U.S. Roster | Key Events

“I was two when I first moved in with her, a toddler who didn’t know what was happening around him,” Kerley wrote in 2019. “My Dad ended up in jail, my Mom took wrong turns in life, which meant Aunt Virginia was the only one who could take care of me and my four siblings. Meme – as she is better known – brought up her kids, her brother’s kids and us, with 13 children all living under the same roof. She also brought up the two or three generations after me, and she’s still raising them now – 25 children in total.”

Kerley said that great-aunt Virginia sometimes went without food to make sure he and his siblings ate. ‘Thirteen of us in one bedroom,” he said Saturday night, “on a pallet.”

Kerley experienced physical setbacks as he transformed into a world-class sprinter. As a South Plains sophomore, he felt leg pain midway through anchoring a relay.

“I carried on before falling over the finish line when I realized I’d tore my quad,” he said, according to World Athletics. “I had a hole in my leg, and I could put my finger in the hole.”

Kerley still made it to Texas A&M as a transfer. He broke through as a senior in 2017, lowering his 400m personal best from 45.10 to 43.70, making the world championships team and finishing the year as the world’s second-fastest man in the event.

“I became elite by working my ass off,” Kerley said, according to Olympics.com.

Last year, Kerley raised eyebrows by primarily racing the 100m and 200m. He ultimately chose those two events at Olympic Trials, reportedly dropping the 400m because of an ankle injury.

“My ankle was swollen,” he said, according to Athletics Weekly. “I decided at the last minute to run the 100m and 200m, knowing that I couldn’t go ’round the turns [in the 400m] the way I wanted to.”

It paid off. Kerley took 100m silver at the Olympics in his global championships debut at the distance. He began 2021 with a 100m personal best of 10.49 from his South Plains days. He finished it running 9.84 in the Olympic final.

This year, he ran 9.76 and 9.77 within a two-hour span at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships last month. On Friday at worlds, he ran 9.79, the fastest-ever first-round time at a global championship.

Kerley was asked if this gold medal will change his life.

“Track and field already changed my life,” he said.

Like Kerley, training partners Bracy-Williams and Bromell have their own yearslong stories to this moment.

In 2013, Bracy-Williams left the Florida State football program after his redshirt freshman season to turn pro in track, one year before the Seminoles won their last national title.

He unexpectedly made the 2016 Olympic team, eliminated in the semifinals in Rio, then gave football one more shot. He worked out for the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers in 2017 but did not play a regular season game. He was briefly a member of the Seattle Seahawks in 2018 and the Orlando Apollos of the AAF in 2019, playing in one game and breaking his arm in a league that eventually folded. “I realized right then and there, yeah, my football dream might be over,” he said.

He returned to track competition in 2020, going nearly three years between races. Then he had an appendix rupture and an intestinal blockage, getting eight staples from his belly button on down. Now, he’s on the podium at a global outdoor championships for the first time at age 28.

“My perseverance,” drives me, Bracy-Williams said. “I battled some things that I don’t talk about. I just go away quietly, and I just keep fighting.”

Bromell last year ran the world’s fastest 100m times before and after the Olympics, but in Tokyo was eliminated in the semifinals. Had he won any medal in Japan, it would have marked an all-time rebound. Bromell was wheeled out of the Rio Olympics in a chair. He completed three total races in 2017, 2018 and 2019 due to injuries and was considered finished.

Bromell said that, in 2018, he had a retirement letter written up that he planned to give to his agent.

“I didn’t see no hope,” Bromell, who estimated he spent $300,000 traveling across the U.S. and Europe for medical treatments for his Achilles, told LetsRun.com. “I could barely run.”

Italian Marcell Jacobs, the surprise Olympic gold medalist, withdrew before Saturday’s semifinals due to injuries in both legs. Jacobs has been set back by illness and injuries since winning the world indoor 60m title in March.

Worlds continue Sunday with finals in the women’s 100m and American gold-medal favorites in the men’s 110m hurdles and shot put and women’s pole vault and hammer throw.

Also Saturday, Chase Ealey became the first U.S. woman to win a world title in the shot put. Ealey bounced back from a fifth-place finish at Olympic Trials to notch the second-best throw in American history this season. On Her Turf has more on Ealey here.

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey, the world record holder at 5000m, 10,000m and half marathon, earned her first global gold by taking the 10,000m. Gidey, expelled from school as a teen for refusing to run in P.E. class, held off world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya in a furious, five-woman fight on the final lap of the 25-lap final.

Ethiopian-born Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan was fourth, a year after taking gold in the 5000m and 10,000m and bronze in the 1500m in an unprecedented Olympic triple and then took an eight-month offseason. On Her Turf has more on the women’s 10,000m here.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

Wang Jianan of China won the men’s long jump, overtaking Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece by four centimeters by leaping from sixth place to first on his sixth and last jump.

Poland hammer thrower Paweł Fajdek became the third person to win five world outdoor titles in an individual event, joining Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergey Bubka (six titles) and German discus thrower Lars Riedel.

All of the favorites advanced into the women’s 100m semifinals, including Jamaica’s two-time Olympic 100m champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.87) and Elaine Thompson-Herah (11.15).

Elsewhere in qualifying, notables who were eliminated included 2019 World high jump bronze medalist Vashti Cunningham, U.S. 110m hurdles champion Daniel Roberts, who crashed while leading his first-round heat, and U.S. Olympic Trials 1500m champion Elle St. Pierre.

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Fred Kerley runs world’s fastest 100m of 2022; Allyson Felix ekes into U.S. final

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Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley ran the world’s fastest 100m this year and won the USATF Outdoor Championships, setting himself up as the favorite for the world championships in three weeks.

In a span of two hours, Kerley ran 9.76 seconds in the semifinals and, less than two hours later, 9.77 in the final. Those are the world’s two fastest times this year.

“I put the work in,” Kerley told Flotrack. “It’s the day I was supposed to have.”

Kerley is joined on the world team by Rio Olympian Marvin Bracy-Williams (9.85), the world’s fastest man of 2021 Trayvon Bromell (9.88) and Christian Coleman, who scratched after qualifying fourth into the final but has a bye into worlds as reigning world champion.

USATF OUTDOORS: TV Schedule | Results

Allyson Felix extended her farewell season by grabbing the last spot in Saturday’s 400m final. She was in last place coming around the last curve in her semifinal, then surged into fourth place and made it into the eight-woman final on time.

In 2019 and 2021, USA Track and Field put all eight finalists on the world championships and Olympic teams for relay purposes. If that’s repeated this time, Felix will have made her 10th world championships team dating to 2003.

“My legs just didn’t feel the best, but I knew that’s kind of how this season was going to go,” said Felix, whose goal was to make the relay pool.

Melissa Jefferson won the women’s 100m in a wind-aided 10.69 seconds. Jefferson, the fastest collegian this season who was eighth at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago for Coastal Carolina, prevailed by three hundredths over 2018 U.S. champion Aleia Hobbs. Twanisha Terry rounds out the individual 100m team for worlds, which will also be in Eugene.

“One [NCAAs] had to be sacrificed for the other [U.S. Championships],” Jefferson told Lewis Johnson on CNBC. “Had I done good at NCAAs, I might not be standing here right now.”

The race lacked Sha’Carri Richardson, who was eliminated in the first round on Thursday. Richardson ranked No. 3 in the world last year despite having her Olympic Trials win disqualified for a positive marijuana test, ruling her out of the Tokyo Games.

Ryan Crouser, two-time Olympic champion and world record holder, recorded the joint-fourth-best throw in history to win the shot put. He’s joined on the team by runner-up Joe Kovacs, who has a bye into worlds as reigning world champion.

Olympic champion Valarie Allman won the discus, though she also has a bye into worlds as the reigning Diamond League season champion.

Rio Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris won the pole vault with a 4.82-meter clearance, tops in the world this year. Tokyo gold medalist Katie Nageotte was third to join her on the team. London gold medalist Jenn Suhr announced her retirement on Thursday at age 40.

Vashti Cunningham won her 10th consecutive U.S. high jump title (indoors and outdoors).

Rayvon Gray won the men’s long jump with a personal best 8.19-meter leap but doesn’t have the world championship standard (8.22), so he must wait to see if he gets into worlds on world ranking.

JuVaughn Harrison, who in Tokyo became the first American man to compete in the high jump and long jump at the same Olympics since Jim Thorpe in 1912, was 11th. Rio gold medalist Jeff Henderson didn’t enter nationals due to injury.

In semifinals, Olympic champion and world record holder Sydney McLaughlin easily advanced to Saturday’s 400m hurdles final with the top time (52.90) by 2.12 seconds. Dalilah Muhammad, the 2016 gold medalist and former world record holder, has a bye into worlds as reigning world champion. She didn’t compete at nationals due to injury.

All of the favorites advanced to this weekend’s finals in the men’s 400m (Michael NormanRandolph Ross), men’s 800m (Bryce Hoppel, Clayton Murphy) and women’s 800m (Athing Mu, Raevyn Rogers, Ajeé Wilson).

Donovan Brazier, who is returning from injury, withdrew after the 800m first round but has a bye into worlds as reigning champ.

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Noah Lyles opens Diamond League with 200m win over Olympic medalists

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Noah Lyles edged Fred Kerley in a 200m battle between U.S. Olympic sprint medalists at the Diamond League season opener in Doha on Friday.

Lyles, the Olympic bronze medalist and reigning world champion at 200m, clocked 19.72 seconds with a 2.1 meter per second tailwind, slightly above the limit for record purposes.

Kerley, the Olympic 100m silver medalist, was second in 19.75, just quicker than his wind-legal personal best of 19.76.

Andre De Grasse, the Olympic champion from Canada, was fourth in 20.15.

All of those men are looking up this year at 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton, who clocked 19.49 two weeks ago. Knighton was not in the Doha field but will be a leading contender at the USATF Outdoor Championships in June, where the top three in most events qualify for July’s world championships. Both meets are in Eugene, Oregon.

Lyles has a bye onto the world championships team as reigning world champion.

“I perform better under pressure,” Lyles said, according to meet organizers. “I feel good and satisfied about my position right now. My plan for the world championship is to win, to always win.”

Full Doha results are here.

The Diamond League continues May 21 with a meet in Birmingham, Great Britain, featuring Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica.

In other events Friday, Olympic silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic handed two-time Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas her first 400m defeat since the 2019 World Championships.

Paulino won in 51.20 seconds, while Miller-Uibo was third in 51.84, her lowest finish in a 400m since 2017 and her slowest international race since 2014.

Brazilian Alison dos Santos surged past American Rai Benjamin to win the 400m hurdles in 47.24. Benjamin ran 47.49 in a battle between the Olympic silver and bronze medalists and second- and third-fastest men in history.

Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas won the women’s 200m in 21.98 seconds, defeating Olympic 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica and 2019 World champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain.

Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, the 2016 Olympic 800m silver medalist who since moved up in distance due to a testosterone limit, won the 3000m (not an Olympic distance) over two-time Olympic 1500m gold medalist Faith Kipyegon of Kenya.

Niyonsaba, 29, ranked fourth in the world in the 5000m last year by best time but was controversially disqualified at the Olympics for a lane infringement in the heats.

Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco won the 3000m steeplechase by .01 over Tokyo silver medalist Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia. The race included the top five from the Games.

World champion Anderson Peters of Grenada improved his personal best in the javelin by nearly 19 feet, winning with a 93.07-meter throw. He moved from the 53rd-best performer in history to No. 5.

In the high jump, Woo Sang-Hyeok of South Korea upset co-Olympic gold medalists Mutaz Barshim of Qatar (second) and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy (seventh).

Chase Ealey, Maggie Ewen and Jessica Ramsey made it a U.S. one-two-three in the shot put.

The men’s pole vault featuring Olympic champion and world-record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden was not held due to high winds.

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