Tennessee Volunteers

Watch Christian Coleman smash NCAA 100m record

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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 GayJustin 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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Olympian Christian Coleman takes in buzz after viral 40-yard dash

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — There’s video of a Tennessee athlete running the 40-yard dash faster than anyone ever has at the NFL combine.

Except he didn’t get drafted. He’s not even a football player anymore. He did it for fun and watched the video gain traction on social media.

This just might have signaled Christian Coleman‘s arrival as one of the top young American sprinters. At a time when the U.S. is seeking talented young sprinters as Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin enter their mid-30s, Coleman is an intriguing contender.

“I definitely look at the opportunity and hope I can take advantage of it,” Coleman said. “You’ve got older guys, they came in and really laid the groundwork for USA Track and Field. Those are some of the guys that I looked up to growing up running track.

“To be able to be looked at as one of the guys that can potentially come in and take their place as they move out of the sport, that’s a pretty cool opportunity.”

Coleman, who ran on the U.S. Olympic 4×100 team in a qualifying heat in Rio, won the NCAA indoor championships 60m (6.45) and 200m (20.11) titles in March. He is undefeated in individual events during the NCAA outdoor season heading into this week’s Southeastern Conference Championships at Columbia, S.C.

After his junior season concludes, Coleman will compete in the U.S. Championships next month in Sacramento, Calif. Coleman says he won’t decide until after the NCAA season whether to return to Tennessee for his senior year or turn pro.

Perhaps his best-known performance thus far didn’t even count.

Less than a week after the NCAA indoor championships, Tennessee filmed Coleman running the 40 in 4.12 seconds at the school’s indoor athletic facility. For comparison’s sake, the fastest 40 ever posted at the combine came this year from Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross, a first-round draft pick out of Washington, who ran it in 4.22 seconds.

Tennessee’s track program put the video of Coleman’s 4.12 40 on social media on May 1, two days after the conclusion of the NFL draft. The attention surrounding it has introduced Coleman to a much wider audience.

The video has been viewed more than 3.3 million times on Facebook over the last week. Coleman says he got “a couple thousand” more Twitter followers as the video went viral.

“When they were making the video, we figured it would get a lot of views because it was a pretty fast 40,” Coleman said. “I don’t know how I really feel about it. I got a lot of publicity for it. It was just a cool little deal.”

As impressive as Coleman looked in that video, he might be capable of much more.

Tennessee coach Beth Alford-Sullivan noted that the video was shot after Coleman had taken some time to rest his tired legs after the NCAA indoor championships.

“I think he can run even faster, but he’d taken (about) a week off at that point,” Alford-Sullivan said.

Coleman agrees.

“I wasn’t really in my best sprint form,” Coleman said. “We kind of just went out there and did it. I feel I could probably run faster, but you know, it’s pretty good.”

Other athletes noticed. U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones tweeted: “This is great. Can football players please stop asking to race us trackies now? Matter settled.” Tennessee football coach Butch Jones retweeted the video and asked Coleman, “What’s your cleat size?”

Coleman is a former high school cornerback and receiver from Atlanta. He has two older brothers who played football at Harvard and Colgate, though Coleman realized he had a brighter future in track.

“I had a couple of (football) offers from really small schools – (Division) II, a couple of I-AA schools – but I had other opportunities, of course, to run at SEC schools for track. … It just seemed like the best situation for me.”

Coleman hasn’t looked back since.

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MORE: Usain Bolt responds to John Ross’ challenge

Olympic sprinter runs 40-yard dash faster than NFL combine record

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U.S. Olympic sprinter Christian Coleman ran a 40-yard dash in 4.12 seconds, one tenth faster than the NFL combine record, according to the University of Tennessee.

The school’s track and field team posted video on social media Monday.

Coleman, a 21-year-old junior at Tennessee, finished sixth in the 2016 Olympic Trials 100m, qualifying for the Rio 4x100m relay.

The NFL combine 40-yard dash record is 4.22 seconds, set by the University of Washington’s John Ross this year.

Ross challenged Usain Bolt to a 40-yard dash contest before being drafted No. 9 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

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