Sun | Sep 15, 2019

Coleman shuns Bolt comparisons, talks up WR chances

Published:Saturday | August 17, 2019 | 12:18 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Christian Coleman is the world’s fastest man these days but he does not want to be the next Usain Bolt. The young American wants to leave his own legacy, starting with gold in the 100m at the World Championships on September 28.

In an interview published in England’s SUN newspaper recently, he was reported as saying, “I don’t want to be Usain Bolt, I don’t want to be anybody else, I want to be the best version of Christian Coleman that I can.”

Second to Justin Gatlin in the 100m at the last World Championships, Coleman continued, “When I look back at my career, I want to say I accomplished certain things and ran certain times.”

The 23-year-old’s list of immediate targets is understandable – wins at the Worlds, next year’s Olympics and reducing the gap between his personal best of 9.79 seconds and Bolt’s world record of 9.58 seconds. A champion sprinter at the University of Tennessee, he ran stoutly to beat Bolt into third at the 2017 World Championships and hopes for more.

“I have the talent to come away with the gold medals,” he told the British news organ. “I feel I have the mindset and mental stability to be able to do it.”

Coleman holds the fastest time in the 100m for 2017, 2018 and so far in 2019. In addition, his explosive start carried him to a world indoor 60-metre record of 6.34 seconds last season and gold at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England.

World record possibilities

He has run 9.81 this year and is the US champion in the 100m and expects to improve while not writing off world record possibilities.

“I feel like I can”, Coleman posited. “I believe my talent is as good as anybody else in the world in the 100m. On a perfect day, perfect conditions, with a really good field, it’s hot outside, it’s a major championship, anything is possible in this sport.

“I still don’t feel I’m at my peak yet, and I’ve got a few more years ahead of me to get better.”

Coleman will be back in Birmingham this week to contest the 100m this weekend at the Diamond League in a field including Jamaica’s 2011 World champion Yohan Blake, Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine of South Africa, World and Olympic bronze medal winner Andre De Grasse of Canada, and recently crowned Pan American Games victor Mike Rodgers, who followed him home at the US National Championships last month.