American sprinter Trayvon Bromell, a 19-year-old who goes to Baylor, had a historic weekend at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships.
In the prelims he ran the 100 meters in 9.84 seconds. It’s the fastest time ever for a teenager and ties for the 2nd-fastest time of 2015. At age 19 Bromell is the 10th-fastest man of all time, and the 4th-fastest American. He went on to finish second to Tyson Gay in the 100m finals at the US Championships, which earned him a spot on the US team at the World Championships in Beijing in August.
“I started slowing down, I didn’t want to run too fast and wear myself out,” he said after his historic performance. “I’m really surprised. When I slowed it down I didn’t think I was going to run that fast. Man it’s crazy. I didn’t try to run that fast in prelims.”
Any American posting these sorts of times would be the talk of the track world, but what makes Bromell’s story so special is his age. Historically, sprinters peak in their 20s. Alistair Tweedale of the Telegraph dug into the numbers and found that the five fastest active sprinters — Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, Yohan Blake — only Blake broke 10 seconds before age 20.
Baylor coach Todd Harbour told USA Today’s Paul Myerberg that it’s only a matter of time before a shoe company offers him a monster deal to go pro:
“If he runs the way he’s been running … my gosh. It’s going to be hard for some of these shoe companies not to say, ‘This is the next one. This is the guy we’ve been waiting for.’ They have been waiting for the next great sprinter to come along.”
Bromell’s assent to the top of the US track world has been rapid. He broke his left hip in 10th grade, but two years later he set the high school record in the 100m at 9.9 seconds and won the Gatorade Track & Field Athlete of the Year award. A year later he posted a wind-aided 9.77 at the Big 12 championships, which only intensified the “Next Big Thing” hype.
In early June he got beat the NCAA finals, but his performance at the US Championships put him back on track. In August, he’ll face off against Bolt, Powell, and the others in the biggest event of the year.
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