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The fastest man’s title is having new contenders with every running event. March 2024: “He was the fastest man ever to do it… And soon, it’ll be me,” Noah Lyles had said about targeting Jamaican legend Usain Bolt‘s record.

April 2024: “9.58 is obviously an extraordinary time but honestly I feel like it’s a lot of guys who are competing today who are not that far off if the track gods see fit for it to happen,” Christian Coleman added his take in the matter.

In May 2024, one more countryman joined in the chatter, unfazed by the backlash Lyles and Coleman had to face for their boastful remarks. Both sprinters failed to reach even close to Bolt’s time after their comments. They mostly clocked times around 10s. Looking at that, the track and field community mercilessly lashed out at them, branding them “slow”. Even after that, Lyles and Coleman’s relay teammate Fred Kerley chose to enter the fiery debate that had been raging on the track and field lately.

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In his deliberation, 3-time world champion Fred Kerley penned down an 8-word message on X to make things clear and it certainly does not look good for both Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman, facing stiff opposition en route to the throne. Kerley set the tone by making the statement, “World record next time I touch the 100m.”

In his last two 100m encounters, Fred remained in the sub-10 bracket, behind opponents like Christian Coleman and Akani Simbine. So, would it not be far-fetched for him to put his feet in Usain Bolt’s shoes this early? 

A track and field fan threw a question to the Tokyo Olympic medalist sprinter and challenged him to break Yohan Blake’s 100m record after the latter had put his statement on X and wrote, “Everyday ya’ll disrespect Yohan… Let’s get to his 9.69 first then worry about Bolt’s 9.58 later…” However, Fred Kerley had a fitting answer and replied, “We don’t disrespect no one  WE don’t think no of us here to be second best we work to damn hard. We shoot for the top.” But certainly, he knows he has a lot of work to do to set himself before Usain Bolt. 

In 100m sprinting, Fred Kerley’s personal best stands at 9.76 seconds made in Hayward Field, two years ago. Furthermore, this season, despite a thorough improvement, Fred’s top timing remains at 10.03 seconds, made in UMiami Cobb Stadium. But that does not make Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman anywhere in a better position. Here’s a comparative study of timing in the 100m sprint between the trio and Usain Bolt. 

AthletesPersonal bestSeasonal best
Usain Bolt9.58 secondsNot applicable
Noah Lyles9.83 seconds10.01 seconds
Christian Coleman9.76 seconds10.04 seconds
Fred Kerley9.76 seconds10.03 seconds

Notably, with their personal best times, Coleman and Kerley tie for the 6th place on the all-time list. However, Noah is still some distance away from them, sitting at the 15th position. Taking all of these factors into consideration, the comparative showcase raises the question: can they succeed? Justin Gatlin has a prediction. 

Noah Lyles and the USA brigade may have to put more on the track 

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Justin Gatlin believes that Bolt’s record is not something to be broken very soon, at least not by the present generation of sprinters. It might take one more generation of sprinters to finally get to that level, according to Gatlin. “Maybe not in this generation that we have now but the next one to come…hopefully we’ll see times that will be comparable to nine-five or better (from) the next generation,” Gatlin had said in this regard. Along similar lines, the present scenario truly looks a bit far away from the milestone.

Noah Lyles started this season with his 60m indoor stints. In his multiple encounters, he eventually displayed his mastery on the short tracks, earning success. In the meantime, he had also mentioned, “We worked on the 60 to help my 100 and my 200 and we’ve seen major progression in that.” That proved his ultimate bull’s eye- to top the record list in track and field, toppling Usain Bolt. Even the Zen, Usain Bolt himself baited his money on the 26-year-old American sprinter to be his successor if the latter keeps aside certain issues.

But as of now, Noah Lyles has failed to go near the existing 100m record. His wind-aided show in the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix brought him closer (9.96 seconds) to the record. But the track and field community still lashed out at him for being ‘slow’ in this overall season so far. The same goes with his compatriot, Christian Coleman. 

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The world indoor champion’s recent outdoor performances failed to tune in with the mood. Extending the complication, in the recently concluded Jamaican Invitational, Christian Coleman failed to take an entry in the leaderboard of the 200m race- the same event that put Fred Kerley in the second position, both bowing out to British runner Zharnel Hughes.

So, as things stand, the 100m heavy runners will have put a lot of effort into going past Usain Bolt’s record. So, till then, the fans might watch every step of these three sprinters.