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Christian Coleman will be one of the key athletic figures who will be the cynosure of all eyes during the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024. It’s his incredible figures in recent times that are building hype around the event. The three times world champion ranks as the third fastest American and sixth fastest globally, with a remarkable time of 9.76 seconds as his personal best. However, despite possessing all this blistering pace, track and field was not the professional path Christian Coleman pursued initially.

As reported by Bleacher Report, American football held the greatest appeal for him since the age of five, to the extent that he received offers and excelled as one of the quickest running backs in college. Growing up in Westlake, he always looked up to Cam Newton and Adam “Pacman” Jones as his football inspiration, but he was never considered a bankable player due to his size. However, he did not give up immediately and kept on doing what was within his reach. Being fast has always been his USP, and it took 13 people to tackle him during the football games due to his pace.

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“He was kind of like a one-man fast break. You almost had to have 13 guys on the field to try to stop him,” is what Chris Slade, the football coach of Pace Academy who faced Coleman’s team, told the Bleacher Report. As they say, some things are just not on the cards. Such was the case with Christian Coleman; no matter how hard he tried, he always had to face negligence from the major Division I schools. Valparaiso, a Division I-AA school, was interested in him, but again, the Atlanta native did not want his parents to bear his college expenses, so he had to let that go.

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Christian Coleman felt unsettled by the fact that the players he deemed equally talented were receiving offers, but he was getting rejected every time. Following all these setbacks, there came a point in his life when the three-time world champion gave up on his football dream and shifted his focus towards another sport that his father thought was best suited for him. I’m going to go D-I in track” was his statement when he started his career as a sprinter and went to the University of Tennessee to polish his track skills.

The University of Tennessee: A game-changer in Christian Coleman’s sojourn

The 28-year-old sprinter added that his frustration about not being able to make it in American football fueled his transition to track and field, and he wanted to excel in the new sport discipline like never before. The University of Tennessee was the perfect place for him, as the facility had everything that he needed to give a new direction to his career. However, the initial days as a freshman track runner for Tennessee were not what he expected, as Christian Coleman finished the outdoor NCAA Outdoor Championship with an unsatisfactory 15th place in the 100 and 200 events.

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Giving up was never an option for him, and the two-time world indoor champion kept working hard, and later he cracked the code of being one of the finest sprinters in the world, winning multiple accolades. On June 16, 2017, the sprinter transitioned to professional ranks, foregoing his last year at Tennessee and never looked back as a track runner.

Read More: Christian Coleman’s Mom Daphne Believes Past “Hurt” Drives Fastest Man to Conquer the Track