Is Fred Kerley The Most Consistent Sprinter In The World?

Published 05/02/2022, 12:50 PM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 100m – Medal Ceremony – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 2, 2021. Silver medallist, Fred Kerley of the United States poses on the podium REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Track and field are as much about movement as it is about speed. With athletes competing at the top level, body mechanics are crucial in performance and directly affect your run. And in a sport where the margins of victory are sometimes as close as the thousandth of seconds, you need to take every advantage you can get. And when Carl Lewis sat down to analyze Fred Kerley’s run, it was this aspect that he focussed on.

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Appearing on the YouTube channel of FloTrack, Lewis analyzed his tread pattern and how Fred Kerley ran almost the same race through all of 2021. At least in terms of his body mechanics. In the first race that made him known to the world, Lewis talks us through Kerley’s run. Right from his start to how he generated speed through his run right to his finish. It was almost like a private masterclass.

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Carl Lewis explains why Fred Kerley was able to be so consistent

Looking at footage from the European 100-meter, where Kerley made his debut and burst onto the scene, Lewis starts at the very beginning. Says Lewis, “I think Fred ran the most consistent and best of anyone last year. He ran the same race.”

“He ran consistently and relaxed the entire season,” adds Lewis. Discussing his running technique in detail, Lewis also mentions how Kerley kept his form throughout the season. Said Lewis, “Fred ran those races early and was able to get a rhythm and he just ran the same rhythm all year.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 100m – Final – OLS – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Fred Kerley of the United States after winning silver REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

While Kerley would have a great showing at the Olympics, his European 100-meter performance was impressive to say the least. Not just because of the time that he recorded, but also because of the field he was up against. On the track beside Andre De Grasse and Justin Gatlin, Kerley was up against it, but he did well even in a pressure scenario.

From the starting line, Lewis acknowledges that Kerley doesn’t look as if he’s running too fast. And that may be down to his technique. Says Lewis, “It doesn’t look like he’s running that fast because he’s creating the momentum.”

Boiling it down to two key ingredients, Lewis analyzes further“Fred came out of the blocks and into a running position, his hands are up, his feet are down and he’s stroking.”

A direct comparison with his peers

And that was enough to make the difference. Lewis draws a direct comparison with Justin Gatlin who ran the same race next to Kerley but remained driving with his head down for longer. “Fred’s leaving him,” says Lewis.

Crucial to running technique too though, Lewis went on to dissect the runners’ form. Looking at De Grasse, and noticing how far back his back leg is, he notes that this is what gives the runners their acceleration. Lewis mentions“The bottom line is these runners are staying on the ground longer to move forward instead of trying to get their feet back on the ground.”

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s 100m – Semifinal – OLS – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Fred Kerley of the United States, Andre De Grasse of Canada, Yohan Blake of Jamaica, Tlotliso Leotlela of South Africa and Usheoritse Itsekiri of Nigeria in action during Semifinal 1 REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Harkening back to running form, Lewis mentions that the motion should be fluid. “Your feet have to stay on the ground, push from the ground, and cycle,” he adds“they cannot stay close to the ground.” 

Speaking about his form across all distances, Lewis had some more information to drop. Says Lewis, “The thing about it with Fred is that he did the sprint in High School. He kind of moved up to the 400, so it isn’t really as foreign as people think.”

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Watch This Story: Top 5 Most Defining Performances OF Versatile Athlete Fred Kerley

And while the great sprinter seems to have made up his mind about the athlete, Kerley’s prime awaits. How do you think the sprinter can make it? Do you think he can snag some World Records along the way?

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Aditya Deshingkar

522 articles

Aditya Deshingkar is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. An aspiring lawyer, Aditya is a final year student of the law program at GLC. Notably, as an avid sports lover, he shares a keen interest in NBA, MLB, and Formula 1.

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