Stuttgart, GermanyAsafa Powell has developed a knack for making even some of the most sensational performances in history seem almost routine.
Running against a 0.3 m/s wind and after a pair of false starts, Powell’s final blaze of glory in Europe this summer – a 100m victory in 9.83 seconds-- was certainly the finest performance of the first day of the 5th IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final. It was the 24-year-old Jamaican’s sixth fastest time ever, and his 11th at 9.85 or better. Indeed, Powell has been so fast so often that it’s easy to forget that only two other men have ever run faster than his winning time today.
Seeming to relish his achievement, Powell was smiling and thoroughly pleased when assessing his performance.
“It was one of the best,” he said, after his ninth victory in ten 100m outings this season.
“When I crossed the line, I wished that it could have been a little more. But after two false starts and when I saw that the wind was minus, I said, ‘Whoa, that’s really good.’ But at first, I was looking for a little more.”
But it’s that lone defeat, to American Tyson Gay at the World Championships, that remains of primary interest among journalists who questioned the World record holder since that Osaka outing.
“I’m really happy right now,” Powell insisted, “that’s gone, it’s in the past. And I’m working very hard now. It’s good to get beat sometimes. It shows that you’re not unbeatable. And it motivates me to keep working hard. So now I just have to work hard to stay unbeaten.”
Powell has been on a tear since Osaka, continuing to rewrite the all-time list, topped by his sensational 9.74 run in Rieti.
“This season wasn’t the best for me,” he said, alluding to his bronze medal performance in Osaka, “but I’m still very happy. I bounced back very quickly from the World Championships, I’ve run some good times, the World record. My aim next year,” he continued, “is to compete as much and as well as possible. And to go to Beijing and come home with the gold medal.”
Powell insists that he’s not thinking about Gay, or his distant cousin, Osaka silver medallist Derrick Adkins, or anyone else in particular as he looks ahead to the Olympic campaign.
“I’m not really focusing on anybody right now. Tyson is very good, and I underestimated him in Osaka and I don’t want to make that mistake again.” Indeed, he’s looking forward to meeting his American rival prior to Beijing.
“Next year I hope to race him before the Olympics,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent sure (if they’ll meet before then), but I hope so. It’s important.”
Powell said that he’ll make but one change to his training regiment next season.
“The only thing I’m going to change is attend practice everyday,” he said with a wide grin, explaining that he missed nearly two months of training in the early spring. “At first I was injured, and then I was resting... a little bit too much.”
Before he begins his planned break next month, he’ll be wrapping up the season with a pair of 200m appearances, first in Shanghai and then Yokohama.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF