Our Lady of Mercy alum Christian Coleman is only 21 years old, but he may be on his way to becoming the fastest man in the world.
On Saturday, Coleman beat Usain Bolt, considered by many to be the greatest sprinter of all time, twice. In a 100 meter semifinal at the London World Championships, Coleman snapped Bolt’s 45-race win streak, nudging the Jamaican by a hundredth of a second to win the heat.
In the 100 meter final, Coleman once again raced out to a quick lead, but a late surge from fellow American Justin Gatlin earned the gold medal with a 9.92. Coleman won silver (9.94) and Bolt, who had planned to retire after the London Championships, lost his final two races to Coleman by a hundredth of a second (9.95).
“He’s got a great future ahead of him,” Bolt said at a press conference after the 100 meter final.
Coleman broke multiple NCAA records this past season at the University of Tennessee, but the London Championships was the first look at how Coleman stacked up against the world’s best on an international stage since he completed his stellar junior year with the Volunteers. Coleman’s 9.82 at the NCAA track championships is still the fastest 100 meter time in 2017. Bolt holds the world record for his 9.58 100 meter run, which he ran at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
Coleman, who turned pro over the summer, signing with Nike on June 23, summed up his year thus far as he sat next to Gatlin and Bolt at the post-race press conference.
“It’s definitely a surreal experience,” Coleman said.
Stay tuned later this month for a Fayette County News exclusive longform story on Christian Coleman.