June 22, 2017
While we’ve extensively previewed the distance races at USAs, the sprint action on tap is unbelievable. And among flat sprinters, only LaShawn Merritt and Allyson Felix have byes in the Worlds (both in the 400), which means very few of the US stars have the luxury of taking it easy at USAs.
Here’s what’s exciting us the most on the men’s side.
Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, LaShawn Merritt, and even Trayvon Bromell May Do Nothing at USAs. So what?
Gatlin, Gay, and Merritt have anchored the US sprinter corps from the 100 to 400 for much of the last decade. It’s not unreasonable to think none of them will win a title at USAs this year. Gay’s chances are almost non-existent, Merritt is only running his secondary event, the 200 (he has a bye into Worlds in the 400 as the Diamond League champion), and Gatlin has looked a half step slower this year.
The old guard of USA sprinting may not even finish top 3 at USAs this year.
Disastrous for the US? Not at all. There is a new generation of US sprint stars emerging in the wings. Last year, that emerging generation was led by Trayvon Bromell, who won a 100m bronze at Worlds in 2015. However, the last time Bromell competed was at the Olympics, where he competed on a bum Achilles in the 4×100. Bromell still made the Olympic final in the 100 and ran the 4×100, where afterwords, he could barely walk, but he hobbled backwards through the mixed zone to be with his elder teammates. LetsRun.com left the Olympics thinking Bromell is a total warrior, the guy you want on your team. However, hobbling through the Olympics may have ruined his 2017 season as he hasn’t raced yet.
However, the US has so much young talent, they still are primed with total studs in the 100, 200, and 400. Christian Coleman, a junior at the University of Tennessee who just turned pro, has run 9.82 and 19.85 this year. A solid medal contender in both events. Super impressive.
Noah Lyles, who would be a college freshman if he didn’t turn pro, has run 19.90 this year and won a Diamond League event. That’s after an indoor season where he ran an all-time world best for 300. Pretty unbelievable.
Two years ago, no one had heard of Fred Kerley, and now the recent Texas A&M grad is undefeated in the 400 in 2017, having run 43.70 to be the 7th fastest of all-time at 400.
The US looks set in the sprints for the next decade.