Advertisement

HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Athletics

Powell, the fastest man never to win gold
AFP
Kingston, Jamaica, July 15, 2013
First Published: 01:38 IST(15/7/2013)
Last Updated: 01:39 IST(15/7/2013)

Asafa Powell, who became the second big name sprinter to test positive for a banned substance on Sunday, has never won an individual Olympic or world gold medal.

And now he seems destined to go down as the fastest man never to win a major final.

His fall from grace after a brilliant career enjoyed a three-year spell between June 2005 and May 2008 when he was the 100m world record holder with times of 9.77sec and 9.74sec before the emergence of his compatriot Usain Bolt.

His career now looks set to be over with an Olympic gold in 2008 and world championship title in 2009, two of his highest achievements but both as a member of the crack Jamaican 4x100m relay team.

The 30-year-old ran in three straight Olympic 100m finals but could only manage fifth place in 2004 and 2008 before a groin injury at London in 2012 saw him finish eighth and last.

Only three men have ever run faster than Powell -- Bolt (9.58sec), Yohan Blake and the 2007 world champion Tyson Gay (9.69sec) of the USA, who also admitted on Sunday that he had failed a dope test and will miss the Moscow world championships in August.

Like Powell, Gay has also never won an Olympic individual medal.

At the 2009 world championships, where Bolt set the current world record of 9.58, Gay took silver with 9.71 and Powell picked up his second individual bronze - after 2007 - with a time of 9.84.

That was the closest he got.

In the run-up to both the Athens and Beijing Olympics, Powell had been seen by many as a potential champion, and few at that time were disagreeing with a still standing world record of having run almost 90 races under 10secs.

In 2011, he had owned the fastest 100m of the season at 9.78sec going into the Daegu world championships, before pulling out with more groin problems.

The timid preacher's son pulled off almost all of his success when the pressure was off.

Other career high points include his 100m victory at the 2006 Commonwealth Games at Melbourne during a year when he also won all six European Golden League meetings for a cash prize of $250,000 (191,000 euros) and the gong as IAAF athlete of the year.

And then came 2008 and the sensational emergence of Bolt, who had been a virtual unknown until setting a blistering new world record in New York in May that year and taking the honour from Powell.

Tragedy struck his family in 2002 when his brother Michael was shot dead in a New York taxi and a second brother Vaughan collapsed and died after suffering a heart attack while playing American football, one year later.


Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved