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Asafa Powell


100m, 4x100m

World record

5 (100 m, 4x100 m) - up to 22/08/2008

Olympic Games (1 medal - 1 gold)
  • 100m: 5th (2004, 2008)
  • 4x100m: 1st (2008)
World Championships (2 medals - 1 silver, 1 bronze)
  • 100m : 3rd (2007)
  • 4x100m relay : 2nd (2007)
Commonwealth Games (3 medals - 2 gold, 1 silver)
  • 100m: 1st (2006)
  • 4x100m relay: 1st (2006), 2nd (2002)
  • IAAF male athlete of the year (2006)
Rocket man with stage fright

Gentle Jamaican giant Asafa Powell has proven beyond doubt that is the fastest man on earth, but so lacking is he in the big day mentality there are serious doubts he will ever win a major 100m final.

Adding to his Olympic worries is a chest muscle tear in April 2008.

But it is his 2007 record that says it all. Although he was the reigning world record holder with three 9.77sec performances, his American rival Tyson Gay shared the pundits' favours to win the world championships gold medal at Osaka, Japan.

At the starting blocks the shy pastor's son was sweating profusely and remained head bowed during the public roll call while Gay waved to the crowds.

Powell was fast out of the blocks but as Gay pressured him at 60m his style went to pieces, his knees thrusting way too high. As Gay overtook him he again bowed his head, even appeared to stop trying, subsequently conceding even the silver to his distant cousin the Bahaman Derrick Atkins.

Gay took the gold in 9.84sec and went on to win the 200m and the 4X100m golds while Powell's failure was met with derision and anger in Jamaica.

And yet just two weeks later Powell smashed his own world record with an eye-popping 9.74sec in the semi-final at the IAAF Grand Prix at Rieti, Italy September 10, 2007. An hour later he ran 9.78 in the final.

He has since lost the world record to his compatriot Usain Bolt who clocked 9.72secs on May 31, 2008 in New York while Gay ran 9.77secs at the US Olympic trials one month ahead of the Games.

"After the world championships, where I made several mistakes, I worked with my coach so that I could regain my best form. Now I'm back!" said Powell.

He set his first world-record 9.77 in Greece in 2005 and equalled it twice in 2006, a year he won all six European golden league meetings for a cash prize of 250,000 dollars on the way to being named male athlete of the year.

"Lord run beside me"

And yet his trophy cabinet remains bare. At the 2003 world championships at 21-years-old he was disqualified in the same quarter-final as John "I did not move" Drummond.

While out at the 2004 Athens Games he struggled home in fifth after setting the fastest semi-final time. He then missed the 2005 worlds with a calf strain and choked at the 2007 final.

Before Gay's rise to prominence Powell had stood in the shadow of another American, Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic and 2005 world champion, banned for 8-years on doping charges in 2006.

The highly religious Powell, whose favourite tune is the gospel song Lord Walk Beside Me, initially fancied himself as a American footballer, and his own brother Donovan who ran the 200 metres at the 2000 Olympics and was a 100m semi-finalist in the 1999 world championships advised him against a career in sprinting.

Two of his five brothers have suffered sudden deaths, with Michael shot dead in a taxi in New York in 2002 and Vaughn collapsing on a football field in 2003.

Looking forward to the redemption an Olympic gold at Beijing could offer him, the man who has called for doping offenders to be jailed has predicted his best possible 100m time could well be below 9.7sec.

However an injury at the worst possible time in April, 2008 means his preparations will be seriously disrupted and he will be unable to compete until June, just two months before the Games.

Asafa Powell






Date of birth





190 cm


88.0 kg

Medals Tally
United States
Great Britain
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