I still have not completely given up on him. On one hand, Asafa Powell the man voted least likely to earn an international medal in a solo event now holds the world’s fastest relay split.
According to the USATF High Performance Registered Split Analysis team, it was Powell not Bolt that ran a historic 8.70 seconds on the winning Jamaican 4x100-meter relay team that crossed the line in 37.10 seconds to break the USA’s previous mark of 37.40 seconds.
It was Powell who came in with second fastest 100-meter time in history and then in Beijing failed to crack the top three slots of the open 100-meters, but some how with a stick in his hand he reached a point that only Bob Hayes and Carl Lewis have seen before.
American superstar Bob Hayes blazed 8.74 seconds at the 1964 Tokyo Games when his time is converted. Carl Lewis ran 8.85 on anchor leg at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when the U.S. first established the previous world record.
Then again, Powell is the previous world record holder, boasting a lifetime best of 9.72 seconds. He has proven that he can run 9.82 in the pouring rain, while jumping rope and drinking a latte.
Which leads to my next question. What is going on inside his head?
Reality tells us that the world has only seen a limited portion of what Powell can do on the track but the clock is ticking on Powell’s career and he seems like a nice enough guy, so I have a recommendation.
Powell should run his open races with a baton in his hand, imagining that he is running anchor on the 4x100-meter. The results could not be any worse than the fifth place finish in Beijing.
Sure--Powell might be the subject of ridicule by his peers, but he would be an immediate media darling for making their jobs that much easier.
Powell’s career and self esteem would benefit from seeking the counsel of a reputable sport psychologist to help with establishing relaxation techniques leading up to and during the race.
It would be money well spent even during a global financial crisis.
Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.