Visit IAAF special preview page
Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
Visit IAAF special preview page
Visit IAAF special preview page

Coleman – too fast, too furious!

American 100M champion has become a polarising figure in the world of track and field.
Coleman Race
USA’s Christian Coleman crosses the finish line first in the men’s 100M final, ahead of South Africa’s Akani Simbine. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF

American sprinter Christian Coleman may be just 23, but he has already become a hugely polarising figure in the world of track and field.

Chatter about him, both online and off it, will certainly grow louder after he annexed the 100M outdoor world title at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday, adding it to the indoor 60M title he won in Birmingham a year ago.

Coleman’s participation in the Doha World Championships had been a last-minute affair, with the US Anti-Doping Agency clearing him on a technicality after he had missed three dope tests in the past 12 months.

The legends of athletics were not pleased, with American Michael Johnson saying Coleman could now never become the face of track and field. The sprinter came out all guns blazing against Johnson at the post-race press conference on Saturday, having clobbered the field in a time of 9.76 sec.

“Michael Johnson doesn’t pay my bills or sign my cheques, so I don’t necessarily care what he has to say. I think the face of the sport goes to people who’re putting up good performances and representing the sport in the right way,” he said.

Coleman refused to admit he may have erred in his ways and chose to play the victim card by saying people were out to smear his reputation.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, that’s why I’m here competing today. I’m just a young black man who’s living my dream. It’s disappointing that anyone would try to leak information to smear my reputation,” he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s not something I focus on. I didn’t miss three tests, so it’s a false accusation. This is a first-time thing, and I’ve been tested a lot of times,” he added.

Coleman’s brashness might have stemmed from the knowledge that he is the king of all he surveys, at least for the next two years. But next year, at the 2020 Tokyo Games, there could be someone gunning for his throne — his team-mate Noah Lyles, who has chosen to focus only on the 200M in Doha.

Until then, the fast-starting runner with a terrific finish will have to keep answering questions related to things other than his prowess on the track.