Asafa Powell

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Asafa Powell
Powell 2010-06-04 Bislett Games 06.jpg
Asafa Powell after his 9.72 win at the 2010 Bislett Games.
Personal information
NationalityJamaican
Born(1982-11-23) 23 November 1982 (age 31)
Spanish Town, Jamaica
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight88 kg (190 lb; 13.9 st)
Sport
SportTrack & Field
Event(s)100 metres, 200 metres
ClubMVP Track & Field Club
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

100 m: 09.72 s (Lausanne, 2008)
200 m: 19.90 s (Kingston 2006)

400 m: 45.94 s (Sydney 2009)
 
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Asafa Powell
Powell 2010-06-04 Bislett Games 06.jpg
Asafa Powell after his 9.72 win at the 2010 Bislett Games.
Personal information
NationalityJamaican
Born(1982-11-23) 23 November 1982 (age 31)
Spanish Town, Jamaica
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight88 kg (190 lb; 13.9 st)
Sport
SportTrack & Field
Event(s)100 metres, 200 metres
ClubMVP Track & Field Club
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

100 m: 09.72 s (Lausanne, 2008)
200 m: 19.90 s (Kingston 2006)

400 m: 45.94 s (Sydney 2009)

Asafa Powell, CD (born 23 November 1982) is a Jamaican sprinter who specialises in the 100 metres. He held the 100 m world record between June 2005 and May 2008, with times of 9.77 and 9.74 seconds respectively. Powell has consistently broken the 10-second barrier in competition, with his personal best of 9.72 s being the fifth fastest time in the history of the event.[1] As of October 2012, Powell has broken the ten-second barrier legally more times than anyone else – 88 times. On 14 July 2013, it was announced that Powell had tested positive for the drug oxilofrine. It has been reported that he will miss the 2013 World Athletics Championships as a result.

Powell competed in the 100 m at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics, finishing fifth in 2004 and 2008 and eighth after injuring his groin during the race in 2012. In 2008 he won a gold medal and set the world and Olympic records as part of the Jamaican 4 × 100 metres relay team. At the 2007 Osaka World Championships he won a bronze and a silver medal in the 100 m and 4 x 100 m relay respectively and he has been successful at the Commonwealth Games, winning two gold and one silver medal. At the 2009 World Championships he won 100 m bronze and a relay gold. Powell has won five times at the IAAF World Athletics Final and was formerly the 100 m world record holder for the event.

Biography and sprinting career[edit]

Born on 23 November 1982, in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Asafa Powell is the youngest of six sons of two ministers. He attended Ewarton Primary School and Charlemont High School, both in St. Catherine, Jamaica. Powell planned to be a mechanic before he took up running while studying in Kingston, Jamaica.[2][3] His eldest brother Donovan,[4] was a 60 m finalist in the 1999 World Indoor Championships.[5] Running runs in the family: His brothers clocked 9.5[dubious ] seconds for the 100 yd dash, his mother 11.4, and his father 10.2.[6] Powell is a member of the MVP (Maximising Velocity and Power) Track & Field Club based at the University of Technology (U-Tech), Kingston,[7] and has been coached by Stephen Francis since 2001.

Physiology and running style[edit]

Asafa Powell is 190 cm (6 ft 3) tall and weighs 88 kg (14 stone). Despite his height, he has an explosive start, which is unusual for big runners. His long legs give him a mechanical advantage, and his maximum stride length has been recorded at 2.60 m (8½ feet). He is a mid-foot striker: he puts much of his foot on the ground for maximum friction to push off. This enables him to increase his turnover, or rate of stepping. His psoas major muscle, which lifts the leg for the next stride, has four times the normal cross-sectional area. His tendons are extremely stiff: it takes 43 kg of muscular force to stretch the average man's thigh tendons 1 cm, 59 kg for Japanese champion sprinter Nobuharu Asahara; but for Powell it takes 114 kg of muscle strength.[6] These extremely stiff tendons increase the amount of force that is elastically stored and then restored to momentum at each stride. However, the most impressive aspect about his running is his technique and how he combines that with immense power when he runs. He has remarkable leg extension and clawing, and his back-kick is very short and low.

2000[edit]

Powell represented his school Charlemont High at the ISSA High School Championships. On 11 April he finished fourth in the Class 1 200 m, in 23.07 with a −1.7 m/s headwind. On 13 April, he finished third in his heat of the Boy's Class 1 100 m, recording 11.45 with a −2.3 m/s headwind. Neither time recorded in the heats was quick enough to advance him to the next round of competition.[8]

2001[edit]

Powell again represented Charlemont High at the ISSA High School Boy And Girls Championships, finishing seventh in the Class 1 100 m Final. Recognizing some talent, coach Stephen Francis started coaching Powell one week later.[9] The coach looked for a way to give the tall teenager a faster start. After searching the island, Stephen Francis found a 100 m stretch of road with a 10% slope and trains his runners on that.[6] Powell vindicated Francis by winning the Boys Under-20 100 m event in 10.50 seconds at the JAAA National Championships on 22 June.[10]

2002[edit]

At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester Powell finished fifth in the semi-finals of the 100 m event, setting a personal best of 10.26 s.[11] Powell, along with Michael Frater, Dwight Thomas and Christopher Williams formed the Jamaican 4×100 m relay team that went on to win a silver medal. Powell finished just behind Darren Campbell in the last leg of the relay, with both men finishing in 38.62 s.

2003[edit]

Powell won the Jamaican 100 m National Championship.[12]

Powell came to attention within the world of athletics at the 2003 World Championships, when he suffered the ignominy of being 'the other athlete' disqualified for a false start in the quarter-final. This was when Jon Drummond memorably refused to leave the track having suffered the same fate, both athletes moved less than 0.1 s after the gun had fired, with Powell's reactions being timed at 0.086 s.[13][14] Six days later Powell was added to the 4×100 m relay team for the semi-final, running as the anchor. He helped the team qualify for the final, recording the second fastest time. Powell never had a chance to run for a medal in the final as the second baton exchange was not executed cleanly and the Jamaican team failed to finish.[15] During the 2003 season, Powell won two IAAF Grand Prix events, one of which was an AF Golden League event. He finished seventh in 10.23 s in the 100 m at the IAAF World Athletics Final.[16]

2004[edit]

On 12 June Powell recorded his first sub-10 100 m race time (9.99 s +1.8 m/s) while participating in the National Junior Track and Field Championships, held at the GC Foster College in Spanish Town.[17] Two weeks later Powell became one of the favourites for a medal in the 100 m at the 2004 Athens Olympics after winning the Jamaican National Championships with a personal best time of 9.91 s. Although he ended the season with a record-equaling nine sub-10 second runs, Powell finished just fifth in the highly competitive Olympic final, with a time of 9.94 s. Following this he pulled out of the 200 m final, even though he had already qualified eighth for it earlier on.[18] Powell did not get the chance to run for a medal in the 4x100 m relay, as the Jamaican team failed to qualify for the final, with a season best 38.71 fourth place finish in their heat.[19] Following his Olympic disappointment Powell set a new national record of 9.87 s for the 100 m at the Memorial Van Damme in Bruxelles on 3 September.[20] He recorded five IAAF Grand Prix wins in 2004. In addition, he became the first man to win both the 100 m and 200 m races at the World Athletics Final in championship record time. Powell was world ranked number one for the 100 m and number four for the 200 m at the end of the season.[21]

2005[edit]

Powell set a new national record of 9.84 at the Jamaica International Invitational in May.[22] He gained some consolation for his Olympic performance by breaking the 100 m world record in Athens on 14 June 2005, setting a time of 9.77 s, beating American Tim Montgomery's 2002 record of 9.78 s (which was later annulled due to doping charges against Montgomery) by just 0.01 s. Coincidentally, Powell achieved the feat on the same track as Maurice Greene's 1999 world record run of 9.79 s. Wind assistance for Powell was measured at 1.6 m/s, within the IAAF legal limit of 2.0 m/s. Powell again won the 100 m final at the Jamaican National Championships. A groin injury in July cut short his season and forced him to miss the World Championships. His season ended with just two IAAF Grand Prix event wins. Despite his shortened season, Powell had the three fastest 100 m times of the year, received the Caribbean And Central American (CAC) Male Athlete of the Year award,[23] and ranked second in the world.[21]

2006[edit]

2006 was Powell's most successful season. He won the 2006 Commonwealth Games 100 metres race after a drama-filled semi-final which saw two disqualifications and three false starts. Powell himself ran into another competitor's lane while looking at the scoreboard, however he was held not to have impeded the runner. He also anchored the 4×100 m relay team, and finished the Commonwealth Games with two gold medals. In May he won the 100 m at the Jamaica International Invitational in 9.95.[24] In addition to winning the 200 m at the Jamaican National Championships in June, he won ten 100 m IAAF Grand Prix events, including all six Golden League events.

Powell then equalled his world record time on 11 June 2006, at Gateshead International Stadium, with wind assistance measured at +1.5 m/s. The exact time was 9.7629[25] which was rounded up to 9.77 as per IAAF rules. On 18 August 2006, in Zürich, Powell equalled it again for the second time, with wind assistance at +1.0 m/s. He won his sixth IAAF Golden League event (in the 100 m) the same season, thus earning him a total of $250,000 in prize money. Powell also won the 100 m at the World Athletics Final, again setting a new championship record on 9 September. One week later at the World Cup in Athletics the Americas team anchored by Powell recorded a DNF.[26][27] In October Powell again received the Caribbean And Central American (CAC) Male Athlete of the Year award.[28] On 12 November 2006, he was awarded the title of 2006 Male IAAF World Athlete of the Year along with a cheque for $100,000. He also received the honour of Track & Field Athlete of the Year for 2006.

2007[edit]

On 5 January 2007, Powell received the Commonwealth Games Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year award.[29] On 3 February he was honoured at the International Sports Group (ISG) Awards Banquet, held in New York.[30] In addition, Powell was nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year award.[31][32] Suffering from knee Tendinitis and missing weeks of training Powell missed competing at the Penn Relays[33] and the Jamaica International Invitational in May.[34] Powell was again the Jamaican National Champion for the 100 m. Unfortunately, Powell again injured his groin while running the final at the Jamaica Championships.[35] He only managed to finish third in the 100 m final at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, behind Tyson Gay, who was considered Powell's biggest rival building up to the Championships. Derrick Atkins, Powell's second cousin,[36] came second in 9.91 s. Powell himself finished in a time of 9.96 s (running in a 0.5 m/s headwind) after being passed by Gay and Atkins in the late stages of the race. Later he admitted that after seeing Gay pass him, he panicked and gave up, allowing Atkins to also overtake.

When Tyson came on and gave me a little bit of pressure I just panicked. When I saw I wasn't in gold medal contention, I gave up in the middle of the race. I just stopped running.[37]

Former American sprinter Michael Johnson was critical of Powell's performance, stating:

[Y]ou could see him thinking, I'm losing it, I'm losing it, and he just gave up at that point. That's what was really disappointing. He just dropped his head.[38]

However Powell did help to win the silver medal in the 4×100 m relay race. Running the anchor leg for the Jamaican team, he came from fifth and passed Great Britain at the line to help record a Jamaican national record of 37.89 s. The United States meanwhile, took gold.

Powell leading a heat at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

On 9 September 2007, in the opening heats of the IAAF Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy, Powell ran a new world record time of 9.74 s (+1.7 m/s) in the 100 m, thus fulfilling the promise he had made earlier after his bronze medal in Osaka, that he would break the record by the end of the year. This was intended to make up for the disappointment of not becoming World Champion.[39] Remarkably, Powell eased up in the final few metres of his record-setting run, indicating that he was saving his strength for the final.[40] In the final itself, Powell finished in 9.78 s (0 m/s windspeed) and bettered his semi-final time, when adjusted for wind assistance.[41]

Unfortunately, Powell ended his season on 30 September with a left hamstring injury, which came about while running in the lead of the 200 m race at the Super Track & Field meet in Yokohama, Japan.[42] Powell finished 2007 with a total of five IAAF Grand Prix event wins, plus his second consecutive World Athletic Final 100 m win, with yet another championship record. For the third consecutive year Powell won the Caribbean And Central American (CAC) Male Athlete of the Year award.[43] Powell closed the year receiving the IAAF Performance of the Year award, for his 9.74 s world record,[44] and was ranked second in the world.[21]

2008[edit]

On 29 January 2008, Powell received the RJR Sports Foundation's 2007 Sportsman of the Year award.[45] Powell's 2008 season started much as his 2007 season ended: with another injury. Powell was forced to pull out of the Sydney Grand Prix meeting, having suffered a gash to his left knee that required four stitches. The injury was a result of tripping on the steps of his home, hours before getting on the flight to Sydney on 12 February.[46]

Powell was again injured in April, this time with damage to his pectoral muscles.[47] The injury forced Powell out of competition for two months, and was sustained while weight training in Jamaica during mid-April. Surgery was required, and a visible scar was left on his right underarm.

On 31 May, fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt ran a time of 9.72 s at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City, breaking Powell's three-year dominance of the 100 m world record.

On 11 July, Powell suffered his third injury of 2008 while leading in Heat 1 of the Golden Gala Roma, eventually finishing fifth.[48] He had injured his groin (described as a "strain"[49] and a "cramp"), and was forced to miss the next two events on the Grand Prix schedule.[50] Powell made his comeback at the DN Galan meet, where he beat the new World Record holder Bolt, in a close race. The meet's top performers were a Jamaican 1–2–3–4 with Nesta Carter and Michael Frater following the pair.[51] This top four would later combine to run the 4×100 m relay at the Olympics.

Prior to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Powell hit back at the claims saying he lacked the mental strength needed to win an Olympic gold medal.

It [the Olympics] doesn't scare me. The guys that I'm running against in Beijing are the same ones I run against all year, it's no different at the Olympics – it's just a name, and you should put that aside until you cross the line.

If all you guys look back and check from before, you'll see that Athens was my first Olympics, I ran my personal best in the final – so I'm not sure why people say I don't run my best in finals.

The World Championships was the only final where I didn't do as expected. I made a once-in-a-lifetime mistake and it won't happen again.

I'm running against myself – I'm the only one who can defeat myself and I don't intend to.[52]

Despite his words, the 100 m final saw Powell again finish in a disappointing fifth, recording a time of 9.95 s. Teammates Bolt and Michael Frater also raced in the final. Bolt won and broke the record he set months earlier (finishing in 9.69 s) and Frater came sixth, recording his first sub-10 clocking at 9.97 s.

Seven days later, Powell finally got his first Olympic medal as he anchored the Jamaican 4×100 m relay team to victory, helping establish a new world record in the process. His split time was recorded at 8.70 s (USATF High Performance Registered Split Analysis), bettering his previous record of 8.84 s set in Osaka, 2007. This is the fastest electronically timed anchor run in history, as Bob Hayes was hand timed as running between 8.6–8.9 seconds in the 1964 Olympics.[53]

On 2 September 2008, Powell ran a new personal best in the 100 m by recording a time of 9.72 s, with windspeed measured at +0.2 m/s. He accomplished this feat at the Athletissima Grand Prix in Lausanne, Switzerland. After the run, Powell said that Bolt's record performance at the Olympics had inspired him to target a time of 9.59 s:

Two years ago I said to myself I could go 9.65 or faster but based on how Usain is running it's my aim now to go below 9.6. Usain can obviously run very fast but I'm not going to put him out of my reach. I'd say in the Olympic 100 m it looked like Usain could have run 9.63, 9.65 maybe. I was shocked to see what he did in the race, it was ridiculous.

I can't imagine the times he's capable of running at the moment. He's the man to beat right now but before it was me and if I can break another world record then I'll be the one back in the spotlight.[54]

He was optimistic about his future chances on the track, and philosophical as to why he could not peak in past major championships:

The 2012 London Games will be my last opportunity and Beijing was certainly my best chance but you never give up.

I've got no idea why I'm always winning on the circuit but then finishing fifth at the Olympics. Maybe if it was just a one-off race without the qualifying rounds I would have done better.

Who knows? Maybe I'm not the guy for those big championships but just the guy to compete in the Grand Prix and Golden League meetings. It's just unfortunate.[54]

Following his fifth place finish in Beijing on 16 August, Powell recorded seven consecutive 100 m races under 9.90 s, including two races under 9.80 s. In addition, 2008 was Powell's second-best season on the Grand Prix circuit, claiming seven victories, plus his third consecutive win (and fourth overall) in the 100 m at the World Athletics Final.[55]

On his return to Jamaica, Powell was honoured in a homecoming celebration and received an Order of Distinction (Commander Rank) in recognition of his achievements at the Olympics.[56] For the second consecutive year Powell ranked second in the world.[21]

2009[edit]

Powell opened his season on 31 January at the Grace Jackson Invitational, held at Stadium East, Kingston, Jamaica. He ran the 400 metres, winning his heat in 47.75 s, placing him second overall in the four heat time-final.[57]

Powell ran the anchor leg for two relay teams at the Milo Western Relays held at the GC Foster College on 14 February. In his first race, his MVP team recorded a new meet record and world leading time of 38.72 s for the 4×100 m relay.[58] Later he was timed at 46.27 for his leg of the 4×400 metres relay, again winning the race for his MVP team.[59]

Powell next competed in the Sydney Track Classic in Australia on 28 February, again running the anchor leg in the 4x100 m relay and winning the event in a new world leading time of 38.62 s.[60] Two hours later he ran a 400 m race, finishing fourth in a new personal best 45.94 s, shaving 1.23 seconds off his previous best time.[61]

Powell anchoring the Jamaican relay team to a World Championship gold medal

After the 400 m race he said:

My coach said cruise for the first 200 m and bring it home. This tells me I'm a lot stronger this year and it will be a different ball game. I'm just motivated, the 400 m didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I'm OK. I don't need the ambulance.

Five days later Powell ran his first 100 m race of the season. Competing at the Melbourne Track Classic he ran a world leading[62] 10.23 s, wind measuring −1.4 m/s on the coldest day of the year to date.[63]

On 16 April Powell was nominated for the Laureus World Team of the Year award, as a member of the 2008 Jamaica Olympic Sprint Team.[64][65]

Powell then found himself involved in controversy when he was a last-minute "no show" at the UTech Track and Field Classic on 18 April.[66] It had previously been announced that Powell would run the 200 m and 4x100 m relay races. Powell attended the meet as a spectator. A press conference called three days later by the MVP Track Club did not fully answer questions as to why Powell did not compete.[67] The matter was reported to the Jamaica Fair Trading Commission who announced on 23 April that they started investigations.[68]

Powell was next to run at the Penn Relays on 25 April but on the morning of the event the Jamaica Observer reported that he had withdrawn from the 4x100 m relay. His manager Paul Doyle stated that Powell would not run due to concerns with his ankle while running the curve on the Franklin Field track. The Jamaica Observer cited a "highly placed source" when reporting that Powell had turned his ankle in training at Utech.[69] Despite the report, Powell ran the anchor leg of the relay but aggravated the ankle injury,[70] pulled up and finished ninth in 41.24[71]

Scheduled to run at the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Doha on 8 May, Powell withdrew from the event, citing the need for sufficient time for his injured ankle to properly heal.[72] He finished seventh in his first event returning from injury, the Reebok Grand Prix held in New York at Icahn Stadium on 30 May.[73] When interviewed he stated that his ankle was very weak but not painful.[74] He finished second in his next event, the Prefontaine Classic eight days later.[75] On 27 June he qualified for the 100 m at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics with a second place finish in 9.97 s at the Jamaican national championships.[76] At the Bislett Games on 3 July Powell overcame a poor start to win the 100 m in a 10.07 s photo finish.[77] Four days later he recorded the same time in winning the Athletissima 100 m.[78] Although he improved his season's best to 9.88 he finished second to Tyson Gay at the Golden Gala Roma on 10 July.[79] Powell next ran the 100 m at the International Meeting of Athletics' Sports Solidarity, a charity event that encourages the participation of disabled athletes, finishing third.[80]

At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, Powell took bronze in the finals of the 100 m meet with a time of 9.84 seconds, while compatriot Bolt broke his own world record by running 9.58 seconds. Eight days later, on 22 August, Powell helped Jamaica claim gold in the 4 x 100 m relay by running the anchor leg. The time of 37.31 seconds set was a new Championship Record for the event.

2010[edit]

Powell plays to the crowd at the 2010 Bislett Games

Asafa Powell opened his 2010 season on 20 February at the UWI Invitational Meet in Jamaica, by competing in the 400 m. He won his heat in a time of 47.56 s, but he was placed 3rd overall according to his time. He then ran the 200 m at the UTech Classic on 17 April 2010, also in his homeland. He competed in the 200 m in heavy rain and cold conditions. Powell opened up a huge lead in the first 100 m after which he slowed drastically and won his heat in 21.27 s in a 1 m/s headwind. Later it was reported that Powell had suffered minor cramps on his left calf muscles, which was why he had to slow down. Powell was next scheduled to run in the highly anticipated 4x100 m Penn Relays featuring Jamaica Yellow, and competing against Usain Bolt (Jamaica Black). But he pulled out of the race as it was reported by his assistant coach that he had an injured toe which would need sometime to heal. At the IAAF Diamond League in Doha, Powell made a wind aided time of 9.75 s in the heat and 9.81 s in the final,also wind-aided. He subsequently set a 100 m world leading time of 9.83 s. En route to this performance, he also set the rarely run 100 yards dash world best at 9.07 s, beating the previous record of 9.21 set by Charlie Greene.

Powell with a wind-aided 9.72s win at the 2010 Bislett Games

Powell next competed at the DKF Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway where he powered to a splendid victory with a wind-aided 9.72s. A week later, he competed at the Golden Gala in Rome, Italy, where he overcame a very poor reaction time at the start to take another victory in a World Leading time of 9.82 s.It was reported that Powell ended his six-year contract with leading sports brand, Nike, due to sponsorship problems and rumours spread that he has a new contract with fast upcoming Chinese sports brand, Li Ning. Asafa next competed in the 200 m of the Jamaican Senior Trials where he won the final in 19.97s, his second fastest ever. There, for the first time, he promoted his new Li Ning outfit. Powell next competed in Gateshead where he got off to a terrific start, but lost to fast finishing Tyson Gay, who took the victory in 9.94 s to Powell's 9.96 s in a strong 1.7 m/s headwind. Powell was not very disappointed as he mentioned that he got too relaxed, thus allowing Gay to outdo him in the final strides. The next race in Paris against Usain Bolt was a disappointing one. Although he had a good start, Bolt caught him at halfway point, and Asafa began to lose his fluent running form. He finished 2nd to Bolt in 9.91 s, 0.07 s slower than his rival, also into a slight headwind. Asafa said that he had a very bad race, which he hoped to improve in his upcoming races. Unfortunately for Powell, there was not a 'next race' for him. He picked up strains from his Paris meeting which aggravated to hamstring and back problems. Powell missed his next two outings where he was scheduled to clash against Bolt and Gay. Powell ended his splendid 2010 season on a disappointing note although he expressed satisfaction on the races that he competed for the year.

2011[edit]

Asafa opened his 2011 season on 16 April at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. He ran the 200 m where he came in third after what looked to be a good first 140 m, slowing down significantly at the last quarter of the race. His time was 20.55 s for the race behind Yohan Blake and Daniel Bailey. Powell ran his next race was the 4x100 m relay USA vs The World at the Penn Relays 2011, on 28 April. He ran the unusual first leg for Jamaica as he blasted off like a bullet to give Jamaica the lead. Jamaica won the event in a world leading time of 38.33 s, ahead of USA Red and USA Blue teams respectively. He stated after the run that he was in good shape and was looking forward to do great things in the year ahead. Powell next ran the 200 m at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet on 7 May. He looked promising in the first 120 m, after which he slowed down drastically, finishing in last place with a time of 21.40 s, in a race won by Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade. He later stated that he felt a minor pain in his hamstring and he backed off as a precaution, but insisted that it was nothing serious.

In the second meeting of the 2011 IAAF Diamond League at Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, Powell won the 100m with a time of 9.95 seconds.[81] Powell next ran at the IAAF Diamond League in Rome against Usain Bolt on 26 May. Powell had a superb start and mid but he faded towards the end, only to allow the world record holder to surpass him in the final 10–12 m of the race. Bolt won in 9.91 s and Powell came second in 9.93s. He said that he had lost focus, but is confident about beating Usain after what he had done that day. Powell next competed in the IAAF World Challenge in Rabat, Morocco, in a low key meet. There, after running the first 20m, he pulled up and finished last in 36.13 s, citing a precaution against a serious hamstring injury. Reports said that it was nothing serious and he would be ready for the Jamaican Trials later in the month. At the Jamaican Trials 23–24 July, Powell looked impressive as he qualified through the rounds. He posted a season best of 9.90s in his semi-final, despite easing off in the final 15m. Later, after overcoming a bad start, Powell won the final to be titled National Champion for the fifth time in his career. He won in a time of 10.08 s into a 1.8 m/s headwind. Yohan Blake and Steve Mullings were second and third respectively with 0.01 s separating them.

Next up for Powell was the Diamond League Athletissima in Lausanne on 30 June. In chilly conditions, not ideal for sprinting, the former world record holder bulleted out of his blocks and ran to the tape, recording a world-leading 9.78 s with a following wind of 1.0 m/s. Powell was indeed happy with his strong performance, his fastest in three years and was full of confidence about the rest of the season and the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in late August. Next up for Powell was the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Birmingham, England on 10 July. He became the first man in history to break the 10 seconds barrier in the Sir Alexander Stadium when he clocked a very easy looking 9.95 s in his heat. Later, in the final he eased to a 9.91s victory where compatriots Nesta Carter and Michael Frater finished second and third respectively. Powell was satisfied with both his races, stating that he took both the races easy due to very chilly and rainy conditions. Asafa seemed more and more confident heading into the World Championships in late August. Powell next competed on 30 July in Budapest at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He ran 9.90s in his heats and eased through the final to win in 9.86 s, having following winds of 1.8 m/s and 2.0 m/s respectively, in cold conditions.

Powell was next slated to run the Aviva London Grand Prix, however he pulled out, citing a groin strain. Later in late August, just a couple of days before the start of the World Championships in Daegu, Powell shocked the world by pulling out of the highly anticipated 100 m as his groin strain aggravated and did not allow him to compete. Powell expressed great disappoinment but vowed to come back strong for the London Olympics in 2012, but still hoped to run the 4x100 m relay in Daegu. However, he was unfit to run the relay and had to watch his compatriots win gold in a world record time of 37.04 s. Powell competed in the 100 m at the Diamond League Final in Zurich on 9 September. He looked very impressive in the first 60 m, but faded to second place as newly crowned world champion, Yohan Blake, took victory in 9.82 s. Powell registered a 9.95 s run, which was impressive given the fact that his injury was still present. By completing the race, the sprinter took the Samsung Diamond Trophy with $40,000 in cash. Powell ended his season with another injury, almost a repeat of year 2010, where he showed excellent form in the first half of the year, but unfortunately suffered injuries.

2012[edit]

In a ceremony held on 24 February, Powell received the University of Technology (UTech) Chancellor's Medal as well as Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award International Ambassador role.[82] He ran a personal best for the 60 metres at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix, setting a time of 6.50 seconds. On the 2012 IAAF Diamond League circuit, he was narrowly beaten by Justin Gatlin in Doha (runner-up in 9.88 seconds), then won the 100 m at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix a week later.[83]

2012 London Olympics[edit]

On 5 August 2012, Asafa Powell ran in the final of the 100 m race at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. After back-to-back 5th place finishes in 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing, Powell had his most disastrous final yet finishing in dead last with a time of 11.99 seconds, pulling up after seeing others in front of him, ultimately due to a niggling groin injury.[84][85][86] Powell said:[87]

"It was my old groin injury that reoccurred. I felt it and it started to go. You never want to get injured, but it is a bit of a disaster when it happens in the Olympic final."

Usain Bolt took the gold, with Yohan Blake getting the silver and Justin Gatlin the bronze. As a result, Powell along with longtime rival Tyson Gay who finished 4th, remain as two of the three fastest men of all time to never have won any individual Olympic medals of any type.

After the race, Jamaica's track and field manager Ludlow Watts lavished praise on Powell:[88]

Powell actually started this great change in our sprinting, and he's still a champion.

Following the race, Powell had an ultrasound showing new tears in his abductor muscles as well as scar tissue in a previous injury. The groin injury appears to be season-ending as manager Paul Doyle believes Asafa will miss the remainder of the year. "I don't think it looks good for the rest of the season for Asafa," he lamented. Powell was not able to compete for Jamaica in the men's 4 x 100 m relay on 10 August.

Powell released an apparel and accessories line branded "Sub 10 King" and many others, also opening up his personal website www.iamasafa.com for people's viewing and a platform to purchase his products.

2013[edit]

On 14 July 2013, Powell announced that he had tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine, along with Sherone Simpson.[89]

Accomplishments and major competition results[edit]

Personal bests[edit]

EventTime (seconds)VenueDate
60 metres6.50[90]Aviva Grand Prix, Birmingham, UKFebruary 2012
100 metres9.72,[91]Lausanne, Switzerland2 September 2008
200 metres19.90, 19.83w[92]Kingston, Jamaica25 June 2006
400 metres45.94[93]Sydney, Australia28 February 2009

Competition record[edit]

60 metres[edit]

EventResultCityDate
2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships5th SemifinalBudapest5 March 2004

100 metres[edit]

EventResult (Pos)CityDate
2003 IAAF World Athletics Final7th FinalMonaco13 September 2003
2004 Olympic Games5th FinalAthens22 August 2004
2004 IAAF World Athletics Final1st FinalMonaco18 September 2004
2006 Commonwealth Games1st FinalMelbourne20 March 2006
2006 IAAF World Athletics Final1st FinalStuttgart9 September 2006
2007 World Championships3rd FinalOsaka26 August 2007
2007 IAAF World Athletics Final1st FinalStuttgart22 September 2007
2008 Olympic Games5th FinalBeijing16 August 2008
2008 IAAF World Athletics Final1st FinalStuttgart13 September 2008
2009 World Championships3rd FinalBerlin16 August 2009
2009 IAAF World Athletics Final2nd FinalThesaloniki12 September 2009

200 metres[edit]

EventResultCityDate
2004 Olympic Games4th Semifinal (Final DNS)Athens25 August 2004
2004 IAAF World Athletics Final1st FinalMonaco20 September 2004

4×100 metres relay[edit]

EventResultCityDate
2002 Commonwealth Games2nd FinalManchester31 July 2002
2003 World ChampionshipsDQ FinalParis31 August 2003
2005 World Championships4th FinalHelsinki13 August 2005
2006 Commonwealth Games1st FinalMelbourne25 March 2006
2007 World Championships2nd FinalOsaka1 September 2007
2008 Olympic Games1st FinalBeijing22 August 2008 World Record Olympic Record
2009 World Championships1st FinalBerlin22 August 2009 Championship Record

Miscellaneous accomplishments[edit]

Sub-10.0 runs (100 m)[edit]

Sub-9.90 runs (100 m)[edit]

Sub-9.80 runs (100 m)[edit]

Sub-10.0 runs, Season (100 m)[edit]

IAAF World Athletics Tour wins[edit]

Powell has recorded a total of 35 wins in IAAF Grand Prix events, 14 coming in Golden League events and 12 in IAAF Super Grand Prix events.[101]

In the seven-year history of the IAAF World Athletics Final (2003–2009), he won the most competitions of any male athlete and took home the most prize money in the male events. In his seven appearances at the competition, he won the 100 m four times and the 200 m once, winning US$173,000 in total.[102][103]

Time progression in the 100 m[edit]

YearTimeWindspeedCityDate
200011.45−2.3Kingston13 March
The progression of Powell's 100 m seasons' best times
200110.500.40Kingston22 June
200210.121.30Rovereto28 August
200310.020.80Brussels5 September
20049.870.20Brussels3 September
20059.771.60Athens14 June
20069.771.00Zürich15 August
20079.741.70Rieti9 September
20089.720.20Lausanne2 September
20099.821.40Szczecin15 September
20109.820.60Rome10 June
20119.781.00Lausanne30 June

Personal life[edit]

Powell is a deeply religious man citing his mother and father and his strict upbringing as the reason for this.[104]

In 2002 tragedy struck the Powell family when one of Asafa's brothers, Michael Powell, was shot dead in a taxi in New York.[105] This emotional event happened the week of the Jamaica National Trials.[104] In 2003, Asafa lost another brother during the week of the Jamaica National Championships. One year after the death of Michael, Vaughn Powell suffered a heart attack while playing a game of American football.[106] In April 2007 Corey Reid, an uncle of Powell, was stabbed in Waterloo, Ewarton, St. Catherine. He later died in hospital.[107]

Powell is known to be occasionally shy but nonetheless good natured and somewhat of a joker.[citation needed] He is good friends with compatriot, 100 and 200 metre world record holder Usain Bolt.[108] The two are often seen joking around and do meet off the track.

Powell is an avid car enthusiast.[108][109]

Sponsorship[edit]

  • Powell has been under contract with Nike since 2004, representing them in all his IAAF races, and agreeing to appear in various advertising campaigns for the company. Nike designed and built the Zoom Aerofly shoes for him, which were used at the 2008 Beijing Games.[110] However, Powell ended his contract with Nike in mid-2010 and signed up with leading Chinese sports brand, Li Ning.
  • GlaxoSmithKline, through its energy drink Lucozade, has sponsored Powell since he first broke the 100 m World Record in 2005. They honoured his Beijing achievements in a small function in October 2008.[111]
  • In January 2006, Powell signed as a global brand spokesperson for Nutrilite. Nutrilite products are sold through the Amway corporation.[112] On 14 January 2009 Amway's Team Nutrilite announced the end of the sponsorship agreement with Powell.[113]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by
United States Maurice Greene
Men's 100 metres World Record Holder
14 June 2005 – 31 May 2008
Succeeded by
Jamaica Usain Bolt
Awards
Preceded by
Jamaica Danny McFarlane
Jamaica Sportsman of the Year
2005, 2006 & 2007
Succeeded by
Jamaica Usain Bolt
Preceded by
Ethiopia Kenenisa Bekele
Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
2006
Succeeded by
United States Tyson Gay
Preceded by
China Liu Xiang
IAAF Performance of the Year
2007
Succeeded by
Cuba Dayron Robles
Preceded by
Dominican Republic Félix Sánchez
CAC Male Athlete of the Year
2005, 2006 & 2007
Succeeded by
Jamaica Usain Bolt