The 40-year-old Jamaican under the wall on 97 occasions and world record holder for three years, up to 9″74 in Rieti 2007
Before Usain Bolt there was him: Asafa Powell. And he too, the penultimate man to hold the 100m world record, is now officially retired. On Wednesday, in Kingston, on the occasion of the 40th birthday party, the first admissions. On the Italian night of Saturday, via social media, the definitive confirmation. Withdrawal is real. Without surprises: the last race dates back to May 2, 2021, when in Clermont, Florida, albeit helped by a half-storm behind him (4.5 meters per second), he still ran the 100 in 10″07. Asafa, however , passes and closes. Often a victim of tension, he will be remembered for having rarely made the most of his great talent: the medal collection – which individually does not offer more than two world championship bronzes between Osaka 2007 and Berlin 2009 – does not do him justice. longevity.
The Jamaican, on the 100m, from the top of a running mechanics with few equals on a 1.88 by 87 kilos physique, was four times world record holder. The first, on 14 June 2005, at the meeting in Athens when, with 9″77, he took 6/100 from the record held by the American Maurice Greene for six years. Then equaling that time twice, in Gateshead and in Zurich, on 11 June and 18 August 2006. And, finally, flying in 9″74 on an unforgettable afternoon in Rieti, on the occasion of the then traditional event organized at the Guidobaldi by Sandro Giovannelli. The record would remain in Asafa’s hands until May 31, 2008, for a total of three years. Until, precisely, the advent of Bolt who, in New York, dropped to 9″72. Powell, in September in Lausanne, would also sign that time trial, still fourth man in the world all-time list. But by now the number one in the international speed had become Usain.
However, there is a record – together with personal records of 6″44 over 60m indoors, 19″90 over 200m and 45″94 over 400m – which remains with Asafa. And it will remain his for a long time. That of the number of times (with conditions normal) below 10″00:97. That’s a staggering figure. It is her sports testament. He covers a period of time from June 12, 2004 to September 1, 2016. Twelve golden seasons. To understand its significance, it is enough to say that the second in the special ranking, the American Justin Gatlin, stopped at 64. Bolt did not go beyond 52. Marcell Jacobs? He is at six. And the only other Italian in the ranking, with one, is Filippo Tortu. Yes, Italy: there is a lot of it in Powell’s past. And not just for Rieti’s record. It was he, among the very first Jamaicans, thanks to the manager Marco Aloi, who “discovered” Lignano Sabbiadoro as an ideal summer base. Asafa continuously frequented the resort between 2006 and 2014 (in between, in 2013, a six-month disqualification for anti-doping positivity), with coach Stephen Francis’ MVP and then again in 2018-2019. He has promised that he will soon bring his wife Alyshia and their two children.
In his curriculum, he also has an Olympic gold medal (that of Rio 2016), two golds and a world championship silver with the 4×100. “At 40, a new phase in my life opens – he wrote in these hours -: I began my career in 2002, I’ve had ups and downs, but I’m proud of everything I’ve done. I thank my fans and all those who have supported me over the years”. Good-bye, Asafa. Soon. And thank you for that everlasting shy smile and emotions.
November 27th – 8.14pm
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