I watched this live and it was as impressive as Joe Juliano from the Inquirer:
Asafa Powell achieved his goal in yesterday’s Olympic Development 100-meter dash at the Penn Relays. The world-record holder in the event wanted to get off to a good start, smoothly accelerate in the middle of the race, shut it down with about 35 meters to go, and cruise to the finish line.
While he did that, the Franklin Field crowd of 49,771 wore the same incredulous expressions on their face and uttered a collective “Wow!”
With a time of 10.10 seconds, Powell came within 0.01 of matching the meet record held by the legendary Carl Lewis. Even more incredible, had Powell maintained his form through the entire race, he would have clocked the first sub-10-second time for the 100 meters in the long and storied history of the carnival.
“I’m very happy. I did what I came out here to do,” the 23-year-old Jamaican runner said. “I’m happy with the way I ran. I knew it would go something like that.”
As for trying to break Lewis’ record of 10.09 set in 1983, Powell said: “If I was thinking about it before, I would have broken it. But what I did today, I did it to have fun.”
Powell established the world record of 9.77 seconds on June 14 in Athens, Greece. However, he did not participate in a much-anticipated matchup against Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin of the United States at the world championships two months later because of a groin injury.
He knows the fans will be clamoring for a race against Gatlin sometime during the summer season. Until then, Powell said, he needs a stronger finish.
He said he deliberately started to cruise after 65 meters yesterday because his finish is still a work in progress and he didn’t want to push it.
He said he is working on improving his arm strength but not his overall strength, admitting, “I’m not as strong as the other sprinters.”
But wouldn’t strength training help him?
“Well, I ran a 9.77 this way, so I think I’m doing something right,” he replied.
After watching him yesterday, no one would argue.