The shockingly underwhelming times Usain Bolt recorded in all his outdoor season openers since 2008

The shockingly underwhelming times Usain Bolt recorded in all his outdoor season openers since 2008

Mark Kinyanjui 06:00 - 24.04.2024

Many athletics enthuthiasts were appaled by the underwhelming times top athletes registered in their opening outdoor races last weekend, but Usain Bolt's times indicate there is not much to worry about.

Recent performances by top sprinters in the Kip Keino Classic and the Xiamen Diamond League have sparked discussions among athletics enthusiasts, with some expressing surprise at the relatively slower times recorded by the athletes.

In the Xiamen Diamond League, the race picked up momentum in the middle stages, with a close finish between the competitors.

The eventual winner clocked a time of 10.13 seconds, overtaking compatriot Fred Kerley. Meanwhile, Jamaica's Ackeem Blake secured the third position with a time of 10.20 seconds.

On the other hand, the Kip Keino Classic witnessed a thrilling competition between Olympic silver medalist Keneth Bednarek from the USA and Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala. 

Bednarek emerged victorious in front of the home crowd, crossing the finish line in 9.91 seconds. He was closely followed by Liberia’s Emannuel Matadi, who finished second with a time of 9.99 seconds, while Jeremiah Azu of the UK secured the third spot with a time of 10.00 seconds. 

Omanyala, the Commonwealth Champion, could only manage a time of 10.03 seconds.

While these times might seem relatively slow compared to previous standards, it's essential to remember that early-season performances often serve as a gauge for athletes to assess their form and readiness for the upcoming competitions.

To provide a broader perspective, let's take a look at the season-opening times of the legendary sprinter, Usain Bolt, from 2008 to 2017:

2008: 10.03 seconds (Wind: 1.8 m/s)

2009: 10.00 seconds (Wind: -0.9 m/s)

2010: 9.86 seconds (Wind: 0.1 m/s)

2011: 9.91 seconds (Wind: 0.6 m/s)

2012: 9.82 seconds (Wind: 1.8 m/s)

2013: 10.09 seconds (Wind: 0.3 m/s)

2014: 9.98 seconds (Wind: -0.6 m/s)

2015: 10.12 seconds (Wind: -1.3 m/s)

2016: 10.05 seconds (Wind: 0.1 m/s)

2017: 10.03 seconds (Wind: 0.2 m/s)

These numbers serve as a reminder that early-season performances may not always reflect an athlete's peak form. 

Just as Usain Bolt often started his seasons with times that gradually improved over the course of the year, current athletes may be gearing up for faster performances as the season progresses.

American sprint great Michael Johnson himself took to his X account to address this very situation as reported by Pulse Sports earlier.

“Fast times in April don’t necessarily guarantee continued success in the following months,” Johnson wrote. 

“It simply showcases what an athlete is capable of at their best. The next challenge is replicating that performance during the crucial moments 2-3 months down the line.

“Moreover, setting a fast time in April doesn’t preclude an athlete from achieving similar feats later in the season. The 'peaked too early' theory lacks evidence and is fundamentally flawed.”