The Man Faster Than Bolt

Wayde van Niekerk World Record 400m

Wayde van Niekirk broke Michael Johnsons 17 year 400m World Record with a sensational performance on the Rio track last night. In what the former record holder Johnson called ‘a massacre’ he blew away a one the fastest assembled fields with the first track world record of the games. His domination of the one lap event posted with splits across each of the 100m he ran of: 10.7 secs, 9.8, 10.5, 12.0.

On the night that second 100m was faster than Usain Bolt’s Olympic gold winning 100m time of 9.81s. The South African’s personal best at that distance of 9.98s would’ve placed 7th in that final.

The way he moved away from the field in the final 100m was possibly the most stunning moment of the Olympic games so far and to do so from lane 8 all the more remarkable, destroying the two previous Olympic champions in the process.

Wayde van Niekerk Rio 400m

The 24 year old is coached by a 74-year-old great-grandmother Ans Botha, once a sprinter and a long jumper, and her pupils call her “Tannie Ans,” meaning Auntie. Last year, the head coach at South Africa’s University of the Free State told the City Press that her “passion is too high” to stop coaching in a career spanning five decades. She got emotional when describing her responsibility in coaching van Niekerk.

“I wouldn’t say I’m afraid … but I have such a big responsibility to get this athlete to develop to his full potential. Also, I need to try to do my very best not to do something wrong that might break him,” she told the City Press.

Ans Botha coach.png

Botha started coaching van Niekerk in 2012, connecting after he attended the University of the Free State as a marketing student. They met with his parents and laid out a plan, the focus of which was to not push van Niekerk’s body beyond its limits. Their first three months in partnership were spent rehabbing some nagging injuries.

The strategy worked — since she’s been his coach, van Niekerk’s time has dropped by a whopping four seconds.

NBC Olympics Ans Botha

Nike: Unlimited…

New Ad spots from Nike USA.

Jam packed with talent…

Aaron Gordon, English Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Kevin Durant, Mo Farah, Neymar Jr., Nyjah Huston, Serena Williams, Su BingTian and Zach LaVine.

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Nike’s Latest Ad Stars Chris Mosier, the First Transgender Athlete on a U.S. National Team

 

The campaign kicked off with Nike ‘Unlimited Future’ – watch actor Bobby Cannavale deliver a rousing inspirational message to the infant versions of Nike athletes.

The Fastest Spikes Ever Made?

Nike’s Zoom Superfly Elite

Nike’s new Zoom Superfly Elite track spikes will cut a dash at the Summer Olympics after more than four years  algorithmic software design and 3-D printing prototyping, at the Nike Sports Research Lab.

Nike claim that improvements in weight reduction and making the shoe stiffer have helped Jamaican track star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce shave over 1 hundredth of a second from 100m times – in Rio that could mean winning gold or missing the podium.

Jamaican track star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

What the Nike design supremo’s have also managed with the new spike plate – no spike screws required – is produce a totally tropical look, in that Avatar other worldly tropical sense.

The 5ft ‘Pocket Rocket’ Fraser-Pryce will be ready for take off in Rio and Genuine Pace wouldn’t bet against her improving on her competitive personal best of 10.70s and winning Olympic gold again in August.

11.24s Australia’s Golden Girl Cathy Freeman

cathy freeman 100m time

In front of 112,524 expectant fans Cathy Freeman, Australia’s only hope of an athletics gold medal at the 2000 Games, in that space-age hooded bodysuit, puffs out her cheeks and prepares for the biggest race of her life.

Freeman’s path to that start line had been a long one and her journey came to be seen as symbolic of the Aboriginal people’s journey from persecuted natives to Australian equals. She became the icon of national unity. “She has come to symbolise the painless reconciliation between black and white,” said David Rowe, professor of media and cultural studies and Australia’s University of Newcastle, at the time. “She stands for the Sydney Olympics.”

Freeman was the home favourite for the 400 m title at the 2000 Olympicsin Sydney, where she was expected to face-off with rival Pérec. This showdown never happened, as Pérec left the Games after what she describes as harassment from strangers.[10] Freeman won the Olympic title in a time of 49.11 seconds, becoming only the second Australian Aboriginal Olympic champion.

After the race, Freeman took a victory lap, carrying both the Aboriginal and Australian flags. This was despite the fact that unofficial flags are banned at the Olympic Games and the Aboriginal flag, while recognised as official in Australia, is not a national flag, nor recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

Cathy_Freeman_flag_portrait

Her feats in the 400m and to a lesser degree the 200m will live long in the memory. The 100m PB came back in 1994 as a 21 year old and stands at a respectable 11.24s.

 

cathy freeman 100m

10.00s Small man, big pace: Trindon Holliday

Trindon Holliday 100m time

At 5ft 5″ Trindon Holliday was one of the shortest NFL players in the history of the game. He was drafted by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft and showed genuine pace over the 40 yard dash test covering the distance in 4.21s…

Holliday was a top-ranked American sprinter competing for the LSU Tigers track and field team and is regarded as one of the fastest players in football.[2] He demonstrated his sprinting ability in the 100-meter dash at the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where he recorded 10.07 seconds in the final – ahead of Walter Dixand second only to Tyson Gay.[3] This qualified him for the 2007 World Championships in Athletics but he opted to not compete, preferring to begin the football season with the LSU Tigers.[4] He continued to race, however, and reached the semi-finals in the 100 m at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials the following year.[5]

trindon holliday 100m time

In his first year at LSU in 2007, he broke Xavier Carter‘s school record and became the Southeastern Conference100 m champion. At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship later that year he set a personal record in the semifinals and finished runner-up in the final to Walter Dix. The following year he took third in the 100 m NCAA final and anchored the 4×100-meter relay team to victory in 38.42 seconds – the fastest collegiate time that year.[4][6]

Track and Field News has Holliday recorded at 6.19 over 55 meters indoors in 2005, leading the nation.

Trindon holliday personal bests

Holliday was never scheduled to appear at LSU’s camp. So David Masterson, Holliday’s high school coach, took Holliday along also. After initial workouts, Holliday ran the 40 in 4.28 seconds wearing high top basketball shoes. The time was so outrageous that the LSU coaches began arguing if they had started their stopwatches on time. “They asked me if Trindon could run it again,” Masterson said. “He didn’t even get in a track stance. He ran the second 40 in 4.27. He’s one of those little freaks of nature.” Despite this, LSU coach Les Miles still considered canceling Holliday’s scholarship offer until holdover offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher convinced Miles that Holliday could play at a college level.

His best years were at the Texans and Broncos before spells with Giants, Buccaneers, 49ers and Raiders.

Proving that size is no barrier to Genuine Pace, Trindon Holliday becomes our shortest inductee at 10.00s dead.

(10.95s) The lost pace of Michael Owen

Michael Owen Argentina celebration

Michael Owen exploded onto the international stage at the 1998 FIFA World Cup scoring a goal which demonstrated the blistering pace that was his trademark and ensured he was one of the most feared strikers in the world at just 18 years of age.

Here’s Vinnie Jones to remind you of that special moment once again…

As a fan of Liverpool I was already excited about the young prospect in the mid-90s even at a time when there were no internet = no rumours . For any buzz to emanate from the club about a player, you knew they must be something special and Michael Owen had always been so.

Michael Owen

Owen grew up in a football mad family near Chester the 4th son of Terry Owen an Everton graduate and Chester City striker. At eight, Owen was selected for the Deeside Area Primary School’s Under-11 team. At nine he was captain and at ten he had smashed Ian Rush‘s twenty-year record for the same team by scoring a record breaking 97 goals in a single season, improving on Rush’s record by 25 goals.

His pace and finishing offered the perfect combination and clubs soon took notice with Manchester United’s Brian Kidd making the first approach. However it was a ‘smashing letter’ from Liverpool legend and scout Steve Heighway that impressed young Michael and he was soon scoring for fun through the Liverpool ranks including helping them to their first FA Youth Cup win against a West Ham team that hadn’t lost in 24 consecutive games and boasted future England captains Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.

Football - FA Youth Cup - Final 2nd Leg - Liverpool FC v West Ham United FC

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 1996: Liverpool’s Michael Owen lifts the FA Youth Cup with David Thompson after beating West Ham United during the Final 2nd Leg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

Karl-Heinz Riedle, who prior to joining Liverpool in the summer of 1997 had never heard of Owen, declared: “It’s unbelievable when you see him play to realise that he’s only 17,” he said. “He’s such a good player, so very quick and for his age he has excellent vision and awareness. He’s a great player already and in one or two years he will become a very great player.”

Once he signed a professional contract at 17 Owen quickly started banging in goals for Liverpool of all different shapes but it was his pace that ensured he was on the scoresheet regularly as evidenced in some of his earliest work…

His England debut followed and he was embraced and feared on the world stage in equal measure but then.

April 12, 1999: Owen tore a hamstring for the first time playing for Liverpool at Leeds. Aged 19, his blistering pace lost its throttle. “Getting that massive injury at Leeds has probably changed and shaped my whole career,” said Owen. “Since I was 19, I’ve been compromised. If I did that now, it would be surgically repaired like it’s brand new. I wouldn’t even know I had an injury. Back then you just let it go.

“I basically run on two hamstrings on my right leg and three on the other. I’m losing a third of the power. If I hadn’t done that, 90 per cent of the other injuries wouldn’t have happened. I would have been the all-time leading scorer for England.

Michael-Owen-2004 real madrid.jpg

A move to Real Madrid which he has admitted he felt sick about but couldn’t have any regrets meant he had to look on as Liverpool won the 2005 European Cup that year. An injury plagued return to the Premier League for Newcastle United frustrated all involved not least him. A controversial move to Liverpool’s greatest rivals Man United meant he won a Premier League medal but he is still paying for crossing the divide in the eyes of many Koppites, and in my view harshly and unfairly, he is still ranked No.14 in ‘100 Players That Shook The Kop’. He can still look back on his career medals, goal tally and European player of the year award as hugely successful if though something short of what he could have been capable of if he hadn’t lost his fearsome genuine pace at 19 years of age.

There is no official 100m time for Owen, though he has claimed 10.8s at U15 level it’s unrealistic when you consider the English schoolboys U15 record is currently held by sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis at 10.93s.

Genuine Pace thinks at is peak Owen could match anyone in football and probably win over 40m. Before his injury we’re certain that he would break the 11second barrier and on the track could have taken that to 10.95s.

UPDATE: Congratulations Michael on becoming Liverpool’s first official international ambassador.

(11.00s) The White Welsh Lomu: George North

George North, Scotland v Wales, Six Nations

George North exploded on to the International rugby scene as an implausibly large and powerful 18 year old, scoring 2 tries for Wales in their defeat to South Africa and becoming the youngest Welsh try scorer ever and 3rd youngest capped player.

Here he is showing early promise and shifting through the gears to 40m as a 17 year old.

Split times
10m: 1.66s
20m: 2.82s
40m: 4.97s

At 6ft 4in and over 17 stone he mixes pace and power like no one else in the Northern hemisphere and comparisons with New Zealand great Jonah Lomu aren’t far of the mark. He was at his most devastating on the winning Lions test series in Australia in 2013, taking all 16 stones of Israel Falou for a run in a fire mans lift as the tackler became the tackled.

In Brisbane, North scored the first Lions try vs Australia; a fantastic run from inside his own 10m line beating 4 players.[7] However, North’s celebration was slightly over exuberant and he later apologised, saying he felt ‘horrendous’ after making a triumphant gesture towards Will Genia. He finished the 3 match series with 2 tries and many more rugby fans worldwide.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: George North of the Lions lifts Israel Folau of Wallabies while carrying the ball during game two of the International Test Series between the Australian Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions at Etihad Stadium on June 29, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images for HSBC)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 29: George North of the Lions lifts Israel Folau of Wallabies while carrying the ball during game two of the International Test Series between the Australian Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions at Etihad Stadium on June 29, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images for HSBC)

Still only 23 he is the youngest player to amass 50 caps and currently has 25 tries from 57 Wales and British Lions caps.

Without an official 100m time GenuinePace estimates that North could hit the 11 second mark on the track – we eagerly await the day he goes against the clock. Until then his opposing players will feel the full force… starting with South Africa tomorrow in the Rugby World Cup Quarter Final – North will line up against JP Pietersen but the scoring contest with SA’s other wing Bryan Habana will be a key match up to look out for.

Brute force + genuinepace = terrifying

SPT_GCK_280613_British and Irish Lions Tour 2013, Australia, Melbourne. Picture Graham Chadwick. George North and the Lions team take a dip in the sea at St Kilda

SPT_GCK_280613_British and Irish Lions Tour 2013, Australia, Melbourne. Picture Graham Chadwick. George North and the Lions team take a dip in the sea at St Kilda