Christian Coleman had one heck of a 2018 season full of ups and downs that make him worthy of not just an athlete of the year nomination, but also a nod for comeback athlete of the year.
Let’s sum up his year:
Coleman was on fire in the indoor season, breaking the 60 meter world record back on January 19 in his first competition of the year. His time of 6.37 seconds bested Maurice Greene’s old record of 6.39.
Then at the altitude of Albuquerque, Coleman lowered the world record even further to 6.34 seconds on his way to winning the U.S. indoor title.
Coleman capped off an undefeated indoor campaign by winning his first global gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
2018 was starting to look like the year of Coleman.
But that’s when adversity struck.
After opening up his outdoor season with a solid second place finish at Pre Classic, Coleman had a subpar race in Rome, where he finished just fourth in a time of 10.06 seconds. It was clear from the race that something was off, as Coleman wasn’t able to maintain his top-end speed in the latter stages of the race.
It was soon revealed that Coleman had a hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from the U.S. championships and Diamond League meets in Oslo and Stockholm as a precaution.
While Coleman was out, fellow U.S. sprint stars Noah Lyles and Michael Norman stole headlines with blistering fast sprint times, making the 22-year-old Tennessee grad an afterthought as if his indoor performances of just a few months ago were memories of a distant past.
“Sitting out and not training, not doing anything, just doing rehab and trying to get that right,” Coleman said. “Not being able to go full speed in practice, that’s tough mentally, especially in the middle of a season and during a season where you’ve got guys running fast and you’re watching all these races with American athletes in.”
Right as Coleman could have been overlooked, he stormed back with vengeance. Coleman returned to action in mid-July with a win in Rabat in 9.98 seconds, and then another victory a month later in Birmingham in 9.94 seconds.
But the best was yet to come.
At the Diamond League final in Brussels, Coleman capped off this roller coaster of a 2018 with his best race yet: a dominant win in 9.79 seconds. The time was significant — it was not only a personal best but the fastest time run since 2015 and made him the seventh-fastest human being to ever run the 100 meter dash.
“I put myself back in the conversation,” Coleman told reporters after the Brussels race.
And part of the conversation for athlete of the year Coleman absolutely deserves to be.