Fred Kerley: World Record Next Time I Touch The 100m

By Anderson Emerole

May 15, 2024

2022 World Champion Fred Kerley tweeted: “World record next time I touch the 100m.”

Here’s what you need to know:

– Fred Kerley has not been running significantly fast over his past races or come close to his personal best of 9.76 in 2022. His season’s best is 10.03, which is tied for the 19th-best in the world so far this year.

– His next race will come at the Oslo Diamond League on May 30th, where he will face off against Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs. This will be just the second time they’ve raced against each other since the Tokyo Olympics. Jacobs struggled with injuries in 2022 and 2023, which kept him from racing Kerley as the world champion. The appeal of their head-to-head showdowns has died down a bit in 2024 since Kerley failed to defend his gold medal in Budapest and Jacobs has not broken 10 seconds for 100m since the 2022 European Championships.

In this episode of The Final Leg Podcast, I break down the fan reception to his comments and Kerley’s approach to setting big goals:

My thoughts:

It’s a crazy take on its surface. The 100m dash world record remains 9.58s set by Usain Bolt in 2009. In my opinion, that’s one of the toughest records in the history books outside of some of those women’s throws records from a prevalent doping era. Bolt absolutely dominated that race. No one has come close to time since maybe 2012 when Yohan Blake ran 9.69s. We’ve seen 9.74 from Justin Gatlin in 2015. We’ve seen Christian Coleman, Trayvon Bromell and Kerley run 9.76. No one has come into the same realm as 9.58s and no one will in the foreseeable future.

As fans, we can’t even fathom any of these modern athletes being able to achieve a time that sniffs 9.58. One of the things that leads into that skepticism is that we haven’t witnessed any performance that has come close.

On the women’s side, we’ve seen Shericka Jackson run 21.41, which is coming close to Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 world record. She’s been vocal about going after it. We don’t criticize her for it because she’s actually close. We give deference to an athlete when they’re close, which seems a little strange because we just set a marker that says, ‘This athlete needs to reach X time and then we can say they can start talking about the world record.’ Maybe if Kerley ran 9.69, then we might be able to start talking about that world record. That’s all opposed to giving the athlete grace when they say they want to chase a fast time.

In 2023, when Noah Lyles said that he wanted to run 9.63, people doubted him. He also hasn’t come close to it and so that opens himself up to criticism. He did get a personal best of 9.83s in the final. It’s not 9.6 but it’s at least a stepping stone toward his goal.

Kerley has set a mark for himself and he’s reaching for it.

Do I think he’s going to break the world record in his next race? No.

Do I think any athlete is going to break the world record in 2024? No.

Do I think any athlete is going to break the world record in the next three to five years? No.

But, I want to give the athletes props for setting their goals, putting them out there for athletes to discuss, debate and further the conversation around the sport.

Anderson Emerole

Anderson Emerole is an analyst and contributor to CITIUS MAG. He runs The Final Leg, a YouTube channel with up-to-date commentary on track and field news.