EUGENE, Oregon – Fred Kerley was 12 when he got his first tattoo.
It was a birthday present for himself and he paid $ 200 to a street artist in the city of Taylor, downtown Texas, to paint the Bible verse “Psalm 104” on his right rib cage so he could hide the disapproving eye tattoo. of his aunt Virginia. the most important person in your life.
A woman Kerley calls “Aunt Meme.”
More tattoos would follow – 12 and counting: the Virgin Mary on the upper right arm, roses, a rosary, hands praying and birds in various places.
And when he was older and bolder, Kerley had “Aunt Meme” inscribed on his left inner biceps.
The location is appropriate.
“She will always be my strength,” Kerley said.
The inscription was evident when Kerley raised his arms in triumph after winning the 100-meter World Championship title at Hayward Field on Saturday night.
Kerley, driven by a challenge to the conventional wisdom of the sport and the woman who changed the course of her life, led the U.S. team’s first sweep of the men’s 100 medals since 1991 with a 9.86-second victory that electrified the first World Championship. World celebrated in America. alone.
Kerley overtook silver medalist Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell in third, both men clocked at 9.88.
“We said we were going to do it,” Kerley said, “and I did.”
The U.S. team won a second gold on Saturday night in Tracktown USA with Chase Ealey winning the women’s weight throw with a 67-foot, 2 ¾ throw.
Kerley’s victory in the final of a competition that included the current 100 and 200 Olympic gold medalists and defending world champion Christian Coleman completed a quest that was proposed when he surprised world athletics a year ago by switching from 400 to 100.
“I want to be the fastest man in the world,” Kerley, 27, said.
A certain retiree in Kingston, Jamaica, could argue whether Kerley has succeeded that Saturday, but the Texan in the past two days has further consolidated himself as the biggest threat to Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58. Kerley is arguably the most unlikely 100-time World Champion and his victory validated his much-criticized decision to leave the 400 for the 100 last season.
“I believe in myself, first and foremost,” Kerley said. “I don’t run to be the second best.”
But then Aunt Meme’s approval was all Kerley needed
Kerley was born in Taylor half an hour north of Austin. When he was two years old, his father was in prison. His mother, Kerley said, “went bad in life” and left the family. Kerley and his brother Mylik moved in with his Uncle Ricky and Aunt Virginia Kerley.
“She’s the woman who changed my life, who made my life,” Kerley wrote in a 2019 essay in Spikes magazine.
Fred’s was not the only life that changed Aunt Meme. When Fred and Mylik moved in with her, she was also raising her children, as well as those of another relative. In all, there were 13 children under the roof of Virginia and Ricky. She would continue to raise another generation of children, 25 in total.
Fred Kerley’s first interests were football and basketball. He didn’t turn his attention to the sprint until he broke his collarbone in his last football playoff game.
After a stint at South Plains College, Kerley emerged on the world stage in 2017 as a more likely heir to another Texan, Michael Johnson, winner of two Olympic medals of 400 and one gold in 200, instead of the Jamaican Bolt, setting the record of the NCAA 400. at 43.70 and then becoming pro.
He won the 2018 Diamond League title and then defeated favorite Michael Norman to win the 2019 U.S. title at 43.64. He was a disappointed third in the World Cup.
A number of impressive results from the start of the 100 season in 2021 were met with intrigue but were not taken completely seriously in the sport. Even after Kerley ran 9.91 in April 2021, many in the sport saw the 400 as his best chance of winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Undaunted, Kerley continued to post hot moments and at the Games came to Tokyo was the 100th co-favorite with compatriot Trayvon Bromell. Instead, El Paso-born Lamont Marcell Jacob, who ran for Italy, won the gold medal by beating Kerley 9.80 to 9.84 to become perhaps the most amazing 100-time champion in Olympic history.
Kerley opened the current season with a 44.47 400 in March and then followed it up with a 19.80 200 world leader victory over current 400 American 400 champion Norman at the USATF Gold Games in Mt. SAC in April.
Kerley is the only man to have won the 100, 200 and 400 races in the Diamond League matches.
“Fred is a Swiss Army knife,” said American Michael Cherry. “You can do a lot of different sprint events.”
Asked after his victory at Mt. SAC who would run in the U.S. championships and world championships, Kerley smiled
“You have to wait and see,” he said.
Kerley fell 9.76 in the semifinals of the U.S. Championships on June 24, the second-best time in history. He won the U.S. title later that day at 9.77.
He opened the World Cup with a 9.79 in the qualifiers on Friday night, the best time in history in a world qualifier and giving him the top 100 fastest of 2022 for Saturday.
“I’ll tell you. FRED KERLEY,” Johnson told Worlds as a BBC commenter tweeted after the race.
Kerley achieved an easy 10.01 win and a light headwind in the second of Saturday night’s three semis. Among those left in his wake was Canadian Andre DeGrasse, the 200th Olympic gold medalist who has battled illness and injury in recent months. The former USC NCAA champion finished fifth non-qualifying in 10.21. Jacobs didn’t even make it to the start of the third semifinal, suffering an injury that hampered him most of the season.
The third semifinal also claimed Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, who arrived in Eugene shortly before his Friday heat after the U.S. embassy in Nairobi signaled his visa application and was later delayed.
Omanyala was due to arrive in Eugene on Monday. By contrast, due to the visa delay, he did not land in Tracktown USA until three hours before its heat after spending 20 hours on planes on a trip from Nairobi to Doha to Seattle to Eugene.
“I never had any reason (not to get the visa before),” Omanyala said. “The good thing is I got it.
“It’s really disappointing and I really hope they do better next time because they know they’re going to host the 2028 Olympics.”
Ninety-six minutes later, the 100 finalists settled into the starting blocks: Kerley on track 4, Bracy on his left on track 3, Coleman and Bromell on his right on tracks 7 and 8.
Only Coleman (.104) came out of the blocks faster than Kerley and Bromell, whose reaction times of .110 were eight thousandths of a second faster than Bracy. Kerley would maintain that slight lead until the end.
He continued around the first lap, stopping below the scoreboard confident of winning, but like the rest of Hayward Field he is unsure. Finally the marker showed the results.
Kerley trusts in his arms as the stadium erupts in a loud roar celebrating the fastest man on the planet. He is a quiet, shy and private man. But at that moment he was a man who wore his heart on his sleeves, his inked skin revealing his truest beliefs.
“BLESSED” he read in one arm. The other called the woman who did just that.
Fred Kerley wins Worlds 100 meter title – Press Telegram Source link Fred Kerley wins Worlds 100 meter title – Press Telegram