Fred Kerley wants to completely dominate the men’s 100 meters, and that means taking down the world record.
The reigning world champion at the distance confirmed his status as one of the best sprinters in history by winning at Eugene 2022, where he led an American sweep of medals.
Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58 seconds from the 2009 World Athletics Championships has remained unchallenged, with only Tyson Gay and Yohan Blake coming close at 9.69.
But after dashing to 9.76 and 9.77 within a two-hour span at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in June, the American Kerley feels the target is achievable.
“It’s very realistic. Everything is realistic; Bolt, Wayde [Van Niekerk], and all of the American greats. They put the bar up there for us to do it,” Kerley said in an interview with The Independent on his plans “to change the game forever”.
“If they can do it, then why not us?” he shared.
“I’ve got to continue to train right, eat right, sleep right. These small things will help me to get to the bigger goals down the line. The records and that double gold.”
READ MORE: USA sprinter Fred Kerley: “I want to be the fastest man alive”
World 100m champion Fred Kerley.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images
Kerley on Usain Bolt – ‘He put the bar up there for us to attack it’
After his smooth transition from being a 400m sprinter to a 100m world champion, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist, behind Italian Marcell Jacobs, stepped into the 2022 season with renewed enthusiasm.
Kerley’s focus was the 100m and 200m after dropping the one lap due to an ankle injury.
The 27-year-old inched closer to his world record dreams with his personal best of 9.76 at the U.S championships, which has him lying sixth in the 100m all-time list behind Jamaican Bolt.
“I speak to him [Bolt] on social media. But we don’t talk about records. He put the bar up there for us to go and attack it. He’s got the bar, we’re just trying to get there,” said Kerley who switched to track after breaking his collarbone in the last football game of his high school in Texas.
In Eugene, Kerley finished ahead of Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell, who each ran 9.88. It was USA’s first medals sweep in the world men’s 100m race since 1991 and the first in any event at the Championships since 2007.
“We’re all trying to one-up each other,” he said of his teammates.
“We try to touch the stars. We talk every day, we have times we all want to achieve, we are trying to touch the stars.”
Despite his well-rounded season, Kerley missed out on the shortlist of the 10 nominees for the men’s World Athlete of the Year 2022, who will be crowned in December.
But that’s the least of his worries for now.
“It’s all good, just know whoever is on that list, I’ll be on top.
“I don’t trip about small things like that. I know what I’m going to achieve next year and hopefully they’re on the list next year. It’s motivating to me, it’s a good thing that I’m not on that list. I don’t care who wins,” said Kerley.
“I’m not worried, I’m ready for the next level, hopefully the people on that list are back, because I’m going to grind even harder.”
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And as he aims for double world gold in Budapest next year, after being forced to pull of the second part of his 2022 Championships in Eugene due to a cramp in the 200m semi-finals, Kerley is enjoying the offseason in his home in Florida, consumed in his penchant for gardening.
“Gardening is peace,” Kerley continued in the interview.
“Gardening is like track and field in a way… you have to be patient.
“You see all the different colours in the garden. Once I get out of training, I don’t talk about track at all. Track is not who Fred Kerley is, track is what Fred Kerley do. So I really enjoy the gardening, it allows me to take my mind off the negativity around stuff. It lets me leave track alone and focus on a different aspect of life.