Former 100m world-record holder Asafa Powell hangs up his spikes

By Sports Desk November 27, 2022
Asafa Powell Asafa Powell

After a career spanning two decades and characterized by fast times and world records but blighted by injury and unfulfilled potential, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has called time on his career.

One of the fastest men to have ever lived, Powell, who celebrated his 40th birthday on November 23, was a trailblazer in an era that produced some of the fastest men in the history of track and field namely Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Steve Mullings, among others.

Powell set 100m world records of 9.77 in Athens, Greece in 2005 and 9.74 in Rieti, Italy in 2007. His record was broken by Bolt in New York in 2008 when he ran 9.72 at the Adidas Grand Prix.  Powell lowered his personal best to 9.72 in September 2008, but by then Bolt had taken the record down to 9.69 at the Beijing Olympics.

After breaking 10 seconds for the first time in 2004, Powell went on to run under 10 seconds for the 100m, a record 97 times. It is an achievement that has earned him the moniker ‘Sub-10 King.”

However, despite his amazing talent, Powell never won individual global titles in the blue-riband event. Favoured to win the 100m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Powell finished fifth. Four years later, he was fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Powell won the Commonwealth Games 100m title in Australia in 2006 and was favoured to win the 100m at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan. However, the six-time Jamaican champion was third behind American Tyson Gay, the gold medallist and Bahamian Derrick Atkins, admitting afterwards that he ‘panicked’.

In 2009, Powell ran his best time in a global final – 9.84 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany - good enough for bronze behind Usain Bolt, who lowered his own world record to 9.58 with Gay winning silver in a then American record of 9.71.

He was seventh in the 100m final at the London 2012 Games.

Powell won gold medals as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at the World Championships in 2009 in Berlin and 2015 in Helsinki.

He last ran under 10 seconds in 2016 when he ran 9.92 in Hungary. Injury played a significant role in his inability to continue to break 10 seconds with his fastest time in the last six years being 10.02 in Leverkusen, Germany in 2019.

A favourite of female fans across the globe, Powell announced that his career had come to an end at a lavish birthday party late last week that was attended by several prominent figures from Corporate Jamaica, his shoe sponsor Puma as well as former teammates Bolt, Blake, Frater, Carter and Elaine Thompson-Herah.

His agent Paul Doyle, family, and his closest friends were also in attendance.

On Saturday, he shared the news on Instagram.

“18 years!!! Thanks to my sponsors and loyal fans who have supported me over the years. This sport has given me so many opportunities…but I started my track career in 2002 and have had many ups and downs but was never ungrateful for what I have accomplished,” he said.

“I am entering a new phase and a new chapter of my life and a lot more to come from me. I will continue to inspire the younger generation in every way possible.”

Powell married Canadian model Alyshia Miller in a lavish ceremony before family and friends in Montego Bay 2019 and together have two sons.

 

 

 

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