Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown dashed into new territory over the weekend by running the 100 metres in under 10 seconds.
A point of obsession for male sprinters, the elusive mark was met by Brown in Florida on Saturday, where he raced to 9.96 seconds in heats, beating American former world champion Tyson Gay (9.97s).
In the final, the Canadian clocked 10.01s to finish second to Marvin Bracy of the United States, who ran 9.94s.
Both of these times by Brown beat his previous personal best of 10.05s set three years ago. At 24, Brown is entering the prime years of his sprinting career and had been on the verge of a breakthrough for some time, though injuries held him back last couple of seasons from improving on his 2013 best.
The sub-10 club has just three other Canadian members, with Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin sharing the national record of 9.84s, while current world bronze medallist Andre De Grasse has clocked a wind-legal 9.92 for his official fastest time.
De Grasse, 21, and Brown teamed up at Beijing 2015 to help deliver a world bronze medal in the 4x100m. It was Brown’s second time to the relay podium at world championships after a Moscow 2013 bronze.
Having two active sub-10 runners will remind Canadians of the 1990s, when Bailey and Surin both broke the barrier within months of each other, before finishing one-two at Gothenburg 1995 – the world championships in Sweden. Canada also won the men’s 4x100m relay in Gothenburg, a feat they repeated a year later at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, where Bailey won 100m gold in world record fashion.
“Canadians can expect great things on the horizon in the sprints and a new era for Canadian sprinting,” Brown said last year in an Olympic.ca interview ahead of the Pan Am Games. He is certainly living up to that promise.
De Grasse and Brown can be expected to race both the 100m and 200m at Athletics Canada‘s national trials in Edmonton from July 7-10.