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2022 Nike Pre Classic: Unwavering self-belief carries Trayvon Bromell to 100m victory at Prefontaine Classic

D

Deji Ogeyingbo

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In the past decade, at the very least, the Nike Pre Classic has built up to the Bowerman Mile, the final event of the meet. That changed this year.

I recall, years ago, speaking with Ian Stewart when he worked with Jon Ridgeon and Alan Pascoe at the British meets. Ian told me that, in his mind, finishing the meet with the best races will give fans memories of events in the future. I was always impressed that the then AVIVA meetings and now Muller meetings ended with Laura Muir, or Jemma Reekie or Keely Hodgkinson running a big race in front of the home crowd.


So, the Nike Pre team built the meet this year to finish with the men's 100 meters, and what a way to finish the show! This is what Deji Ogeyingbo decided to write about on the Pre Classic. It was tremendous on the TV broadcast, and the fans in Hayward Field must have loved the performance.

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Trayvon Bromell takes the 2022 Nike Pre Men's 100m, May 28, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto

Unwavering self-belief carries Trayvon Bromell to 100m victory at Prefontaine Classic



Track and Field can be a very cruel sport. Sometimes it doesn't reward the very best of the lot for their efforts for varying degrees of reasons, but for the most part, there are some things it can't take away from an athlete. Self-belief is one of such ingredients, and at the Prefontaine Classic, Trayvon Bromell had it in full in the men's 100m as he coasted home to victory.

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Trayvon Bromell wins over Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto

It just can't be luck. Bromell has had to come back to the top the difficult way having had to contend with severe injuries for a large part of his career. Ask him what has been the main reason to attribute to his renaissance in the last year, you will hear stuff like hard work, dedication, consistency with diet and training, and a belief in his abilities.


The latter trait is one that can wear thin, especially when a sprinter is trying to return from a niggling injury with the hope to continue at the top. But not Bromell. After his rise back to the top of global sprinting in 2021, there were lingering doubts about his abilities as he failed to reach the final of the men's 100m at the Tokyo Olympics and perform at the top level in Europe.

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Trayvon Bromell, 2022 Nike Pre Classic victor at 100 meters, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto

However, at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, the 2015 World Championship Bronze medalist showed beyond doubt his love for this track as well as his ability to ruffle feathers with the creme de la crème of the sport. The men's 100m was a classic. The US stars Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, and Fred Kerley alongside Canada's Andre De Grasse-the Olympic 200m Gold medalist. The field also had the prodigious U20 duo of Erriyon Knighton and Letsile Tebogo.

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Noah Lyles, Trayvon Bromell, Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley, 2022 Nike Pre Classic, May 28, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto


These were some of the fastest men in the last one year, but some of the fastest in 100m history. Bromell didn't just hold his own, he stormed to a commanding win in 9.93. Granted, the time doesn't reflect the entire quality of the athletes and the Olympic Champion Marcell Jacobs was absent, it was the way and manner the 26-year-Old sprinter asserted his authority on such a field that revealed a lot.


Right from the sound of the gun, the was already ahead of the field, something that seemed strange, considering Coleman gets the best of starts in most races he competes in. That mover there surely startled the World Champion and gave Bromell more impetus. Kerley on the other hand was already lagging behind, but at the halfway point of the race, it was left to the three athletes to sort themselves out.

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The men's 100 meters, 2022 Nike Pre Classic, May 28, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto


This is where the self-belief of Bromell came in. Coleman is just returning from a ban, Kerley had lost his last 100m race, and De Grasse wasn't at full stretch. He also had reasons to sulk, but he didn't, maintaining his speed to take the win ahead of his compatriots.


Running fast times when up against a weak field and producing them when you race against the very best are two different things, something the likes of Tebogo and Knighton would have come to realize in Eugune, and until more recently, Bromell too. His build-up to the Tokyo Olympics was filled with so many fast times but not racing against some of the top guys. And when he did, in Europe and the Olympics proper, he fell short.

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Trayvon Bromell takes the Men's 100m, 2022 Nike Pre Classic, May 28, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto


By the end of the race at the Pre-Classic, Bromell let off a huge roar, one that felt more of relief than accomplishment. It is no secret he is both a top sprinter and an injury-prone one, too. It isn't enough to say this is a trade-off as he would hope the injury worries are way behind him.


Over time it is his brilliance, the good part, his thrust, his net gains that drive, the self-belief that would be crucial in the coming weeks. And the good part is, the World Champs will take place at the same Hayward field as he would hope to ostracize the demons of not making the final of the Tokyo Olympics.

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Trayvon Bromell, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto


The pain of that moment in 2021 at the end will hopefully fade with time and there will no doubt be plenty more in the way of glory after this win in Eugene.
 
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