No one had seen it coming. Swiss sprinter Alex Wilson delivered an unlikely performance this Sunday at a second-class meeting in Marietta, a town in Georgia, United States. Before flying to the Tokyo Olympics, he ran the 100 meters in 9′'84, a new European record. It is two hundredths better than the current best continental time (9 ″ 86), jointly held by the French Jimmy Vicaut (in 2015 and 2016) and the Portuguese of Nigerian origin Francis Obikwelu (in 2004). The feat does not end there, since the 30-year-old Swiss rider then followed a 200-meter race, won in 19 ″ 89, the Swiss record in the process.
Two extremely surprising performances from a little-known athlete.
He still won the bronze medal at the European Championships in 2018 over 200 meters and has honorable personal bests in 100 m (10 ″ 08) and 200 m (19 ″ 98) dating from 2019. But he is back. injury and peaked this year at 10 ″ 38 over 100 meters and 20 ″ 64 over 200 meters, achieved on June 29 in Lucerne (Switzerland).
@SprintWilson ist in Atlanta / USA zwei Wahnsinnszeiten gelaufen: Sowohl über 100m (9.84) als auch über 200m (19.89) verbesserte er seinen Schweizer Rekord, über 100m unterbot er sogar den Europarekord!
https://t.co/i9utAKecMl @EuroAthletics @UBSathletics @PUMA pic.twitter.com/EluO1lguPc
- Swiss Athletics (@SwissAthletics) July 18, 2021
"Normally, these athletes, we see them arriving"
It is an understatement to say that these performances are causing a stir in the world of athletics.
Several coaches doubt the validity of these times.
Rana Reider, recognized American trainer, said: "We know 100% that it is false", in response to a tweet from Pierre-Jean Vazel, one of his French colleagues.
Contacted by the Parisian, Guy Ontanon, the former coach of Jimmy Vicaut, Muriel Hurtis or Christine Arron, does not believe it either: “Lemaître, Bromell… All these athletes who have achieved great performances in their careers, we see them coming.
There is a progression.
There is an explosion.
You don't go 5 meters away from your best performance overnight.
The coach at the French Athletics Federation has dissected the video below which has been circulating since Sunday on the Internet. Already, for him, the pace of the runner does not correspond to a time of 9 ″ 84. What is more, in a race without opposition or almost: there is a 1 ″ 35 gap between Wilson and the second, the American Roland, who arrived in… 11 ″ 09. Almost 15 meters apart, which according to Guy Ontanon, should have already been visible from the first meters after the starting signal: “This is impossible since the athletes had roughly the same pace,” he explains.
Guy Ontanon does not dwell on a possible false start because, even with that, the athlete would never have been able to reach this time.
Rather, he is working on a failure of the electronic system: “This is the only explanation I can find.
And besides, I doubt that the record will be approved since there was no central starting point ”
(Editor's note: an automatic control system for departures and reaction times)
The International Athletics Federation (World Athletics), however, recorded the time automatically.
Since Sunday, the Swiss federation, Swiss Athletics and the entire Swiss press have been echoing the explosive performance of the sprinter of Jamaican origin.
In a few days, the European federation, European Athletics will be responsible, after verifications, to validate, or not, this time to declare it as a European record. If the record is validated - which would be surprising - the Swiss sprinter will dispossess Jimmy Vicaut and Francis Obikwelu, European co-recordmen (9 ″ 86). In any case, Alex Wilson's performances in Tokyo will be closely scrutinized ...