Hopes for a new world record over 60m were met—and then some—on the third day (18 February) of the USA Indoor Championships as Christian Coleman roared to a 6.34* clocking in the dash, cutting a half-second off the previous best.
American Maurice Greene first set the accepted 6.39 mark in 1998 and then tied it at the 2001 indoor nationals. But Coleman’s first final of the 2018 indoor campaign showed the record’s days likely were numbered when he sped 6.37 on January 19.
But that mark, set in Clemson, South Carolina, never would have received record ratification since there were neither wired starting blocks used nor drug testing done immediately after the race.
At the U.S. nationals, staged in the helpful thinner air of 1507m Albuquerque, Coleman showed he had plenty of speed to burn as he clocked 6.46 in Saturday’s heat and then 6.42 in Sunday’s semi-final. He eased back noticeably in the final meters of both his preliminaries. Defending champion Ronnie Baker had taken his semi with a PB 6.45, setting the table for a climactic final.
More than three hours later, Coleman lined up for the title race in lane 5 with Baker to his left in 4 and veteran Mike Rodgers inside both in lane 3. After a false start eliminated one sprinter, the field got away on the second attempt.
Baker got an excellent start, but led for only a few steps as Coleman was right with him. Coleman never surrendered the lead he grabbed and opened distance over the field in the final 10m. He threw his arms wide as he crossed the line, his speed taking care of Greene’s official record as well as settling any questions about Coleman’s own earlier record claim.