And having run 9.77 seconds – the world’s quickest time this year – Trayvon Bromell could end the US sprint drought, which goes back to Justin Gatlin’s 2004 victory.
Bromell will aim for Olympic glory after years of struggling with injuries, including tearing his achilles tendon during the 4x100m relay at Rio in 2016.
During the US Olympic trials last month, he made it clear that his faith has carried him through the dark times, by writing “God is real” on his race bib.
Bromell, who is 5ft 8 tall, went on to win the trials in 9.80s to earn his place in Tokyo.
“My whole life, I always wondered why I didn’t have it like everyone else. Why I didn’t come up with money?” he wrote on Instagram after his victory.
“Why couldn’t I have my mother and father under the same roof? Why do I have to watch my momma fight to make ends meet... I always wanted to help people, but never knew how I could! I’m from the south side of St Pete Fl. Where life is hard, and no room for dreams (sic).”
The 26-year-old grew up in Florida where he was a prodigious high school talent in St Petersburg, winning the state’s Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the year in 2013.
It was in 2013 that Bromell became the first high school student to break the 10-second mark in the 100m, clocking 9.99s in wind and at altitude in New Mexico.
He went on to Baylor University in Texas, where he won the NCAA 100m championship in 2014 as a freshman student in a World Junior Record 9.97s.
The following year he won the 200m indoor championship with the second fastest ever time in NCAA history and turned professional.
His preparation for Rio 2016 was hampered by an achilles tendon sprain and after qualifying for the Games, he finished eighth and last in the 100m final.
After his injury in the relay he had surgery, but still did not feel right and was forced to go under the knife for a second time, missing the whole of the 2018 season.
He finally made it back onto the track in 2019, but then suffered an injury to an adductor muscle in his upper leg.
Now with his sights set on Tokyo, he says he wants people to learn from his struggle to reach his goals.
“I want to make the team because I want to speak about faith,” Bromell said. “I want to help people save their lives. There’s a lot of people out here facing mental disorders and not understand what to do next.
“I want to be an icon and a vessel showing to keep fighting on, no matter if the world count you out.”
Away form the track, Bromell is also passionate about photography.
“It’s something I do love, creating stories through images of people and I love fashion. So that has helped me express a lot of that creativity,” he told Track & Field News.
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