His time is now: Christian Coleman

Could this American sprinter be the next Usain Bolt?

Click here to hear from Christian Coleman ahead of the World Indoors

Rio 2016 was the start of something for Christian Coleman.

Coleman was part of the USA's 4x100m relay team, a bittersweet experience.

The team were disqualified in the final after a calamitous baton exchange, but something sparked inside Coleman.

He returned to his home in Knoxville with renewed purpose.

2017 was to be the year when Christian Coleman got serious about sprinting.

Turning pro

Last May, Coleman caught the eye by posting a quicker time in the 40 yard dash than any player in the NFL Combine. Ever.

4.12 seconds was phenomenally quick.

The Olympic Channel caught up with Coleman to talk about his achievement.

Speaking from his University of Tennessee campus, Coleman was softly-spoken. Modest but with an assuredness in his abilities.

His confidence was more than justified. He knew where he was heading.

Within a month, the sports-management graduate had announced his decision to turn professional

Days later, he had booked a trip to the World Championships in London.

Coleman finished second to Justin Gatlin in the USATF Outdoors with a time of 9.98 seconds.

That result would prove to be a precursor of things to come.

Coleman comes of age

In London, the spotlight was on Usain Bolt as the Jamaican sprint king aimed to sign off in style.

But Coleman made sure things didn't go quite according to plan at those World Champs.

The American pipped Bolt to first place in their semi-final heat.

Then in the final, Coleman ran 9.94 to finish second to his team mate Justin Gatlin.

Bolt was relegated to third. Proof, if proof were needed, that Coleman was the real deal.

Eight-time Olympic champion Bolt was quick to pay tribute to the young upstart;

"He's done great," Bolt said after his final individual race.

"He's shown the world he is going to be a great athlete."

Achievements and accolades were coming thick and fast.

But Coleman seemed able to cope and keep his sense of proportion:

With his feet still firmly on the ground, his mantra was also in place: Work Hard.

"The hardest part about success is keeping that same work ethic." Coleman told us at the USATF end of year awards.

"So that is one thing that I really focus in on - keeping that same work ethic, working hard every single day, just trying to improve, get better."

No doubt, the effort was being rewarded.

Rocket man

Coleman has started 2018 like a rocket.

The 21-year old broke the indoor world record at his first professional indoor race at the Clemson Invitational:

Just think about that: his first professional indoor race.

However, the result could not be ratified due to the lack of electronic starting blocks.

So, for good measure, he broke it again at the US Indoors last month.

This time, Maurice Greene's 20-year mark of 6.39 was officially obliterated:

All of a sudden, all eyes are on him heading into the World Indoors in Birmingham.

This time last year, Coleman was barely on the radar. Now he will start as favourite on Saturday.

Tokyo calling

The Olympics in Tokyo may still be fairly distant on the horizon, but they're quickly coming into view.

The contenders to be the successor to Bolt are shaping up nicely.

Canada's Andre De Grasse, Coleman, his US team mate Ronnie Baker, Akani Simbine of South Africa to name but a few of those likely to be there or thereabouts in two years' time.

"Of course it (Tokyo 2020) is in the back of your head," Coleman admits.

"But you've just got to take it one year at a time, one race at a time, one practice at a time. Just keep focus."

He is taking it one step at a time. In a sense, he is refusing to rush.

But watch out, Christian Coleman is coming through. Fast.

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