100m – How the „Slow“ Track Became Fast

For years, the track in the Mladost Stadium had been considered too slow to achieve top sprint results. It was back in 1999 that Canada’s Bruny Surin said that „it was a bit too soft“, looking at his winning time of 10.08 in the 100m in disbelief. A month and a half later, Surin won the silver medal in 9.84 at the World Championships in Seville, which underlined this slow track thesis a little bit more.

Numerous top sprinters raced in the Mladost Stadium in the following years (Mitchell, Thompson, Crawford, Collins, Williams, Obikwelu, Carter…), but nobody could finish in under ten seconds. And when everybody started thinking that not even Usain Bolt could run the 100m on the Mladost Stadium track in under ten seconds, Darvis Patton and Michael Rodgers „happened“ to the Meeting in 2009. Both Americans ran in under the „jinxed“ 10 seconds: Patton in 9.94, Rodgers in 9.97!

We must admit that the track was re-topped before that meeting, so somebody might say that it really had been too soft (too slow) before that. But as the world’s fastest sprinters of all time ran in the stadium the following two years, that topic was never mentioned again. At the beginning of September 2010, Tyson Gay won in 9.92, and Usain Bolt in 9.85 a year later.