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A native of Spanish Town, Jamaica, Asafa Powell grew up attending Ewarton Primary School and Charlemont High School, both in St. Catherine, Jamaica. He planned to be a mechanic before he took up running while studying at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica.
Asafa grew up in a deeply religious household. He has depended on his faith to help him maintain humility during moments of triumph and strength in moments of sorrow. In 2002, when Powell was only 19, his brother Michael was shot dead in a New York taxi by a mugger, while another brother, Vaughn, died a year later after suffering a heart attack as he played American football. Both of these tragedies occurred during the Jamaican Championships.
In 2000, he represented his school at the ISSA High School Championships in the 100 and 200 meters. His times of 11.45 and 23.07 seconds were not enough to see him progress on from the first round but, by then, the track and field bug had bit him. The next year he competed again in the same championships and improved his times. This time around he was watched by Stephen Francis who spotted talent and offered to coach Asafa.
Asafa represented Jamaica at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. He made the semi-ÃÂÃÂfinals of the 100m finishing 5th in his race with a personal best time of 10.26 seconds. He also won a silver medal as a member of the Jamaican 4x100-meter relay team. Asafa qualified for his first World Championships in 2003, but was disqualified for a controversial false start in the quarter finals.
The following year, he went to the Olympic Games as a favorite to win the gold medal after running 9.91 seconds in the Jamaican National Championships. After easily qualifying for the final, he came in 5th place with a time of 9.94 seconds. Later that year, he set a new personal best of 9.87 in Brussels.
Asafa lived up to the hype in 2005 as he set his first 100-ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂmeter dash World Record with a time of 9.77 seconds in Athens, Greece. He qualified for the World Championships but suffered an injury prior to the meet and was unable to run.
In 2006, Asafa competed again at the Commonwealth Games. This time, he brought home the gold medal after the semi-final which saw two disqualifications and three false starts. Asafa then equaled his world record time on June 11 at Gateshead International Stadium. On August 18 in Zurich, he equaled it again for the second time. For his incredible season, Asafa received the Caribbean and Central American Male Athlete of the Year, IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year and Commonwealth Games Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year Award.
Asafa began his 2007 campaign well but suffered a groin injury at the Jamaican Championships. Despite the injury, he still managed to finish 3rd at the World Championships in the 100-ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂmeter dash and earn a silver medal in the 4x100-meter relay. However, to make up for his disappointing finish in the 100-meter dash, Asafa promised to break the world record before season's end. On September 9 in Reiti, Italy, he fulfilled his promise by running 9.74 seconds.
The 2008 Olympic year brought joy and disappointment for Asafa. He suffered two different injuries at the beginning of the season that kept him out of competition. At the Olympic Games, Asafa finished 5th in the 100-ÃÂÃÂmeter dash but came back to anchor the Jamaican 4x100-ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂmeter relay to a new world record.
This year, Asafa is looking to build upon his past and finally achieve the one feat that has escaped him-winning and Olympic Gold Medal.
MVP Track Club
November 23, 1982
Jamaica 100m-9.72, 200m-19.90
3rd Fastest Man in History, 2012 Olympic Games Finalist 100m, 2009 World Champion 4x100m relay, 2009 World Championships Bronze Medalist 100m dash, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist 4x100m relay, 2007 World Bronze Medalist 100m dash, 2006 IAAF Athlete of the Year