Asafa Powell hailed across athletics world after retirement call

Pictured here are Jamaican sprint greats Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt.
Asafa Powell has retired from athletics with the most sub-10 second runs in 100m sprint history. Pic: Getty

Jamaican sprint legend Asafa Powell has called time on his extraordinary career as the undisputed 'sub-10 second king' in athletics. The former 100m world record holder announced his retirement on social media, having just celebrated his 40th birthday.

Powell set a world record of 9.77 secs in June 2005, before lowering the mark to 9.74 in a record that stood until his compatriot Usain Bolt smashed it in May 2008. Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt's record of 9.58 secs - set in 2009 - remains the fastest time ever recorded in the 100m sprint.

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If he didn't compete against Bolt over the course of his career, Powell's individual achievements would almost certainly be more impressive, with just the one 4x100m relay gold in Rio to come from his Olympic Games appearances in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Powell's His best individual finish at the Olympics was fifth in the 100m in 2004 and 2008.

While Bolt dominated the sport and Powell never won either an Olympic or world championships individual gold, he hangs up the spikes with one astonishing record that not even his Jamaican compatriot gets close to. Powell has recorded a whopping 97 runs under 10-seconds across his professional career, putting him way in front of Justin Gatlin (53 times) for the most sub-10 second runs in history.

The last of Powell's sub-10 times came in September, 2016, with his last official 100m spring coming in May 2021 in Florida where he clocked a 10.07sec but with a favourable wind. Powell is the fastest man in history without an Olympic or world 100m title - with his personal best of 9.72 seconds making him the fourth-fastest man in history.

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Only Bolt (9.58), Tyson Gay (9.69) and Yohan Blake (9.69) can boast faster times in the history of the 100m sprint. Powell did record a famous victory over Bolt at a Grand Prix meet in Stockholm in 2008, when he pipped his fellow Jamaican to claim gold in a time of 9.88 secs.

"Chapter 40 & retired, a new phase of life," Powell wrote on Twitter. "As I say good bye to the sport, I'd like to say thank you to all my loyal fans that stood by me my entire career and even now."

Athletics world celebrates Asafa Powell's career

Powell's retirement announcement sparked a flood of tributes for the sprint legend on social media, with many fans quick to recognise his status as the sub-10 king of athletics.

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