(Reuters) - Christian Coleman isn’t planning on letting up on his blistering start to sprinting in 2018.
After wiping out the 20-year-old 60 metres world record and winning the world indoor title, the young American has loaded up his outdoor schedule with nine Diamond League meetings as he seeks top honours in both the 100 and 200 metres.
“I want to be looked at as one of the greatest sprinters of all-time. With that comes running both events,” the 22-year-old world 100 metres silver medallist told Reuters from his Knoxville, Tennessee base.
The races are almost evenly divided between the 100 and 200 with Coleman considering doing both in his season-opening appearance at the May 25-26 Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Oregon.
His quest comes as athletics looks for ways to fill the void left by retired world record holder and multiple Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt.
Coleman, Canada’s triple Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse, South African 400 metres world record holder Wayde van Niekerk and American Noah Lyles, the 300 metres global record holder, all are among the young front runners.
World 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin, who defeated Coleman and Bolt for the gold, also is back and expecting another top-notch season .
“There are so many guys that they are talking about that may be the ‘next one’ or may be the next Bolt,” Coleman said. “That whole conversation is exciting to me and really humbling.”
Based on his 6.34 second 60 metres record, the fast-starting Coleman could be looking at running the 100 metres in a personal best 9.7 seconds this year, former holder Maurice Greene told Reuters.
Only seven sprinters have run faster, including Bolt whose world record is 9.58 seconds.
But Coleman seldom talks times, at least publicly.
“I never really set any time goals,” he said. “I think that puts a limit on yourself. When you set a time and you hit that time, you are kind of satisfied. I never want to have that type of feeling.”
His goals are more about achievements.
And while wanting to leave his mark this season, 2017’s fastest 100 metres runner (9.82 seconds) and third fastest in the 200 (19.85) already is thinking about the 2019 Doha world championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympics and doubling in both.
“Since this is not a championship season, you kind of want to use this (season) as preparation for going into 2019 and 2020,” he said.
That’s where the Diamond League races come in.
World champions and Diamond League event winners earn byes into the next world championships.
“Gatlin already has the bye (in the 100) from winning world championships,” said Coleman, who is preparing for his first full professional season.
“So I can maybe try to run the 200 in the Diamond League and if I win, I would get the bye.”
That would reduce his schedule at the high-pressured U.S. trials to the 100 metres since he would already be qualified in the 200.
Doubling up at global championships was a trademark of Bolt’s.
“But I don’t want to be the next Bolt,” Coleman said. “I want to be Christian Coleman and to have people years from now asking who is going to be the next Christian Coleman.
“I’d be excited about that. To etch my name in the sport. Having people talking about me, not just comparing me to Bolt or anyone body else.
“I just want to be myself and leave my own legacy.”
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Pritha Sarkar