Today it takes almost a performance of 9.9 seconds over 100 metres to get an invitation from the big races and to earn respect from the meeting organizers and sponsors. Running 9.9 is not a big thing anymore. Fans enjoy watching races that are won in 9.80 otherwise they become bored.
Canada dominated the sprinting world from 1994 to 1998, with house hold names such as Donovan Bailey, Bruny Surin, Glenroy Gilbert, Robert Esmie, Carlton Chambers and Peter Ogilvie. We now see ourselves in drought and in a serious crisis period; it would appear like the new generation cannot step up for themselves. It has been 6 years since the old generation of Canadian sprinters retired and still we are waiting anxiously for the youngsters to take the relay baton.
I have done some analysis to try to find out why we are having problems with our sprinters. I compare the mentality, the work ethics and the program compared to the other sprinters around the globe. Honestly, I think Canadian sprinting needs a serious wakeup call. Someone needs to run fast, and shake things up, and let people know that running 10.30, or 10.20 is not going to cut it. Winning Canadian Nationals doesn't mean anything if the winning time doesn’t reflect a world time. Last year I saw and heard people flipping out when Michael Leblanc ran 10.17, sure it is a decent time for a young man his age, but in the big picture 10.17 is nothing to get excited over. No one should be that impressed by 10.17, I know I am not. I am happy to see his progress, but he still needs to do a lot of work before people call him a great Canadian runner.
The problem with a lot of Canadian sprinters is that it is too easy to just "get by", and people are happy with just getting by. People run their 10.30 or whatever, make a national team, get carded, and that is good enough for them. The truth is that is not good enough. If they want to be great, if they want to be remembered, they have to lead a career full of great accomplishments worth remembering.
I actually called Michael Leblanc to see his point of view about his time etc, and I can tell you that I was so impressed to discover his maturity. He knows exactly how it is to be an international athlete and he explained to me how he will work hard over the season and that 10.17 that he ran was nothing for him. That was great news for me. In another words this is the exact attitude to have. He expects to run 10.08 or faster next season and just by his attitude I believe him. We also have Brian Barnett focusing on the 100/200 double; I think he has the talent to run 20.10 next year. Jared Connaughton and Anson Henry will do some damage as well and hopefully Nicolas Macrozonaris will put everything together. Lets keep our fingers crossed that one of the emerges into greatness. If people start doing what they are supposed to do and capable of doing, there is going to be a new standard in Canadian sprinting and we will see our Flag rise again on the International scene.