Ronnie Baker, the new rocket at the Golden Gala!
The casting for the fastest sprinter in the world has already begun. In 2017, the year that the Lightning Bolt has chosen to end his scintilating career, new ambitious sprinters are set to take over the baton from Bolt. On Thursday 8th June the first possible contender to the throne of the 100 metres will sprint on the Rome track at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea. At 20.30 the spotlight will be on Ronnie Baker, who sprinted to slightly wind-assisted 9.86 (+2.4 m/s) in Eugene on 27th May. In Rome he will be looking to confirm this result. Baker, who has not turned 24 yet, was born in Louisville in Kentucky and is one of the emerging US sprint stars. At the Prefontaine Classic he left behind even Justin Gatlin, who finished fifth in 9.97 and decided to change his competition plan, including the Golden Gala, where he would have chased his fifth consecutive win, as he does not feel at the top of the form yet.
Ronnie, namesake of his father who works as a kinesiologist, is based in Texas and already won two NCAA Indoor titles. He got off to a flying start to his season, like his starts from the blocks. He starts low from the blocks, immediately reaches his set-up, before producing his swirling burst of speed and his flying run without waving his limbs. His chest is not the protype of sprinters. Perhaps the notes of his father Ron and his reccomendations are still printed in his memory, on how to take care of his body, when he is still or sprinting,
Earlier this year Baker improved his personal best first to 9.99 and then to 9.98 and he is set to smash these times in the immediate future. He has joined the sprint elite for a couple of years. He competed for the first time outside the United States just in 2015, when he finished fourth at the World University Games in Korea, missing the bronze medal by just one hundredth of a second. Ironically he had the the worst reaction time of 0.200. Akani Simbine from South Africa won the title setting a national record of 9.97.
Baker has already competed in Italy. Last year he won two races in Lignano and Padua. He enjoyed an impressive winter indoor season in the 60 metres, in which he made some appearances in European races and clocked a remarkable 6.46 in Torun with a brilliant and tidy running style. It’s rare with his powerful body. In Eugene he swept aside sprint medallists like De Grasse, Gatlin and Rodgers. His phylosophy is summed up by a simple motto: Don’t let your highs be too high, or your lows too low. It’s another textbook life interpretation to follow on the starting blocks.