Remembering when Christian Coleman broke the NFL's 40-yard dash record in 2017


Usain Bolt levelled the NFL record for the 40-yard dash without breaking a sweat.

Helping to promote Super Bowl LIII, the legendary sprinter took on the challenge and remarkably ran 4.22 seconds despite competing in trainers and tracksuit bottoms.

That's the same time posted by John Ross of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017, performing in full athletics gear and sprint spikes. 

And let's not forget that Bolt - despite being the fastest man in history - hasn't appeared in competition since his injury at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

Although his foray into professional football has kept him in shape, Bolt matched the record without a consistent training programme and far from optimal fitness.

Bolt matches NFL record

The result sparked passionate tweets from other sprinters, rightly arguing that Bolt's run proved that athletes from other sports - no matter how quick - can't keep pace with track and field's fastest.

Besides, it doesn't take a sports scientist to realise that Bolt would have taken the record apart if he was actually wearing appropriate clothing and was still actively competing.

It's no slight on the NFL players running these admirable times, but suggestions that American footballers could challenge sprinters like Bolt has frustrated professionals for years. 

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Christian Coleman's 'world best'

But, and we hate to ruin the party, Bolt hasn't actually recorded the fastest 40-yard dash in history.

Although Bo Jackson has somewhat suspiciously claimed he can run 4.13 seconds, the holder of the 'world best' over the distance is actually Christian Coleman.

The 60m world champion posted the time in 2017, emphatically responding to claims that an NFL player could match a top-level sprinter over the short distance.

The result? He took the record to pieces and ran 4.12 seconds. 

What's more, he didn't even start from blocks and ran across turf. Check out the full video down below: 

Track and field athletes will be hoping that the 40-yard dash doesn't become a trend; both Coleman and Bolt have now proven their point.

If anything, it's a shame that we won't be able to see both champions contest that distance, with Bolt having ran in far more restricting conditions.

Would Coleman have ran the same time if he was wearing trainers or would Bolt have been able to dip below 4.12 seconds in his spikes? 


It seems unlikely that we'll ever find out but, in all honesty, it would be unnecessary for athletics to even pander to that situation.

There are enough races on the calendar to ensure we can decide on the fastest man and woman in the world and right now, there's just no stopping Coleman.

Aside from posting the fastest 40-yard dash ever recorded, he set the world lead over 100m last year and will be gunning for gold at the World Championships in Doha.

Who do you think would win over 40-yards - Bolt or Coleman? Have your say in the comments section below.

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