(Reuters) – Nearly five years since he was carted off the track at the Rio Games with a torn Achilles, Trayvon Bromell attributes his remarkable comeback to one thing: An act of God.
The devoutly religious sprinter has endured a litany of injuries on and off the track in his 25 years: breaking both his knees, and fracturing his arm and hip, before the pivotal injury in 2016 that threatened his career and sent him on a multiyear journey of recovery.
That he is even competing again after a two-year absence is a testament to his odds-defying will to succeed. That he’s a favourite to win the 100-metres in Tokyo is enough to make a believer out of anyone.
“People want to make it all, you know, luck – No. Science – No. I’m sorry,” he told Reuters ahead of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials that kick off this week.
“Every doctor that I’ve seen these past couple years has told me ‘No, you will not be back in top form. You will not be able to run what you ran years prior.’ And God said ‘No’.”
He rolls into Eugene, Oregon, this week with a world-leading time of 9.77 seconds in the men’s 100 metres – the only event in which he will contend at the Trials – all but assuring him a spot on Team USA.
It’s a tantalizing chance to fill the void left behind by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who retired in 2017 with eight Olympic golds as the world’s most famous and beloved sprinter.
But while the world of athletics eagerly awaits the coronation of a worthy heir to Bolt’s legacy, Bromell made clear his focus is elsewhere.
“For me, personally, it’s all about purpose. I’m not thinking about no medals. I’m not thinking about no times, I’m not thinking about what people see or none of that,” said Bromell, who has adopted a strict “no days off” policy on the road to Tokyo.
It’s an approach that has certainly paid off, as he clocked his second sub-10-second performance of the year last month at the Track Meet in Irvine, California.
“People don’t understand, you can’t stop moving. You can’t just stop and get complacent. So for me every day is grind,” he said.
“For me every day is another day to be prepared for when God presents you with that opportunity.”
The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials begin Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Hugh Lawson)