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I’d always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to break the 10-second barrier. There had always been a stigma about the sub-10 club. There was a ceiling there.


Coming into the sport, there was a thought ‘you’re not of African descent, you’re not Jamaican, you’re not this and that’. I thought ‘who cares what descent, what background you’re from?’ It’s about what you love to do. What hard work you put in. What you believe in.


I didn’t understand the mentality that you can’t break the 10-second barrier unless you are this colour or this nationality. I thought, stuff that. If somebody can do it, why can’t we do it.


Matt Shirvington at the time, running 10.03, was so close, and there was an expectation that he would do it easily. He was in great shape. He was the benchmark. He was the fastest Australian. We had that rivalry, always at each other in a good way, at the track, always pushing each other.


We weren’t close. We didn’t have candlelight dinners together. We were respectful of each other but everyone wanted to be number one. I wanted to beat Shirvo and Shirvo wanted to beat me, and everyone loved it.


He did the 10.03 in 1998. In 1999, I started doing the 10.1s and that was when the rivalry started in an intense way, and it went through to the end of our careers and it drove us to be better and prove a point to the rest of the world, that we had that talent in Australia.





Everyone wants a perfect race. I was looking to get that. But it probably eluded me.


I had the confidence to run sub-10. I felt I could have done it in Australia but the conditions didn’t suit running sub-10 for me. A classic example – I ran in Canberra, 10.13 in a minus-1.6 wind. I knew I was ready but it’s up to the elements.


In Mito, Japan, in May 2003, I had that little bit of a break. I loved going to Japan. It was my zen place and moment. I love the feeling there because it’s all about detail, it’s all about respect, about culture and beautiful food. I love sushi and sashimi. I was in my element.


I knew I was ready to run fast and it was just about the conditions. Mito, at the time, had great conditions. Having run 10.05 in the rounds, I knew it was there but you have to execute it. You might think you’re in shape but the reality is you have to do it.

You’ve got to be in the moment. If you’re not in the moment, it passes you by.


I didn’t know I’d broken 10 seconds when I crossed the line. All the Japanese journalists were running to the national record holder who came second.


I turned to one of the Jamaican guys and said, ‘didn’t I win?’. The guy said, ‘look at your time’.


I was able to run the 9.93 which was really an honour for me, to put Australia on the map as our first sub-10 runner. I was proud to prove a point that it doesn’t matter your background or colour, it’s what you do with your ability and talent. If you want it bad enough, you’ve got to work on it. Don’t ever judge anyone on how they look. Judge them on who they are and their character.



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