World champion Fred Kerley is the fastest man in the world. He chatted about his latest endeavors, motivations, and future goals.
U.S. Army general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell once said: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” Fred Kerley is an athlete and an inspiring individual that epitomizes this wise quotation.
Kerley triumphed in the men’s 100 meter final at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, which took place at the hallowed Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. He clocked 9.86 seconds and he earned the title of being “the fastest man” in the globe in 2022; moreover, his fellow American teammates Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell swept the silver and bronze medals respectively, which was quite the spectacle.
“I felt accomplished when I won the gold medal,” Kerley said. “For me, it’s all about the next step for the following year.”
“It meant a lot to me that this happened at Hayward Field because I won it on home soil this year,” he added.
Kerley now holds World Championship medals in both the 100 meter and 400 meter races respectively. He won the bronze medal in the 400 meters at the World Championships in Doha back in 2019 with a time of 44.17 seconds.
At the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, Kerley claimed the silver medal in the men’s 100 meter race for Team USA with a time of 9.84 seconds, which was a personal best for him at the time. “The silver was a wonderful thing, but at the end of the day, I am striving for gold,” he said. “Coming from Tokyo, I still have more work to do.”
Each day, he is driven by the “struggles” that he went through in life. “I don’t want to be in the same position that I was in my younger days and in my youth when I grew up with nothing,” he said.
He was born in Taylor, Texas, on May 7, 1995. He attended Taylor High School, South Plains College, and Texas A&M University. In high school, Kerley was a talented sportsman excelling in football, basketball, and athletics.
Kerley comes from a talented sporting family. His younger brother, Mylik, is also a world-class 400 meter runner, and his younger sister, Virginia, is following in the family footsteps.
His older brother, Demarea, competed in sprints and jumps while in high school, and his cousin, Jeremy Kerley, plays football as a wide receiver for the New York Jets.
He was adopted by his aunt, Virginia, as a toddler along with his four siblings. She has children of her own as well so there were 13 children in the house. For Kerley, she is the “most influential person” in his life. She would sometimes go without food to make sure the children ate. He makes sure he speaks to his aunt every day.
Kerley has spent time with younger athletes in hopes of inspiring and motivating them with his life story and experiences.
He is looking forward to the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. “I will be there,” he underscored. “Right now, I want to dominate and win the gold medal in the 100 meter and the 200 meter races. Basically, I want to do some unbelievable things for my future,” he said.
His personal best is 9.76 seconds in the 100 meter dash, which ranks him as the sixth fastest person of all time. In the 200 meter race, his personal best is 19.76 seconds. His goal is to someday break his own world records in the sprints. “That would be amazing,” he admitted.
On his career-defining moments in the sport, he responded, “Right now, I am still living in the moment. When I get done with my track and field career, I can sit down and think about the moments that helped define me as a track athlete.”
American track and field icon Steve Prefontaine once said: “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” Kerley embodies this inspirational quote by the late but great Oregon running legend.
His constant goal is striving for perfection in an effort to someday become the greatest of all time. He is certainly on the road to greatness. For Kerley, the journey is more important than the destination.
On the title of the current chapter of his life, he elaborated, “I am in the phase of getting to the next one. I am enjoying life and I am enjoying the grind. I am doing everything I need to do to accomplish great things in the sport of track and field.”
“I am griding every day to accomplish what I set out to do,” he added.
Advice for hopefuls
For young and aspiring athletes, he encouraged them to “keep going and don’t stop.” “Keep on believing in yourselves and remember that with grind comes full glory,” he said.
“You need to grind to get to where you are trying to go,” he added.
His favorite personal motto is the following: “hard work is easy work, you need to grind to get ahead. The hard work is all the griding, the easy work is all the things that you accomplish as a result.”
“A lot of people think track and field is hard. The hard work is what we put in the training, the easy work is the competition,” he explained. “The travel, training, and everything you need to do to get to that point is the hard work, the competition is the reward.”
Looking back in a rearview mirror over the last five years, he acknowledged that he sees a lot of “hard work, sacrifice, and dedication.”
On the best advice he was ever given, he said, “Everything is not going to come easy, you need to work for what you want. Nothing is going to get handed to you.”
He shared that during the quarantine he was on the island of Bahamas. “It was a nice silver lining for me because I was training in the Bahamas,” he said.
If he were to have any superpower, it would be “teleportation.”
Kerley noted that the word success “comes in a lot of different ways.” “Success for me is accomplishing goals and things that I want to accomplish in track and field and in life,” he said.
“Up to this point my life has been a success but I still have more work to do,” he added.
Rapid Fire Questions
Kerley also took some time to answer a few “Rapid Fire” questions.
Waffles or pancakes? Waffles
Flying or driving? Flying
City living or country living? Both
Summer or winter? Summer
Library or museum? Library
Bath or shower? Shower
Pepsi or Coke? Pepsi
Texting or calling? Texting
Half-full or half-empty? Half-empty
Curly fries or normal fries? Curly fries
Skydiving or scuba diving? Scuba diving
Indoor pool or outdoor pool? Indoor pool
Tea or coffee? Tea
Rain or snow? Rain
Singing or dancing? Neither
Burgers or tacos? Tacos
Long course or short course? Long course
Money or fame? Money
For his fans, he said, “I love the fans, I love the supporters. I love the people that have been with me since day one. It is amazing to have fan support all around the world too.”