Canada’s fastest man just wasn’t fast enough.
And it’s a sign of just how tough the field is that a time of 10.09 seconds no longer gets you even close to the final.
Justyn Warner of Markham, Ont., was one of 24 sprinters to make Sunday’s semi-finals in the men’s 100 metres at Olympic Stadium, but the 25-year-old came up shy of the 10.02 second time needed to move on.
Warner’s 10.09 put him fifth in his heat and 13th overall, matching a personal best he had set only a day earlier in the lightning fast heats.
Despite coming into the Olympics with a top time of only 10.15 seconds, Warner wasn’t pleased with his race and felt he could have made the final with a better start.
“It was crazy,” Warner said. “I didn’t run as well as I wanted to or should have. I didn’t get a good start. I tried to fight my way through it.
“It’s just kind of disappointing. I had to go under 10 seconds and that would have gotten me in. I knew it was going to be 10-flat or under 10 and I’m more than capable of doing it.”
The times only went down from there. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ultimately defended his title in the event, running an Olympic record 9.63 to take gold.
Countryman Yohan Blake and the United States’ Justin Gatlin won silver and bronze, with both men under 9.80 seconds.
Historically speaking, Warner’s 10.09 would have put him into every Olympic final save for the past two, but that’s been a moving target ever since the arrival of Bolt.
In Beijing, the slowest qualifier to make the final ran a 10.03. In London, that dropped to 10.02, which came from 2008 silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago.
Despite how far off the top times he was, Warner believes he can get there in time for the next Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“My plan is to get on that podium,” he said. “I think I’ll be more than ready to do that.”
He will now run the anchor leg in the 4x100 relay with his younger brother, Ian, on the weekend, where the Canadians are expected to have a solid shot of reaching the finals.
“I’m looking forward to the relay a lot,” Warner said. “As I said this whole year, we have a great shot at medaling. That’s the plan. That’s what we’re coming to do.”
Elsewhere for Canadians, it was a fairly successful day on the track.
Michael Mason (Nanoose Bay, B.C.) and Derek Drouin (Corunna, Ont.) were among 14 qualifiers for Tuesday’s final in men’s high jump, as they cleared 2.26 and 2.29 metres.
“It was stressful,” Drouin said. “I’m not one to have a lot of misses like that. I usually like to clear on my first try. I wasn’t that nervous coming in here, I’m not sure what was going on. I’m relieved to get through and excited for the final.”
Markham’s Sarah Wells advanced out of the women’s 400-metre hurdles heats to Monday’s semi-finals with a time of 56.47 seconds.
“I would have liked a better time,” Wells said. “I know that I’m capable of way more.”
Nathan Brannen of Cambridge, Ont., was 12th in his 1,500-metre heat after he was tripped up during the race and suffered an injury to his lower leg. A protest by Athletics Canada was ultimately turned down and he won’t advance to the final.Report Typo/Error