TORRIE LEWIS: BLAZING TRACKS, TAKING NAMES – OLYMPICS

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The national record holder in women’s 100m, Lewis is considered the fastest Australian woman on the tracks. Know her achievements.

Australian sprinter Torrie Lewis has gone supersonic over the past couple of years.

Barely out of her teens, Lewis is already the fastest Australian woman on the planet in the 100m and seems to have the 200m national record firmly in her crosshairs.

Furthermore, with some high-profile victories over some of the top sprinters in the world, Lewis is well on the track to become a bonafide superstar in world athletics.

Torrie Lewis was born on January 8, 2005, in Nottingham, England. Her father is of Jamaican-Indian descent while her mother has Scottish heritage. She moved to Newcastle, Australia with her mother at the age of six.

Despite suffering from coeliac disease, a long-term autoimmune disorder that makes affected individuals intolerant to gluten, Lewis and her family hardly let it come in the way of her love for sport.

Lewis took up gymnastics at the age of five and it was her top priority growing up. She also dabbled in athletics since she was eight but it was largely an afterthought. Her natural talent, however, shone through as she made it to State finals in sprint competitions despite having no formal coaching in running.

When she was 11-years-old, Lewis decided to quit gymnastics and switch to athletics full-time. She started training by correspondence under coach Gerrard Keating when she was 12 and within a year, she had started winning State and National titles.

She moved to Brisbane in early 2020 after her mother got a job there and continued her development there. She kept piling up age-group records and titles over the next couple of years.

On the back of her impressive results, Lewis was picked in the Australian contingent for the World U20 Athletics Championships 2022 in Cali but nine days before she was due to board her flight to Colombia, a hamstring tear ruled her out.

“I felt I was in the fastest shape I had ever been in,” the young runner later told Athletics Australia.

Lewis recovered from the injury and heartbreak and returned to the track in December 2022 and hasn’t looked back since.

Having just turned 18, Lewis, who was already running for the senior Australian relay teams, enjoyed a breakthrough year on the senior circuit individually in 2023.

She became a double national champion that year, winning both the 100m and 200m titles and became the second-youngest woman to achieve the feat. She also started training with Andrew Iselin who also coaches Australian men’s sprint sensation Calab Law.

RECORDS

Lewis also represented Australia in the women’s 100m and 4x100m relay races at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. However, it proved to be a huge learning experience for the Aussie speedster.

A few months later, on January 27, 2024, Lewis clocked 11.10 seconds in Canberra to set the new Australian national record in women’s 100m, surpassing the previous mark of 11.11 seconds achieved by Melissa Breen back in 2014.

It also saw her shatter Raelene Boyle’s longstanding under-20 national record of 11.20 set at the Mexico Olympics back in 1968.

In March, Lewis anchored the women’s 4x100m team featuring Ebony Lane, Bree Masters and Ella Connolly to win the gold medal at the Sydney Track Classic, clocking 42.94 seconds to set the new national mark in the event.

It was five-hundredths of a second faster than the previous record which had been standing since 2000.

The same quartet would then go on to improve the mark to 42.83 at the World Athletics Relays 24 in the Bahamas and secured a Paris 2024 Olympics women’s 4x100m quota for Australia. There has been no Australian representation in the event since Sydney 2000.

Between the two relay records, Lewis marked a sensational Diamond League debut in Xiamen, the People’s Republic of China, by beating reigning women’s 100m world champion Sha’Carri Richardson to win the 200m race.

The Aussie youngster clocked 22.96s to outrun Richardson by 0.03 seconds. Another American ace Tamara Clark, who was part of the world champion 4x100m women’s relay team in 2023, finished third.

Though most of her major landmarks have come over the 100m distance, Lewis, in fact, feels she may just be a tad better in the 200m.

“I’ve always thought I was better at the 200,” Lewis told the Guardian. “So I was really surprised when I broke the 100m record. But it gives me a lot of confidence because I know that if I can run 100m that fast, I can run a 200 way faster. And I can hopefully get the record with a 200 as well one day.”

Australian track and field legend Melinda Gainsford-Taylor has monopolised the women’s 200m national record since 1997 but Lewis has been edging closer to the 22.23s mark with every passing race.

Lewis has already dipped under the 23-second mark. Her current personal best of 22.94 seconds came at Adelaide in April 2024. She also logged a wind-assisted 22.68 in Brisbane in March.

The Australian track sensation also has a personal best of 53.32 in the women’s 400m.

With age on her side and ample speed to burn, the sky is the limit for Lewis.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERSONAL BESTS

  • National record in women’s 100m – 11.10s
  • National record in women’s 4x100m relay – 42.83s
  • Broke the women’s 100m national record after 10 years and the U20 record after 56 years.
  • Beat Sha’Carri Richardson to win the women’s 200m race in Xiamen on her Diamond League debut.
  • Personal best in women’s 200m – 22.94s (22.68 wind-assisted)
  • Personal best in women’s 400m – 53.32s
  • National champion in both 100m and 200m at the age of 18.

STORY BY – UTATHYA NAG (OLYMPICS)

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