• Athletics

Gemili outran his Olympic expectations

ESPN staff
September 25, 2012
Adam Gemili lost out to eventual silver-medallist Yohan Blake in the Olympic 100m semi-finals © PA Photos

British sprint sensation Adam Gemili has admitted he surpassed his own expectations by reaching the Olympic 100m semi-finals less than eight months after giving up football to focus on athletics.

Gemili went on to become world junior 100m champion in Barcelona ahead of the London Olympics 2012, where he missed out on a place in the final by four hundredths of a second despite running a personal-best 10.06 seconds.

The former Dagenham and Redbridge defender, who came up through the Chelsea academy before spending a season at Reading, turned down the chance to go professional to continue his dual sporting career as a footballer and athlete.

And the teenager's meteoric rise saw him finish as the best of British in the marquee event of the Olympic athletic programme.

Gemili cursed a slow start for missing out on a place in the final, but now recalls the Olympics as "the best experience of my life".

"It was just unbelievable," Gemili told the Telegraph. "To run with that calibre of athletes was such a great learning curve for me. I knew I was in good shape but I'd never expected to run that quickly this year. I was learning a new technique because I had no technique.

"To go to the Olympics in London and get an opportunity was just amazing really. To have people like Michael Johnson talking about me was weird.

"Unfortunately, I missed out on the final by four-hundredths of a second. Third behind Tyson Gay and Johan Blake in the semi-final is a start. Not a bad experience."

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