Aaron Brown says improved execution and confidence were key to Diamond League Finals success
Hours after his spectacular season-ending performance on Thursday night’s Diamond League Final track in Zurich, Aaron Brown spoke about his rising confidence.
It started to grow, the veteran Canadian sprinter said towards the end of the season when he competed with 18-year-old phenom Erriyon Knighton and his American teammate Marvin Bracy, who were world championship medalists in July.
Brown finished second behind Knighton in the 100 meters in Lucerne, Switzerland, and before that in a 200 meter race in Hungary in August, while he finished third behind Knighton at the Diamond League Brussels on September 2. Two days later he won the 100 in Padua, Italy, overtaking Bracy by 1-100ths of a second.
A healthy and fit Brown showed improved performance in these races and believed a top-3 finish in the sprint doubles was realistic at this week’s Weltklasse Zürich track and field meeting after finishing fourth in the 2017 and 2018 Diamond League finals in the 200 became. 2019 and last year.
The Toronto native thought many would count him out on Thursday when he was assigned lane 8 on the outside for the 100 and lane 2 on the inside for the 200 an hour later at Letzigrund Stadium.
“These are not favorable lanes,” he said. “But I knew that if I acted the way I could, I felt good and had the ability to fight for top spots.”
Brown said he “ran blind” in the 100, not knowing his positioning against the competition throughout the race. He finished a strong third behind winner Trayvon Bromell (9.94 seconds) and Yohan Blake (10.05) in 10.06 to set a season best from heats and semifinals at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, where he was in the Finished eighth in the final.
CLOCK | Brown third in his first 100-meter dash at the Diamond League Final:
In a more loaded 200, Brown defeated Knighton and Kenny Bednarek – the 2020 Olympic silver medalist and 2021 Diamond League champion – along with reigning Olympic champion Andre De Grasse, with whom he won 100-distance relay gold this summer. Brown clocked 20.02 seconds on Thursday, his fastest run since last summer’s Olympic semifinals (19.99) in Tokyo.
Brown craned his neck as he crossed the finish line, a move that helped him finish second ahead of Alexander Ogando in a photo finish. At World Championships, Ogando was a member of the Dominican Republic gold medal team in the 4×400 mixed relay.
“Running through the line is always a good thing,” he said, “because you never know how close your competitors are until you cross the line,” said Brown, who didn’t secure his spot in the 200 until he was 20.22 in Strong headwinds of -2.9 meters per second ran in Brussels a week before the Diamond League final.
CLOCK | Braun is second in the 200 meters stacked in Zurich:
In a rare show of emotion after the 200 in Zurich, Brown clapped his hands, smiled and punched his chest four times with his right fist.
“I passed once [Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago] off the corner I knew I was in a good position [to contend for top three]’ said Brown, who took home a total of $19,000 in prize money from the two races. “I didn’t know where I was in relation to the guys upstairs [De Grasse, Bednarek and Noah Lyles] but I told myself if I don’t feel many bodies around me, that’s a good thing.
“I knew I had to correct [the] middle part of my races and still have a lot to do. I was able to do better than other races in Zurich and that will be key to unlocking faster times for me in the future.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” Brown continued, “to beat some of the people that I know I need to beat next year to make my World Cup dreams come true [in August in Budapest, Hungary].”
CLOCK | Morgan Campbell on why Brown deserves respect:
Lyles, the 25-year-old American and two-time world 200 champion, won in 19.52, beating Usain Bolt’s record of 19.66 meetings set on August 30, 2012 to win his fifth Diamond League Trophy and $30,000. He won all 12 distance races, heats and finals this season.
It’s been a long year mentally and physically [racing] two events, switching off is not difficult.— Canadian Aaron Brown on the sprint off-season
In 2016 and 2018, Brown extended his season beyond the Diamond League finals to contest the sprint doubles in Zagreb, Croatia, but decided to be his wife this year after a season that also included wins Preeya and his 20-month-old son Kingsley return to the sprint doubles in a fourth straight Canadian championship.
After Thursday’s competition, he was so high he only slept for an hour before catching a 6:40 am bus to Zurich Airport for a Friday morning flight to Florida, where he lives and trains.
“I will enjoy the family in my off-season with a [planned] Vacation in Hawaii and trip home to Toronto,” Brown said. “It’s been a long year, mentally and physically [racing] two events, it’s not difficult to switch off.”
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