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Georgia sprint star Boling decides to turn pro

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Georgia standout sprinter Matthew Boling announced Tuesday that he is turning professional.

Boling has been zipping toward success ever since he broke the 10-second barrier during a 100-meter race in high school that went viral just over four years ago.

In some ways, it seems like a long time since that prep race on April 27, 2019, when he recorded a wind-aided time of 9.98 seconds — the fastest all-conditions 100 time recorded by an American high school athlete.

Along with it came the inevitable comparisons to current 100m and 200m world-record holder Usain Bolt — comparisons that still shadow him but never weigh on him.

“Usain Bolt is the greatest sprinter to ever do this,” Boling said. “So I always take [the comparisons] as a compliment. But at the same time, there’s only one Matthew Boling, and that’s who I’m trying to be.”

Boling was hailed as track’s next big sprinter before heading to Georgia, where he became the 2021 NCAA indoor 200-meter champion, setting school records in the process.

Over the summer, Boling was named to the American squad for the world championships in Budapest, Hungary, where he was part of two relays that captured gold medals. He ran in the opening round of the men’s 4×400 relay — Rai Benjamin & Co. took it from there in the final — and then helped the mixed 4×400 relay to a title.

Boling, who hails from Houston, has earned his degree in marketing and is training for a spot on the U.S. squad for the Paris Olympics next summer. He’s leaving Athens, Georgia, to train in South Carolina with coach Alleyne Francique, who until recently worked with Tokyo Olympics 100-meter silver medalist Fred Kerley.

Boling has range in the sprint game, too, capable of running under 10 seconds in the 100 (9.98 in 2022). Or breaking 20 in the 200 (19.92 in 2022). And he’s knocking on the door of eclipsing 45 in the 400 (45.17 in July).

He happens to be a long jumper, too. For that matter, he probably could turn in a solid 5K time, as well, considering he’s a trail runner in his spare time.

“I don’t want to go in with the mindset that I’m only a 100 guy because then I feel like that gets me a little complacent,” the 23-year-old said. “But I do really enjoy the longer races.”

The 400 is a race Bolt competed in early in his career before focusing on the 100 and the 200. The Jamaican great still holds the world record in both.

“I like that feeling when you finish [the 400] and you’re just tapped out,” Boling said. “It makes me feel like I accomplished something special.”

With the Paris Games less than a year away, Francique has promised a demanding workout plan for Boling.

“I’m like: ‘I’m ready. Give me your hardest stuff and I’m going to give it my all,'” said Boling, who recently purchased an English bulldog puppy he has named Moose. “By the time I’m at [U.S. Olympic] trials in June, I’m going to make sure no stone is left unturned.

“I’m embracing this next step in my journey. I believe this next step is going to get me to where I want to be.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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