LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Ronnie Baker has realized his Olympic dream. The 27-year-old Louisville native and Ballard High School graduate won second in 100-meter finals at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, Sunday night to punch is ticket to Tokyo.
Baker ran second to winner Trayvon Bromell, who won the final with a time of 9.80 seconds. Baker's time of 9.86 seconds. Fred Kerley finished third. The top three finishers in the final advance to the Olympics.
Baker is the prototypical late-bloomer. He dominated Kentucky high school track at Ballard in 2011 and ’12, and had a strong career at TCU, where he won a couple of 60-meter indoor NCAA championships.
But it took him some time to get in position to accomplish what he did Sunday night.
Baker was born in Louisville, moved with his family to Anchorage, Alaska, at age 3 and didn’t come back to town until age 12.
He showed natural speed and talent in high school, but because he also played basketball at Ballard, was still a bit raw on the track side of things. Even so, he thrived, earned a scholarship to TCU and steadily perfected his craft.
He’s also a picture in perseverance. He didn’t make the Olympics in 2016, but kept working. He looked to have found his stride in 2018, when he became the world’s fastest man at 60 meters, only to find frustration with injuries and other setbacks in 2019 and 2020. But this year, his debut time of 9.94 seconds at the Texas Relays was the fastest in the world.
In Saturday’s preliminaries, he posted a wind-legal time of 9.88 seconds in the 100, his fastest of the year, and just behind the world-best time of 9.77 seconds posted earlier this month by Trayvon Bromell, against whom he’ll compete tonight.
Baker’s time in Saturday’s prelims was just 1/100th of a second off his personal best, which is the 13th fastest 100 meter time in American history.
Sunday night, he’ll he captured something even more valuable.
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