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Mark's 10-second heartbreak
Around the Academy:

Mark Lewis-Francis storms to victory in Edmonton
The clock brings much joy....but not for long

Mark Lewis-Francis reveals all to Sport Academy

It all happened at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.

I was running in the second round of the 100 metres and after doing well in the opening race I was feeling confident.

I went out on the track thinking 'let's turn the heat up and show everybody who Mark Lewis-Francis really is'.

Racing against Sydney Olympic bronze medallist Obadele Thompson made me nervous but I relaxed when I got into my blocks.

Happy dreams

I can hardly remember anything about the race. My mind just went blank.

I remember the gun going off and driving out of the blocks, and before I knew it, I was thinking 'I'm going to win, I'm going to win'.

At the finish line, I looked across at the clock and there were the magical numbers 9.97.

It was the happiest moment I had ever experienced in my whole life.

It was an amazing feeling that I had finally run under 10 seconds and had taken six hundredths of a second off the world juniors record.

But back at the hotel room, it all went wrong.

Mark Lewis-Francis is frustrated in Edmonton
Mark's semi-final misery
I was told the time could not be approved because the wind gauge wasn't working.

Everything had gone down the drain - and because of my age it had been my last chance to crack the world junior record.

Can you imagine what that does to an athlete's mind? I still had two more races the next day and I totally lost my concentration.

I just got psyched out by the likes of Maurice Greene in the semi-final and I only came fifth.

It was a nice experience but I know I can do that time again. I've really learned from it though.

Times are not important - they are just bonuses. Winning medals is everything.

I could go to the Olympics and win in 11 seconds and still be the happiest guy in the world.

My ultimate dream is to be on the Olympic podium and everybody says that 2004 could be my year.

I've still got 2008 and 2012. I have a lot of time to shine so I'll just see what happens.

Mark facts
Born: 4.9.82 in Birmingham, England
100m PB: 10.04secs
English Schools Junior 100m champion aged 15
Winner of the World Youth and World Junior championships

Open Quote
I looked across at the clock and there were the magical numbers
Close Quote
Mark Lewis-Francis passes on his thoughts
Mark Lewis-Francis
Birchfield Harrier star

:: World Junior champion

:: Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club

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