Trayvon Bromell is a star athlete in the making, with the potential to get even more attention after the Rio Olympics. He ran in the 100 meter sprint against fellow American Justin Gatlin and Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt on Sunday. Unfortunately for Bromell, he finished in last place with a time of 10.08 seconds.
The 21-year-old Bromell also turned pro late last year and already earned his first big endorsement deal.
Here’s a look at Bromell’s life and career.
1. Bromell Turned Pro in the Fall & Already Has a Major Contract with New Balance
Last year, Bromell became a track star and he decided to turn pro instead of continuing with NCAA competitions. This gave him the opportunity to sign a deal with New Balance, even before he made the U.S. Olympic team. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bromell’s agent, Ricky Simms, said it was a situation where an athlete wanted to cash in on his potential. Simms also represents Bolt.
“Trayvon is one of the world’s most talented young athletes and has the potential to have a great career,” Simms told the Tampa Bay Times. “His ultimate earning potential will depend on a number of factors, primarily his on-track performances.”
Simms added, “Generally, holding titles like the ‘world’s fastest man, the ‘Olympic champion’ or the ‘world champion’ (and of course multiple titles help even more) will enable an athlete to command higher fees for appearances, endorsements and competitions.”
2. Bromell Has Faced Multiple Injuries in His Career & Faced Achilles Problems Before the Olympic Trials
The Baylor University sophomore has faced obstacles throughout his running career, thanks to a long list of injuries. According to an Associated Press profile, Bromell injured his left knee in eighth grade, injured his right knee during a basketball game a year later and cracked his hip during a 100-meter race in his sophomore year.
Bromell thought about quitting the sport after that last injury, even telling his mother, “Let’s just stop here before I can’t walk anymore.”
Obviously, he didn’t quit. Even though his Achilles forced him to put off running until the Olympic trials last month, he made it to the Olympic team.
“My biggest dream was to go to the Olympics, but I never knew how I was going to be there,” Bromell told the Associated Press. “If I could go as a spectator, just to sit and watch, my dream would have come true. But to actually be there and compete? I just might lose my mind.”
Bromell has a notably small frame for a sprinter. He’s 5’9″ and 156 lbs.
3. He Was the First Junior Runner Ever to Finish 100-Meter Race in Under 10 Seconds
When Bromell ran for Gibbs High School in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, he was already setting records. He was the first high school athlete ever to finish a 100-meter race in under 10 seconds when he did so in 2013. That year, he earned the title of Gatorade Player of the Year. He also set the world junior record at 9.97 seconds.
In June 2015, Bromell became the fastest teenager ever when he ran a 9.84 in the 100 meters at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. It also made him tied for the 10th fastest runner ever.
“That kid is tough,” Tyson Gay told The Guardian. “Only being a sophomore, to make the team and handle that pressure is big stuff. He got out good. It was one of those 10 years of experience, dig-down moments. I had to get him.”
“I feel good just to get to go to Beijing for the first time and represent with the big dogs,” Bromell said after the race. He finished just behind Gay, but he was the first American teenager to make it to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. He won a bronze after a 9.92 race.
4. He Plans to Give Back to his Community & Finish School at Baylor, Despite Turning Pro
In an interview with Sports Illustrated after turning pro, Bromell explained that he and his family decided that now was the right time. He didn’t want to risk getting injured. He said:
We felt that right now was the best decision. We weren’t big on taking chances for next year. In a moment like this, it’s a 50-50 chance if you decide to go back to school. You could get injured and your value would drop. We felt like the opportunity was in our face. It’s a great contract. Great company in New Balance and great opportunity going into the Olympic year.
Bromell insisted that he won’t let money change him. He still plans on finishing his degree at Baylor and is hoping to start a foundation to help his community in Florida.
He told the Tampa Bay Times:
I’ll start to kick around ideas with my agents and management team. I want to reach out to those who need it most, those who have nobody to help them. I’ve realized my dream by making the Olympics. Now I want others to fulfill their dreams, too.
5. He Got Inspired to Go to the Olympics By Playing the Athens 2004 Video Game
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Bromell’s friend TJ Holmes said that Bromell was inspired to become an Olympian after playing the game Athens 2004.
“We had some downtime before one of our track meets and started playing this video game,” Holmes said. “We never thought about the Olympics or even watched them. After that, we wanted to be a part of something like that in the future. We were both hoping we could someday be characters in that game.”