Jimmy Vicaut celebrated all the hard work in training “paying off” as he wrote himself into European Athletics history on Saturday night.
The French sprinter produced a stunning run to equal the European 100m record time of 9.86 that Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu set almost 11 years ago at the Olympic Games in Athens.
Since that evening in Greece, when Obikwelu won silver, the record has been flirted with but not come under serious threat.
Yet that all changed at the IAAF Diamond League as Vicaut chose the perfect stage of Paris to produce the performance of his dreams.
As Jamaican Asafa Powell won in 9.81 from lane four, Vicaut, to his immediate inside, stuck with him to bring his own personal best mark down from 9.95.
His 9.86 broke the national record of 9.92 that Christophe Lemaitre had held since 2011 and Vicaut was naturally delighted.
"I am happy. I was aiming for the French record, it was in a corner of my head," said Vicaut, speaking to rtl.fr.
"It was a little difficult for me to stay at 9.95 for two years, and to see others go under 9.90. You train and you know you can go faster but the times do not come. All I have done in training has finally paid off."
Vicaut, 23, the 2011 European Athletics Junior 100m champion, has suddenly put himself in the frame for a medal at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing as he moves to joint-fourth on the world lists.
Since that junior title in Tallinn, where he also won the 4x100m relay, he has maintained a fine level of success.
He had already tasted senior gold the summer before that as part of the winning French relay at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona and then two years later won 100m silver in Helsinki in 10.12 behind teammate Lemaitre in 10.09.
The following winter brought his first senior major gold with victory in the 60m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg and now he has taken his career to a glorious new height.
Lemaitre who’s still recovering from a minor injury watched Vicaut from the tribune and congratulated him on his performance:
“All records are meant to be broken someday and I’m not surprised that Jimmy was able to do it considering he’s free of injury.”