Fred Kerley was expected to be one of the top contenders in the marquee event at the 2023 World Track & Field Championships, the men’s 100-meter race.
But in a shocking turn, the 28-year-old American wasn’t even able to make it to the finals in that event.
Kerley came up short in his semifinal qualifying heat ahead of the event, placing third in his group with a time of 10.02 seconds. That put him well behind heat-winner Oblique Seville (9.90 seconds) and just 0.01 seconds behind the second-place qualifier Letsile Tebogo (10.01 seconds).
As a result, Kerley will head home having failed to defend his 100-meter title, and he lamented his subpar performance after the event.
“I should have been there, but I f—ed up,” Kerley told NBC of missing the automatic qualifying spot after the race. “Life moves on.”
Defending 100m world champion Fred Kerley reacts to missing the final by .01 seconds.
— NBC Olympics & Paralympics (@NBCOlympics) August 20, 2023
Kerley was asked about his performance during the race, and he didn’t seem to think that anything had gone wrong.
“I think everything was good,” he said. “I’m healthy, and hey, they got the better of me.”
Even despite the defeat, Kerley was trying to stay positive.
“I can’t complain about my journey so far,” he told reporters after the race. “Coming from where I come from, it’s a blessing and part of why I gotta keep on going, because it’s a journey along the way while we competing.”
“Sports is just a small part of all our athlete lives,” he added. “We’ve got life outside our everyday sport.”
So, it doesn’t seem like Kerley is taking his defeat too hard. And as he outlined following his defeat, he is planning to continue competing this year with a goal of returning to the World Championships — and, potentially, the Olympic Games — in 2024.
For now, he just wants his fans to stay in his corner and keep supporting the other athletes competing at the 2023 championships.
“It’s bigger than us,” he said.