Xavier Carter, at the age of just 20, gave notice in the summer of 2006 that he is an athletics star in the making as he produced performances which were drawing comparisons with legends of the past.
In June at the American college championships (NCAA) in Sacramento, Louisiana State University student Carter won four national titles – 100 metres, 400 metres and anchored his team to win the 4 x 100 metres and 4 x 400 metres relays - a feat only previously achieved by the legendary Jesse Owens. He was also the first man to win both 100 metres and 400 metres in the NCAA Championships. Even more remarkably he won those two finals within 30 minutes and had to run nine races in 72 hours to equal Owens. The feat was even mentioned in the Louisiana House of Representatives and State Senate, both of whom congratulated Carter.
One month later in Lausanne, Switzerland, Carter beat a field of the best 200 metres athletes in the world to run 19.63 secs, the second fastest time ever. Only Laureus World Sports Academy member Michael Johnson has ever run faster when he set the world record of 19.32 secs at the 1996 Olympics, a time experts predicted would stand for decades. Carter is currently running faster at the age of 20 than Michael Johnson did.
Carter had picked up his first passport only two weeks earlier, having put his career as a promising American footballer on hold in order to concentrate on athletics. His decision to turn professional came only after a long series of deliberations with his family because giving up his college place meant also turning his back on a potentially glittering NFL career.