Olympian Profile: Joseph Fahnbulleh

Courtesy of Kirby Lee @ USA Today Sports


We know how fast Joseph Fahnbulleh is, but the whole world found out how fast he was at NCAA Nationals, and he will have another chance for some hardware this year in Tokyo where he is representing Liberia. 

Already this year, Fahnbulleh has won the NCAA Outdoor Title in the 200m with a time of 19.91 and finished third in the 200m at NCAA Indoor Nationals. His time of 19.91 in the 200m is the 8th best time in the world this year, and he is one of only nine guys under 20 seconds this season.

See also: Meet Your Minnesota Track and Field Olympians | Joseph Fahnbulleh, Among the Best Sprinters in the World | An Interview with Hopkins Alumni Joseph Fahnbulleh

Of the nine guys who have run sub 20 seconds in the 200m this year, only six of them have qualified for Tokyo. Those guys are Noah Lyles, Kenneth Bednarek, Erriyon Knighton, Andre De Grasse, Divine Oduduru, and Fahnbulleh. 

119.74+0.3Noah LYLES18 JUL 1997USAUSA1Hayward Field, Eugene, OR (USA)27 JUN 20211261
219.78+0.3Kenneth BEDNAREK14 OCT 1998USAUSA2Hayward Field, Eugene, OR (USA)27 JUN 20211255
319.81+0.8Terrance LAIRD12 OCT 1998USAUSA1Mike A. Myers Stadium, Austin, TX (USA)27 MAR 20211250
419.84+0.3Erriyon KNIGHTON29 JAN 2004USAUSA3Hayward Field, Eugene, OR (USA)27 JUN 20211245
519.88+1.6Divine ODUDURU07 OCT 1996NGRNGR1f1Jax Track at Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville, FL (USA)29 APR 20211239
619.89+0.4André DE GRASSE10 NOV 1994CANCAN2Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium, Doha (QAT)28 MAY 20211237
619.89+1.8Alex WILSON19 SEP 1990SUISUI1f1Marietta, GA (USA)18 JUL 20211237
819.90+0.3Fred KERLEY07 MAY 1995USAUSA4Hayward Field, Eugene, OR (USA)27 JUN 20211236
919.91-0.4Joseph FAHNBULLEH11 SEP 2001LBRLBR1Hayward Field, Eugene, OR (USA)11 JUN 20211236
1019.99+0.9Isiah YOUNG05 JAN 1990USAUSA2sf1Hayward Field, Eugene, OR (USA)26 JUN 20211222

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, to qualify for the 200m finals, you had to run about 20.09/20.10. This outdoor season Fahnbulleh has equaled or run faster than that four times. As seen above his PR of 19.91 is the 9th fastest in the world this season. So there is a good chance of Fahnbulleh qualifying for the 200m finals for Liberia. 

No athlete from Liberia has ever finished in the top eight in their event at the Olympics, let alone won a medal. The country's best result to date was Jangy Addy's 19th-place finish in the decathlon in 2008.

Could Fahnbulleh be the first and make history for Liberia?