Bruce McAvaney has seen some pretty special Australian track and field athletes over the years but even the iconic commentator has been left gobsmacked by Aussie prodigy, Torrie Lewis. The 19-year-old cemented her newfound status as Australia's fastest woman after winning the 200m (23.05 seconds) at the Adelaide Invitational on Saturday by nearly half a second, ahead of Georgia Hulls (23.49) and Ella Connolly (23.50).
The latest stunning feat came just two weeks after Lewis broke the national 100m record with a scorching run of 11.10 seconds in Canberra. That historic run saw Lewis better Olympic great Raelene Boyle's Australian under-20 record of 11.20 which had stood since 1968.
Lewis had already announced herself to the athletics world with double gold in the 100m and 200m at last year's national titles in Brisbane. On Saturday in Adelaide, she left one of the country's most respected and long-serving athletics callers in disbelief after another extraordinary run that showcased her electrifying turn of speed.
Calling the race for the Seven Network, McAvaney noted that Connolly went toe-to-toe with Lewis for the first 100 metres of the race, before the 19-year-old found another gear to blow her rivals out of the water. “Into the straight Connolly’s gonna just lead Lewis, I reckon. They’re about two metres up on Elliott behind them," McAvaney said before being left stunned by the turn of speed from Lewis. “And now Lewis starts to get away and get right away in the end!” he said in disbelief. "The stretch at the end was impressive, she put, what, three metres on the field in the last 50?”
A very impressive run from Australia’s fastest woman, Torrie Lewis, 23.05 (-1.5).
Brilliant strength around the bend and powered through to the line.
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) February 10, 2024
Two-time Commonwealth Games medallist David Culbert said: “I loved the way she came off the bend and she attacked the first 20 metres into the straight.” McAvaney was clearly in awe of what he'd just witnessed after gushing: “It was a very, very impressive result.”
LEWIS IS BACK 🔥
Australia’s fastest woman Torrie Lewis takes down a strong field over 200m, stopping the clock in 23.05 (-1.5)!
How’s the hair too 👀#ThisIsAthletics #ItsShowtime pic.twitter.com/t2EMmqmdx1
— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) February 10, 2024
Torrie Lewis still coming to terms with meteoric rise
Lewis admits the exposure she's received has "been a lot" to wrap her head around after shooting to stardom off the back of last month's historic 100m national record. The 19-year-old shaved one hundredth of a second off the previous mark of 11.11 set by Melissa Breen 10 years ago and admitted after her latest triumph in the 200m that the last fortnight has been a whirlwind.
"There's been a lot of people and I've tried to keep it at a minimum," Lewis said. "But it has been a lot. "I just have to remember that where I'm at now, I don't want that to be the endpoint. I want to be further than this.
"So I guess I just have to keep that goal in mind and keep grinding until I get there. "Because although this is amazing, I don't want this to be my peak." Lewis says it's nice to be recognised by fans but admits the gravity of being Australia's fastest woman has not fully sunk in.
"It has been nice to get recognised and appreciated," Lewis told AAP after her 200m win. "But it has been very different. So sudden... It's me, myself, thinking. Walking into the shops and being, like, 'Oh, I'm the fastest woman here'." Then, she thinks: I'm the fastest Australian woman anywhere.
Lewis was a star attraction on the Adelaide track on Saturday and is one of the headliners of the Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne on Thursday night, where she is chasing more glory in the 100m. The 19-year-old admits she still has a big decision about whether to specialise in the 100m or 200m, but is enjoying the spotlight of being one of the brightest stars in Australian athletics right now.
"It's nice to be wanted... But this isn't the endpoint, she said. "I have got another (100m) on Thursday. Let's see if I can do it again." Lewis says she'll keep competing in both the 100 and 200 events until she feels the need to pick Ker best distance. "Right now, it's the 100," she said. "I'll keep doing both and then when I have to, when I get to the big comps and I have to decide, that's when I will. Right now, I will just do both."
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