Sports | May 7, 2021 11:35 am

NFL Star DK Metcalf Aiming for Olympic Team by Running 100 Meters at USATF Golden Games

Metcalf ran track and field in high school primarily as a hurdler and triple jumper

NFL Star DK Metcalf
DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks warms up before the NFC Wild Card Playoff game.
Abbie Parr/Getty

After jokingly being asked to try to qualify for the Olympic team on Twitter by the official USA Track and Field account, Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf has accepted the offer and will run the 100-meter dash this weekend at the USATF Golden Games in California.

We know 6-foot-4 Metcalf, who ran track and field in high school primarily as a hurdler and triple jumper, is fast after seeing him hit a top speed of 22.64 mph while chasing down  Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker following a Russell Wilson interception this season, but is he Olympic-caliber fast?

To automatically be one of the 32 sprinters who will compete to represent the U.S. in the 100 meters at next month’s Olympic trials in Oregon, Metcalf could hit the USATF instant qualifying standard with a 10.05-second, wind-legal performance. Fifteen American men have already matched or bettered that mark.

Given that there’s a big difference between football speed and track speed, it seems unlikely Metcalf will hit the automatic mark, and he will be lucky to run the 100-meter in 11 or even 10.8 seconds this weekend, according to Yahoo Sports columnist Shalise Manza Young.

“Outsiders may believe running a 100 isn’t that hard, but it’s incredibly technical, and raw foot speed is only the beginning,” Young writes. “The block start is critical, and elite runners will spend hours training to get it just right; at the relatively short distance, races can be won and lost in the first 15 meters, if a sprinter has a phenomenal start or falters at all and can’t recover. Once you hit top speed you have to be able to maintain it through the finish line, every stride powerful and purposeful, your arms pumping in harmony, your face and shoulders relaxed. The United States Olympic track and field team is the hardest team to make in the world. Because of our country’s dominance in the sport we can bring three competitors in each event, and getting to be one of those three is a feat all its own.”

Former 110-meter hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah, who also played three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, is also pessimistic about Metcalf’s chances of qualifying for the Trials.

“There’s not a sprinter in the world who will let this guy think he can run with them. They will destroy him,” Nehemiah told The Associated Press. “It’s a noble gesture but an exercise in futility. It really is. No offense to DK, I’m a fan of his. I applaud him for wanting to find out — and find out he will. People just don’t understand world-class speed.”

In case you were wondering, Usain Bolt set the world mark in the 100 when he ran it 9.58 seconds in 2009. The star Jamaican sprinter also has the 200-meter world record (19.19).