Xavier Carter will make his only 2007 European Indoor Circuit race a 400m dash around the six-lane 200m synthetic track at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Birmingham, England on 17-February.
Carter, who debuted as a professional athlete at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix in July, finishing second to his fellow American Tyson Gay over 200m, 19,84-19,98, will make his first return to England.
Yahoo Sport reports that Carter signaled his go-ahead for Norwich, because the meeting has garnered a reputation of being one of the best of the indoor circuit.
"The people in Britain seemed to take well to me when I was over here and to enjoy the fact that I'm putting a bit of fun back into the sport hopefully I can put on a show for them in Birmingham," he said, while also stating that he'd like to make the most of his single European visit this winter.
Carter, who ran a world-leading 45,28 in Fayetteville in 2006, will be running on a Mondo Sportflex Super X Classic surface, and may have an exciting finish in store for the fans. Though Carter may not quite yet be ready to challenge for Kerron Clement's two-year old world-record of 44,57 - set in Fayetteville, he may showcase his sprinting brilliance and dip under 45 seconds.
Robert Tobin won the 2006 400m dash in 46,18.
The Norwich Union Grand Prix has been no stranger to excellent marks, with Kenenisa Bekele setting the current 5.000m World Record of 12.49,60 - the only time ever recorded under 12.50 indoors - there in 2004.
Bekele nearly established a second world record in Birmingham last winter, running two miles in 8.05,12, a mark which was just 0,43-seconds outside of countryman Haile Gebrselassie's still-standing 8.04,69 set in 2003.
Wilson Kipketer set the current 1.000m WR - 2.14,96 - at the same meeting fours years earlier.
Yelena Isinbayeva, who set a world record in Birmingham in 2003 with a clearance of 4.88m, nearly missed setting a pole vault world record there in 2006 with three attempts made at 4.92m.
Fellow Russian Svetlana Feofanova was also successful at setting a world-record in Birmingham, vaulting 4.77m in 2003.
Carter is coming off one of the most successful sprint seasons ever recorded in athletics. He won four NCAA titles in Sacramento in June, becoming the first person since Jesse Owens won four titles for Ohio State University 70 years earlier, and followed up that campaign by recording the 2nd-fastest 200m ever recorded, 19,63, in Lausanne. Carter broke 20,00 three times, and also recorded three sub-45,00 400m clockings last year.
Carter is no stranger to record performances, having anchored LSU to a NCAA collegiate 4x400m record in 2005, running 44,00 to bring the Tigers home in 2.59,59. Their mark was the third sub-3.00 performance in collegiate history, and eclipsed the 2.59,91 set by UCLA 17 years earlier. Three of UCLA's four relay runners went on to become individual and/or relay world record-holders in the future.
Carter set three LSU indoor 200m records during his first season there, running 20,67-20,47 and 20,39.
What makes Carter such a remarkable talent is that all of the above was recorded off of American collegiate football training in the autumn of 2005. Carter did not do any track work until after LSU's football season ended with a 40-3 victory over Miami of Florida in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (formerly known as the Peach Bowl) - one which LSU is 4-0 in its history.
Carter opened his 2006 track season with a 20,74 200m victory on 21-January, and promptly recorded a 45,89 400m on 10-February. He set the yearly indoor leader pace seven days later in Arkansas.
Carter was a hot ticket in high school as well, running a 20,69 indoors in 2004 to become the first USA high school athlete to run under 21,00 indoors. He competed in the 100m, 200m and 400m dashes for Palm Bay Senior High School in Florida, winning 10 regional, division and county titles, nine Florida state titles, and nine conference titles. Carter won the Florida state 100m/200m/400m in back-to-back years, becoming the only Florida athlete to ever achieve that remarkable triple crown twice.
Fans around the world are excited to see what the second-year professional can bring to the indoor campaign with an autumn focussed on track rather than the grid-iron. Folks believe that if Carter could accomplish so much in 2006 with so little preparation, he'll be primed for greater successes in 2007 with a singular focus on athletics.
Those who had an up-close and personal look at Carter in Louisiana saw him compile the following accolades in two seasons at Louisiana State University:
- Seven-time NCAA Champion
- 10-time All-American
- 2006 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year
- 2006 NCAA Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
- 2006 NCAA South Central Region Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year
- 2006 NCAA South Central Region Men’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
- 2006 SEC Male Athlete of the Year
- 2006 SEC Men’s Outdoor Runner of the Year
- 2006 SEC Men’s Indoor Runner of the Year
- 2005 SEC Men’s Outdoor Freshman Runner of the Year
- 2005 SEC Men’s Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year
If Carter can add to his professional CV any semblance of the collegiate success he achieved, no world record - individual or relay - is safe from his reach.
First things, first, however.
We'll get a glimpse of just how dominant Xavier Carter - the "X-man" is indoors three days after Valentine's Day.
Until then, stay tuned here for much more of Xavier Carter and his exploits!