How the golden boy can get even better
In a thrilling 100m final in Barcelona's Estadio Olympico on Wednesday night, 20-year-old Christophe Lemaitre breezed clear from the best sprinters on the continent to write his name in the history books.
European champion at just 20 years old, already having dipped under 10 seconds and red-hot favourite for 200m gold on Friday, Lemaitre appears to have it all.
The bad news for his rivals? He should be able to go much, much quicker. As 1998 European 100m champion Darren Campbell explains, Lemaitre - who only took up athletics five years ago - is a still an uncut diamond.
"You're born with speed, but you're not born a perfect sprinter," says Campbell. "Lemaitre, with the raw ability and physical attributes he has, he can improve so much.
"It might sound strange to say it, but from a technique point of view, there's nothing I look at and think, that's really good."
Even in claiming his first senior title, Lemaitre was slow from his blocks and well down on rivals Francis Obikwelu, Mark Lewis-Francis and Dwain Chambers at 30m.
"Christophe's drive phase is a work in progress," says Campbell, who watched him from heats to final in Barcelona for BBC Radio 5 live. "If you look at Dwain's races, his foot placements over the first 30 metres are always exactly the same. That's why he's so strong in the first part of the race.
"His body position is usually as close to perfect as it can be - perfectly straight, perfectly flat. That gives him maximum strength through his drive phase. If you get your position right and can stay in it, that's the most effective way to run.
"Christophe's is not. He comes upright after about 10-15m, which is far too early. Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon were the ones who changed the thinking with the drive phase - remember how low they used to stay, with their heads down? They changed the way sprinters thought.
"Lemaitre's transition could be a lot smoother. He pops up to upright suddenly, and although it's only a small thing, when you're talking about hundredths of seconds, it makes a difference.
"It affects your rhythm. If you pop up fast, that's when you feel the wind, and you lose speed, because sprinting is all about momentum and rhythm. When you come up slowly, there's not that sudden feeling of wind resistance in your face. And once you're upright, you're pretty much at top speed. It's very, very hard to change gear once you're upright.
"His running style at full speed is another area where he will improve. He doesn't rock and roll through his body, but because his foot placements aren't that consistent, he veers. In the first round he went out to the right hand side of the lane. If you stay straight, you'll go quicker.
"It might be that he has more power in one leg. It's almost like a Formula One car - you have to make sure that the power is evenly dispersed.
"I used to practise starting off both legs so one didn't become stronger than the other. I was even careful about my calf muscles, because your left will get stronger than your right just from using the clutch pedal in your car. That's how fine a line you are looking at.
"Then we come to his arm position and tracking. They're not great - you want to keep an angle of 90 degrees at the elbow, and his arm goes quite straight - but they're not the worst I've seen. They don't go across his body, which is good, because if that happens, your feet strike the ground wider because your arms control what your feet do.
"Finally there's his build. He doesn't even look like a sprinter - he looks like a 400m runner. So straight away there's muscle he can put on.
"I would focus on bulking up last. You don't want to bulk up with technical problems, because all you're doing is teaching those muscles to run in the wrong way. Get the technique right first."
Standing behind his blocks, his name about to be announced to the crowd. Lemaitre looked unfeasibly fresh-faced, down to the fluffy teenage wannabe-moustache on his top lip. Just how fast could the fully matured man go?"
"I think he's capable of low 9.9s. If he can eradicate these small things, why shouldn't he? Beyond a certain point, sprinting is learnt. It's practising and rehearsing and working on the right things in training. He has all the natural materials he needs."
That Mark Lewis-Francis took silver behind Lemaitre was both a shock and, in a funny way, strangely apposite.
If anyone understands youthful promise and the pressure it brings it is MLF, world junior 100m champion at 17, tipped by Maurice Greene to win Olympic gold in 2004, seemingly finished a year ago.
A positive test for cannabis had cost him a European 60m silver; a serious Achilles injury ruled him out of the last Olympics. Even this year he appeared to be nowhere - disqualified for false starts in Hengelo and Ostrava, fifth in the British trials in 10.42 secs. A week ago he didn't even have a berth in the British team for the individual 100m, until a late change of heart by head coach Charles van Commenee at the squad's holding-camp in Portugal.
Few would begrudge him this unexpected silver lining, even fewer that his margin over third place was just one one-thousandth of a second and exactly the same over fourth.
"For all the knocks that I've taken, this is the new beginning," he said afterwards, almost lost for words.
Maybe we should have guessed. His coach Linford Christie knows so much about winning the European 100m title that he as good as owns it. As an athlete he took gold in 1986, 1990 and 1994; he then coached Campbell to his gold in 1998 and silver in 2002. He also knows all about performing in this stadium; it was here in Barcelona that he ran his greatest ever race, powering to the Olympic title.
For Chambers, the oldest man in the final, veteran of three previous European Championships, champion in 2002 before it was stripped from him for doping offences, there was to be no golden farewell.
In his own way, despite that, he achieved a sort of redemption. Battered and bruised by everything he has gone through in his chequered career - most of which was entirely his fault - he appears a changed athlete, wearing the grizzled, liberated look of a man who has come through the worst and is happy to be out the other side.
All week he has been full of smiles and shrugs, of praise for his young French rival. The first thing he did after crossing the line was trot over to Lemaitre and offer him his hand.
"I'm just glad to be part of it," he said afterwards. "You can't win them all. Of course I mind, but I'm just grateful for the opportunity to get myself here."
The mantle of Europe's top sprinter, the one he held eight years ago and then threw away, has been passed to a new man.