Tyson Gay's speedy dash in Manchester city centre earned him the 200metres world best on a straight track today, with Ireland's Paul Hession in third spot.
The display at the Powerade City Games also suggested the American can fulfil his prediction that now he is fully fit after a groin operation he can end Usain Bolt's domination of global sprinting.
Where and when the pair will first go head-to-head this year is still undecided but American Gay, after roaring to a record time of 19.41 seconds in Manchester, is clearly in great early season form.
The time surprised even Gay who beforehand admitted he was nervous after being tipped to better the previous mark of 19.5secs which his fellow American, the legendary Tommie Smith, achieved on a cinder track 44 years ago.
Smith's time, even by today's world standards, remains strong and Gay went into the race short on speedwork.
But on a cool night and facing a slight headwind everything went perfectly for the 27-year-old Kentucky speedster, when after a blistering start he continued the momentum to score a runaway win from Kim Collins with Hession in third.
‘Going into the race I knew it was going to be tough to beat the record,’ said Gay.
‘It was pretty hard for the first 100m or so and I was extremely tired.
‘Kim Collins had an excellent start and I think that motivated me to get down the street. It was truly amazing and it was tough record to break.’
Gay will now knuckle down to more speed training before eventually embarking on his IAAF Diamond League campaign where he will face Bolt in at least three meetings.
Now 100% fit, the former world 100m and 200m champion is convinced he can prevent his Jamaican rival blazing another trail of victories.
‘I believe it, but he's going to be tough to beat,’ said Gay.
‘Honestly he's in another class right now but I'm working hard to get there.
‘The challenge is for me to work hard to get to where he is at.’