High-school track sensation Matthew Boling has received unwanted attention based on his race, but a World Champion sprinter says it won’t matter because he is the real deal

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Matthew Boling is just 18 years old, but his impressive speed and viral highlight reel on the track has already made him a national sensation.

But according to Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post, one aspect of Boling’s jump to fame was particularly frustrating for the young athlete — being bestowed with the nickname “White Lightning.”

“His races went viral under headlines referring to him as ‘White Lightning,’ a new nickname he didn’t want and wishes would disappear,” Kilgore wrote. “Boling said his competitors never mention the fact he is white, that his race means nothing on the track. It’s Instagram commenters and reporters who keep bringing up his skin color.”

According to Kilgore, while most of the attention Boling received was positive, some was negative and sometimes even “unthinkable.”

“There was somebody that left a message at Strake Jesuit saying he was the father of the Lord,” said his father Mark Boling, “and he commanded ‘White Lightning’ to go down and represent the white race.”

Asked his preferred nickname, Boling replied, “Matt.”

Ato Boldon won four Olympic medals and was a world champion in the 200 meters.
Piotr Hawalej/Getty Images for IAAF

While the unwanted nickname is a frustrating issue for Boling at this point in his young career, Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon gave him a reason to look forward to the future late

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