Gay ready to chase Olympic glory

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

In any other era, we would hang around Tyson Gay's neck the title "world's fastest man." But Usain Bolt, Gays' fiercest rival, claims that honor, after winning the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, setting a world record of 9.69 in the process.

In any other era, we would hang around Tyson Gay's neck the title "world's fastest man."  But Usain Bolt, Gays' fiercest rival, claims that honor, after winning the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, setting a world record of 9.69 in the process.

Gay is a three-time world champion, but the one medal that has eluded him is of the Olympic variety. This week, Gay and other American sprinters, will be competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. for a spot on Team USA.

Gay, a graduate of Lafayette High School, is the fastest American in history.  He ran a wind-aided 9.68 at the Trials in 2008, the fastest 100m time in history.

Father time is bearing down on Gay, who will turn 30 in August, but injuries already have taken a toll on his body, and maybe, cost him a shot at an Olympic medal.

A hamstring injury contributed to his failure to win a medal at the Beijing games.

Now, Gay is preparing for another shot at Olympic glory, by coming back from yet another injury.  He underwent hip surgery last July, and after a year off, came back last week to win a "B level" race in 10.0.

"I was thrilled to see him last weekend have a fantastic return to competition," said Ato Boldon, Gay's friend and a television analyst.  "I actually have him in my picks winning the Olympic trials.  I thought he looked that good."

Boldon, and several other former Olympic stars, were in Danville last week, conducting the Maximum Velocity Track and Field Academy at Centre College.

Boldon, who ran for Trinidad and Tobago, took home a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney games. He says Gay suffers from one of the same problems Boldon did: he's overshadowed by another great sprinter.

"My era was the Michael Johnson, Maurice Greene era and that's why I have a silver medal in the Olympic games," Boldon said.  "In any other era, Tyson is the world's fastest man.  But there's this 6-5 freak from Jamaica named Usain Bolt who's just an amazing athlete."

Sharrieffa Barksdale is another friend and a manager with the U.S. Track team headed to this summer's London games.

"I think when he goes out there, he's going to leave everything he has.  With his talent and his heart, he's going to give not 100 percent, but 200 percent," she said.  "If he stays healthy, watch out Usain Bolt."

World record holder Kevin Young likes Gay's chances of bringing back an Olympic medal.  

"Here's a guy who last week ran a 10 flat, in negative wind," Young said.  "That says a lot about his character.  That says a lot about his training.  His thing is he just has to stay healthy."

Gay needs to finish in the top three of the 100m at this week's Trials to make the U.S. Olympic team.  Boldon says whether he makes it to London or not, Gay already is one of the most accomplished sprinters in U.S. history.

"For me, Tyson has achieved and accomplished way more that anybody would expect.  If he gets to the Olympics, to the Olympic finals, and he gets the silver medal, that's like winning the gold."

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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