With a Lafayette High School alumnus calling the action, another former General took his place at the starting line in London Olympic Stadium.
Tom Hammond would call the action as Usain Bolt sought to become the first Olympian to win back-to-back 100-meter dash gold medals on the track (Carl Lewis won gold in '84 and silver in '88, but later was awarded the gold medal when Ben Johnson was disqualified for steroid use).
Down below, Tyson Gay, also a Lafayette alum, dug in. The former U.S. national champion knew it would take a personal best to knock off Bolt. In fact, each of Bolt's challengers would need to run faster than he ever has before to take first place away from the lanky Jamaican.
But none could do it. Bolt dominated again, with countryman Yohan Blake taking silver and current American champ Justin Gatlin winning bronze.
Gay, who had hip surgery last summer and couldn't train to his fullest (he was detected walking with a slight limp coming into the games) was fourth, by the smallest margin measurable - one one-hundreth of a second.
The blink of an eye, a single heartbeat - by that much, he missed a trip to the podium for an Olympic medal.
Through tears he said, "I tried, man. I tried my best."
He had a similar message to his fans, via Twitter and his personal web page. "It's tough, but I have no excuses, I gave my all," he wrote. "Everybody came together and made me the best I can be. I tried my best."
Gay fought back sobs as he spoke to reporters. "I really tried to do it for my family, but I came up short," he said. "I felt like I ran with the field and I just came up short. That's all I did."
Gay's time of 9.80 would have netted him gold medals in every Olympics up until 2008, when Bolt arrived on the scene. And at age 26, Bolt might try to make it three in a row at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He would be 30, which is how old Gay will be this Thursday. It's not likely he'll get another chance at an Olympic medal, much less gold.
So with Hammond in the broadcast booth, reaffirming that Bolt is "the king," Gay missed out. It might have been a pair of former Lafayette Generals sharing the most dramatic moment of the 2012 summer games.
Instead, Hammond turns to the next event on his schedule. Tyson Gay faces a lifetime of, "What if?"
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