Friday, 31 August 2007

Gay - too tired even to celebrate

Gay - a portrait - 200m heats(Getty Images)

31 August 2007, Osaka, Japan – Tyson Gay ran the fastest aggregate sprint of any double winner at an Olympic Games or World Championships here last night but the United States athlete declined the chance to say he is the best combination runner in history.

“I would not say that,” Gay said, asked if he was the greatest 100/200m sprinter of all time. “In order to be the greatest 100/200 all time you have to do it over and over and even do it indoors.”

Gay’s combined time adds up to 29.61, beating the previous quickest at a World Championships, by Maurice Greene in Seville in 1999 (29.70), and the fastest at an Olympics, by Carl Lewis in Los Angeles in 1984 (29.79).

Already quickest combination sprinter on career best times (9.84/19.62), Gay recorded a championship record 19.76 to add the 200m title to the 100m he had won four days earlier. Now he will chase a third gold medal in the 4 x 100m relay beginning this evening. 

But becoming the 11th athlete to take the 100/200m double at an Olympic Games or World Championships has left the 25-year-old Gay exhausted. Admitting that his 200m celebrations on the track had been more subdued than his reaction to his 100m victory, he explained:  “I am extremely tired. I couldn’t think of nothing, couldn’t put my arms up to celebrate, couldn’t really jog on my victory lap. I don’t think I am going to run the prelims (of the 4 x 100m) unless they need me.”

Gay’s second gold medal meant more to him than his first, given his international championship history at the event – he failed to finish the 200m at the 2004 US Olympic trials and narrowly missed a medal – he was fourth – at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. 

“Probably the 200 (means more),” Gay said. “The 100 took a lot of focus but I have never won the 200 on the major stage and to come back with the victory after not getting a medal in the 200 in Helsinki feels great.

“I done it for my coach (Lance Brauman), Jon Drummond, my family, God – and I just came out with the victory and it feels great.” Brauman was unable to attend these championships while serving a prison sentence for fraud and Drummond, winner of 4 x 100m World Championships relay gold medals in 1993 and 1999, has been working as Gay’s technical adviser.

Gay admitted that Usain Bolt, who took the silver medal for Jamaica in 19.91, had scared him. Bolt had led Gay coming into the straight. “He shocked me,” Gay said. “I was slightly frightened coming off the curve and to see him winning – I am not used to that.

“I am not used to not coming off the curve first and winning, so that just showed that I have a lot of strength and put in a lot of hard work to come back. Coming off the turn I am used to being first.and I thought that was going to be the outcome tonight but it wasn’t - Usain Bolt beside me put on a terrific performance.

“I tried to run as hard as I could but I still could not come off the curve first and I thought there was something wrong with the picture (on the screen in the stadium). I normally don’t catch anyone if I don’t come off the curve first. I was hoping he was going to crack. I was a little nervous, but I just tried to work on my form and relax.”

David Powell for the IAAF

100/200 combination winners

At World Championships
Maurice Greene, United States (1999 - 9.80/19.90)
Justin Gatlin, United States (2005 – 9.88/20.04)
Tyson Gay, United States (2007 – 9.85/19.76)

At Olympic Games
Archie Hahn, United States (1904 - 11.0/21.6)
Ralf Craig, United States (1912 - 10.8/21.7)
Percy Williams, Canada (19.28 - 10.8/21.8)
Eddie Tolan, United States (1932 – 10.38/21.12)
Jesse Owens, United States (1936 – 10.3w/10.7)
Bobby Morrow, United States (1956 – 10.62/20.75)
Valeriy Borzov, Soviet Union (1972 – 10.14/20.00)
Carl Lewis, United States (1984 – 9.99/19.80)

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