Let me see, Bolt versus Powell versus Gay. That will be a good show. And ESPN and ESPN2 will have it, thank God. Gay will make final decision tomorrow, but the race could be a barn burner.
My take? Bolt is tired, but still on his game. Powell is running well, and Gay is still a few weeks from great racing shape. It has been a long strange season for them all....
TRACK PROFILE Report #824
HISTORY’S THREE FASTEST MEN TO SQUARE OFF IN BRUSSELS ON FRIDAY
By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2008 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved
BRUSSELS – In a race dubbed as a “once in a lifetime event” by meet organizers, the three fastest men in history are set to face off in the 100m at Friday’s Memorial Van Damme in Brussels.
Topping the field is Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt, who lowered the global standard to 9.69 seconds in a jaw-dropping performance in Beijing. He’ll face his Jamaican teammate Asafa Powell, the man he succeeded as world record holder late last spring, and American Tyson Gay, the reigning world champion in the 100 and 200 who clocked 9.77 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. The trio have never meet in the same race.
“I’m very excited about tomorrow,” said Powell, who lowered his career best to 9.72 in Lausanne on Tuesday. “If I do what I’m really supposed to do, running against guys like this can only make me run faster.”
Throughout his career Powell has traditionally run fast late in the season. running in a chilly downpour Last Sunday, he powered to a 9.87 victory in Gateshead, England. He has won in Brussels four times, and his meet record of 9.84 will be under serious threat.
“Now there will be more pressure for me, but I’ll do my best,” Bolt said the day after Powell’s Lausanne performance. “The most important thing for me is to end the competition staying injure-free. I’ll be prepared.”
The lone question mark is Gay, who is still on the mend from a hamstring injury he suffered at the U.S. championships which significantly impacted his performance in Beijing, where he failed to advance from the semi-finals.
The American champion is “feeling good” but won’t decide if he’ll contest the race until Friday morning, according to meet director Wilfried Meert.
“He’s going to have a training session on Friday morning, then one last consultation with his physio before he makes his final decision,” Meert said. Much will also depend on the weather, currently forecast as chilly with a chance of rain.
Besides the Olympic final and the Jamaican Championships, both won by Bolt, Powell and Bolt have met once on the international circuit since Bolt’s first world record of the season, his 9.72 in New York on May 31. Powell won by a whisker in Stockholm, edging Bolt 9.88 to 9.89.
And it is Powell who clearly has the most to prove. Failing at back-to-back Olympics to claim a medal, Powell admits that he just may be “a guy for the circuit.”
A victory over Bolt, Powell said, would be the ideal confidence booster after a season fraught with injury setbacks.
“If I go out and beat him I will know I’m in good shape. Psychologically it will really give me a boost, knowing what I have been through this year, and beating someone who has run 9.69.”
Used with permission of Bob Ramsak, our travel weary track & field troubadour.