Tyson Gay emerged as a three time gold medalist from Osaka. His win at 100 meters, his win at 200 meters, and his relay run were all now part of history. But, this young man has alot to show in his future, and is he a racer or just a guy who can run fast times? More than that, in his post race press conference after the 100 metes, Gay showed a level of emotional understanding that made some members of the media
uncomfortable at best, and cynical at worst. Gay is just a complicated guy who runs very, very fast.
Tyson Gay is a modest man. He is relaxed in front of a crowd and he is honest with the media. After his 100 meter race, Tyson noted that he had spoken to Asafa, and he knew what Asafa was going through, and he felt bad that Asafa had not won. Some of the media in attendance were a bit cynical and questioned Tyson’s honesty in those statements. For Tyson, they were true. He had been the bridesmaid before, he had finished out of the medals before. If one believes that the person learns more from their losses than their victories, then Tyson Gay is prepared to win or loose.
Competition at the world class level is a complicated set of circumstances. The athlete must be selfish in taking care of their training, their rest their focus on the event, because all of their financial benefits, sports rankings, and well being comes from their performances.
The hype on the 100 meters was intense. All of the world was watching the final. There was Asafa Powell, the powerful Jamaican sprinter who held the world record. There was Tyson Gay, the fastest man this year, and his 9.84/19.62 double at the U.S. nationals. But there were also six other sprinters who could surprise. Powell knew that, Gay knew that, and so did their coaches. When one gets to an Olympic or
World Championship final, someone can spoil the party. Derrick Atkins did for Powell.
Asafa Powell lead for 70 meters, before Gay caught him, moved ahead at 80 meters and pushed on to the gold. In the 200 meters, Gay came off the turn in control. To watch Tyson Gay unwind his long stride and watch him run through the finish ( coaches take note, this writer HATES it when athletes let up before the finish line), and Gay showed that he had what it takes to double in this type of an environment.
Nine races over how many days? Elite sprinting is an accident waiting to happen. A slight pull of the hamstring, a pain in the knee or a tear in the achilles and the party , or the career is over. What made Carl Lewis and MO Greene so amazing was their longevity. That was unusual as a world class sprinter lasts normally about three years on the top of the world.
World class sprinting is hard both physically and mentally. The pressure of the crowds, the media, the hype. The workouts, all for nine point seconds. Insanity.
Tyson Gay has shown that he was not only the class of Osaka, but he is the odd’s on favorite going into Beijing. Tyson Gay is both racer and a sprinter who can run fast times. Asafa Powell can obviously run fast times, but until he gets a world championship under his belt, the question about how he fares in competition will be an open question. Tyson Gay has answered that question-he knows how to race. Tyson Gay knows how to compete, and compete he did, for three gold medals in Osaka, Japan. Tyson Gay feels your pain, but he also feels his own, and that is what makes him the best at his game.
There is a song by Dinosaur, Jr. one of my fave bands, that says, ” I feel the pain of everyone…” Once someone has learnt from failures, from losses, they develop a healthy approach to the activity, so that they are the better person for that experience. Tyson Gay is a complicated guy, someone who can share his feelings and comfort a fellow competitor, someone who can speak about the dichotomy of competiton, the problematic nature of elite sprinting, and while the feelings are complicated, and perhaps even ant-thetical to what someone would think should happen.
Tyson Gay runs fast, feels the nervousness anyone would before the race, the exhileration after, and the pain of everyone in retrospect. He is a racer.
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