Tyson Gay, "Racing for my life", by Larry Eder

Tyson Gay, adidas GP press conference, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Sporting a neatly trimmed beard, and hair giving Tyson Gay the suggestion that Richard Roundtree, the famous actor who portrayed cult detective Shaft in the 1970s movies, Tyson Gay took questions from a fascinated media. 

Tyson Gay is healthy for the first time in six years. When asked how he felt during the 100 meters in Kingston on May 4, when he ran the world leading 9.86, Gay, straight-faced, commented, " I was racing for my life, like I always do." 

For the first time in nearly six years, Tyson Gay, the American record holder in the 100 meters is healthy. 

On May 4, in Kingston, Jamaica, Tyson ran a 9.86 for the 100 meters, the world leader. Gay did it with his normal okay start and powered away from the entire field after he took control about sixty meters. When Tyson Gay is on, his last forty meters are so beautiful to watch: clean strides, eating up the track one powerful step at a time, jaw relaxed, arms pumping, Tyson Gay is just, well, fast. 

On May 11, in Claremont, Florida, his training base, Tyson Gay ran a 200 meters that was, well, telling. His wind-aided 19.79 gave a glimpse of man who is both fit, and confident. 

"His training has changed a little bit, instead of pushing himself on a daily basis, He has started to do the times as I prescribed, and trusting that those times will get him to where we want. And to this point, those times have.  He has stayed healthy doing so. He now checks the boxes, and moves day to day, and does not need to run crazy to see where he at." Those were the words of Lance Brauman, Tyson Gays' coach. 

" I have actually been able to lift weights. I am taking it alot easier. I am doing some ice baths, and make sure that I am getting my physio work done." noted Tyson Gay.

A new confidence, which Tyson Gay noted to us, with a smile, was always there, is allowing one of America's best ever sprinters to do the small things that could make 2013 a banner year for him: recovery time, weights, ice baths, massage. All of these intangibles are key components to athletes who have long careers and break the injury cycle. 

According to Lance Brauman, Tyson Gay is "trusting in his ability". 

That Tyson Gay has run some of his fastest times injured is sobering. In fact, in 2010, Tyson Gay is still one of the few sprinters to win over Usain Bolt at 100 meters. At that time, and subsequently, Tyson Gay has always paid Usain Bolt respect and noted that race three years ago, Usain Bolt was not at his best.

" I understand being injured. I do not wish it on anyone. I want my competition to be healthy so we can race." was how Tyson Gay commented on the injury cycle. 

"I am a fighter, and there are only four to five athletes in this sport that are fighters. Usain Bolt is one of them, he never gives up." Tyson Gay added. 

It is not that Tyson Gay is fearful of his competition: far from that. Tyson Gay knows his competition, and in understanding them, it helps him as he races them. He gets it, because, when eight or nine of the world's best line up at the starting line, all of them want the same thing: to win. The truth is, Tyson Gay, in all of his races, whether hurt or healthy, lines up, thinking he can win. This year, the healthy Tyson Gay has a much better chance of making that dream a reality once again. 

I was there in Osaka, Japan in 2007. I wanted Tyson Gay win the 100 meters. I wanted Tyson Gay come from behind and get Usain Bolt and win the 200 meters. Tyson Gay, healthy, is such a difficult sprinter to defeat. 

One keen observer of Tyson Gay put it this way to your writer: Tyson Gay has not changed alot over the past few years except that he is paying more attention to allowing his body to recover from workouts and races. Recover, per the keen observer, is just as important as the workouts. 

Lance Brauman, in noting the evolution in confidence with Tyson Gay, and his ability to allow his body to recover now and build on his training, noted something else: coaches change too! Lance put it this way, " I sure hope that I have improved as a coach over my time with Tyson." 

When asked about the chance of doubling over the 100 meters and 200 meters in Des Moines, Tyson Gay was honest: " I am going home and training, doing some simulations over 200 meters to see how I do. I would rather race one event in Des Moines and be healthy, than run two events and get banged up." 

Tyson Gay did tell us, that on the Monday after his 200 meters in Claremont, his groin was a bit sore. He quickly noted that would be expected as the turns are hard in the 200 meters. 

With a little help from the weather gods, let us hope for little wind and warm weather. If that happens, just how fast can a healthy Tyson Gay run? Well, that could be extraordinary. 

Video on Tyson Gay: Shoe Addicts present Tyson Gay, 100 meter AR (June 2012)


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