Christie on Gay, Bolt

Fit Gay wouldn’t have stopped Bolt, says Christie

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MIAMI, Florida (CMC) - Former World and Olympic champion Linford Christie says double Olympic champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt would have still won the sprint double even if American champion Tyson Gay had been fully fit.

Gay won the sprint double at the World Championships in Osaka, last year but an injury at the United States trials in early July sidelined him and forced him to enter the Olympics without a single competitive race under his belt, and with lingering questions over his fitness.

“Gay is a good athlete and he would have pushed Bolt hard,” said Christie, the only man to have held the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth 100m titles simultaneously.

“But I don’t think he would have beaten him, considering what Bolt achieved with such an ease. He was on a different planet altogether.”

Before his injury, Gay clocked 9.77 seconds and a wind-aided 9.68 seconds at the US trials, and would have been one of the favourites heading into the Olympics.

However, looking way off his best, Gay bowed out in the semi-finals of the 100 metres. He had earlier failed to qualify for the 200 metres after pulling up in the event at the US trials.

Christie, a Jamaica-born, British sprinter, said he was delighted with Bolt’s achievements at the Olympic Games which ended last weekend.

“I know Bolt since the age of 15 and at first look it struck me he is one for the future. He has the charisma to take athletics to a new level,” the now retired track star said.

He said the 22-year-old, who finished the Games with three gold medals and three world records, “has given a fresh lease of life for athletics” and backed him to becoming one of the greatest sprinters.

“It’s not easy for a junior to run 200 metres under 20 seconds but he managed to achieve this feat. If not for injuries, he would have blossomed a bit earlier, but the time away has in fact helped him,” the 48-year old said.

"He is a much better athlete now and is on his way to becoming one of the greatest.

“[Bolt’s] arrival has given a fresh lease of life for athletics, which has been under cloud since the doping revelation from some top athletes over the last few years.”

Bolt’s performance is really making me question whether wind is that much of a factor. I mean obedele was at alt too when he ran his time right? And Gay, well, maybe he was hurt because he ran so fast. Maybe Charlies right, maybe the wind does not really matter that much. I have heard all the arguments for and against it. I just have to wonder. And I am NOT officially taking any sides. I guess my point is, maybe Christie is not that far off with what he is saying. Then again, maybe he is.

I’ve ALWAYS said wind readings in the 100m are BS. ONE gauge picking up the wind at ONE specific point?! If wind reading are to be taken into account then have 3 gauges at intervals and use the readings from all 3 to get the average for the race.


Wind matters but the question is: Does it match the wind meter? How much is it really throughout the race and what angle etc??

How does Gay running 9.68 +4.1 and Oba running 9.69 in a hurricane indicate wind is not a factor?

wind readings… a -0.5m wind reading or so always affects high school athletic performances, so how could it possibly not affect a performance of that of usain bolt ?

The loacation of the wind meter can have an influence. In a big stadium, the wind tends to be less and more predictably observable as expected according to the reported wind reading. this is often not the case in a more open field- case in point, Flo-Jo’s 10.49 with a 0.0 wind reading maybe 20 feet away from 5.5mps tailwind readings at the long jump pit.

I never believed flo jo’s 10.49 wind reading lol. But the bird’s nest being such a huge stadium, surely a -0.9m reading must be very close, and a 0.0m I guess could be -0.2m/0.2m range. am I correct with this?

You can walk 100m on the street (or in an open field) and the wind can change five times.

Then you watch a race and everyone assumes it’s like a wind tunnel with the speed set exactly to 1.8mps or something like that.

Definitely true, the wind changes several times. But with one at the 50m mark and finish line, and in 10 seconds, in a big stadium, the chance for error is very low. It might not be dead on, but Im sure it must be very close.

I will definitely grant you that I do not walk 100m in anything close to 10 seconds.

So yes, that has to be accounted for. Good point.

I should have clarified. I mean how it is measured.

I just had a quick look to all the wind readings during the Olympic Games and the “warm-up” meet in May, the fastest recorded wind neg or pos was +1.8, during long jump. That tells a lot about the stadium architecture. We can be sure that the wind didn’t affected much the performances during the Games.

I wonder how fast Bolt would run with a 4m+ up his clacker. Would he run something hugely faster than 9.69 or would he not improve that much, given perhaps that there must be some limit to how fast a person can turn their legs over and how long a stride can be before other issues, such as co-ordination, specific strength and cadence come into play as inhibiting factors.

Off topic - Linford signed my copy of Speed Trap (over the finish photo from Seoul)… Just need to find Carl and Ben now…

And maybe before muscle or tendon break?
We are talking about unknown territories. We are just getting used to 9.7, now a boy is running 9.6 and might be able to break 9.5.
Zürich, Gateshead and Lausanne will provide some interesting answers on how can a sprinter recover after a 9.6 and 19.3, with multiple rounds.

It’s sad but he’ll probably run 9.7x and we’ll all be disappointed.