Gay Feels Good After Pain-Free Workout
By LYNN ZINSER
Published: August 10, 2008
BEIJING — The veil of mystery around the sprinter Tyson Gay lifted for a stretch Sunday when he declared himself pain free after working out publicly for the first time since he was injured at the United States Olympic trials in early July.
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Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Tyson Gay appeared strong and showed no signs of pain during his full-speed sprints on Sunday afternoon.
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Gay’s health has been the major question mark heading into his showdown in the 100 meters this weekend against Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, both of Jamaica. Gay is the world champion, Bolt is the world-record holder and Powell held the world record before him.
Gay appeared strong and showed no signs of pain during his full-speed sprints Sunday afternoon at the United States training compound at Beijing Normal University.
“I’ve gotten a lot of rest,” Gay said. “Everybody knows I haven’t raced since nationals. But I think it’s been good for me.”
Gay strained his hamstring during the quarterfinal round of the 200 meters at the Olympic trials, an injury he said was more severe than doctors initially thought. He traveled to Munich to consult a specific orthopedist and he said a more detailed magnetic resonance imagery test revealed the strain also reached his tendon.
That slowed his return to the track, forcing him to cancel any hopes for an Olympic tune-up race.
“It kept me from running,” he said. “I was waiting for the pain to go away. So I had a little bit of doubt.”
Gay was supposed to join the United States team at its training camp in Dalian last week, but decided instead to march in the opening ceremony Friday night. He worked out at Beijing Normal on Sunday in front of a handful of reporters and a few of his teammates.
After waiting out an hour-long thunderstorm, he warmed up and ran a full-speed 60 meters, an 80 and a 100. When he was finished with the 100, in which he looked very strong, his coach, Jon Drummond, summed it up in one word: “Fast.”
Gay said he did not ask Drummond the time because he was focused on technique. He did not use starting blocks or a starter.
“I’m pretty close,” Gay said. “Today I just did one set, which is all I wanted to do. Normally I would do two sets. I could have run faster after I warmed up on the first set, so I’m very confident I’m where I was at in the nationals.”
Gay set an American record of 9.77 in the second round of the 100 meters at the Olympic trials and ran a wind-aided 9.68 in the final, which was the fastest time ever run in any conditions.
That raised the anticipation for the Olympic match-up with Bolt and Powell, but the injury quickly threw his readiness into doubt. He made few public appearances after the trials and no one saw him run at all until he arrived in Beijing.
If Gay is back in top form, expectations for the race should ratchet up quickly. The first and second rounds will be run Friday and the semifinals and final will be run Saturday.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Someone told me this is one of the most anticipated 100-meter dashes in history. That’s going to bring a lot of excitement to the sport.”
Gay said his workout here gave him hope he would be a bit part of the excitement.
“I feel confident about today,” he said. “I’ve been looking for an indicator where my confidence is going to be at and I think today let me know that.”