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LetsRun.com's 2009 IAAF Berlin World Championships Preview
Men's 100m - Mark Your Calendars For August 16th
When: August 16 (finals and semis), 15 (quarters and heats)
The second day of the IAAF World Championships in Berlin will feature the most anticipated track & field showdown in years as Jamaica's Usain Bolt will face off with a healthy Tyson Gay, assuming both advance to the final.
Gay's injury at the 2008 US Olympic Trials set the stage for Bolt to dominate in Beijing and the 6'5" Jamaican did just that, setting three world records and winning three gold medals. In the year since he ran 9.69 and 19.30, Bolt has vaulted to superstardom, igniting world-wide frenzy to watch him run, celebrate and pose his now famous Thunderbolt pose. Bolt has been unbeatable, unrivaled by those in his races.
In 2009, the quietly confident Tyson Gay has surged back to form. He has run 9.77 and 9.79, and has blown away the competition in both the 200m and 100m much like Usain Bolt. Reports of a nagging injury to his groin surfaced in July, but Gay quieted doubters with his wind-aided 9.79 thrashing of Asafa Powell in Stockholm, just over two weeks before his scheduled clash with the more feared Jamaican.
Listed as a heavy underdog, Gay's chances for victory are higher than many think. He has publicly pronounced through the media that his training has been excellent and 100% pointed at defeating Bolt. His performances, while not as awe-inspiring as Bolt's, have been very consistent. Gay has emerged as Bolt's only clear rival, and a worthy adversary he is.
Adding to the intrigue of the Bolt-Gay head-to-head battle is the fact that both dominated the world while the other was either nursing injury or still developing. Gay won two IAAF world titles in Osaka in 2007 while Bolt was still perfecting his craft. Bolt won two individual Olympic titles in 2008 while Gay was coming back from a serious hamstring injury six weeks before the Games.
In 2009, they have avoided confrontation on the pro circuit. In fact, Usain Bolt has hardly even made an appearance in the States. The clash of the titans is perfectly set up. Will the pressure get to Bolt? Can Gay make the big man tighten up? And if they both run smoothly and perfectly, how low will the world records go? We'll have to wait and see.
Men's 100m Statistics By LRC Coaching Guru John Kellogg
9.77 Tyson Gay (USA) (AR, #3 all-time) Gold medal in 2007 World Championships, gold medal in 2006 World Cup