by: Weldon Johnson, LetsRun.com
July 3, 2013
Tyson Gay’s European season begins here tomorrow on Thursday, July 4th at the 2013 Athletissima Diamond League Meet in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It’s fitting that Gay will begin his European track and field campaign on the grandest of American holidays, as Gay so far in 2013 has returned sprint supremacy to America. Gay has run world leading times in the 100 (9.75) and 200 (19.74) this year.
At the press conference today, Gay said his 2013 success has come from being healthy. Gay has dealt with some serious injuries or the after effects of a serious injury every year since he was double World Champ in 2007. The most recent serious injury resulted in hip surgery at the end of 2011. Last year being an Olympic year, Gay had no choice but to try and comeback from the surgery. “It took a little over a year to get over (the surgery),” he said.
Tyson essentially was able to start 2013 with a clean slate health wise. Gay has been so concerned about staying healthy this year, that he has slowed things down in training. In the past, he would often surpass the times his coach Lance Brauman wanted in practice. This year, Gay has been making sure he just hits the times, so he doesn’t get injured.
Being healthy has led to faster times, and a return of his confidence. “The confidence comes from the training,” Gay said.
The World Championships are just a little over a month away. Since Gay only has two races, the 100m here and the 100m on July 19th in Monaco to prepare, Gay said, “Now I’m going to try to pick it up in practice.”
Can Gay Get the Best of Bolt Finally?
The man whose name hangs over everything in track and field and in particular everything related to sprinting and Tyson Gay, is the Jamaican legend, Usain Bolt.
Tyson would like to improve his American 100m record this year, but the focus is on winning Worlds and presumably beating Bolt to do it. “Nothing can replace winning the race,” Gay said.
By his own lofty standards, Bolt has struggled so far in 2013. He was beat by American Justin Gatlin earlier this year and has “only” run 9.94 and 19.79 (Editor’s note: Bolt’s 9.94 was into a headwind and adjusted for wind it would be 9.86. Gay’s 9.75 came with a tailwind and adjusted for wind it would be a 9.81).
But it’s clear Gay has the utmost respect for Bolt’s ability to deliver when it matters most and Gay doesn’t put too much stock into Bolt having an off year and not being ready for Worlds. Gay noted that even last year heading into London, one could have wondered if Bolt was ready. Bolt left the Olympics with 100 and 200 gold and the 4×100 world record.
“It’s no secret (Bolt) is a Championship performer and you have to bring your ‘A’ game or better than your ‘A’ game to beat him,” Tyson said.
In 2007, Tyson Gay was triple World Champion. In 2008, Usain Bolt emerged as a 100m runner. Since then there has never been a year where they both made it through the season healthy facing each other at their best.
Gay is finally healthy this year, and he doesn’t want to hear any talk of beating a less than 100% Bolt. “At the end of the day I’m one of those people, who believes in hoping every athlete is healthy…We all know Usain is going to be at his best at the major Championships. I just hope I’m at my best and give it my all and whatever the outcome is it is.”
Jon Drummond Not Working with Tyson Gay “At this Moment”
Gay also revealed the news that he is now working exclusively with long-time coach Lance Brauman. While Brauman was in prison in 2007, Gay also started using the coaching services of former sprinter Jon Drummond. 2007 was the year Gay won the 100, 200 and the 4×100 at Worlds. Drummond had been involved as a coach ever since, but Gay said “right now I’m only working with one coach. That’s Lance Brauman in Florida.” Gay was then asked directly if he was working with Drummond and he said, “not at this moment”. Gay’s answer and phrasing left the impression there is more to this story. As for only working with Brauman, Gay said, “I’m only working with him right now, because I’ve been taking things a lot slower. The process has been a little different this year. It just has to do with trying to stay healthy.”
The Top Sprinters Duck Each Other, The Hurdlers Don’t
Originally, Lausanne was going to be a tremendous test for Gay as he was scheduled to face Asafa Powell and reigning 100m World Champion Yohan Blake. But Blake is out with injury, and Powell is here, but not running that great in 2013. It’s still a formidable field with four sub 10.00 performers in 2013 (field at bottom of article). About facing the best, Gay said, “Sometimes you wouldn’t mind winning a race with a 9.9 versus a 9.7 because the body takes such a pounding (from running fast). But for the fans I’d like to line up more often (versus the best).”
A theme of Wednesday’s press day that also included hurdlers Jason Richardson, Ryan Wilson and Sally Pearson was why do the top hurdlers square off so often against one another, yet the top sprinters rarely do? LRC has more on this here, but nearly all parties involved admitted that flat sprinting is harder on the body than hurdling because of the speeds involved, so there are less opportunities for the top people to race as sprinters race less often than the hurdlers.
Tyson Gay didn’t duck the other side of the equation, the financial one, saying there’s “a business side of things. When Usain comes to a meet he has to be taken care of (financially).”
Getting two of the top 100m men to go head to head is a very expensive proposition, so Gay is running here and two days later Bolt is running in the Diamond League meet in Paris.
Bolt vs Gay in Rio?
Track fans hopefully will get the Bolt-Gay showdown in Moscow, and possibly in Rio as well. The 30 year old Gay will turn 34 during the next Olympics in Rio, but he wants to be there competing. The only thing missing from Gay’s hardware collection is an individual Olympic medal of any color. He was left in tears last year after a fourth place in the Olympics.
Part of the plan of taking it slow to start this year it to ensure Tyson’s running in Rio. He said the “plan is to stay healthy this year and the next three years.” If track and field fans only get a Bolt-Gay match-up once a year, getting it the next three years isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Interview with BBC Radio Filmed by LRC after Press Conference
More Lausanne: LRC Preview Another Great Men’s 5,000 (Gebremeskel Vs. Alamirew) Plus Nijel Amos Returns Versus Mo Aman In The 800
LRC Felix Sanchez Is Was A Nervous Distance Runner Just Like You, What it Bolt and Gay Raced Each Other Like the High Hurdlers? How Many Montshos are There in the World, and Jeter Still Bringing It To celebrate the 4th of July we got carried away and have two non distance articles from Lausanne. We delve into the 100 vs 110 hurdles, Gay vs Bolt, unsponsored 32 year old Ryan Wilson making his first World team and more. Give it a read and tell your family you need to watch track from 2-4pm on the 4th.