Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay: arch-enemies?
By Matt Stroup
Posted: Sep 1, 5:12pm
Usain Bolt spoke to BBC Radio on Wednesday, and what he said about Tyson Gay falls under the category of "verbally explosive."
It definitely caught our attention last week when Usain Bolt took a moment to think ahead to the next time he and Tyson Gay would race, and said: "Definitely it will [be a different story] - [Tyson] knows that and I know that."
If nothing else, it was a little bit of offseason gasoline thrown in the direction of their rivalry, which most recently saw Gay hand Bolt his first loss in a 100m final in over two years back on Aug. 6.
And if what Bolt said last week represented gasoline, then the words he flung forth on BBC Radio Wednesday were closer to a grenade.
Said Bolt of his American rival: "I think Tyson sits at home and cusses me. He just really gets upset because every time he runs fast, I run faster than he does. At the World Championship he ran 9.71 and that's the fastest a U.S. athlete has ever run and he was still cussing. So deep down I think he probably just hates my guts."
And then Bolt added this: "We are cool but we aren't the best of friends."
Wow. Not sure about the rest of you, but where we come from, saying that we're not best friends with someone is basically a polite way of saying we would rather gargle rancid mayonnaise than spend 10 minutes in the company of that person. And it's certainly possible that's the case with Bolt and Gay.
It's also possible that Bolt - as illuminated by the resentful-sounding line "He just really gets upset because every time he runs fast, I run faster than he does" - is simply still bitter that he lost. Or maybe he's upset that Tyson's friend Shaq mispronounced his name.
Or perhaps this is just exactly what it should be: the two best sprinters in the world letting some legitimate emotion - and yes, a little bit of anger - make its way toward the surface of their rivalry. Who said all elite athletes had to be good friends? From this vantage point, we'd say it's actually much better theater when they aren't.
And regardless of which side you take, this much we can all agree on: the stakes of the 2011 track and field season - already fairly lofty - just went up considerably.