Gay says win over Bolt good for athletics
Google Sports News
12 August 2010
LONDON — Tyson Gay insists finally getting one over sprint superstar and arch-rival Usain Bolt has provided athletics with a much-needed shot in the arm.
American sprinter Gay heads into the two-day Diamond League meeting here at Crystal Palace, which begins on Friday, full of confidence following his victory over Jamaica's Bolt in the 100 metres in Stockholm last week, his first-ever win against the world and Olympic champion.
Bolt may have been struggling with a back problem during that race -- and he has since announced he will not be competing for the rest of 2010 -- but Gay revealed his life had changed dramatically after last Friday?s exploits in the Swedish capital.
"The win really meant a lot to me -- it was very important for myself, and also for the sport," Gay told reporters here on Thursday.
"I know this may sound weird but I have received more attention for that victory than I did when I won (gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m) in the 2007 World Championships.
"That race, even though there weren't any medals on the line, it really meant a lot to people and to the fans of the sport. I got to see other people happy. It was a good day for the sport," Gay added.
The American looks to have victory in the 100m sewn up in London on Friday following the withdrawal of Asafa Powell, the Jamaican who has run the world's joint-fastest time in the sprint this year at 9.82 seconds
Powell announced on Thursday that he had failed to recover from the ongoing back problems which forced him out of the Stockholm meeting last week.
"I visited the doctor yesterday (Wednesday) and he has advised me not to run in order to help the recovery of my injury," Powell said in a statement.
"I had hoped it would be better but unfortunately this is not so."
Gay was disappointed to hear of Powell's withdrawal but said being fully fit for 2011, a World Championships year, was clearly a priority for his rival.
"I definitely understand he wouldn't want to risk further injury by racing," Gay said. "Next year is a big year so it only makes sense for him to do what's best for him."
Breaking Bolt's world record of 9.58 secs appears to be well beyond the reach of Gay on Friday, with British weather conditions rarely suited to sprinting.
"I don't know how fast I can go," said Gay, when asked about his targets for Crystal Palace. "It depends on the conditions. I can have a goal to run 9.5 but all I'm going to do is work my best to reach my full potential. Sometimes wind can play in favour of you reaching those goals."
American 110m hurdler David Oliver is another world-class performer down to run in London, and is in fine form after clocking a personal best and national record of 12.89 secs -- just 0.02 secs off Dayron Robles's world record - in Paris last month.
He has another opportunity to surpass the Cuban's time in London but knows it will be extremely tough.
"Nobody's ever run sub-13 seconds here in the UK. There's a reason for that," Oliver said.
"There have been some great hurdlers that have ran here so the conditions really dictate who is going to run what. I can't really worry about the times, just about getting the win."