http://www.universalsports.com/news-blogs/blogs/blog=blockheadblog/postid=539006.html#has+tyson+gays+prime+vanished+amid+injuriesHas Tyson Gay's prime vanished amid injuries? By Joe Battaglia,
25 June 2011
EUGENE, Oregon -- Word spread through Hayward Field like wildfire.
It started with a straightforward Tweet from television commentator Ato Boldon. "@TysonLGay just pulled out of the USA championships."
Of course, if you are out of the national championships, it also means you are out of the World Championships. So in 51 characters, the 10,057 fans here at the USA Outdoor Championships and countless beyond who have longed for a matchup between the two fastest men in history - Tyson Gay and Jamaica's Usain Bolt - in Daegu saw their wishes blow up Kaiser Soze style.
Just like that, Gay was gone.
But the lingering question is can we expect him to be back, next year for the Olympic Trials and the London Games?
Within just the last Olympic quadrennium, Gay's body has failed him on an almost-yearly basis. After winning the 100m at the 2008 Trials, Gay suffered a hamstring injury in the first round of the 200m and never fully recovered. In Beijing, he finished fifth in his semifinal heat of the 100m and failed to advance.
In 2009, Gay competed injury-free and wound up winning silver in the 100m at the World Championships in Berlin and later set the American record of 9.69 at the Shanghai Super Grand Prix. But then in 2010, an ankle injury sidelined him until July, and this season, he has complained about his hip.
He mentioned it prominently during press conferences before the Diamond League meet in New York two weeks ago. And then, after a sluggish opening-round 100m here on Thursday, Gay said the hip was sore, that he wanted to get treatment on it, and that he would see how it responded.
Obviously, not well.
Gay's manager, Mark Wetmore, said that Gay scratched from the 100m because "he was unable to warm up due to a hip and adductor problem on his right side. As Tyson has mentioned, it has been bothering him for several months." Wetmore also told Reuters that Gay would not try to run in the 200m heats beginning on Saturday.
At 28 years old, Gay is hardly what anyone would consider to be old. But he has run 239 races (103 of them 100s of which a good deal saw him hammer the throttle to make up for slow starts) totaling 28,900 meters in distance.
God only knows how much training mileage at full speed he has logged on top of that. Isn't it conceivable that the timing belt on Gay's engine is about to blow? If you're wondering, the 24-year-old Bolt has run 166 races in his career, 93 of them 200s,
and other than the effects of scoliosis and last year's lower back injury, he has maintained relatively good health.
In comparison, it sure seems like Gay is breaking down.
"I had to scratch from today's 100m at the US Champs," Gay posted on his Facebook page. "Disappointed I won't race in Daegu."
Gay has to look beyond this season and get back to a point where his body can hold up through the punishment of four rounds at the global championships. With the London Olympics next year and the 2013 World Championships in Moscow as the meets of focus the next two years, preparing solely for the circuit is not enough.
Gay ran reasonably well - he totally slammed the breaks with 10 meters left, and still clocked 10.01 - with a sore hip on Friday. If that were a Diamond League meet, and Gay had a week or more until his next race, he would have been fine. But when he had to come back on short rest he, "just couldn't get it to go no matter how hard I tried."
At a promotional event in New York two weeks ago, Gay spoke about his health woes and said, "These injuries have made me who I am today. They make me fight harder. They make me work smarter. It's one of those things where at 75 percent I still run with all of my heart."
But track & field does not follow a Marcus Aurelius script. Gay rejecting his sense of injury will not make them disappear.