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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Tyson Gay returns To 100m with win in New York Diamond League Meeting

Tyson Gay returns To 100m with win in New York Diamond League Meeting

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/10/tyson-gay-new-york-diamond-meeting?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Tyson Gay returns To 100m with win in New York Diamond League Meeting

By Kevin Sully
guardian.co.uk,
Sunday 10 June 2012


Tyson Gay looked as if he never left: the tense pacing as he waited to be called to his mark, the final nervous sip from a water bottle and the characteristic raising of his arms to the sky before he settled into the blocks were all on display at Saturday's Adidas Grand Prix in New York. And so was the speed. In his first race in almost a year, the American record holder shot out of the blocks and sped to a 10.00 clocking. Far from his best, but considering the injuries and the wind (a minus 1.5 meters/second, which adjusts his time into the 9.90 range) a good start.

It was just five days ago when Gay announced that he would make his 2012 debut in New York in the 100m "B" race. After a 2011 that was cut very short by injuries and surgery to his hip, he didn't feel he was ready for the "A" section that featured last year's world champion Yohan Blake. The early cries from the track and field world about him ducking a race with Blake quickly gave way to genuine excitement at the idea of seeing America's fastest man back on the track. Only two months ago he said that he may not race until the Olympic Trials and that he was only training on the track twice a week. Hardly promising signs, especially for a man who has seen his last four seasons fall victim to injuries. As the trials inched closer, seeing Gay at all, let alone his top form, appeared to be a outside proposition.

That was until Saturday. Ato Boldon said Gay's race was what "the entire track and field world is paying attention to." And now Gay's competition must also pay attention. About two hours after Gay's run, Blake won the featured section in a time of 9.90 with a + 0.7 win, giving further belief that Gay is once again ready to run with the world's best. He still has to stay healthy, which is no easy task, especially with the aforementioned surgically repaired hip. It was only last year, when he pulled out of the U.S. Championships after running fast early season times. This time around, even with London 2012 looming, the optimism will be more tempered, but, a season, and career, that appeared to be on the brink, could be poised for a final Olympic run.

While it was Gay's first race of the season, the meet served as a final tune-up for most athletes as they approach their own Olympic trials. The typically dominant Kenyan David Rudisha was extraordinary in the men's 800m. Rudisha followed the pacemaker for the first lap before exploding through the final 400 meters to win a world-leading 1:41.74. The time was the 9th best all-time and the fastest ever run in America. His lone expected rival, Abubaker Kaki, dropped out after one lap.

There was a significant shake-up in the women's sprint hierarchy. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showed signs of life for the first time this season in the women's 100m, where she beat Americans Tianna Madison, Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix. Fraser-Pryce's time of 10.92 was a season best and puts the 2008 gold medalist third on this year's world list. Questions loom even larger for Felix after this race as to whether she wants to run the 100/200 or 200/400 double in the US trials in Eugene and London.

Sanya Richards-Ross also complicated her plans for doubling at the trials after she ran a world-leading 22.09 in the 200 to close out the meet. Known primarily as a 400 runner, Richards-Ross now enters her name into a deep list of women that could vie for a top three placing for the US in the 200. At the trials, the 200 comes after the 400 on the program, so she would still be able tackle her primary race with fresh legs.

Bernard Lagat realigned the planets after an uncharacteristic 14th place finish at last week's Prefontaine Classic. Today, he displayed his typical savvy positioning and incredible finishing speed to outkick Ayanleh Souleiman to win the 1500 in 3:34.63. Lagat, last year's silver medalist in the world 5,000m, used the shorter distance to fine-tune his speed for his attempt at defending his American 5,000 title.

The men's 110 hurdles provided its usual drama. After four false starts, 2011 world champion, Jason Richardson emerged victorious in 13.18. American Aries Merritt was disqualified after false starting twice and David Oliver finished fourth in 13.37.


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