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Monday, Aug. 18, 2008
Gay has no excuses for failure
By ED ODEVEN
BEIJING — A year ago, Tyson Gay was on top of the world. He outdueled Jamaica's Asafa Powell in the 100-meter final at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka. He also took home gold medals in the 200 and 4x100-relay as well.
On Saturday, he coped with the experience of athletic failure on the sport's biggest stage.
The American star failed to qualify for the 100 final at National Stadium in the Beijing Olympics. He ran the second semifinal from Lane 9 in 10.05 seconds and placed ifth, tying Caribbean sprinter, Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis, for ninth overall.
"I don't know. I gave it my best," Gay said. "That's all I could do. I'm a little upset about the heat."
He also posted sub-standard times in Friday's qualifying rounds (10.09 and 10.22).
Gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica missed the chance to toe the line with the U.S. standout.
"I was really looking forward to competing with him." Bolt said.
Gay returned to action in Beijing after a hamstring injury caused him to tumble to the track in the 200-meter final in July at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in July in Eugene, Ore.
"The injury was a setback to my training, but that's no excuse because my hamstring feels fine," he said. "I feel great, I feel strong, I feel relaxed. It just wasn't there."
American Walter Dix, who won the bronze medal, praised Gay for his desire to compete despite suffering what Gay referred to as a "scary injury" in July.
Dix said Gay remains a great athlete, but acknowledged that "it's really hard to come back from an injury" that quickly before the Olympics.
Athletes have an overabundance of energy on some days and a feeling of invincibility follows them into competition. Saturday was not one of those days for the reigning world champion.
Or as he put it: "I just didn't have nothing in me today. I ran as fast as I could. I gave it 100 percent.
"I got a good start. I was fortunate. I started feeling tired towards the middle."
Two hours later, Gay was to join 90,000-plus spectators to watch the final. That was never on his agenda.
"I'm pretty upset," he said bluntly. "I guess it will probably set in later on. I could have been a little better."
Gay now shifts his focus to the men's 4x100 relay at the Beijing Games. The first round is scheduled for Thursday.