WOW! Who would’ve called that one? Gay over Bolt?! As shocking as the news headlines may be, it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. I’m not claiming that I predicted this, but several indications have shown that this could be coming.
Sure, Bolt was absolutely unbeatable in 2009, smashing his own world records in the 100m and 200m by unheard of margins. However, coming into 2010, an “off” year in the track and field world with no Olympics or World Championships, the Jamaican superstar did say he would not train as hard to give his body a rest after two long years of arduous competition. Even for someone as freakishly talented as Bolt, he can’t get away with being unprepared, especially with a man like Tyson Gay waiting in the wings. We’ll see if Bolt’s decision to relax his training in 2010 will pay off. If he gets back to his record-shattering ways in 2011, few will remember this defeat in Stockholm.
As for race tactics, Gay executed his plan to perfection. As Ato Boldon said on the race telecast, the best chance to take down Bolt is to put pressure on him from the gun since Bolt, even with his amazing times, often doesn’t have that great of a start. Gay gained a yard on his opponent by 40 meters and held his lead throughout. The last loss Bolt had over 100m back in July 2008 had a similar pattern. Asafa Powell took down his countryman by gaining a significant lead from the start and held on for victory. A video of that race can be found here.
Let’s hope that this is the dawn of a new sprint rivalry. It’s been fun watching Bolt smash records, but it would be far more exhilarating for two men to battle for years to come for the title of World’s Fastest Man.
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