Tyson Gay Risks Injury for High Reward in Pre-Olympic Meets

Gil ImberAnalyst IIJune 26, 2012

BERLIN - AUGUST 16:  Tyson Gay of United States celebrates winning the silver medal in the men's 100 Metres Final during day two of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2009 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

When U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay dropped the 200-meters in late March, the Lexington native made a statement: After recovering and returning from hip surgery, Gay had his sights set on an Olympic medal, no matter the color or the race it is associated with.

Gay told Luke Cyphers of ESPN.com, "I want an Olympic medal, to come home with it. I'm never going to be [fully] satisfied, but I would be satisfied in that area with a medal."

Though Gay still risks re-injury or a complication from his ninth months-removed hip surgery, Gay has truly taken the Friedrich Nietzche phrase, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger" to heart in his medal quest.

In putting his all into the 2012 Games, Gay has declared he will run the French stage of the Diamond League in Paris on July 6, gaining some much-needed international competition experience in the wake of his Eugene runs.

However, champions are not defined by one pre-Olympic meet, suggesting that the next logical step in Gay's training is to declare for the London leg of the Diamond League. In what would be a final tune up for the burgeoning Gay, running in another Diamond race will give Gay the opportunity to make up for lost time and make those all-too-crucial last-minute adjustments before jaunting next door to the Olympic Games.

And if Gay wants to continue tweaking his performance after Diamond London, third-time's-the-charm Monaco is just one week later.

In the end, only Gay knows how he feels and whether he needs the added work.

Though Gay doubled as a World Champion in the 100 and 200 meters in Osaka in 2007, on the heels of two golds at the 2006 World Cup in Athens, he has never medaled in an Olympic Games, missing out on the 100-meter finals in Beijing by nine one-hundredths of one second while seeing his 4x100 relay team disqualified in the wake of a botched baton transfer he wasn't even part of.

Gay can do it—he knows that. After beating world record holder Usain Bolt in Stockholm during the 2010 season, Gay knows what it takes to win. He told Anna Kessel of The Guardian, "I put so much adrenaline and so much mental and physical preparation into this big match-up that when I ran I was happy but I was also drained."

Yet, by the same token, Gay credits his success precisely to Bolt. He admitted to Luke Cyphers of ESPN.com, "If Bolt wasn't here, I may not have ever thought about running 9.5 or 9.6. Running his times has helped me reach further goals of mine as well as dropping my time."


Gay has already demonstrated his capability of post-injury success, running a 9.86 at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene en route to a month-long pre-Olympic training regimen that will surely be grueling, so as to cut Gay's time down to one that's truly medal-worthy.


As exhausting as the full docket of Diamond League meets might be before the Olympic Games, if Gay believes they could have any shot at giving him a better chance of medaling, shouldn't he go for it?