Tyson Gay: Why USA Star Shouldn't Be Counted Out in London

Ryan HeidrichCorrespondent IIJuly 25, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13:  Tyson Gay (C) of USA, Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis (R) and Kemar Hyman of Cayman Island in action in the 100m during day one of the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on July 13, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

One of the most highly anticipated events at the Olympics is the 100-meter dash. It is one of the shortest events at the Olympics, but the drama and suspense are enormous. 

American Tyson Gay comes to London with revenge on his mind. His 2008 Olympic performance was nothing short of disappointing.

During the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, Gay pulled up with a hamstring injury during his 200-meter race. The injury ruined his training schedule, and it showed in Beijing.  He did not make it out of the semifinal heat in the 100-meter race, and then was involved in a dropped baton in the 4x100-meter relay.

Gay will not compete in the 200-meter race in London, which will help his training and performance in the 100-meter event immensely. He has been plagued by injuries since 2008 but claims that he is as close to 100 percent as he can be.

Gay has been training in Birmingham, England, and is working on perfecting his start, something that is so important in the short race. Sprinters have a short performance shelf life, and this is likely the last chance for the 29-year-old to cement his legacy in American track and field history.

The current U.S. 100-meter record holder has a chance to be part of a fascinating event that features Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell and Gay’s teammate, Justin Gatlin.

The event is loaded with talent. It is going to take a near-perfect run to capture the gold.

Bolt, the early favorite and the world record holder in the 100, has shown he's vulnerable. Bolt lost the 100-meter dash in the Jamaica Olympic Trials to Blake. Gatlin beat Gay in the U.S. trials, showing that this event is truly wide open.

It is finally time for Gay to show up in prime time. He deserves for everything to fall into place on the biggest stage. He is an extremely humble athlete, despite all that he has accomplished. He is not as charismatic as Bolt, which makes him less popular with the casual fan.

His improving health is the main reason that he has a legitimate chance to win the 100-meter race. His latest injury, a hip problem that he suffered in 2011, kept him off the track until June. He claims that the injury is behind him, and he is training at a healthy level.

Gay recently told USA Today, "I’m healthy. I don’t have any excuses. The start’s good. The hip’s good. So whatever happens, happens."

In an Olympic tuneup, Gay recently won the 100-meter event at the London Grand Prix. Gay recorded a 10.03-second time but ran into a headwind of 1.2 meters per second.

It was an event that did not feature any of Gay’s main Olympic rivals. Powell had to withdraw from the event due to a groin strain, which could affect his Olympic performance. Usain Bolt also did not participate in the event.

Although the talent level was not Olympic-caliber, it is a good sign that Gay won the tuneup race. After his disappointing Olympic campaign in 2008, Gay needs all of the confidence he can get heading into London.

To further boost his confidence, Gay also won the 100-meter race at the Diamond League Areva earlier in July. The event, which was held in France. is noteworthy because of Gay’s victory over Gatlin, who beat him at the U.S. trials just 12 days earlier. 

Gay is healthy for the first time since 2007, when he won three gold medals at the World Championships. With two wins in July, Gay should not be overlooked in the 100-meter sprint.