Tyson Gay hates his birthday.
Team USA’s star sprinter failed to medal in the men’s 2012 100-meter final on Sunday, but if he competed in any other era, he would’ve earned a trip to the podium.
Now, when I say every other era, I mean every other era, and that, ladies and gentleman, is why this year’s field was the greatest in Olympic history by far.
Gay recorded a 9.80, which fell short to Justin Gatlin’s 9.79, Yohan Blake’s 9.75 and Usain Bolt’s 9.63. Though Gay will return to America without any 100-meter bling around his neck, his performance was still one of the greatest in Olympic history.
With that time, he would’ve won the gold medal in every single Olympic Games minus 2008—Gay would’ve only won silver there.
In 2004, Gatlin won gold in the 100 with a 9.85. In 2000, Maurice Green won with a 9.87. In 1996, Donovan Bailey won with a 9.84.
Need I continue?
Now, before you question the greatness of this field by asking about the wind, it was aided by a 1.5 meters-per-second breeze. But the IAAF considers a 2.0 m/s tail wind acceptable to qualify for a record so it in no way taints the jaw-dropping times.
But Gay wasn’t the only sprinter who got screwed over by his birthday.
The U.S.’s Ryan Bailey would’ve won silver last year too, with his time of 9.88. His performance would’ve also earned him silver in 1996 and 2000.
Churandy Martina of the Netherlands finished sixth on Sunday, but his time of 9.94 would’ve won silver in 2000. Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson won silver in Beijing, but this year, he finished seventh.
Jamaican Asafa Powell was the only sprinter that didn’t cross the finish line in under 10 seconds, and if it weren’t for a groin injury, he likely would’ve pulled it off too. He recorded the third-fastest reaction time in the field getting out of the starting blocks in 0.155 seconds.
While Bolt will garner plenty of praise in the coming days for breaking the Olympic record—and deservedly so—each and every sprinter deserves hype because they all made up the greatest race in the history of the world.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.