Tyson Gay: 4x100-Meter Relay Will Be Sprinter's Last Chance at an Olympic Medal

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05:   Tyson Gay of the United States looks on after the Men's 100m Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Tyson Gay is one of the fastest sprinters in history, but an Olympic medal has remained elusive throughout his career. Hopefully, that will change in his final event in London.

In the 2008 Olympics, Gay was expected to be one of the top contenders for a gold medal in the 100-meter dash. Unfortunately, he did not even get past the semifinals in that event. In the 4x100-meter relay, he could not grab the baton from his teammate and his squad was disqualified.

It is fair to say that Beijing was a disappointment for the talented athlete.

Fortunately, he has come back strong. In 2009, he broke the American record by running the 100-meter dash in 9.69 seconds. This is the fastest time for anyone in history not named Usain Bolt.

He took that momentum into the London Olympics, but once again fell short of the podium. He finished fourth in the 100-meter finals, only .01 second behind teammate Justin Gatlin for the bronze.

This leaves only the relay as an opportunity to finally earn some hardware at the most prestigious event in the world. While the Jamaican team should be tough to beat, Gay, Gatlin and Ryan Bailey should make the U.S. contingent worthy competitors.

The key will be to not lose focus. The squad had the skill to medal in Beijing, but a poor exchange cost them everything. This time around, they need to not worry about the competition and simply run the best race they can.

If the team once again fails to medal, time might be running out for Gay.

The American just turned 30, a point where most sprinters start breaking down. Justin Gatlin is the only person ever to run under a 9.8 after turning 30, and that was this week. In addition, younger rivals like Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake are only getting better.

Tyson Gay has had an amazing career, posting some of the best sprinting times that anyone has ever seen. Unfortunately, his Olympic performances have been a little disappointing.

His trophy case should already be filled with plenty of Olympic gold medals, but he will now need to hope for one of any color in what will likely be his final event ever.