"My son, be attentive to my words. Incline your ear to my sayings..."
Even as Solomon's words of wisdom echo through the ages, experience continues to speak through modern-day sages. Former sprint great and respected track analyst Ato Boldon offered his 10 points of advice to active athletes.
Apparently, Tyson Gay is listening—and like a wise son, he is carefully plotting his future.
The American 100-meter record-holder (9.69) is looking to expand his repertoire across the entire spectrum of competitive sprints.
He already is one of sprinting's most versatile runners, being the only person ever to have accomplished sprinting's hat trick: a sub-10 100m, a sub-20 200m and a sub-45 400m (44.89). Gay is also the fastest man all-time on the 200m-straight (19.41).
Last year in Zurich, he ran the third leg on a makeshift 4x100m relay team which won in 37.45, the world's fourth fastest time ever.
And now, Gay is in pursuit of a personal dream to participate on a world-class 4x400m relay team—with perhaps the 2011 World Championships or the 2012 Summer Olympics as his stage.
An interesting collaboration at the April 9 Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium may provide a revealing launching point for that dream.
Teaming up with former World and Olympic 400m Champion Jeremy Wariner (43.45) and two other sub-45 runners, Lionel Larry (44.63) and Reggie Witherspoon (44.99), Gay should have a successful launch—at least on paper.
That's four runners with sub-45 credentials! At the very least, the meet record of 2:59.86 should be in jeopardy.
At 28, Gay has to be looking at the 2012 London Games as his last real shot at an elusive Olympic gold medal. While his 2010 season included his notorious defeat of Usain Bolt, a world-leading 9.78 100m, and that 200m-straight record, the short sprints are becoming extremely competitive.
Make no mistake, Gay has as good a chance as anyone (Bolt included) to stand at the top of the podium in the sprints in London.
But considering the American team's dismal 4x100 results on the world's biggest stages—and the Jamaican ascendancy in that event—the 4x400m relay may provide him with his best opportunity.
But first things first.
Gay, with little experience running the 4x4, is still a small fish in a big 400m pond. It would serve him well to adhere to Boldon's point no. 9:
"No one ever remembers the pain, but medals are forever. Push! No pro track athlete ever died from a workout. Post-career regret sucks."
Update: According to this source, Gay may possibly compete in the 4x400 at this weekend's Florida Relays as well. Stay tuned.
Update no. 2: Gay did not run at the Florida Relays. Expect a fresh, more prepared, and hungry Tyson Gay at Texas.
Update no. 3: For reasons unknown at this time, Tyson Gay and Reggie Witherspoon did not run in the 4x400 relay. Team Adidas, consisting of Michael Tinsley, Lionel Larry, Darold Williamson and Jeremy Wariner did win the Invitational 4x400, but in a modest (for pros) time of 3:04.38