Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tyson Gay healthy but nervous as 100m approaches

BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) - The surgically repaired hip that kept Tyson Gay off the track for nearly a year showed no signs of slowing the world's second fastest man at a closely watched pre-Olympic practice on Wednesday.

"(Coach Jon Drummond) said I am about two to three workouts away from being perfect," Gay told reporters.

There is no hip pain, he said, just the normal groin soreness that the American sprinter has experienced for years from the hard pounding his body takes on track.

"Surgery is good," he said. "Health is good. So whatever happens happens."

What the soon-to-be 30-year-old hopes happens is for him to climb on the podium for the first time at an Olympic Games and accept a 100 metres medal in London next month.
Despite his many accomplishments in a sport he dearly enjoys, the former double world sprint champion has never won an Olympic medal.

Injuries had the American at less than full strength in the 2008 Olympics and he bowed out in the semi-final round of what became the Usain Bolt speed show.

"I am feeling nervous because this is it," Gay said of the upcoming renewed rivalry with Bolt and new man on the block, world champion Yohan Blake. "It is the big show.

"Every race I run I am nervous, small or big, that is just me," he said. "(But) I know it is going to be big."

For Gay to medal in athletics' biggest race he knows his start must be good or better, so on Wednesday for much of his workout, he repeatedly rushed out of the starting block in short bursts to test his preparedness.

"I'm just trying to execute the first part of my race, which I have been lacking," he said.

While Bolt and Blake have worked in privacy, Gay's session was open to media and a small gathering of onlookers.

"We are only 10 days away from the (athletics at the) Games so there is not too much you can really hide," he said.

The public appearance will not be his last, either, as he plans to march in Friday's opening ceremony.

"You never know when it is going to be your last one," said Gay, who has no plans to retire after these Games.

"It's about the medal," he said of the Olympics. "But it is about the experience as well. So I definitely want to be able to go out there with some of my team mates."
(Reporting By Gene Cherry in Birmingham, England, editing by Mark Meadows)