Tyson Gay Plans to Break Obscure 200m WR, Is Completely Delusional About Usain Bolt

↵In 2009, organizers for the Manchester Great City Games constructed a 150m track down the middle of a city street so Usain Bolt could break another world record. Clearly, the gimmick worked, drawing much attention to the city and the event. This year, the organizers of the Great City Games are looking to top that feat…at least in length, setting up a straight 200m track for someone to break the 44-year old record held by American Tommie Smith. American sprinter Tyson Gay is more than happy to take part, especially if it means holding a world record that Bolt won't have. ↵

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↵On May 16th, Smith will be on hand in Manchester to watch Gay try to beat his time of 19.5 seconds in the straight 200m dash. Gay thinks he should have little problem eclipsing the mark – what sprinter has ever lacked confidence in his own abilities – since his personal best in the traditional 200m is 19.58. Take out the bend, and Gay should easily be able to shave off one tenth of a second. Of course, he's adding to the drama a bit by talking about the mental toughness it takes to run in a straight line: ↵

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↵⇥"I've been running around a bend all my life and everyone knows a straight line is always faster than running around a curve," added Gay. "But at the same time I think running a straightaway plays a lot of mind games with the person. ↵⇥

↵⇥"If you are running fast on a straightaway your body may fatigue early as well. I think it's all about the mind, it kind of controls the body in that type of race." ↵⇥

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↵But does it even count if Bolt already holds the world record in the 200m with a time of 19.19 seconds? Using the bend? So if Gay breaks Smith's mark, but doesn't surpass 19.19, he's not really holding the record at any distance, but rather some gimmicky variation of a real record he surely can't break. ↵

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↵It is unfortunate that the second fastest man in the world was unable to run in the 200m at the 2009 World Championships, due to a groin injury, when Bolt shattered the record. Gay has been hampered with injuries and surgery since, but feels in top form, winning the 400m in an event in Florida last week to become the first man to go under 10 seconds in the 100m, 20 seconds in the 200m and 45 seconds in the 400m. Again, this "record" only matters because Bolt hasn't tried it. ↵

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↵But don't tell that to Gay. It seems rather evident that he's no fan of Bolt. ↵

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↵And why should he be? If Bolt came around just two or three years later, not only would Gay have more gold medals and championships, but he'd most likely be the world record holder in at least one of the sprint events. He could be the second fastest man to ever run on a track, but because he's doing it at the same time as Bolt, so the record books may never remember his name. That's how you get quotes like this. ↵

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↵⇥"[I]t's not necessarily unfair, just unfortunate that he's taller than me. It actually allows me to look at myself at being a greater talent, able to run not necessarily as fast as him but close to his times despite only being 5ft 11ins. ↵⇥

↵⇥"He has the turnover and the stride length and I have the turnover, a shorter stride and I am still trying to cover as much ground. I guess its not even height-wise but at the same time there's nothing I can do about that." ↵⇥

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↵To the stretching machine! Seriously, I'm all for jingoistically pulling for American sprinters, especially when someone from another country holds all the records in a sport we've dominated for the better part of 60 years, but claiming you're the "greater talent" because he's taller than you and you stay close in some races? ↵

↵In the race where Bolt shattered his own world record with an 9.58 in the 100m, Gay placed second with a time of 9.71, recording the fastest time ever for any man on the planet not named Usain Bolt and was still way behind. But imagine how fast he'd be if only he was six inches taller! It's like saying a player in a team sport would be the MVP of the league if only he could stay healthy. Well, he's not the MVP, because his body failed him. And Gay isn't the fastest man in the world, nor the greater talent, because his stride isn't as long. ↵

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↵Alas, Gay will be running on May 16th in Manchester in an effort to call himself a world record holder. He just better hope Bolt doesn't get wind of this event and show up at the last minute. That could be embarrassing. (Note, clip may have some off-color language.) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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