U.S. track & field athlete Tyson Gay is entering the 2012 Olympics during an era of the fastest sprinters we've ever seen.
If Gay makes it to the final of the 100-meter on August 5, he will likely be facing Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, either of whom can lay claim to the title of fastest man in the world. In London, Gay will also be up against his own teammate, Justin Gatlin.
Gay, who has run the 100-meter faster than any American, has a personal best time in the event of 9.69, but that was before his career was riddled with injury — he hurt his hamstring in the trials before the Beijing games and was eliminated in the semifinals. A year ago, he had surgery on his hip. He has yet to win an Olympic medal.
"I came up short in 2008.... so I really wanted to redeem myself for my family and my country," Gay told reporters at the Adidas media lounge today. "I think last year was my toughest time, not able to run or even compete. I remember one of my friends said he knew I was in pain because he had never seen my quit before."
"It’s tough, but on this day, it’s about going home with a medal," he said about facing sprinters, like Bolt and Blake, who may be faster than him. "If they run those times I’ve never done before, I can only hope my body is able to go there as well."
The 100-meter with the three athletes could be the fastest race of its kind. It could be the last change at an Olympic medal for Gay, 29, and one of the few chances to regain U.S. dominance in the event.
"I think it’s very important for the U.S. to get back on top in the sprints," Gay said. "I think it’s very important for us to win the relay. And it’s very important for me to try to take some leadership and try to be a part of history for the united states, as well."