Tyson Gay Blows Past Usain Bolt in Upset at Stockholm

August 7, 2010

Now we have a rivalry.

After spending the past two years running in the shadow of Usain Bolt, American Tyson Gay finally exacted some revenge on the Jamaican sprint superstar by defeating him in a head-to-head 100m showdown Friday at a Diamond League event in Stockholm, Sweden.

Gay got off to an excellent start, taking an early lead over Bolt as they ran next to each other in lanes 4 and 5. By the 60 meter mark, Gay's advantage slowly increased, as he accelerated smoothly into his top end speed and powered home toward the tape.

Bolt meanwhile, seemed unable to respond with the same patented long strides and rapid turnover that fans have become so accustomed to seeing in recent years.

As a result, Gay maintained a comfortable lead over the final 10 meters, crossing the finish line in an excellent time of 9.84 seconds. Bolt would go on to finish second in a time of 9.97 seconds. No other sprinter in the field produced a sub-10 time.

Jamaican star Asafa Powell pulled out of the event due to back problems.

Although Gay is the second-fastest man in history, he has largely toiled in obscurity ever since Bolt began posting his series of astonishing world records the last few years.

Many had assumed that for Gay to close that gap, he would have to run a perfect race and simultaneously hope that Bolt would be slightly off his game. However, Gay swept aside such thinking on Friday, as he defeated Bolt without posting a personal best.

In truth, neither man has been at his best during the entire 2010 season.

Gay has been troubled by a sore hamstring all year, and earlier this summer lost his first race of the season to American Walter Dix in the 200m.

Similarly, Bolt has put up some mundane times - for him at least - while struggling to get in proper racing shape. With his overall fitness not at its customary level, Bolt has complained in post-race interviews of needing to increase his strength in training.

Still, Gay's victory does change things to a degree, as he now knows that he can beat Bolt.

More importantly, Gay has learned that victory can be achieved without a Herculean effort on his part. Instead, all that might be required is some good old-fashioned racing guile.

In other words, with neither Bolt nor Gay in peak form, Friday's showdown was more dependent upon race execution and mental toughness, than mere brute physicality.

Prior to the start of the race, the sprinters settled into their starting blocks twice, and both times were forced to come out and reset. Such delays could work the nerves of even the most elite runners, but Gay displayed a veteran's poise by starting well at the gun and then calmly maintaining his form over the final 30 meters.

Nevertheless, Bolt won't be relinquishing his crown anytime soon. He can dismissively chalk up this defeat to his sub-par conditioning, and take comfort in the fact that nobody has yet been able to match him when he is at his record-breaking best. And given his loose, pre-race approach to big meets and his physical gifts, Bolt will remain the man to beat in both the 100m and the 200m.

Next time however, there will be at least one guy in the field who Bolt knows can run past him.

Lolo Jones Upset in Women's 100m Hurdles

With a quality start and excellent technique over the hurdles, Australia's Sally Pearson defeated a loaded field to win the Women's 100m hurdles in a time of 12.57 seconds. Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep placed second in 12.59 seconds.

American Lolo Jones saw her win streak come to an end, as she finished third in 12.70 seconds. Jones fell behind early through the first 50 meters, and was unable to make up the deficit.

"Batman" Jackson Wins Men's 400m Hurdles

Bershawn Jackson continued his excellent season by winning the Men's 400m hurdles in a stadium record time of 47.65 seconds. Jackson ran a consistent race, efficiently maintaining his stride pattern virtually the entire distance. Despite clipping the final hurdle, Jackson was able cross the finish line more than 5 meters ahead of second-place finisher Javier Culson (48.50).

American Angelo Taylor got off to a fast start, but faded to third in 49.57 seconds. Veteran hurdler Felix Sanchez surprisingly false started and was disqualified.

Allyson Felix Wins Women's 200m

Allyson Felix notched another victory this season, winning the Women's 200m in 22.41 seconds. Felix held the lead coming off the turn, and was able to cruise home for the victory.

Americans Shalonda Solomon (22.51) and Bianca Knight (22.59) finished second and third, respectively.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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