Sunday, August 26, 2007
Osaka WC, 100m final: 1. Gay... 7. Osovnikar
Tyson Gay outclasses Asafa Powell in the final stages of the men's 100m final
In a 100-meters final that delivered all it promised Sunday, Gay was slower out of the blocks. Once his legs got pumping, he caught and surged past Asafa Powell, Jamaica to claim his first gold medal at a major international championship in 9.85 seconds.
"After 60 meters I saw that I could catch him — and it worked," Gay said. "I stayed relaxed and believed in my top speed even though I had a bad start."
Powell, sensing defeat, was passed by Derrick Atkins of Bahamas at the tape in 9.91. Powell was third in 9.96, and even though he is co-holder of the world record at 9.77, admitted he ran scared.
"I panicked. I felt him coming on," Powell said. "That slowed me down ... I made a big mistake."
Gay, unbeaten this year coming into the championships, felt his composure beginning to slip Sunday morning. "I was wondering, 'Will people still respect me if I lose?'" he said. "I was wondering if anyone would still love me."
A call from his coach, Lance Brauman, who is nearing the end of a prison sentence for embezzlement, theft and mail fraud, calmed his nerves.
"This morning he called me around 11. He told me basically that he knows in the morning when he gets up that I'll be world champion," Gay said.
Some reassuring words from his mother, Daisy Gay Lowe, also helped.
"She talked to me and made me a believer. That's something I wasn't doing," he said.
Watched under a full moon by Japanese Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and some 40,000 fans at the Nagai stadium, Gay pumped his arms, beat his chest and shouted in delight in the victory that ended weeks of nervous preparations.
Powell showed little emotion — his sullen demeanor said it all.
Gay, regularly slower out of the blocks than Powell, had feared a false start, which would put him even more on edge. But the race went off smoothly. And with his head wobbling from side to side, Gay hit his groove.
But once he hits his stride, there is no stopping Gay. It is why he now is an overwhelming favorite to win the 200, too. With a bit of luck, he could also add a title in the 400 relays, where another battle with Powell looms.
"I'm just going to try to ice, get a massage, spend a little time with my family and really focus on the 200 now," Gay said. The 200 heats are set for Tuesday.
Both Gay and Powell were desperate to win their first global title Sunday and gain status as the favorite going into the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"Next year I will get him," Powell vowed. "But for now, I am very disappointed."
Powell barely showed emotion on the track_ a sullen demeanor that said it all. He complained his blocks stumbled at the start.
1. Tyson Gay (USA) 9,85
2. Derrick Atkins (Bahamas) 9,91
3. Asafa Powell (Jamaica) 9,96
4. Olusoji Fasuba (Nigeria) 10,07
5. Churandy Martina (Netherlands Antilles) 10,08
6. Marlon Devonish (Great Britain) 10,14
7. Matic Osovnikar (Slovenia) 10,23
8. Marc Burns (Trinidad & Tobago) 10,29