Bolt v Gay to light up Berlin
Usain Bolt versus Tyson Gay is the sort of showdown that would grace any era of athletics and with a bit of luck the world championships in Berlin should give us two takes — in the 100 and 200 metres.
The match-up between the Jamaican and the American was supposed to be the highlight of the Beijing Olympics but it wasn’t meant to be. Bolt stole the show with three golds and three world records while Gay failed even to make the 100 final. Bolt was in such crowd-pleasing form that in truth you hardly noticed the other seven runners on the track.
Gay leads the world rankings in both events but Bolt is right behind and both are in great form.
Gay has every reason to be hopeful: he’s racing well, he’s the defending champion, he wants revenge and Bolt started the season late after a car crash.
But Gay has been known to crack, or at least creak under pressure while Bolt becomes cooler and calmer as the heat is turned up. The Jamaican also has the momentum carried over from Beijing and the Lightning Bolt show is such a crowd pleaser, he will have fans on his side.
All in all, Bolt appears to have the edge but does it matter who wins? Bolt’s star is shining so bright, even a loss in Berlin (which I doubt very much will happen) would only slightly dim it.
The Olympics rank so high above the worlds and Bolt was so spectacular in Beijing that it will take more than one race for him to lose his reputation as the world’s best sprinter. Gay’s chance to take that title will not come until London in 2012.
PHOTO: Usain Bolt poses for photographs before a news conference at a beach reggae club in Berlin, August 13, 2009. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz