So sore for so long, Tyson Gay is sometimes leery of digging deep and testing out that surgically repaired hip. In a race between a fellow thirty-something, he really had no choice.
Down early against Justin Gatlin after a slow start, Gay had ground to make up. So, he cranked it up a level. The hip responded just fine. And with it any doubts about Gay’s health instantly vanished as he roared back to beat Gatlin to capture the 100 meters on Friday night at the USA Outdoor Track & Field championships in Des Moines.
Gay finished in a time of 9.75 seconds, the fastest in the world this season. Gatlin wound up in second and Charles Silmon took third as he held off Michael Rodgers for the last spot on the team headed to Moscow for the world championships in August.
“That,” Gay said, his grin growing wider, “went good.”
Finally, the 30-year-old is healthy and training without discomfort.
“Tyson can be great if he’s healthy,” former Olympic champion Maurice Greene said.
In the women’s 100, Oregon star and NCAA champion English Gardner, who just recently turned pro, captured the title, breezing past the field even on a balky ankle. Octavious Freeman was second and Alexandria Anderson took third to earn spots to worlds.
Other winners on Friday were A.G. Kruger (hammer throw), Brad Walker (pole vault), Lance Brooks (discus) and Sharon Day (heptathlon). It was a quite a two-day stretch for Day as she as she finished with a personal-best score of 6,550 points.
LaShawn Merritt had the top time in the 400 to advance to the final, while Manteo Mitchell squeaked into the last spot after Michael Berry was disqualified for lane violation.
Chantilly’s Sean McGorty, who won the 3,000 meters at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals last week, had the second-fastest qualifying time in the junior 1,500 in 3 minutes 51.16 seconds. The final is Saturday.
Wootton’s Gwen Shaw missed out on the final in the junior 400-meter hurdles, finishing 10th in 1:01.13.
Sanya Richards-Ross, recovering from an injury that delayed the start of her season, remained alive for a berth at the world championships. The reigning Olympic gold medalist snagged the fourth and final qualifying spot of her 400-meter semifinal, looking sluggish down the stretch in 51.53. Hampton’s Francena McCorory led all qualifiers in 50.53.
Lolo Jones won her preliminary in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing with the third-fastest time of the day in 12.50. Brianna Rollins ran a wind-aided 12.33, and former Virginia Tech star Queen Harrison was second in 12.44.
Usain Bolt clocked 9.94 seconds in the 100 meters to win the finals of the Jamaica national championships in Kingston.
Behind the two-time Olympic champion was Kemar Bailey-Cole at 9.98 and Nickel Ashmeade at 9.99. Former world record holder Asafa Powell did not finish in the top three to qualify for the worlds.