SALVO, NORTH CAROLINA (Reuters) - Tyson Gay has given up hope of running in the 200 metres at this year’s London Olympics, opting instead to focus all his energy on the 100m dash.
As one of the world’s fastest sprinters, it was an agonising decision for the American to drop one of his pet events, but one where he let his head rule over his heart.
Plagued by injuries for the past few seasons, Gay does not want to tempt fate, so is pinning his hopes on the shorter sprint at this year’s U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon.
“It only makes sense to focus on the 100 after the setbacks I have had this year,” he told Reuters in an interview.
“We are going to put everything in one basket at the (U.S.) trials. I don’t even have a (qualifying) time for the 200.”
The top three finishers in each event will qualify for London but there is also spots in the 4x100m relay.
Gay won the 100m and 200m at the 2007 world championships in Japan and is ranked second all time, behind Usain Bolt, over the shorter distance.
“It is not going to be easy,” he said. “Someone always comes out of the blue to try and grab a spot, but I really do expect to make the team.”
Gay did not win a medal at the last Olympics in Beijing but his appeal has not dimmed and he remains one of the faces of American athletics.
Last year, he was signed up by EAS Sports Nutrition to serve as one of their ambassadors for the Olympics.
Injuries have been always been a way of life for the speedster and he continues to have problems. Just last year his season was cut short by a hip injury that required surgery.
But the latest problems, to his groin and a tendon, have been among the most troublesome.
“On a scale of one to 10, I would say it was a 10,” the 29-year-old said.
“Other problems I would have, they would nag for a little bit but they would go away. This is something that has been lingering (since 2009).
“Except for a little bit in the fall, until five weeks ago I was off the track, just trying do rehab. In January I wasn’t even able to jog. Now I am able to jog a little bit, go a little bit faster than a jog.”
While Gay’s previous Olympic experience ended in disappointment but that has only fueled his determination to succeed this year.
Although he was the reigning 200m world champion, he missed the event in Beijing after getting injured at the trials and failing to qualify. Then he missed out on making the final in the Chinese capital. His misery was compounded after the U.S. messed up a baton change and didn’t qualify for the relay final.
“I came up real short in 2008 and I just wanted to stay healthy and have a fair chance at a medal (in London),” he said.
“At the end of the day I am just going to have to put in the hardest three months of my life and get ready for the Olympic trials.
“That is the only thing I can do. I can’t look back now.”
Editing by Julian Linden; Please double click on the news link:; for more athletics stories; for more sports stories