EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Double world champion Tyson Gay raised sprinting to a new level with his wind-assisted run of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials, American men’s athletics coach Bubba Thornton said on Monday.
“He has demonstrated, whether the wind was 4.1 (meters per second) or not, a 9.6 (legal race) is in there for him,” Thornton told Reuters in an interview a day after Gay’s blazing 100 meters win to make his first Olympic team.
“It showed his strength development,” Thorton added. “Also his ability to close.”
Gay had command of the race by 40 meters and powered his way aggressively to the finish.
“It was an incredible moment,” Thornton said.
No man has ever run faster under any conditions but the wind, more than double the limit of two meters a second, denied Gay any chance of breaking Jamaican Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.72 seconds.
“He wants to be one of the special guys who have ever been in this sport,” Thornton told a meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America earlier on Monday.
“The Olympic trials set the stage for the years to come, and I think that’s what Tyson wanted...to raise the bar a notch.”
Three Olympic gold medals are Gay’s objective this year and he begins competition in the Olympic trials 200 meters on Friday.
Gay finished more than a tenth of second behind Jamaican Usain Bolt on May 31 when the Jamaican set his world record of 9.72 seconds.
“But people learn from their mistakes,” U.S. men’s sprint coach Harvey Glance told Reuters.
“He was staying to a schedule and that schedule may have been more about preparing for the Olympic trials than running Usain Bolt in New York.”
“He was doing some heavy training that week,” added Thornton.
Now Gay has thrown down his challenge to Bolt and world record holder Asafa Powell.
“I thought he could have broken the world record in the quarter-finals,” said Glance of Gay’s U.S. record run of 9.77 seconds on Saturday.
“He certainly provided that his victories at last year’s world championships were no fluke.”
(Editing by John Mehaffey)