In a recent interview with SPIKES magazine, two-time U.S. Olympian Tyson Gay made a bold proclamation for a 30-year-old sprinter: “I believe my best years are ahead of me.” Racing this past Saturday, May 4, at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, Gay took a big step—and as many more steps as it took him to travel 100 meters—toward justifying those words, when he grabbed first place in his signature event.
Winning the 100 meters in a time of 9.86, Gay became the first athlete of the season to post a sub-10-second mark, Capital Sports reports. Jamaican Nesta Carter finished second in 10.03, and the USA’s Darvis Patton was third in 10.07.
“I’m getting back to full fitness, but I’m being very patient with it,” Gay said, referring to the hip and groin injuries he’s grappled with in recent years. Following hip surgery in 2011, he missed nearly a year of competition, and at the 2012 London Olympics, he managed only fourth place in the 100 meters, posting a time of 9.80 in the final.
Gay—who triumphed in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4 x 100-meter relay at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan—has a personal-best 100-meter time of 9.69, which puts him in a tie with Jamaican Yohan Blake for second-fastest performer of all time in the event, behind only Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, who set the current world record of 9.58 in the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Gay ran his 9.69 to finish second to Bolt in that race.
As a fresh crop of sprinters chases those marks, Gay has been experimenting with a new training regimen, slowing down his workouts so that he can “finish all the work rather than run one rep really hard and not complete the set,” as he explained in his chat with SPIKES.
It seems to be working, but the ultimate test will come in August, when Gay will head to Moscow to compete in this year’s IAAF World Championships. Prior to his Russian trip, he’ll visit New York City to compete in the ninth-annual adidas Grand Prix, the third stop on this year’s IAAF Diamond League circuit. That event will take place on May 25 at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island.
“I’m feeling good, the best I’ve been in a long while, and I’m looking forward to Moscow and will give it all I’ve got,” Gay said.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg