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Tyson Gay collects two U.S. titles in Indianapolis

25 June 2007

Tyson Gay Tyson Gay
By John Meyer

Apparently Tyson Gay is still having trouble grasping the concept that he's become the man to beat in the 100 and 200 meters.

He won the 100 at the U.S. Track & Field Championships Friday in 9.84 seconds, the second-fastest time ever run into a headwind. Sunday he lit up the track again, winning the 200 in 19.62, the second-fastest time in history behind Michael Johnson's world record of 19.32 set at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Sunday's feat also came against a headwind.

"I never consider myself the favorite," Gay said. "I try to perform my best regardless if I am the favorite or I'm not the favorite."

But whenever he gets into the starting blocks, spectators sense the possibility of a world record. He's already run faster than Asafa Powell's 100-meter record (9.77), although it was disallowed as the record because of a tailwind.

"He's running well in the 100, he's running well in the 200, we're all just lucky to be able to see somebody run that well," Johnson said.

World champion Allyson Felix called Gay an inspiration after winning the women's 200 in 22.34.

"Tyson was amazing," Felix said. "I wish just a little bit could rub off on me."

In the 200, Gay faced world championships silver medalist Wallace Spearmon, a training partner. Gay opened up a huge lead on the curve and was never threatened.

"Anytime I'm in a race with Wallace Spearmon, I just run as hard as I can to try to get away from him," Gay said. "I heard some heavy breathing the whole way. I don't know if it was me or him, but I heard someone breathing and I was pretty sure it was Wallace. I just had to stay relaxed and keep running."

Gay figures to be the marquee name in American track heading into the Beijing Olympics, and he will get a taste of the headliner's role at the world championships later this summer in Osaka, Japan. Is he ready for that?

"I guess so," the soft-spoken Gay said. "I've never received this much attention. I'm kind of a quiet guy. I guess I'm not a flashy guy. I'm just trying to come out here, learn the sport, learn the history and run the best I can."

Felix overcame a poor start in the women's 200 to edge Sanya Richards, the world's top-ranked 400-meter runner who finished fourth in that event Saturday and was trying to make amends.

"I'm partially satisfied," said Richards, who has been battling illness the past two months. "I thought I'd be on the team for the 400, but I'm going to be on for the 2. Coach (Clyde) Hart and I are going to make sure I'm prepared to go for that gold in Osaka. I didn't want to run today, but I figured if I can make the team, I'm going to go out there and do it."

Felix wasn't surprised to see her pull it off.

"When you're hungry, you can do amazing things," Felix said. "I would never count her out. She made the team, so I know it will be another great battle in Osaka."

Torri Edwards, who won the 100 Friday night, finished third in the 200.

"My main goal was to go out and make the team," Edwards said. "I definitely wanted to go out and win both (100 and 200), but hopefully I can go to the world championships and do it then."

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