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Michael Johnson: "Tyson Gay is the Carl Lewis of his day"

26 August 2007
bbc.co.uk

By Michael Johnson

Tyson Gay is the Carl Lewis of his day, showing the same ability to relax, allow the race to come to him and pull away to take 100m gold.

Asafa Powell is a great talent but he's not a great competitor, you can see it in his eyes. He can learn to be a great competitor, but first you have to admit that you're not.

As a competitor, even though it looks like it may be over, you don't give up until it's completely done and I've never seen a world record holder drop his head and give up in a major final.

That should have been a silver he won, but he didn't, he got a bronze.

Asafa didn't run the same race as he ran in the preliminary rounds because in the preliminary rounds, as when he broke the world record, he was ahead and there wasn't the same pressure.

He and Tyson got out of the blocks together but Powell has that incredible transition out of his start, which is very powerful and explosive, and into his running and he was able to drive away.

He said he clipped his heel, but that must have helped him because he said he did it at the beginning and he still got a great start!

But after the drive phase you could see him thinking, I'm losing it, I'm losing it, and he just gave up at that point. That's what was really disappointing. He just dropped his head.

Tyson's start is still not very good and he'll be much better when he learns to relax straight out of the blocks. He's not good at the drive phase and he stresses and strains, but when he gets up and starts to relax he's much better.

A couple of years ago we thought Tyson could become the guy to beat in the 200m but he gained a lot of confidence last year and this year by doing things like this.

It's going to be difficult now for Asafa. Britain's Craig Pickering said it best, this was a good opportunity for every sprinter.

It's going to get more difficult next year. This year there was only one American in the final but that is going to change with collegiate champion Walter Dix coming through and guys like Marc Burns of Trinidad and Tobago.

Also, Derrick Atkins' confidence will be boosted by his silver medal and he'll go into the next major championship thinking that he's supposed to be there now. Asafa will now have to deal with him.

Atkins is a pure power runner and that's what got him through to the silver medal. He just took advantage of the fact that Asafa gave up.

Britain's Marlon Devonish really did nothing wrong in finishing sixth. He ran a good race and couldn't have executed much better.

If he had been a 100m runner from the very beginning he'd be doing a lot better at this point. But he's not going to be able to do much more than reach a major final at this point in his career.

Had he been in finals before the difference would have been experience and he would have been able to make adjustments in training to allow him to run a better race, have a better strategy, be stronger and more powerful out of the blocks and he may have been able to sneak a medal.

Five-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson was speaking to Sue Barker on BBC One.



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