By Gary Smith, World-Track
Photo by Track and Field Photo Magazine

EUGENE — World champion Tyson Gay has back newly crowned American national 100-metres champion Mike Rogers to excel over the distance as his career progresses.

Gay, the sprint double champion from the Osaka World Championships two-years-ago, said h sees his own familiar transition in Rogers, who is slowly becoming one of the leading lights in American sprinting.

"I see the progression [in Rogers] similar to what I had when I had my breakout year," said an observant Gay.

"He was kind of running 10 (seconds) for the past couple of years and had a breakout year this year."

Rogers has been impressive the later parts of season – winning his last three 100m dashes, including two wins over former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica.

In spite of this, however, the former NAIA sprint champion remains modest about his chances against the sprint gurus, being led by world record holder Usain Bolt.

"Those are the big dogs. I’m the little dog," Rodgers said. "I’ve just got to wait my turn like everybody else. When it’s my turn to beat them, I’ll beat them."

The 24-year-old almost gave up track and field a few years ago after realizing he could make more money sell shoes.

A word from the wise persuaded the sprinter to take the sport a bit more serious again and the rest is now history.

"I’d buy like 20 pairs of shoes, and double my money," said Rodgers, who got his shoes at a discounted rate at his job in a sporting goods store.

"Sell shoes, go to school, get good grades. And try to train. That was the hard part," he said. "It was hard. But a lot of people believed in me."

Rogers won the national title in 9.91seconds over the veteran Davis Patton.

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