By Gary Smith, World-Track
The Statistics are showing that he is the quickest man in the world this season, but despite buzzing with confidence, Tyson Gay believes Usain Bolt is the favourite to dethrone him of his sprint titles at the World Championships next month.
“I believe Usain’s the fastest man right now,” admitted the American champion. “He’s the favourite [for Berlin] and that’s good.
"He’s the Olympic champion and I’m having to prove myself again.
Bolt’s guarded performances this season is slowly becoming a dilemma, as his arch rivals are left winded trying to figure out his full capabilities in favourable conditions.
There is no doubt Gay has been remarkable this season – matching his career best in setting a world leading time of 9.77seconds for the 100m and improving his 200m best to 19.58seconds.
But while Bolt’s season marks of 9.79sec and 19.59 are second best to his times, the American, after pondering the horrendous conditions in which the Jamaican accomplished the feats, was thorough in his response.
“This guy’s a beast," Gay said. "You can’t be sure of what he can do and the pressure doesn’t seem to be getting to him.
“He’s a monster, a freak. He’s doing something no one’s ever heard of. He’s in a class of his own, like LeBron James or David Beckham. It’s hard to study people like that.
"He’s having fun and he’s fearless. But I’ve just got to run my race and try not to focus too much on him. I feel like I can handle the pressure because I’ve won world titles, so I can do it again."
The showboating character of Bolt, a 22-year-old who raised the bar in world sprinting, has attracted the attentions of the cameras, but Gay, who portrays the more reserved personality, is happy with just being the next man.
“The pressure’s not begun to build up yet. I’ve not had a lot of media attention, which is right because I haven’t done anything since 2007 that deserves any attention.
“But we’re very different characters anyway, with different styles. He loves the camera. What I do may be boring to some people but that’s the way I do things.”
Gay soundly thrashed Bolt over 200m two-years-ago when winning three gold medals at the last world championships in Osaka.
Bolt returned the favour in a classic world record race in New York last May on his way to breaking the world record for the first time over 100m.
The 26-year-old American then suffered an injury at the U.S trials which played a deep part in his failure to make the finals of the 100m in Beijing, as Bolt went on to create history when he won three gold medals with three world records from his three starts.
It was Bolt’s desire to clash with Gay before Berlin, but although for the first time this season they will cross paths at a meeting next weekend at the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, the pair will not face-off, as they have separate race obligations.
Despite announcing his rival is the favourite to sealed top honours, Gay says he will be disappointed if he does not win the 100m
“In Berlin, the 100m dash will set the tone because whoever wins will strike a psychological blow for the 200m," he said.
"f I’m not victorious in Berlin, I’ll be upset, simple as that, because I’ve been working really hard and my training and my attitude have been so much better.”
Well, well..the psychological games have begun, with Gay being so gracious and all..Sorry to rain on your parade Gay. But your point that there has been no attention on you since 2007 is flawed. Your times of 9.77 and 19.58 have made headlines everywhere. You are just as popular as Bolt, but I must say you are quite honest, unlike some other Americans [like Carl Lewis]. You accept greatness as it is, and I must commend you for that. The WC in Berlin will be alot of fun…and I can’t wait to see this match up. However, one thing that we must bear in mind is that Asafa Powell is coming to form, not just physically but mentally, he will also be a force to reckon with…