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Michael Johnson: Racing Bolt before Berlin would have been risky for Gay

By Gary Smith, World-Track

American former Olympic 200 and 400 metres champion Michael Johnson, believes Tyson Gay was correct in his decision not to race against Usain Bolt before the World Championships.
tysongayBoth Gay and Bolt talked up possible showdowns before the world championships and was given the perfect opportunity to do so at last weekend’s London Grand Prix.

Things, however, changed as the American picked up a groin injury and decided to side-stepped the anticipated 100 metre clash with his Jamaican rival and instead race in the 200m, a decision Johnson reasoned as sensible.

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"I can certainly understand why everyone would want to see them face each other before Berlin. But you have to ask yourself, what’s in it for Tyson? Johnson, who holds the 400m world record, wrote on telegraph.co.uk.

"Lack of head-to-head competition between the top athletes in events has long been cited as one of the big problems with the sport and I agree that more meetings between the best would give track and field a boost.

"But Tyson’s priority has to be preparing for the World Championships. He knows that a match-up with Bolt would be a huge, high-profile event placing a tremendous amount of pressure on him.

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He added: "And he knows that he could possibly end up giving some competitive advantage to Bolt or losing some confidence himself ahead of the World Championships by racing him beforehand. It is a huge risk to take for not very much reward."

Gay, the defending world championships sprint double champion, has the two fastest time for both events this season, at 9.77 for the 100m and 19.58 for the 200.

But Bolt, who holds the world records and Olympic crowns, is not too far away with 9.79 and 19.59, with his performances coming in appalling conditions earlier this month.

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The pair is set for one of the biggest showdowns in track and field in Berlin next month, and with Bolt running unchallenged in the last two seasons, Johnson is ready to see how well he responds to what is expected to be two a close races.

"When Bolt and Gay do eventually match up in Berlin over the 100m and 200m, it will be very interesting to see how Bolt responds to the challenge," said Johnson.

"Gay is the closest thing to competition that Bolt will have seen since his emergence last year as the fastest man in the world. There is no one else out there to touch them."

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In the meantime, Gay will take on Bolt’s fellow countryman and former world record holder Asafa Powell in Stockholm on Friday.

According to reports, Powell, who was reportedly under heavy weights training before his poor performance in London last Friday, will be very strong at the DN Gala.

Powell got a rocket of a start last year to beat Bolt in a close race.

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Put together by a member of the World-Track and Field Website team members. This is usually done by an in house member with able assistance from someone or an agency reporting from outside.

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