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Johnson says Gay and others racing for silver if Bolt stays around

By Gary Smith, World-Track

How remarkable was Usain Bolt in Berlin on Sunday? Well the reaction of Michael Johnson, who was left "speechless" with his performance says it all.

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boltchestBERLIN — American legend Michael Johnson says the chances of other athletes winning the 100 metres at major championships is definitely over, if Usain Bolt remains injury free in the coming years.

"The question for Bolt’s rivals is: what can they do about him? Let’s look at the situation from Tyson Gay’s perspective," Johnson said.

"He has just run 100m in 9.71, a time that he might never have thought he would be capable of achieving. And he got beaten by two metres."

Johnson said Gay’s 2007 sprint double gold medal performance in Osaka, two-years-ago looks likely to be the only major titles he will achieve with Bolt around.

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"Thank goodness, from Gay’s point of view, that he had the opportunity in 2007 to win world championship golds at 100 and 200m," Johnson, who holds the 400m world record said. "For him, it’s over.

"And the same is true for other young sprinters of around Bolt’s age, like Daniel Bailey and Richard Thompson. What can they do?

"There are eight lanes on a running track and organisers are going to have to fill the other seven, so there will be a living to be made, but the prospect of major titles at 100m for anyone apart from Bolt in the foreseeable future is zero as long as he stays uninjured."

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Bolt blasted his way to a unbelievable 9.58seconds world record to win the 100m at the world championships in Berlin on Sunday — erasing his own previous mark of 9.69, set at the Beijing Olympic Games last summer.

But that run was not what struck down the outspoken Johnson, as while his fellow commentating colleagues were up their feet urging Bolt’s run, the American retired television analyst admits that was left speechless.

"It’s true that while my colleagues in the studio were up on their feet urging Usain Bolt on to victory and the world record, I was stuck in my chair, absolutely speechless," said Johnson, who predicted the day before that everyone else would be running for the silver and medals on Sunday.

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"It was the same just after the race: there really aren’t words to describe what we had just seen. But I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on it now, and the thing for me is not just "How great is Usain Bolt?" We know the answer to that one. For me, it’s more about a new way of thinking about the 100m at the top level for the next few years."

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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.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mike

    August 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Michael Johnson has no heart, what he is saying is Bolt can’t be beaten. Gay ran with a badly hurt groin and ran 9.71. I’m not taking anything from Bolt, he is the man now but he can be beaten. There are a lot of things that Gay can inprove on. 1. Better block start, I think the bunch start would be good for Tyson guy. If Tyson Gay had the Ben Johnson start of 1988, he would have easily won with a bad groin. When the gun went off in 1988, Ben Johnson was already 5 meters out front just like the Jamacan female 100 meter champion, Fraser. 2. Gay must get stronger, 3. Gay must change his drive phase when running against Bolt to15 meters. If you watch the race Gay was still in his drive phase at 30 meters, look at Bolt! he was sprinting at 15 meters. It’s no way you can catch a man from behind like that. 4. Better endurance. 5. Stay healthy. I notice that most of the Jamacians sprinters have gone to the bunch start, something that Ben Johnson used long time ago. The american coaches went away from the bunch start years ago because of their so called scientific finding. It’s time that the coaches in america change their way of thinking. In america, if a guy comes out for high school track and field over 6’2, coaches make that person out of a distant runner. They make him run the 400, 800, the mile, the 2 mile or he will become a hurdler.The coaches in America won’t take the time to develop the speed that’s need. You have to take your hats off to the Jamacan coaches, they don’t think like the USA coaches. Its time that USA get rid of the old school coaches and let the new coaches who have an open mind take over.

  2. Yolz

    August 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Mike …from all that you’ve said, Gay obviously needs TOO MUCH. If you added 91 more things to his list of needs he still would NOT be able to beat Usain unless he stopped and made him pass!

    Ok, ok, that’s not true and Gay is a wonderful athlete ..but come on …right now, If Gay was 100% good health at best he might go 9.70 .. 9.58??? That little boy Usain is a machine!

  3. boombag deg

    August 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    mike you right about one thing the Jamaican coaches are better, but the rest is grap.there is a time for you and a time for someone else,USA have dominate the 100m for some time now its someone else chance. give the Jamaican a break. Just learn to take your beatting.

  4. MICKEY

    August 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    I TOTALLY AGREE!!! THE JAMAICAN COACHES SEEM TO BE LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF THE AMERICANS. THE OTHER IMPORTANT THING NOT TO FORGET, IF BOLT, POWELL OR BLAKE WHERE BORN IN THE STATES, I WOULD BET A MILLION, THEY WOULD NOT BE RUNNING TRACK AS A FIRST SPORT! THE NFL AND NBA NOW HAVE THERE EYES ON YOUR TRACK TALENT!

  5. Mike

    August 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Hey Mikey, I coach sprints, a lot of coaches who coach other sports are fooling the young kids in america. They are filling their heads with lies and many of them are only doing 1 sport. Many of these coaches only care about their own glory! How many games they won, or who came from their program. I wonder how many of these football coaches ever went to the sprint coach of a track team and said: I want my kids to run track and finish the season with the track team. There are 2300 university and the NFL only draft about 259 players and you only have about 50-75 players that make it as a free agent. In the NBA they only draft for 2 round! with 30 teams in the NBA so we are talking about 60 players. A lot of coaches don’t like track and field because they feel its an african american sport which is untrue. They also bad mouth the sport because of the 2004 drug bust of some american athletes but no one talked about the other countries and athletes that were involed also. All you have to do is look at the times of the athletes during that time and ask the question what happen or where are those athletes now? Baseball and football had 10 times more people that used drugs than track and field but people pointed the finger at track and field as if they were Holy than thou! Soccer hasn’t done anything in america and it never will! Why do you think a professional soccer team can’t make it long in america. Many young athletes in america are out of shape and don’t like the intensity of training it takes to be an elite sprinter. They go with basketball or soccer because they don’t have to train as hard. Besides, most of the parents are going to pay their kids way to college in stead of them allowing their kids to earn their way to college or allow their kids to pay their own way to college. Many young athletes are already broken up from football, stress fractures all though their bodies. Football is not the money maker as people say, but a crippler make!

  6. Mike

    August 18, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    As I said before Bolt can be beat! To be even more real, if Tyson Gay have, surgery, he many never run again because of the way the grion tissue has to heal. Gay dosen’t need but those 4 things fix. Bolt has raised the bar! if you are not training to run faster than 9.40 then don’t get in the game unless you are only looking for a paycheck!

  7. Mike

    August 18, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Bolt may have ran himself out of big money. Bolt will have to move to another event next year in order to make big money. No one will want to pay him big money when they know he will win. If I was Bolt, I wouldn’t be going to a lot of meets. There are only 2 other athletes at this time that are close to him in the 100 meters and that is Powell and Gay.

  8. Mike

    August 18, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Boom bag, I agree with you! It is time for someone else to take the no 1 spot. I don’t have a problem with it.

  9. MICKEY

    August 19, 2009 at 7:15 am

    WHEN I WAS STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSTIY OF TENNESSEE IN THE EARLY EIGHTIES, FOOTBALL PLAYERS WERE ALWAYS RUNNING TRACK, NOW I DON’T THAT TOO MUCH ANYMORE. I THANK GOD THERE IS NO FOOTBALL OR BAKETBALL PRESENCE IN JAMAICA, THEN WE WOULD HAVE NEVER HAVE SEEN THE LIKES OF A UBOLT OR APOWELL!

  10. Harikrishnan P.K

    August 19, 2009 at 8:24 am

    I also have become a great admirer of Bolt. But there is one foolish thing he is doing, which he should have learned from the Russians. He should have brocken the world a minimum of 10 times until he has touched the current timing. Breaking the world record, 1 sec at a time may be difficult like in pole vault. But taking .11 secs in one shot was too much. Bolt definitely have brought back the interest in Athletics single handedly.

  11. Mike

    August 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Hey Mickey, You are right about football players running track. That was the thing even around 1965. If you played football you would run track so that you could be faster for football. I maybe just a few years older than you. At the school I coach sprints at, the formal head football coach told the kids, they didn’t have to run track, football made them fast for track. They would carrie these kids to football camps, building them up with lies about their 40 meter dash times. But I would let them know, you are not going to get a scholarship base on your 40 meter time. Do you have grades, can you stay on the field, what kind of stats do you have for 4 years of high school varsity football. Many of those kids were walking around like they were big stuff, but I let them know if you can’t make it to the state championship, then you aren’t nothing. They thought they could walk on the track and blow people away because of what the formal football coach told them but the found out they were wrong and they had been lied to. I’m a fair coach, I came out of retirement in 2007 and had a few athletes to make it to the state championship 2 years in a row. One of My athlete best time was 10.50 and 21.30. I have a few athletes that I believe can make it to the state but I don’t know if they will train? I understand training theory, but know matter how much a coach knows, he has to have athletes that are hungry! I believe Jamacan athletes are hungry for success!

  12. Gary

    August 20, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Mike,

    I’m an occasional follower of track & field and I read this article mainly because I like Johnson as a pundit. Even though he’s being a bit melodramatic, I think the point he’s making stands up.

    Making a case for Gay against Bolt seems to me to be clutching at straws. Gay is 27. Bolt’s just about to turn 23. Gay is never going to run 9.58. Bolt is going to improve further. He thinks he can get down to 9.40. Who’s to doubt him?

    Never say never, but a healthy Bolt isn’t going to be beaten by anyone we’ve heard of to date.

  13. MICKEY

    August 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Ok people, sports is a business!!! Why would I want to watch Usain Bolt dominate the sprints???? Boring!!! There has to be some competition or at least act like there is, for the public to stay interested. Michael Johnson was a bore when he was on top and he’s still a bore!

  14. R Taylor

    September 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    What Mike is saying about Bolt making money is a bag of crap. I guess he is not too knowledgeable about marketing. People want to see the best. When Edwin Moses was winning all those consecutive races, he was a meet director’s dream. The Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan were popular because they were winning. People always pay to see a winner and especially in Bolt case where a world record is possible, meet directors and sponsors are willing to pay more. If Bolt were just a winner and not as dominant, he would not have been so popular. Therefore, Mike, stop speculates and learn some facts before writing.

  15. R Taylor

    September 3, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    All this argument about athletes doing other sports here in the US is a bag of bull. Us with a population of about 300 million swamp that of Jamaica with a population of 2.6 million. It’s just that things move in cycles. At one point Jamaica came first and second in 400m two olympics in a row. The Jamaicans missed winning the 4x400m one of the olympics because Arthur Wint pulled up on his leg. He was the 400m champion. Now Jamaica didn’t have one athlete in the finals of the world championship. There is no guarantee that Jamaica will find a next Bolt in the next 20 years. Stop speculate and accept things as they are. No one in the history of mankind has ever dominated forever, with the exception of God, no one ever will.

  16. MICKEY

    September 4, 2009 at 10:08 am

    r TAYLOR, YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT CYCLES BUT SO WRONG ABOUT ATHLETES DOING OTHERS SPORTS!!!!!! IF YOU ARE REALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE CYCLES OF SPORTS YOU WOULD REALIZE TRACK AND FIELD IS SOOOO UNIMPORTANT IN THE STATES IGHT NOW. TRACK AND FIELD AT ONE POINT WAS THE 3RD MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE US DURING THE EARLY 1970’S, NOW IT’S NOT EVEN IN THE TOP 5. TAKING A BACK SEAT TO FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, BASEBALL, TENNIS AND EVEN SOCCER. DO YOU THINK FOR ONE MINUTE IF A COACH CAME ACROSS A 14 YEAR OLD USAIN BOLT WALKING THE HALLS OF SOME AMERICAN MIDDLE SCHOOL THAT HE WOULD BE RUNNING TRACK??? NOT!

  17. Tony

    September 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Guys, Jamaica have always and consistently produced superior junior (high school) sprinters than the US for decades now. If you look at the annual Penn Relays, at which top junior athletes from the US and other countries take part in, jamaican high school have won more sprint events than all the other countries combined the past 20 to 30 years.. The reason why it took this long for the Jamaicans to dominate at the senior level is due to the fact that many of the jamaican athletes when they come over to the US colleges on track scholaships are usually distracted by working to help families back home, some got burnt out on the college system over here and most never keep up the intensity they had at the high school level in Jamaica. What happened recently is that the Jamaican authorities have started to keep the junior athletes at home to train at the local level there. This gave rise to a lot of exciting new track clubs in the country and the performances have kept getting better. Another huge reason is the recent improvement in drug testing and also the fact that athletes like Marian Jones got caught – even though she never tested positive for banned substances she still went to prison. There were a lot of US atlhetes who had better masking methods to hide drug use and some had access to doctors and scientists who help them mask the steriod use and made it difficult for them to caught in the past.. All that came tumbling down with the Marion Jones case.. Look at the case of Flo Jo !! Does anyone really think that she who was never the top womens sprinter prior to the 1988 Olympics out of the blue in one year shattered the 100m and 200m world records, then suddenly disappeared from the scene after Ben Johnson was exposed.. Haha.. that is the biggest coverup in the USOC system in history.. Go Jamaica, finally the US have to come clean and thats why they are getting beat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. MICKEY

    September 9, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I’m so happy for Jamaica’s success in the short sprints. A tiny country riddled with so much crime and poverty, I hope this track success can somehow help the country as a whole prosper. I’m sure it does wonders for the people of JA to think they finally beat the Big Bad American’s at something!

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