Ex-Olympian Boldon predicts big year for Tyson Gay

ldannhauser@herald-leader.comJune 13, 2013 

Sprinters often face injuries and father time once they reach 30. But Lexington native Tyson Gay, who has battled injuries throughout his career, is hoping for one of his best seasons yet.

His expectations might seem unrealistic, but Gay is the American record holder in the 100 meters and the second-fastest man in history.

And Ato Boldon predicts a big year for him.

"Despite his age, ... I feel like it's going to be one of Tyson Gay's best years," Boldon said. "Right now I have him on the podium at the (World Championships)."

Boldon is a four-time Olympian and has won four Olympic medals to go with his 1997 World Championships title in the 200 meters. The former sprinter for Trinidad and Tobago is now a track and field broadcaster for ESPN, NBC and Universal Sports.

Boldon is in Danville this week, giving clinics for the Maximum Velocity Track and Field Camp, along with eight other Olympians and elite coaches. The camp, at Centre College, ends Saturday.

In the 100-meter finals at last summer's London Olympics, Gay finished fourth, one-hundredth of a second from winning a medal. Boldon said Gay will make the podium at this year's World Championships, Aug. 10 to 18 in Moscow. But taking the title will be difficult.

The favorite in the 100 meters is two-time reigning Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

Gay has held the American record in the 100 at 9.69 seconds since 2009. Bolt set his world record of 9.58 later that year.

On June 6 in Rome, Bolt was beaten by American Justin Gatlin, but Boldon said nothing has changed.

"You can't go on anything that Bolt does in the regular season because as we know, when it's playoff time, he's ready," Boldon said. Last year, Bolt lost to training partner Yohan Blake in both the 100 and the 200 at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. Bolt came back to defend his titles in both events in London.

"Regardless of what Tyson looks like, I think Bolt will be the person to beat at the World Championships," Boldon said. Boldon said Gatlin will join Gay in the finals. He said the third American to qualify for the team also will be capable of making the finals. He also expects Jamaica to be a contender.

"Jamaica gets to take four this year because they have the reigning world champ (Blake). They get to take Blake plus three," Boldon said. Bolt false-started at the 2011 World Championships, and Blake won the title. "We could see half of the World Championship final being Jamaica."

The race will be close, no matter who is in the final, Boldon said.

"I think Tyson's going to be right there," Boldon said. "I don't think that there's going to be a gap this year. I think the race is going to look a lot like the Olympic Games, and it will be close for first, second and third."

Gay also plans to run in the 200 meters at the World Championships. Boldon said the Americans won't be shut out of the podium, as they were a year ago.

"I think you're going to see Walter Dix and Tyson Gay running, and those are two guys who have proven 200-meter credentials," Boldon said. "I think it's actually going to be a better year for the Americans at 200 than it was last year."

The clinicians will head next to Des Moines, Iowa, for the U.S. Track and Field Championships, which start June 20. The U.S. World Championship Team is decided based on the meet's results.

Leigh Dannhauser: (859) 231-3447. Twitter: @heraldleader.

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