Consider this a second chance for Tyson Gay. Maybe his last one, too.
The 33-year-old sprinter was handed a spot on the U.S. Olympic track team as a relay runner Monday, more than two years after his doping positive cost the Americans their silver medal from the 2012 Games.
Gay, a graduate of Lafayette High School in Lexington, dominated the sprints for a time before Usain Bolt burst onto the scene in 2008. The American is still ranked second all-time behind Bolt with a time of 9.69 seconds in the 100.
But the last several years have been a struggle, filled with injuries and setbacks — none bigger than a positive doping test in 2013 that cost him one year out of the sport and forced the relay team to surrender its medal.
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Gay finished fifth in the 100 and sixth in the 200 at the recently completed Olympic trials, but coaches stuck to the order of finish for the 100 meters, taking Gay and sixth-place finisher Christian Coleman, along with Mike Rodgers, whose spot was locked in thanks to his fourth-place finish.
In Gay, the U.S. gets a two-time Olympian and 2007 world champion at both 100 and 200 meters — choosing him over high-schoolers Noah Lyles and Michael Norman, who finished 4-5 in the 200 at trials.
Asked before the trials what it would mean to make the team, Gay said: “A hell of a lot. I’m considered the old one of the bunch now. It definitely means a lot to me to still keep up with these young guys here, use some of my veteran skills to my advantage.”
Gay had said at that time that he was making one last run at the Olympics.
“This could restore things for me in my heart,” Gay had said on the eve of the 100-meter preliminaries. “I lost something when I gave that medal back. The people closest to me, they know how bad I want that medal.”
Also added for relays on the 127-person team, which includes 84 first-time Olympians, were Arman Hall, Tony McQuay and Kyle Clemons (men’s 4x400), Ariana Washington (women’s 4x100) and Francena McCorory and Courtney Okolo (women’s 4x400).
When: Aug. 5-21
Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil