I get to the possibly later.
We saw the signs but ignored them for obvious reasons.
Tyson Gay is that dude. For years, he has dominated the American sprint landscape. He has acquired nine gold medals throughout his professional career, holding the U.S. 100 record (he also held the world record for a moment), setting the world 200 straightaway record (19.41), was honored with the Jesse Owens award — twice (and was well on his way for No. 3) and now leading up to the 2013 World Championships next month in Moscow, he was the world leader in the 100, running the three fastest times this year.
What Gay was achieving in ‘013, two years removed from hip surgery and the first full season of being healthy since, had all of fans of track and field excited for the man, who before Usain Bolt’s emergence, was track’s superstar. He did it the American way, with hard work, dedication and rehabilition.
Gay has always been plagued with injuries throughout his track career, dating all the way back to 2003 while competing for Barton County Community College but each time, he overcame the injury returning to be faster than before. So this year, was just another bullet point in the many comeback stories on Gay’s resume.
Then again, it wasn’t. Gay is 30-years-old and for all intent and purposes, on the tail end of his career. It was just last year in the London Olympic Games that Gay finished fourth in the 100 with a 9.88. A year later, he’s running 9.75 when again, at age 30, he should be slowing down. Despite seeing the jump, we ignored it because it’s Tyson Gay; one of the leading athletes for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s ‘My Victory, I compete clean’ campaign. Surely our beloved Tyson need no help.
Over the weekend, we found out that Gay had tested positive for a banned substance from an out-of-competition test administered in May. Being the upstanding person Gay is, instead of deflecting blame, he took full responsibility as he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying:
“I don’t have a sabotage story. I don’t have any lies. I don’t have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on USADA’s hands, someone playing games. I don’t have any of those stories. … I will take whatever punishment I get like a man. I do realize and respect what I put in my body and it is my responsibility.”
It maybe too early to call Gay a cheater but with the recent news of Adidas suspending Gay’s contract and it being the sport of track and field, it’s almost safe to write that Gay’s career is over. You can, in a round about way, blame Bolt.
Every since Bolt’s sprint into track’s G.O.A.T echelon, snatching that claim away from Gay as quickly as a Usain 100 race, Gay’s sole meaning has been to catch Bolt and reclaim his place in track’s history. I personally believe his obession to do that was the reason Gay blew (a “strain”) his hamstring up in ’08. Gay’s times this year put him in the best position since Bolt’s emergence to finally “dethrone” Bolt from the pedestal of fastest man. Come to find out, Gay couldn’t do it without help.
That’s what make Bolt’s legecy insurmountable. It takes the use of performance enhancing drugs for anyone to even fathom to be in the same area code as Bolt when the finish line is near. Bolt is that superhumanly fast that even someone as highly regarded as Gay has to resort to illegal means to try to beat him. Even when his competitors cheat, Bolt is near impossible to beat.
But there is that POSSIBILITY. That possibility that even Bolt may be tainted.
Also over the weekend it was announced that former world record holder Asafa Powell (Bolt’s Jamaican teammate) also tested positive.
The sport of track and field has so been synonymous with doping (although I personally feel cycling and the Tour de France is worse, another topic for another day) over the past decade that it’s increasingly possible that Bolt may eventually be found to be using PEDs. I am not claiming that Bolt is doping. I’m hoping he isn’t but it’s possible. If that happens, all of this will be irrelevant.
But if Bolt can possibly remain clean, Gay testing positive further establishes Bolt’s legecy as the fastest to ever do it.