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Tyson Gay United States

Quick Facts

Represents: USA
Age: 31 (Aug. 9, 1982)
College: University of Arkansas
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky.
Residence: Orlando, Florida
Affiliation: adidas
Personal Bests:
100m 9.69 (2009) AR
200m 19.58 (2009)
200m straight 19.42 (2010)
400m 44.89 (2010)

Career Highlights

  • 2007 IAAF World Champion 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay
  • 2009 IAAF World Championship silver medalist, 100m
  • 2012 Olympic silver medalist, 4x100m Relay
  • 2013 US Champion, 100m and 200m
  • American Record-holder, 100m
  • American Record-holder, 4x100m Relay
  • Ranked #1 in the World at 100m in 2010 by Track & Field News
  • Ranked #1 in the World at 100m and 200m in 2007 by Track & Field News
  • Ranked #2 in the World at 100m and 200m in 2009 by Track & Field News
  • 2007 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year
  • 2007 USOC Sportsman of the Year
  • 2007 Jesse Owens Award winner
  • 2007 Track & Field News Man of the Year
  • 2008 US Olympic Trials Champion, 100m
  • 2007 US Champion, 100m and 200m
  • Second fastest man in history

Background

Even when he was little, Tyson Gay was fast (“I could steal a few bases,” he says of his childhood baseball days), but he was 14 or so before he could beat his sister, Tiffany, who’s a year older. “She had a quick start,” he explains. “She inspired me.”

Tiffany did a fine job, because her little brother went on to become a three-time Class 3A 100m state champ out of Lafayette High School, with his 10.46 state-meet record as a senior in 2001 still standing.

Now, he is also a triple World Champion. At the 2007 World Championships, Tyson became only the second man in history to win titles at 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. He is also the American Record-holder at 100m, thanks to his 9.77-second victory in the quarterfinals of the 2008 US Olympic Trials, and his wind-aided time of 9.68 seconds in winning the 100m final in Eugene makes him the fastest human being in history over the distance, under any conditions.

Since turning professional in June 2005, Tyson has quickly worked his way to the top of the sport: just weeks after ending his NCAA career, he made the USA 200-meter team for the World Championships, and at season’s end won his first World Athletics Final 200m title.

Gay counts the ability to bounce back from a bad race, instilled by his mother, as perhaps his biggest strength, but his ability to run a textbook curve in the 200 doesn’t hurt, either. In 2006, he put his stamp on the sport, notching four of the top six 200-meter times of the year and the second-fastest time (9.84) for 100m. This after calling the 100 an event he needed to learn at the end of the 2005 season.

Also in 2006, Tyson’s personal bests at 100 (9.84) and 200 (19.68) moved him past Namibian great Frank Fredericks (9.86 and 19.68) as the fastest 1-2 runner in history at the time.

Tyson has something else in common with the great Namibian as well: a quiet, humble personality fostered by his mother, Daisy Lowe. "It makes me smile," Tyson told a Lexington newspaper reporter after the 2006 season. "Sometimes it's overwhelming, a little bit. Because I'm just a country boy from Lexington, Kentucky, who just runs for the love of track. But when I see guys like Michael Johnson and Frankie Fredericks and Maurice Greene, and I've run some of the same times they have, it's just shocking. I never really knew I could do that until now."

His 2007 season was off the charts. Tyson opened at the adidas Track Classic with a victory in 9.79 seconds, which would have tied the American Record except for a tailwind just over the allowable limit. Two weeks later, at the Reebok Grand Prix, he proved that performance no fluke when he clocked a 9.76: just under the World Record, though once again with a slight tailwind. Thanks to those eye-popping wins, Tyson went into the US national championships as the favorite at 100 meters and he did not disappoint, running 9.84 into a headwind for the title. Two days later, he followed that up with a personal best 19.62 to take the 200-meter victory, making for the fastest one-day double in history.

Then, on August 26 at the IAAF World Championships of Track & Field in Osaka, Japan, Tyson defeated his toughest rivals to become the 100-meter World Champion. "My friends and family know that I don't like to be the center of attention," he said, "but that victory lap is one I will never forget." He instantly became the favorite to win gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and followed up that performance with wins at 200 meters and in the 4x100-meter relay.

Though 2008 began as well as it had left off for the World Champion, Tyson would be unable to repeat his 2007 success at the Beijing Olympic. At the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, Tyson broke the American Record for 100m, running 9.77 to shave 0.02sec off the mark that 2000 Olympic 100m Champion Maurice Greene had held for over nine years. All the more impressive was that this was set in the quarterfinal heats, even as Tyson decelerated noticeably in the final meters. In the final, Tyson won in 9.68 which, though wind assisted, is still the fastest 100m time ever recorded under any conditions. While all seemed to be pointing toward good things For Tyson in Beijing, it was not to be.   Just a few days after his 100m performance at the Olympic Trials, Tyson fell to the track with a hamstring injury in the second round of the 200m. The injury kept Tyson out of serious training for several weeks.  He was unable to regain his form by the time the Olympics began and did not qualify for the 100m final. Having mended his injury, Tyson was able to end his season on a high note, taking a win over 200m at the Aviva Grand Prix in Gateshead, England.

Determined to make up for his Olympic disappointment, Tyson began 2009 with a significant personal best over 400m, before running 19.58 to win the 200m at the Reebok Grand Prix, at the time, the third fastest mark ever recorded and still the fastest time ever run outside of an Olympic or World Championship final. Following a wind-aided 9.75 100m at the US Championships, Tyson won the 100m at the Golden Gala in Rome in 9.77 seconds, equaling his American Record. Despite a nagging groin injury that was hampering training, Tyson followed up his record run in Rome with wins in London and Stockholm, over 200m and 100m, respectively.

At the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Tyson cruised through his preliminary rounds, limiting the stress to his injured groin. He then crushed his own American record in the final with a mark of 9.71 finishing behind Usain Bolt and his new world record of 9.58 seconds. Tyson returned to the Grand Prix circuit after Berlin and secured an impressive win at the World Athletics Final. He surprised himself and the world one more time with a winning mark of 9.69 in Shanghai. This mark lowered his American record yet again and equaled the second fastest time ever recorded. Four weeks after the final race of his season, Tyson underwent surgery to repair his groin injury. The surgeon, Dr. William Meyers, was very pleased with how the procedure went and Tyson is expected to begin full training and preparation for the 2010 season this winter.

When he is not training or off winning gold medals, Tyson can be found back in Lexington with his daughter, 7-year-old Trinity.