Tyson Gay, center, leads Isiah Young, left, and Wallace Spearmon, right, during the senior men’s 200-meter dash finals at the U.S. Championships athletics meet on Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. Gay won the race. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
by Pat Graham
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Mentally, Tyson Gay is now in a good place. Physically, too.
That’s the healing power of running fast at nationals.
Once and for all, Gay put to rest any questions about his surgically repaired hip as he completed the 100-200 sprint double Sunday at U.S. track championships, winning the 200 meters in 19.74 seconds.
It’s the fastest time in the world this season. Gay also beat Justin Gatlin in the 100 on Friday in a season-leading time of 9.75.
“I’m pretty tired,” Gay said. “I’m just glad I’m leaving the race healthy.”
With his strong performance, Gay delivered an emphatic message to the rest of the world, and more specifically Usain Bolt: The Gay of old is back. Not the version hobbled by nagging injuries over the years, but the one who captured the 100 and 200 titles at the 2007 world championships.
“I’m just happy to be healthy,” Gay said. “It feels good, man.”
It should be quite a show when he meets up with Bolt at the world championships in Moscow this summer. Not that Gay is thinking any farther than icing down his legs after an exhausting weekend.
“I’m just focused on myself right now,” Gay said. “It’s no secret Usain Bolt is obviously the greatest of all time. He’s definitely going to be prepared.”
In the women’s 200, Kimberlyn Duncan upset Olympic champion Allyson Felix. Duncan finished in 21.80, with Felix 0.05 seconds behind. Jeneba Tarmoh was third.
Felix said she got a late start on training and hasn’t completely found her racing form just yet. She skipped the 100 earlier in the week to be more prepared for her signature event, the 200.
“I’m lacking a little bit of speed right now,” Felix said. “Overall, my conditioning could be a little better.”
Duncan did what few have done on Felix by making up ground at the end and blazing by her to close out the race.
“I’m just overjoyed to having been here and to have the opportunity,” Duncan said.
Gay built a lead after the curve and then fended off the hard-charging Isiah Young, who finished in 19.86. Curtis Mitchell, the training partner of Gay, was third to grab the last spot in the 200, while Wallace Spearmon, a three-time U.S. outdoor champion, wound up a disappointing fourth.
It was a busy day to finish nationals, with one final after another in rapid succession. Other winners include Alysia Montano (800), Jennifer Simpson (5,000), Duane Solomon (men’s 800), Ryan Wilson (110 hurdles), Bernard Lagat (5,000), Erik Kynard (high jump), Riley Dolezal (javelin), Evan Jager (3,000 steeplechase), Dalilah Muhammad (400 hurdles), George Kitchens (long jump), Ryan Whiting (shot put), Gia Lewis-Smallwood (discus) and Tim Seaman (20,000 race walk).
Olympic pole vault champion and indoor record holder Jenn Suhr cruised to a national title, setting up a showdown with outdoor record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia.
In Isinbayeva’s backyard, no less.
“I’m inviting as many family members that will go over to Moscow as I can to help cheer for me,” Suhr said. “I think I might be the underdog there. We’re hoping to get a big crowd over there.”