Injuries Remove Bolt and Gay from Summer Sprinting Competition

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This year’s Track and Field competitions just got a little less exciting. Prior to last month’s Adidas Grand Prix in New York, sprinting’s two top stars, Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay, both pulled out of competition due to injury. This deprived fans of the spectacular rivalry that has interest in sprinting at an all-time high.

Bolt pulled out as a result of an Achilles’ tendon injury that was not serious, but painful enough to keep him off his feet. Gay, meanwhile, withdrew as a result of a hamstring injury that he received when running the 200-meter at last month’s Manchester City Games. He had run the fastest 200-meter straightaway ever, at 19.41 seconds.

Adding to the disappointment, the meet on Randall’s Island in New York takes place on the same track where Bolt broke the still-standing world record back in 2008, which was one of the early sparks in Bolt and Gay’s ongoing rivalry.

Both runners felt bad about their injuries but expressed no remorse. Gay said, “Neither of us . . . wants to run unless we’re 100 percent. But when we are, it’s going to be something special.” And he has a point. While the New York event had a long build-up and was attended by thousands of fans excited to catch the next episode in the rivalry, nobody wants the top runners in the world to overextend themselves so much that they injure themselves permanently.

Without the two runners, the New York meet was a decidedly less exciting event, with the air of a college meet rather than major world event that had been sold out for months. The crowd was noticeably bored and withdrawn, even though some of the races were tight.

If there were any fireworks, they came from the second most anticipated race of the day, which featured American Allyson Felix and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown, from Jamaica.

In the history of their match-ups, the 24-year-old Felix has a 6-2 advantage over the 28-year-old Campbell-Brown. The race between them did not disappoint. Both got off to impressive starts, with Cambell-Brown ahead early. Although Felix made it extremely close at the end, Campbell-Brown still managed to pull out a victory by five hundredths of a second.

In the 100-meter race, where Bolt and Gay excel, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago took first place with a time of 9.89.

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