Monday, May 3, 2010

Bolt & Gay – When Do We Get the Showdown?

After seeing both Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay on the track in Kingston this past weekend  I’m sure that many are now wondering when will we get to see them going head to head? That’s what I want to know after watching their last set of races – Gay 44.89 & 45.05 and Bolt 8.79r & 19.56. Makes one wonder what we’ll see when they sit in the blocks next to each other!

Well I took the liberty of going through recent press releases and both athletes’ web sites and came up with the following competition schedules for both athletes.


Tyson Gay Competition Schedule

Competition Location Date Event
City Games Manchester, Britain May 16 200 Meters
Prefontaine Classic Eugene, Oregon July 3 200 Meters
Aviva Grand Prix Gateshead, Britain July 10 200 Meters
London Grand Prix London, Britain August 13 100 Meters
Van Damme Memorial Brussels, Belgium August 27 100 Meters


Usain Bolt Competition Schedule

Competition Location Date Event
Daegu Grand Prix Daegu, Ssouth Korea May 18 100 Meters
Shanghai Grand Prix Shanghai, China May 23 200 Meters
Ostrava Grand Prix Ostrava, Czech Republic May 27 300 Meters
Adidas Grand Prix New York, US June 12 100 Meters
Athletissima Lausanne, Switzerland July 8 200 Meters
Areva Areva France July 16 100 Meters
Van Damme Memorial Brussels, Belgium August 27 100 Meters

Based on current schedules we get one head to head – at the Van Damme Memorial on August 27th. A 100 meters when both men should be at their competitive peaks! Which, if any of their previous meetings are any indication, could mean a WR as their last two head to heads over the distance have been just that – New York ‘08 9.72 for Bolt, Berlin ‘09 9.58 for Bolt.

Tyson’s schedule seems to have an even mix of distances working down to the 100. While Bolt’s schedule seems to alternate between events leading up to the Showdown in Brussels.

A lot can happen between now and then as negotiations are always ongoing with meet promoters who, I’m sure, are trying to secure both for various meets. Tyson still has June wide open with some room left in July and August. While Bolt still has some room in June, July and August. Looking at available meets that don’t conflict with the events both already have booked, the most likely to potentially book both could be Monaco (July 22nd), or Zurich (Aug 19th). Which, as a fan, would be perfect as both will feature the 200 meters. Perfect because we have not seen Bolt and Gay head to head over 200 meters since August 30, 2007 at the World Championships in Osaka – Gay 19.76, Bolt 19.91. So a race in Monaco or Zurich would be approximately 2 years 11 months in between head to heads over the distance – and a lot of improvement by both. It would also give us both a 100 and a 200 between the two of them. Of course if we were lucky enough to see them in both meets it would give us a rubber match – without the potential for their season head to heads to end in a tie.

Yes I know, blasphemy to some – as there are those that feel that Bolt is unbeatable. But it’s not unheard of to see the unbeatable fall - and Tyson is no ordinary challenger. Which is why we need as many match ups as we can get between these two. They are two extraordinary competitors that have changed the complexity of their events in terms of the consistency of their excellence. One run a year – which is what we’ve had the last two seasons – doesn’t provide the sport and its fans with competitive justice. 

We haven’t seen two sprinters of this magnitude go toe to toe with both healthy and at their peaks since Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson way back in 1987 and 1988. That’s the level of competition that these two bring to the table. For now that race will be in Brussels. Until then I will keep watch of their separate competitions as we build up to their late season showdown. Tracking their results to gauge how the showdown will transpire. And hopefully we will get a couple more races given to us along the way, because theirs could be the most exciting set of match ups on the season.


  1. This a perfect example of why this sport gets no TV exposure. The top dogs almost never race each other. That is what people want to see. Non and casual T&F fans will tune in to see Bolt vs. Gay, VCB vs. Felix, etc. These match-ups should be happening once or twice a month, not once every year or 2! I went to espn's video site and they have categories for lacrosse, cricket, rugby and boating; but none for track & field. That's how low they perceive the demand to be. Outrageous! We have the fastest runners in the world, but we don't get them on the track together. There needs to be some kind of rule that compels these elite runners to race one another at least 5 times a year. At the very least, the athlete's themselves should recognize the potential benefits and intentionally sync their schedules.

  2. I have to agree .. I'm a believer that the biggest problem with attendance and TV exposure lies less in trying to put together marketing gimmicks, or trimming meets, and is directly related to the fact that we get so few of our stars on the track at any one time .. Get the top athletes on the track and the meets will take care of themselves ..

    Of course, the real problem is money .. Everyone wants to get paid, but only a few are getting paid well ... Not enough money to go around .. When one athlete gets paid big money there's not enough left to fill out the field - or in many cases the meet ...