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Live from the Mixed Zone

Gay hurdles after qualifying for 100 semifinal

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff August 15, 2008 10:13 AM

BEIJING -- Trying to avoid reporters’ questions after the second round of the men’s 100, Tyson Gay hurdled over a three-and-a-half-foot high barrier in the media mixed zone. Not exactly what you expect from a sprinter returning from a hamstring strain. A representative from USA track and field chased after Gay and compelled him to make a few comments.

“I feel pretty good,” said Gay, after advancing to the men’s 100 semifinals tomorrow with a time of 10.09 seconds. “I felt pretty relaxed. I just wanted to make it through.”

Gay was actually the third fastest American qualifier in the second round. Darvis Patton led the US contingent, clocking 10.04. Walter Dix followed in 10.08. Patton’s fast time came in the fastest heat of the second round with Usain Bolt leading the way in 9.92.

Despite a typically awkward start, Bolt was clear of the field about 30 meters into the race. And he looked like he was jogging for the final 20 meters. If Bolt wasn’t the clear-cut favorite entering the race, he certainly earned that distinction after Round 2. He also seems ready to set another world record. Bolt’s countryman Asafa Powell finished his heat easily with a time of 10.02.

The Jamaicans walked through the media mixed zone together, but they did not talk to reporters. Instead, the two of them smiled and joked with each other, generally appearing laid-back and happy with their performances. Bolt walked through the mixed zone barefoot and it was hard not to notice that the spike plate on the bottom of his shoes was a shiny gold. Obviously, Puma designed the shoes that way on purpose. …

All three American entrants in the men’s 1,500 meter race made the semifinals. Gold-medal contender Bernard Lagat finished fourth in Heat 2 with a time of 3 minutes 41.98 second. It was the second-slowest of the semifinal qualifying times, which is just want Lagat planned.

“I just wanted to make sure that I have enough for the semifinal,” said Lagat. “I did what I wanted to do. Top five. Nothing crazy.”

Lopez Lomong qualified in 3:36.70 and Leonel Manzano finished in 3:36.67.

Look for contributions from the following Globe Staffers in Beijing:

  • John Powers
  • Shira Springer
  • Bob Ryan
  • Marc J. Spears
  • Gregory Lee
  • Scott LaPierre
  • Patricia Wen