In the season’s single most anticipated face-off, Tyson Gay handed Usain Bolt his first 100m defeat in two years to highlight the DN Galan – Samsung Diamond League – in the Swedish capital tonight (6).
In their first meeting in nearly a year – and just their third 100m head-to-head ever - history’s two fastest men lined up side-by-side, two brick red lanes in Stockholm’s historic 1912 Olympic Stadium which were the focus on this night of much the sporting world. And in the end it wasn’t even close, with the American record holder powering to a 9.84 meeting record leaving the Jamaican well back and heaving in his wake.
“I told you I’m not unbeatable,” said Bolt, whose last loss over the distance came on this same track two years ago. His post-race analysis was clear from the gun, when Gay came out blazing. In clear command by midway Gay forged onwards as Bolt’s customary late race charge never materialised. The Jamaican reached the line in 9.97, the second slowest final of his career. Trinidad & Tobago’s Richard Thompson, the Olympic silver medallist, was a distant third in 10.10.
After collecting his first victory over the world’s fastest man, Gay was customarily modest. “I’m happy with the victory, but still looking forward to when Usain and Asafa (Powell) will be in 9.6 shape to race with them.” In addition to a major scalp, Gay took home a one carat diamond for breaking Powell’s 9.86 stadium record set in 2008 when he beat Bolt.
Stadium bursting at the seams
Theirs was the headline show on a near ideal evening in the Swedish capital, a clash forever immortalised on the meeting billboard, its programme and even limited edition sprint showdown t-shirts. Indeed, demand for seating at the sold out stadium was at such a premium that very early in the evening the stadium announcer pleaded with spectators to sit more closely together to make additional room for late arrivals. In the end 15,472, over the stadium’s official capacity, witnessed not only the season’s first duel of the ‘big-two’, but several other headlines.