Tyson Gay was concerned how he would respond in the 200m (23) on Sunday after winning the 100m in 9.75 two days earlier in the USA Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Gay, though, never had any doubts about giving it a try.
“It was a little bit of pride, a little bit of ego and I kind of made up my mind that I wanted to double and I didn’t want to give up on myself,” said Gay. “As long as I felt good, I wanted to go for it.”
Gay won the 200m in a world-leading 19.74 to complete his first sweep of the 100m and the 200m national titles since 2007, when he was the male World Athlete of the Year.
The time in the 200 assisted by a 1.6 metres-per-second tailwind was his best since 2010. Nevertheless, the most important thing for the 2007 World 100m and 200m champion was to avoid injury.
“I wish my 100m was a little better but I have a little bit of time to work on that,” reflected Gay.
“My 200m was just an indicator of fitness. I think I am definitely glad that I was victorious but I am glad that I left healthy.”
Unusually, the semi-final and final on Sunday were run in two different directions because of concerns with the blustery winds that had registered as high as 5.2mps during the heats on Saturday.
Gay ran a then season’s best of 20.07 in his semi-final, which started in the usual position on the back straight. The final was then run starting at the finish line on the home straight.
He said that the direction changes didn’t affect him but getting used to running the curve was the most difficult phase of the race after running few 200m after hip surgery in 2011. Gay had ultrasound treatment on his groin as a precaution after running a windy 20.14 in the first round on Saturday.
“I was a little sluggish,” said Gay about the final. “I haven’t run a curve in a long time so I still have a tendency to lean over too much. I think that’s what I did a little bit but it ended coming out right.”
The top three finishers all broke 20 seconds. Isaiah Young was second in 19.86 and Gay’s training partner Curtis Mitchell was third in 19.99. Three-time IAAF World Championships medallist Wallace Spearmon placed fourth in 20.10.
Gay’s performance in the 200m was one of two world-leading efforts on Sunday, along with Duane Solomon’s 1:43.27 in the 800m.
Solomon uses his Gray matter for 800m win
Solomon, fourth in the London 2012 Olympic Games, borrowed some tactics from his coach and US record holder Johnny Gray over two laps of the track in 1:43.27 for his first national title.
He led from the start and held off a homestretch charge from five-time defending champion Nick Symmonds, who came home second in 1:43.70. Solomon’s teammate Brandon Johnson, a former 400m hurdler, was third in 1:43.97.
“I knew in order to make the team. I had to be on my A game,” said Solomon. “If I came with anything less, my B game wouldn’t make the team. I took it to the Gray zone today and I think the guys who made the team have a real good chance of medalling in Moscow.”
Alysia Montano used a similar race plan as Solomon to hold on for a 1:58.62 to 1:58.76 victory over Brenda Martinez. Ajee’ Wilson, the 2011 World Youth and 2012 World Junior champion, was third in 1:59.55.
The final session of the four-day meeting also included upset wins, not least Kimberly Duncan beating Allyson Felix in the women’s 200m, the pair clocking windy times of 21.80 and 21.85 (3.2mps).
Duncan became the first sprinter to win the NCAA and USA 200m titles in the same year since 1978.
Ryan Wilson, 32, won his first national title in the 110m Hurdles with his win in 13.08 to earn his trip to a major international championship. It was the best time for Wilson, who placed third in 2006 USA Championships and second in 2010, since running his best of 13.02 in 2007.
Youth champion Muhammad comes of age
Dalilah Muhammad, like Wilson a graduate from University of Southern California, won the women’s 400m Hurdles in 53.83 after a thrilling duel with 2012 Olympic Games finalist Georgeanne Moline who was second with 53.88. Christine Spence was third in 54.56.
It was the first time under 54 seconds for Muhammad, the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist, who started the year with a best of 56.04 that dated from 2011. Both Muhammad and Spence train with 2011 World champion Lashinda Demus and are coached by Demus’ mother Yolanda Demus.
Ryan Whiting won the Shot Put with a third round effort of 22.11m, the second best mark of his career and just shy of his world-leading 22.24m set at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha last month.
Former World champion Reese Hoffa in second in 21.34m while Zack Lloyd was third with a personal best of 21.09m.
Reigning Olympic champion Jenn Suhr won the women’s Pole Vault at 4.70m and was the only women to go higher than 4.60m. She then had three unsuccessful attempts at a US outdoor best of 4.93m.
Last year’s Olympic Games silver medallist Erik Kynard won the High Jump on the countback over Dusty Jonas at 2.28m and George Kitchens won the Long Jump with a wind-aided 8.23m.
Evan Jager won the men’s 3000m Steeplechase in a stadium record 8:20.67. Jenny Simpson, the 2011 1500m World champion, won the women’s 5000m in 15:33.77 while Bernard Lagat won a tactical 5000m over 10000m winner Galen Rupp in 14:54.16.
Kirby Lee for the IAAF