Gay Returns To Track

FAYETTEVILLE -- When questioned why Tyson Gay, the reigning NCAA Outdoor champion at 100 meters, has not returned to competition on the track, Arkansas track and field coach John McDonnell would usually quip with his deep Irish accent, "I don't want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg."

Well, the prize hen is back.

Gay, a five-time All-American and SEC champion, makes his heralded return to competition Friday night in the 60-meter dash at the sixth annual Powered by Tyson Invitational held at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

The event fires off at 8:20 p.m.

Friday will be Gay's first competitive race since failing to finish the finals of the 200 at the U.S. Olympic Trials back on July 18. Gay came up lame with a cramp in his hamstring and has been recovering since.

"I thought I had a shot at making the team. I was always conserving energy in the prelims so I would be at full strength in the finals," Gay said.

The team the United States sent to the 2004 Olympics in Athens turned out to be one of the most dominating trios ever at an Olympics having swept the medals in the event.

Gay has put that day in the back of his mind and is now focused on helping Arkansas win its 40th national championship.

But a seven-month layoff can take its toll on an athlete. There is some rust to shake off. Gay said he is racing this weekend not for a specific time, but to get his legs back underneath him and polish the technical aspects of his race.

"I'm looking for a technical day in the 60 and 200 meters," Gay said. "I want to work on some things that will prepare me for future competitions."

Some of the things Gay wants to pinpoint are his drive phase, or the first 30 meters in his 60 meter run. In the 200, which he expects to compete in Saturday during the collegiate events, Gay will focus on staying relaxed all the way around the track and keeping his form.

"I'm excited and nervous because I have high expectations when I get on the track," Gay said. "A lot of people by now have all the jitters out of their system. But this is my first time out there in a long time.

"I'm nervous about the uncertainties. It's not failure. Coach (McDonnell) told me to focus on the bigger meets and outdoors and to work at getting 100 percent so I can have a successful career at track."

Gay was expected to return to racing last weekend at the New Balance meet in New York, but McDonnell decided it would be better for Gay to wait and train for another week.

"You have to listen to your body. My body said it just wasn't time yet," Gay said.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell is the marquee name in Friday's 60. Trammell finished second behind Liu Xiang of China in the 110 hurdles in Athens. He also holds the Tyson Center record in the 60 with a time of 6.46 set during the 2003 Tyson Invitational.

Aaron Armstrong, who trains at the University of Arkansas is also entered.

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