Track’s Tyson Gay and Genzebe Dibaba are looking good

By Denise Turney

track runner tyson gay

Pic by Eckhard Pecher – Wikimedia Commons

I’m watching the Prefontaine Classic at Oregon’s Hayward Field. Glad I caught the meet. Genzebe Dibaba commanded the women’s 5000 meter race. Had she had competition, I think she would have gotten the world record. She ran an impressive race, netting the fastest time by a woman at the 5000 meters in the United States. What a joy it was watching her run!

Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin take the Prefontaine Classic

Tyson Gay, owner of America’s fastest 100 meter sprint, topped the 100 meters at this year’s Prefontaine Classic, running a 9.88. It was good to see Tyson Gay back on the track, in racing form. He said the race showed him that he’s in good shape, a positive event that could be the beginnings of a great summer.

Competition for Tyson Gay was stiffer than it was for Justin Gatlin who came out strong in the 200 meters. Justin Gatlin was clocked at 19:68. He came around the turn in command of the race. Usain Bolt hasn’t officially run a 19:68 since 2013. When Justin Gatlin and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt meet up in the 200 meters in the summer, hopefully, that will be a sprint for the record books.

As a fan of Harvey Glance’s, a 1970s relay Olympic gold medalist, I was delighted to watch Kirani James command the men’s 400 meters. Kirani James left no question in my mind as to who is the best 400 meters runner in the world. He was clocked at 43:95. It’s the fastest time in the world this year.

In the women’s 400 meters, Allyson Felix shined. She truly shined, putting in a 50:05. It should be exciting to see how these and other top track and field athletes perform at the August Track and Field World Championships.

Pic by Erik van Leeuwen – Wikimedia Commons

We may have to wait until then to see how the American’s and other world class track and field athletes perform against Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s other top sprinters and top athletes from other parts of the world, athletes who weren’t at this weekend’s 40th Prefontaine Classic. One thing is sure. It’s looking like a track and field summer that won’t disappoint.

Want to follow the inner workings of a fictional top track and field athlete? Enter the world of Love Pour Over Me‘s Raymond Clarke, a man with a troubled past and the courage to create and live an amazing present-day life.

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Track Runners Who Inspire Track Fans

By Denise Turney

Track runners inspire track fans by refusing to quit in the face of great odds. For example, American track sprinter, Tyson Gay, didn’t make it to the Olympic finals in the 100 meters at the 2008 Olympics. During the four-by 100 meter relay, the men’s American relay team dropped the baton during his exchange. Yet, Tyson Gay didn’t quit. He underwent surgery to repair his hip, and hit the track again. Four years later, at the 2012 Olympics, Tyson Gay got his Olympic medal, and oddly, he got that medal in the four-by-100 meter relay. The fact that he made it to the Olympic finals after recovering from surgery is amazing all by itself.

More Track Runners Who Are Inspiring

Tyson Gay is just one of the track runners who’s inspiring track fans around the world, who’s showing people firsthand what focus, commitment, resilience and hard work can help achieve. Throughout history, track runners have overcome great odds to reach their goals. Wilma Rudolph, born with polio, was one of 22 children. She was also born prematurely. The sprinter from Tennessee who entered this physical world in 1940 appeared to have an uphill climb right from the start. It’s nothing short of a miracle that Wilma Rudolph went on to run at all, let alone win three gold medals and one bronze medal at the Olympics. As a member of Tennessee State University’s Tigerbelles, Wilma Rudolph raced her way into history. Italians nicknamed her “The Black Gazelle.” A stretch of highway in Clarksville, Tennessee is named after her. She was a woman who loved track and field until her passing in 1994. She earned her way into history books and inspired countless track fans and everyday folk along the way.

It’s hard to mention Wilma Rudolph without mentioning Jesse Owens. The two track sprinters may well be the greatest symbols of the sport in the minds of many track fans. Born James Cleveland Owens in Oakville, Alabama on September 12, 1913, Jesse Owens won four gold medals (no easy fete in track and field) at the 1936 Olympics. It would take more than 40 years before another track runner would win four gold medals at an Olympics; that happened in 1984 when Carl Lewis won four gold medals at the Olympics.

Jesse Owens’ wins uprooted Adolph Hitler’s statements about a master race. According to the Official Jesse Owens website, Jesse got his start in track and field while attending school in Cleveland, Ohio (my home state; had to put that in here). Perhaps more than the other track runners mentioned in this blog, it was Jesse Owens who had to race with courage, pride, dignity, passion, resilience and tenacity in ways the other track runners except for Wilma Rudolph (thankfully) have not had to. Jesse had to deal with racial discrimination before and after the Olympics. What he achieved and when he achieved it has set him apart. As with the other track runners mentioned here, Jesse Owens continues to inspire.

There are so many track runners whose exploits on the track and field inspire track fans as well as children, teens and adults who don’t run. To name a few, there’s Edwin Moses (unbeaten in the hurdles during his professional career; oh . . . he’s from Ohio too!), Evelyn Ashford, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner Kersey, Michael Johnson, Usain Bolt and Jim Thorpe. These track athletes meet their personal and family responsibilities then go on to achieve excellence at their sport. They truly are inspiring.

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