In the real world, sprint stars Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay would have already raced against each other three times this season. That is the number of meets held so far in the Golden League series, the elite event in the sport of athletics offering a jackpot of 1million (R8,28million) . Formula One drivers compete against each other 17 times a year, the best footballers, basketball players, golfers and tennis players meet on a regular basis .
It is only the world’ s fastest men who prefer to meet as rarely as possible, which appears to be part of the hype. Triple world champion Gay and 2008 gold medallist Bolt are yet to meet this year. The next showdown will not come until the August 15 to 23 World Championships in Berlin. A hyped Olympic duel last year in Beijing never materialised because Gay limped out injured in the semifinals. Jamaican Bolt redefined the sprint world in China when he bettered the 100m world record to 9,69 seconds and the 200m mark to 19,30 seconds. Gay has a personal best of 9,7 seconds in the 100m and 19,58 in the 200. Gay equalled his 9,77 result on Friday with a big win at the Golden League meet in Rome, which underlined that he is not ready to simply hand over the world titles to Bolt in Berlin. “I feel that I’m improving,” said Gay after the race. “I was working really hard for this, but I’m still training and I feel good.” Bolt says: “I’m in good shape, but I’m not fully ready yet. “I still need to work on a few technical things.” Gay leads the 2009 lists with the 19,58 and 9,77 times while Bolt has so far clocked 9,86 and 19,59 seconds this year. A closer look reveals that the American had the better conditions, a tail wind, on both occasions (0,4 metres per second in the 100m and 1,3 in the 200m). Bolt, by comparison, ran his 9,86 into a slight head wind of 0,2 and the 19,59 in a 0.9 head wind, the latter on a wet track in Lausanne, Switzerland, in cool conditions on Tuesday. The last time the two faced each other, Bolt set his first 100m world record of 9,72 seconds in New York in May last year.