Two mindsets, one golden goal
With two races down and two to go in the marquee event of the IAAF world Championships in Berlin, one man is all smiles and the other is all business. Olympic champ
After his race, Bolt sprinted past the waiting press and said nothing. He patted several competitors on the back as they stopped in the serpentine configurations of the mixed zone to talk to reporters. At one point, Bolt hugged
Gay got off to a horrible start in his quarterfinal heat and was last among eight runners after roughly 20 meters. Still, he stayed composed and pulled ahead for a comfortable finish. Gay has run well in this, his comeback year from his hamstring injuries in 2008. But he suffered a strain two months ago and has been cautious in his starts during training. "I felt real good," Gay said after the race. "I haven't even worked on my starts yet, so to run that fast felt pretty good . . . My groin's pretty sore."
At least judging by what we saw on Saturday, there is nothing to suggest Bolt won't confirm his standing as the fastest man alive on Sunday.
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Consider the 2004 season. Cantwell won the world indoor title early that season and recorded the four longest throws of the year outdoors. But in between, he finished fourth at the Olympic trials, fouling on five of six throws. The next year, he won the national title with a toss of 71 feet, but threw nearly three feet shorter to place fifth at the world championships in Helsinki.
That started to change on his final throw at the Olympics last summer. Cantwell sat in fifth place before his last throw, when he moved into silver-medal position with a toss of 21.71 meters (71 feet, 2¾ inches) on his sixth attempt. Cantwell looked at that meet as a missed opportunity rather than a medal-worthy performance. "I'll never wipe away that memory," he says. "It's not a memory I want wiped away." And he had still never won a long-overdue major international outdoor title until Saturday.
Cantwell began well in Berlin, taking an early lead with a throw of 21.54 meters (70-8) on his first toss. That held up until rounds four and five, when Poland's
Asked if he needed to feel a jolt of excitement to produce his winning throw, Cantwell replied, "I told myself to slow down and relax. Bend the fingers back and relax. I didn't sleep well last night. I don't need excitement to throw 22 meters."
If this was a shot-put sized weight off the shoulders,
Perhaps now they are.