Defending triple world sprint champion Tyson Gay has admitted he was "boring" compared to Jamaican Olympic nemesis Usain Bolt.
Bolt repeated at the Beijing Olympics what Gay achieved in the 2007 worlds in Osaka - winning gold in the 100m, 200m and as part of the 4x100m relay team - but all in world record times.
The Jamaican also brought more than a touch of razzmatazz while showing none of the outright cockiness that many lesser sprinters often display. "I am probably what you would call 'boring'," acknowledged Gay. “I don't flex my muscles too much before the race or anything like that. At the same time, I am always the same person."
Gay's pre-race activities mirror most of his fellow competitors, who try to zone out all around them to go through the mental imaging they say helps them run to the best of their ability.
Bolt, on the other hand, will often joke around, even grinning to the television cameras as they pan to his lane just seconds before starter's orders. And of course, his infamous “Bolt dance” has become a tradition. Invariably he wins and takes his stance, aiming an invisible bow and arrow skyward.
“Bolt is a very unique individual, he is very funny and has a lot of personality,” said Gay. He's exciting and we both bring our own styles to the race.” But public and rivals beware, for Bolt has warned that a new dance might be about to appear. “If I win, there will be a new dance.”
Fate of Jamaican athletes next week
After leaving the Beijing Olympics in a blaze of glory, Jamaica has arrived at the world championships burdened by infighting and a recent doping case.
The chaos surrounding the team will continue until at least Tuesday when the world athletics federation will decide whether five Jamaican athletes provisionally cleared of doping can take part in the championships.
The IAAF learned Jamaica's Anti-Doping Commission will have a ruling on the issue by late Monday, and said it will assess that decision and see if further action is necessary.
The federation could provisionally suspend the five if it rules that the doping infractions were serious enough.