Gay impresses with 9.75 at US trials
Tyson Gay after winning the 100m at the US athletics championships on June 21, 2013. Gay won in an impressive 9.75sec to stamp himself America's top World Championships challenger to Jamaican Usain Bolt.
Gay, trailing out of the blocks, exploded near the midway point and powered home to win in the fastest time in the world this year.
Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist who handed six-time Olympic champion Bolt a rare defeat in Rome this month, just couldn't match Gay in the closing stages.
Running warily with a mild right hamstring strain, Gatlin finished second in 9.89.
Charles Silmon seized the third World Championships berth on offer by the narrowest of margins, finishing third in 9.98sec (9.972) with Michael Rodgers relegated to fourth by just two-thousandths of a second (9.974).
The top trio will spearhead the US challenge to six-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt and his fellow Jamacian sprinters at the World Championships in Moscow on August 10-18.
Gay had served notice in Friday's semi-finals, with a wind-aided 9.75, and he proved it was no fluke in a final run in a legal wind of 1.1m/sec.
"I don't really think it's a statement," said Gay, who has been bedevilled by injuries since winning three gold medals at the 2007 World Championships.
"I wanted to run faster, because you get the adrenaline from watching the females run and then you see the wind, the conditions are perfect ... You want to take advantage of that," added Gay, who improved on his own 2013 world-leading 9.86sec.
Gay, 30, said he still had plenty of room for improvement.
"I was trying to get a good start in the finals. That's probably why I didn't, because I was trying," he said. "I should have been a little bit more relaxed, but at the same time the victory feels good."
Gay said he would take the night before deciding whether or not to run the 200m, which starts with heats on Saturday.
"I'm going to go home and rest and judge it in the morning," he said.
Gatlin was pleased with his time, considering his injury.
"It felt good running 9.8 with an Ace bandage on," Gatlin said. "I strained it like a week before coming here."
He wasn't surprised by the burst of speed Gay used to put away the race.
"That's how Tyson runs," Gatlin said. "He runs great, especially from the middle part to the end. That's what you expect from Tyson when he is healthy."
English Gardner, who turned professional this month after winning the US collegiate 100m crown, won the women's 100m in 10.85sec.
Her time, run in a wind of 1.8m/sec, matched the fastest in the world this year posted by Barbara Pierre in the semi-finals earlier on Friday. Both were better than the previous season-best 10.93 of Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
In the final, Pierre got out fast, but faded in the stretch as Gardner, now training with coach John Smith, came on strong to finish ahead of collegian Octavius Freeman (10.87) and Alexandria Anderson (10.91).
The top three will compete at Moscow along with reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter, who sat out the champinships with a thigh injury but will still be able to use her bye into the worlds.
The women's 100m hurdles heats promised a scintillating final as another rising star, Brianna Rollins, topped the times with a wind-aided 12.33.
Queen Harrison was second fastest in a wind-aided 12.44 while local favorite Lolo Jones set a stadium record of 12.50 in winning her heat, run in a legal wind. Reigning world champion Dawn Harper was fourth fastest in 12.60.
Beijing Olympic gold medallist LaShawn Merritt led the way into Saturday's men's 400m final in a time of 44.36.
London Olympic gold medallist Sanya Richards-Ross, still running with pain after toe surgery last September, made it into the women's 400m final as the seventh-fastest qualifier and will have her work cut out to claim a top-three finish and book a Moscow spot.
Among the day's other finals, Sharon Day won the heptathlon with a total of 6,550 points, best in the world this year.