DES MOINES, Iowa — Mentally, Tyson Gay is now in a good place. Physically, too.
That’s the healing power of running fast at nationals.
Once and for all, Gay put to rest any questions about his surgically repaired hip as he completed the 100-200 sprint double Sunday at the U.S. track championships, winning the 200 meters in 19.74 seconds.
It was the fastest time in the world this season. Gay also beat Justin Gatlin in the 100 on Friday in a season-leading time of 9.75.
“I’m pretty tired,” Gay said. “I’m just glad I’m leaving the race healthy.”
With his strong performance, Gay delivered an emphatic message to the rest of the world, and more specifically Usain Bolt: The Gay of old is back. Not the version hobbled by nagging injuries over the years, but the one who captured the 100 and 200 titles at the 2007 world championships.
“I’m just happy to be healthy,” Gay said. “It feels good, man.”
Former Washington State star Bernard Lagat won the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 14:54.16. Former Oregon star Galen Rupp, the silver medalist in the 10,000 at the London Olympics, was second at 14:54.91.
In the women’s 5,000, former Bellarmine Prep and University of North Carolina star Brie Felnagle finished seventh in 15:46.05. Jenny Simpson won the event in 15:33.77.
It should be quite a show when Gay meets up with Bolt at worlds in Moscow in August. Not that Gay is thinking any further than icing down his legs after an exhausting weekend.
“I’m just focused on myself right now,” Gay said. “It’s no secret Usain Bolt is obviously the greatest of all time. He’s definitely going to be prepared.”
In the women’s 200, Kimberlyn Duncan, winner of the last three NCAA titles for LSU, upset Olympic champion Allyson Felix. Duncan finished in a wind-aided 21.80, with Felix 0.05 seconds behind. Jeneba Tarmoh was third.
“I’m just overjoyed,” Duncan said.
Felix said she got a late start on training and hasn’t completely found her racing form yet. She skipped the 100 earlier in the week to be more prepared for her signature event, the 200.
“I’m lacking a little bit of speed right now,” Felix said. “Overall, my conditioning could be a little better.”
Still, Duncan did something in this race that few have done to Felix — made up ground and blazed by her at the finish.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was overjoyed,” said the 21-year-old Duncan. “I’ll take that time, windy or not.”
It was a busy day to finish nationals, with one final after another in rapid succession.
Other women’s winners included Alysia Montano (800), Dalilah Muhammad (400 hurdles), Jenn Suhr (pole vault) and Gia Lewis-Smallwood (discus),
Other men’s winners were Duane Solomon (800), Ryan Wilson (110 hurdles), Erik Kynard (high jump), Riley Dolezal (javelin), Evan Jager (3,000 steeplechase), George Kitchens (long jump), Ryan Whiting (shot put) and Tim Seaman (20,000 race walk).
Olympic pole vault champion and indoor record holder Suhr is preparing for a showdown with outdoor record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia.
Nine years after the Athens Games, shot putter Adam Nelson was honored as the 2004 Olympic champion Sunday.
“Better late than never,” Nelson said. “The way I look at it is I’ve got the rest of my life to be the gold medalist.”
Nelson was officially elevated to Olympic champion last month, taking the gold that was stripped from Ukraine’s Yuriy Bilonog for doping. Nelson finished second in Athens. Bilonog’s gold medal was removed by the International Olympic Committee in December after his reanalyzed sample tested positive for steroids.