Tyson Gay, the second fastest man in history, has set his sights on finding ‘the missing piece of my heart’ in London by finally winning an Olympic medal.
The American is likely to be one of the leading challengers to Jamaican pair Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in the 100 metres final on Sunday.
The 29-year-old is only the second person after Bolt to run under 9.7 seconds, but his career has been beset by injury problems.
He failed to make the final at the 2008 Games after his preparation was hampered by a hamstring problem.
‘For me this Olympics is really special,’ the softly-spoken former world champion said. ‘To come here and compete for a medal really means a lot after I came up short in 2008. There is a lot of pressure for me, I am not going to lie.
‘There would still be pressure if I did get a medal in 2008, but it’s a lot more now because I really feel the missing piece of my heart is an Olympic medal.
‘I have a lot of driving force coming into these Games. I am fully focused on leaving with a medal.’
Long-standing injuries have certainly been the key factor in Gay, who has run 9.69 and 9.71secs, struggling to challenge the dominance of Bolt.
He has not won a major global medal since taking World Championship silver in 2009, while he missed almost the whole of last season with a hip injury – a time he described as the toughest of his career.
He is back after a year out running 9.86s this year, though, and insists he is confident in his fitness.
But how his body holds up over three races in two days remains to be seen.