OSAKA, Japan - Tired and sore, Tyson Gay didn't have energy left to celebrate completing one of the most impressive sprint doubles in the history of the world track & field championships.
"This was the hardest race of my life," he said. "I couldn't think or nothing. I really couldn't put my arms up to celebrate. I couldn't even really jog on my victory lap."
The latest dominant American sprinter pulled away from Jamaican Usain Bolt down the straightaway to win the 200 meters yesterday in 19.76 seconds, breaking the meet record of 19.79 set 12 years ago by American Michael Johnson in Goteborg, Sweden.
"Tyson is the man to beat right now, hands down. He just proved it," bronze medalist Wallace Spearmon said.
Gay's victory came in his eighth race, counting preliminaries, in six days at Nagai Stadium. He won the 100 Saturday in 9.85. Both wins were into headwinds.
Bolt had a slight lead at the end of the curve, a development that shocked Gay.
"To see him winning, I'm not used to that," said Gay, adding he usually loses when he isn't ahead by then.
He needed just about two steps down the straightaway to take the lead, then sprinted away. Bolt was second in 19.91.
"He just flat-out beat me," Bolt said. "I think I did pretty well, but he's the better man on this day."
Spearmon, who had a false start, then stumbled out of the blocks at the next gun, went 20.05, edging American teammate Rodney Martin, who had a personal-best 20.06. Gay's sweep of the 100 and 200 events duplicated Justin Gatlin's achievement at the 2003 world championships in Helsinki. Gatlin is absent at these worlds, because he's appealing a possible eight-year ban after testing positive for testosterone and other steroids in April 2006.
The only other sprinter to complete the 100-200 sweep at the worlds was fellow American Maurice Greene in Seville, Spain, in 1999.
Defending champion Dwight Phillips managed a bronze in the long jump, giving the United States 13 medals, three more than second-place Russia. The Americans have six gold.
There was high drama in the long jump, where Irving Saladino of Panama won on his final jump - 28 feet 1 1/2 inches. Andrew Howe of Italy had taken the lead with a jump of 27-9 1/2.
Australian Jana Rawlinson won the 400-meter hurdles just eight months after giving birth to a son. Defending champion and world record-holder Yuliya Pechenkina of Russia was second.
Defending champion Allyson Felix and American teammate Sanya Richards each won a semifinal heat in the women's 200.