Healthy at last, Tyson Gay notched a 100m-200m double in scintillating style at the US athletics championships, but the US veteran knows just how hard it will be to take down Usain Bolt at the World Championships.
"It's no secret Usain Bolt is obviously the greatest of all time and he's definitely going to be prepared," Gay said after wrapping up an undefeated trials campaign on Sunday with a world-leading 200m of 19.74sec.
That came two days after the 30-year-old posted the fastest 100m of the season in winning the event in 9.75sec.
Free of the injuries that slowed him for years in the wake of a three-gold performance at the 2007 world championships, Gay said he was looking forward to taking on Bolt -- and the rest of Jamaica's sprinters -- at the World Championships in Moscow which run from August 10-18.
"I'm looking forward to it man," Gay said. "It's going to be tough, tough on the body, tough on the mind."
Justin Gatlin, who edged Gay for 100m bronze at the London Olympics by one-hundredth of a second, booked his Moscow berth with a runner-up finish to Gay in the 100m in 9.89, achieved despite a mild right hamstring strain.
Gatlin opted out of the 200m because of the injury, but said Gay's resurgence, and an infusion of young talent, could see the United States reassert themselves in the sprints that Jamacia, led by Bolt, have dominated in recent years.
"It's not about one person. It is about a team collectively and that's what they have done to us these past few years," Gatlin said of Jamaica.
"They worked as a team, and that's how they overcome us for years and years.
"So now I think if we work together as a team and use our speed and our dynamic teamwork we can definitely bring the title of the fastest man and fastest team to America."
In addition to veterans Gay and Gatlin, who served a doping ban since winning Olympic 100m gold in 2004, the US men's sprinters at Moscow will include 200m runner-up Isiah Young (19.86) and third-placed Curtis Mitchell (19.99), and 100m bronze medallist Charles Silmon (9.98).
While Gay was burning up the blue track at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Bolt won the 100m at the Jamaican trials in 9.94sec, with rising star and training partner Kemar Bailey-Cole second in 9.98 and Nickel Ashmeade -- Gay's training partner -- third in 9.99.
Bolt downplayed the importance of times at this point in the season, especially since he needed to assure himself of the 100m berth after false-starting in the event at the worlds in Daegu two years ago.
"It's at the championships it really matters," the double world record-holder said. "It was all about getting through it injury free and that's what I had done."
No one knows that better than Gay, but his performance in Des Moines sent a ripple of excitement through US athletics circles.
"Clearly he's in top form and it's exciting to see," said Allyson Felix, the Olympic women's 200m gold medallist.
Felix, who took some time off after winning the Olympic gold that eluded her for so long, was upset in the 200m Sunday by Kimberlyn Duncan, winner of the last three NCAA collegiate titles. The 21-year-old, running in her first meeting as a professional, clocked a wind-aided 21.80 to beat Felix (21.85) and Jeneba Tarmoh (22.15).
"It's tough because nobody wants to not be at your best in every race," Felix said. "Sometimes you have to suck it up and say, 'I want to be ready in August.'"
The US will also have Charonda Williams in the 200m in Moscow, thanks to the wild card that comes with Williams' Diamond League series win in the event last season.
The US will also have four women in the 100m in Moscow. Carmelita Jeter, nursing a right quadriceps injury, opted out of the trials but will still be able to use her wild card as the reigning world champion.
English Gardner, another newly minted professional coming off a stand-out collegiate career, won the women's 100m in 10.85sec, ahead of Octavious Freeman (10.87) and Alexandria Anderson (10.91).
"I think this group will be motivated," said women's head coach Beth Alford Sullivan. "Everybody is excited to get over to Europe and make a stance. I think there is a lot of momentum coming off London and they want to back it up."