For Tyson Gay, competing in the Adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island this past Saturday served as continued validation that he is one of the most respected and accomplished athletes in his sport.
However, the track and field meet took on even greater significance for the native of Lexington, Ky. In winning the 100-meter in a time of 10.02, a comfortable .13 seconds ahead of his fellow countryman, Ryan Bailey, he provided an uplifting gift to young Adam Getliff.
The 16-year-old from Holland, Mich., is courageously battling acute myeloid leukemia. Through the generosity of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Getliff was granted the opportunity to travel to New York City for the first time and cheer on his favorite athlete live.
Gay has had battles of his own but maintained they are no comparison to Getliff’s. “Not even close,” he said last week at a pre-race press conference. “His fight is a lot bigger than mine, but at the same time, neither one of us gave up.”
After a series of injuries, including a prohibitive hip impairment that resulted in surgery in 2011, doubt crept into Gay’s psyche as to whether he would ever reach the level he attained in 2007, when he won gold in the 100-meter, 200- meter and 4×100-meter relay at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
Making his comeback at last year’s Adidas Grand Prix, Gay ultimately made the U.S. Olympic team and finished fourth in the 100-meter at the London Games. Although he said it was a bittersweet moment, the race confirmed he had returned to elite status. He is now focusing his attention on the World Championships.
Traversing the cool, wet weather that blanketed Randall’s Island, Gay said he accomplished his goal. “It was important to leave here healthy … with the conditions … I’m definitely pleased with [my] time.”