Tyson Gay is planning to run 9.6 seconds in Saturday's 100 metres final here - well inside the world record of 9.72 sec - because that's what he thinks it will take to win.
His calculations are based on a belief that both his main rivals - Asafa Powell and the man who ran that world record, Usain Bolt - are also capable of running that swiftly.
"When Bolt ran 9.72, I realised that I had to run a 9.6 to beat him and that's what I trained my mind to do," said Gay, who got into that territory himself at the US trials in July, although his time of 9.68sec was clocked with a following wind over the limit for record purposes.
"The record can go and the guys can go '9.6'.," Gay added. "I did it with a lot of wind but I feel I can go there without wind. This is one of the hottest 100s in history, there hasn't been as much hype about it for a long time."
But along with the hype, as Gay acknowledged, comes suspicion engendered by the fact that, in recent years, the 100m has become tainted by a series of doping scandals. Gay pointed to the fact that he was one of the first 12 volunteers for the Project Believe programme instituted by the US Anti-Doping Agency which establishes basic data on athletes by analysing their blood and urine and then takes regular samples for comparison.
"That's just something I'm doing to show my love for the sport," he said. "I definitely understand that comes with the territory. Past champions have tested positive for drugs, so the Olympic champion does have to carry himself clean or should be clean and definitely able to prove it."
Gay has not competed since pulling up in the US Olympic trials last month with a hamstring strain that ended his chances of making the 200 metres in Beijing. 'I'm fully confident my hamstring is 100 percent,' he said. "I don't feel any aches or twitches, I've been staying hydrated and I'm confident my body will hold up."
But Gay's confidence is not matched by the compatriot who still holds the world 200 and 400m records, Michael Johnson. The quadruple Olympic champion believes Gay is inevitably at a disadvantage because of his injury. "I would have to say that Bolt would be the favourite. People may say he lacks experience at 100m, but running 9.76 and 9.72 trumps experience. Tyson was in the shape of his life earlier this year, but I think it's going to be tough for him to come in and run the time he needs after a month off. But that is not to say he can't win it."
Johnson also believes that Powell will be under huge pressure here, even though he beat his fellow Jamaican Bolt in their last 100m. "Powell has shown it is very difficult for him to get it done on the days when it really counts," he said. "It would be devastating if that happened to him again, so I think he's going to have a tremendous amount of pressure on him."
* Britain's long jumper Chris Tomlinson, who tore a calf muscle at the Aviva London Grand Prix on July 26, has been cleared to compete in Beijing after passing a fitness test.Reuse content