NEW YORK - World 100m silver medallist Tyson Gay did not mince his words as he strolled the streets of New York in near anonymity.
"It is time for Tyson Gay to put up or shut up," the American sprinter told Reuters.
Casually dressed in a blue and white shirt and light-coloured shorts for the walk to a news conference, he had the serious manner of David planning his challenge to Goliath.
For his own peace of mind, the averagely built Gay needs to somehow find a way to defeat Usain Bolt, the tall and long-striding Jamaican Olympic and world champion who seemingly wins at will.
"Sometimes I get to talking that I can beat him," Gay said in the interview arranged by organisers of New York's Adidas Grand Prix.
"After a while I have to do it or shut up.
"I never am going to say I can't beat him because in my heart I believe I can," the world's second fastest man said.
Their 100m personal bests stand more than a 10th of a second apart, Gay at 9,69 seconds and Bolt owning the world record of 9,58.
"But he hasn't run 9,5 in every meet," Gay said.
For a third consecutive year, his quest to catch Bolt is being hampered by a leg or groin problem.
"Something is causing my hamstring to lock up for the past month or so," the soft-spoken American said.
An old back injury that flared up after Gay ran the fastest-ever 200m straightaway in Manchester in May is the likely culprit.
Bolt, too, has been off track with a sore Achilles tendon.
He was scheduled to start full training this week.
"Of course I want to beat him," said Gay, who at 27 is four years older than Bolt.
"I don't know if it's a question of 'how badly'. It's more of me wanting to do the best I can do. He is the best right now and I want to be the best." - Reuters