DES MOINES, Iowa -- Tyson Gay dispelled doubts over his fitness by beating Justin Gatlin in Friday's 100 metres final at the U.S. championships.
Gay finished in a time of 9.75 seconds, the fastest in the world this season. Gatlin, wearing strapping on his right hamstring, was second. Charles Silmon took third as he held off Michael Rodgers by two-thousandths of a second for the last spot on the team headed to Moscow for the world championships in August.
"That," Gay said, his grin growing wider, "went good."
Even better, he was walking around without a grimace of pain after each step following the race, something that hasn't been the case in recent years. He's been dealing with nagging groin and hamstring issues, along with that troublesome hip.
Finally, the 30-year-old is healthy. Finally, he's training without discomfort trailing him around the track.
"Tyson can be great if he's healthy," former Olympic champion Maurice Greene said.
In the women's 100, English Gardner, who just recently turned pro, captured the title despite an ankle injury. Octavious Freeman was second and Alexandria Anderson took third to earn spots to worlds.
"I really came out and performed well," Gardner said. "It's going to be a long haul, me and this ankle. It's a very emotional battle."
Gay entered the race with the fastest time in the world this year but Gatlin had the more impressive win, recently beating Usain Bolt. Gatlin led early, only to be caught by Gay.
"He didn't show anything different than what I've seen of Tyson before," said the 31-year-old Gatlin, who tweaked his hamstring at a recent meet but hid the injury until Friday. "A healthy Justin and a prime Justin will be able to (race) all the way to the line."
Other winners on Friday were A.G. Kruger (hammer throw), Brad Walker (pole vault), Lance Brooks (discus) and Sharon Day (heptathlon). Day notched a personal-best score of 6,550 points.
For Ashton Eaton, the first day of the decathlon was only about playing it safe and not chasing after his own world record. Eaton is in second place behind Gunnar Nixon after five events.
"My (big performances) come now at the big show, not so much USAs anymore," said Eaton, who's dealing with a tendinitis in his left leg.
LaShawn Merritt had the top time in the 400 to advance to the final, while Manteo Mitchell squeaked into the last spot after Michael Berry was disqualified for lane violation.
Sanya Richards-Ross also advanced to the final in the women's 400 despite a surgically repaired big toe.