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But again, Gay’s body had other ideas when a right hip injury slowed him and put his career in jeopardy. He had surgery in 2011 and was sidelined for nearly a year.

“I had a lot of doubts,” Gay said of the surgery. “I tried to tune them out. It was just everything I had to go through. I couldn’t even jog until March.”

Gay would run only once before the Olympic trials in July in Eugene.

In a cold and windy rain, Gay lined up in the blocks. As it was for Gatlin, the trials would be a make-or-break moment. The next 10 seconds could either revive or end the career for Gay, who will turn 30 on Aug. 9 during the London Games.

“I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” he said. “I knew I had to run my heart out just to make the team.”

Gay finished just 0.06 seconds behind Gatlin for the silver. Joining Gatlin and Gay in the men’s 100 meters will be Ryan Bailey, 23, who placed third. Neither Gatlin nor Gay will compete in the 200 meters, but they will team up in the 4x100 relay.

Gay called his runner-up finish bittersweet.

“I always like to win, and I came in second,” Gay said. “But at the end of the day, it was about making the team. I got to make sure I turn this little bit of a frown into a happy face. For me to start training in March and make the team is a beautiful accomplishment.”

An Olympic showdown

The men’s 100 meters in London will feature not only two top American sprinters battling back from adversity, but also three top Jamaican sprinters.

Bolt, 25, will be joined by teammates and rivals Asafa Powell, 29, a former world-record holder, and Yohan Blake, 22, the current world champion. Blake, Powell and Gay are the only sprinters who have defeated Bolt.

Greene, who will be at the games as a commentator for Fox Sports and Euro Sports, says this is anybody’s race.

He said that unlike four years ago, Bolt is not a lock for the gold. The qualifying rounds of the men’s 100 meters will be held Aug. 4, and the semifinals and final Aug. 5.

“I don’t think Usain is the Usain of China,” Greene said. “He’s not in that type of shape or form. I think it’s going to be a closer race than everyone thinks.”