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By LARRY VAUGHT
Sprinter Tyson Gay grew up a huge University of Kentucky basketball fan in Lexington before eventually heading off to the University of Arkansas to begin his record-setting collegiate and professional track career.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†grew up a UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†fan. I still keep up with UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†sports. Ever once in a while IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am torn between the Arkansas Hogs and UK, though,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gay Monday during an appearance at the Maximum Velocity Track and Field Academy at Centre College in Danville. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is fun. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†love both schools. I grew up kind of in that Rick Pitino era. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†liked basketball players, football players.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Tony Delk, that was my era. I was a Delk fan, but all those guys Ã¢â‚¬â€ Antoine Walker, Jamal Mashburn. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†loved those guys and they were like superstars to me on the basketball court. I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get enough of them because they were really, really good.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Gay has become Ã¢â‚¬Å“really, really goodÃ¢â‚¬Â himself and admits heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s anxious to show at the 2012 Olympics in London that he can win at least one sprint gold medal. However, having John Calipari restore UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†to a national title contender in basketball has also made life on the road a little more pleasant for Gay.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is really more fun to keep up with UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†and follow UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†again now. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†love Kentucky basketball. They are great,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†am gone a lot, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nice to have Kentucky basketball to watch and talk about. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really nice when IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†come back home. IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†go to a lot of beautiful countries and cities, but there is nothing like coming home and I love watching UK.
Plus, he has a personal connection to the Wildcats in trainer Chris Simmons.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My track trainer (Simmons) at Arkansas got the job in Memphis with Calipari and then Calipari brought him to UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†with him. When IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†had my groin surgery, he allowed me to have my rehab at UK and gave me full access to what IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†needed,Ã¢â‚¬Â Gay said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was funny how he was my trainer at Arkansas and now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s back in my hometown and we keep in contact. He gets me tickets to the games and IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†like to support him and UK.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Chris is really a good guy. He is very businesslike. He is always trying to get better and making athletes better. He wants to find out the best way for his athletes to recover and get them healthy the quickest. We talk about that and things IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†do. He really likes working for Calipari and working at Kentucky. And IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†like having him here so we can talk.Ã¢â‚¬Â