William Gay spent his Tuesday night on the internet, looking up flights. He’s hoping to go to the Olympics in August, although no, the cornerback is not some crazy two-sport star.
His girlfriend, Natasha Hastings, is a track star, Olympic veteran and gold medal winner in 2008. He’d like to support her effort in the 2012 Games in England, and coach Ken Whisenhunt is open to working with Gay. It’s not a simple process, since the cornerback will be in the middle of training camp. The finals for Hastings’ events are on Aug. 5, which is the same day the Cardinals play the Saints in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. That’s a long way from London.
“I’d like to see at least one round, fly out and fly back from the game,” Gay said. “Coach told me to try and set up a schedule and let him know, because when I called her and told her the information, she was excited.”
Hastings was a part of the USA’s top 4×400 team in 2008. She’s hoping to compete in the individual 400 too. She and Gay have been together for almost two years – “July 23” he notes proudly as the anniversary – after meeting in Miami when Gay said both were “chilling with friends.” The relationship grew despite long distances and both working as pro athletes.
Gay was long a track fan before that, though. He ran in high school – “Obviously, I wasn’t that good,” he said – and playing for the Steelers, he would attend the Penn Relays. Even now, some of Hastings’ friends don’t get why Gay sits up in the stands during competitions, until she tells them Gay is there to watch the whole meet, not just her.
He’ll talk to her – athlete to athlete – after a competition about what she did right or wrong, just like the two have similar discussions after Gay plays a game. Both are smart enough to let the emotions of a bad outing fade first, Gay said with a smile.
There’s also a dream scenario: “In the same year … she starts it off with getting a gold, I finish it by getting a Super Bowl ring,” Gay said.
Gay will watch Hastings in Eugene, Ore., next week in the U.S. Olympic Trials. In the end, that’s the first step. Nothing else really matters.
“I’m going to look up flights and see what I can do and this week and next week, show Coach my plans,” Gay said. “Then next week, she’s got to make it happen. Because if she don’t go (to London), all the plans go away.”
UPDATE: Hastings did not make the team.
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