March 21, 2015 / 3:08 AM / in 3 years

Tyson Gay signs up with sprint guru Smith in LA

(Reuters) - Former double world champion Tyson Gay has signed up to work with sprint guru John Smith in Los Angeles, his new coach told Reuters on Friday.

Tyson Gay of the U.S. gestures after winning in the 100m event of the Lausanne Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Gay, who last summer completed a one-year ban for a 2013 positive doping test and had been mentored by Lance Brauman for years, began working with Smith’s sprint group this week.

“I have had the blessings from Lance and I am now his sprint coach,” Smith said in a telephone interview.

“He came on Monday and we have been working the five days,” said the longtime coach, whose athletes include former world record holder and Olympic champion Maurice Greene, and four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon.

Carmelita Jeter, the 2011 world 100m champion, continues to train with Smith.

“My job is to take care of the talent that was developed before he got here,” Smith said of the 32-year-old Gay.

Gay, the American record holder at 100m and the joint second-fastest man of all-time at 9.69 seconds, hoped to make the U.S. team for August’s world championships in Beijing and compete in the 2016 Olympics, Smith said.

“His competitiveness will allow him to compete at a high level,” his new coach said.

Gay had been looking for a full-time coach since his return from the doping suspension last summer and he and Smith had been friends for a long time, Mark Wetmore, the sprinter’s longtime agent, said.

Wetmore said the move from Florida to California would be a good opportunity for Gay.

“He is just going to put his head down and train and see what happens. He had a good fall and winter and he’s healthy,” Wetmore said.

Gay, the 2007 world champion at 100 and 200m, returned to sprinting last July after serving the one-year suspension for a banned anabolic steroid. He forfeited a silver medal he won with the U.S. 4x100 relay team at the 2012 London Olympics and had his results from July 2012 wiped out.

He received a reduced suspension after admitting his offence and co-operating with investigators.

One of his former coaches, Jon Drummond, was suspended for eight years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in December for doping violations.

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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