OSAKA, Japan - Tired and sore, Tyson Gay did not have energy left to celebrate completing one of the most impressive sprint doubles in the history of the world track and field championships.

"This was the hardest race of my life," he said. "I couldn't think or nothing. I really couldn't put my arms up to celebrate. I couldn't even really jog on my victory lap."

The latest dominant American sprinter pulled away from Jamaican Usain Bolt down the straightaway to win the 200 meters yesterday in 19.76 seconds, breaking the meet record of 19.79 set 12 years ago by American Michael Johnson in Goteborg, Sweden.

Gay's victory came in his eighth race, counting preliminaries, in six days at Nagai Stadium. He won the 100 Saturday in 9.85. Both wins were into headwinds.

Bolt had a slight lead at the end of the curve, a development that shocked Gay.

"To see him winning, I'm not used to that," said Gay, adding he usually loses when he isn't ahead by then.

He needed just about two steps down the straightaway to take the lead, then sprinted away. Bolt was second in 19.91.

"He just flat-out beat me," Bolt said. "I think I did pretty well, but he's the better man on this day."

Wallace Spearmon, who had a false start then stumbled out of the blocks at the next gun, went 20.05, edging U.S. teammate Rodney Martin, who had a personal-best 20.06.

Gay's sweep of the 100 and 200 events duplicated Gatlin's achievement in the 2003 world championships in Helsinki.

Gatlin is absent from these worlds because he is appealing a possible eight-year ban after testing positive for testosterone and other steroids in April 2006.

The only other sprinter to complete the 100-200 sweep at the worlds was fellow American Maurice Greene in Seville, Spain, in 1999.

Despite a sore left hamstring, Gay has a shot at one more gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay tomorrow.

Only two other U.S. athletes - Carl Lewis (1983, 1987) and Greene (1999) - have won three golds in a world championships.