Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Day of Rest

The World Track and Field Championships has reached its halfway point with Wednesday marking a day without any major competition.  The meet thus far has produced a mixed bag of results for the United States.  Gold medals by Trey Hardee in the Decathlon, Carmelita Jeter in the 100, and Brittney Reese in the Long Jump were hardly unexpected.  The surprises came from Jason Richardson's gold in the 110 Hurdles thanks to a miscue by Dayron Robles and the failure of LaShawn Merritt in the 400, the defending champion taken down by a precocious 18-year-old from Grenada. 

My love primarily is for the distance races.  I can hardly wait for Friday's final in the women's 5000.  Leavenworth High grad Amy Hastings continued her outstanding season of running making it into the finals as did another American favorite Lauren Fleshmann, who has resurrected her injury plagued career.  If the Kenyans and Ethiopians fail to push the pace in Daegu, Fleshmann could find herself in a position to put herself on the podium.  Regardless a top 5 finish would be a real coup.

Despite a lot of criticism I thought Galen Rupp acquitted himself well in the men's 10K.  His 7th place finish showed progress whereas 800 veteran Nick Symmonds ran like a rookie in last night's final.  He hesitated at a critical moment 200 meters from the finish letting a Polish runner rattle him in a fight for position and sprinted to a disappointing 5th place.  Symmonds should have been on the podium and the head slap that he gave himself as he crossed the finish line confirmed the costly mistake.  Hopefully it's a lesson he can take with him to London next year.

Also remaining to be decided are the men's and women's 1500 meters.  Leo Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz have outside shots to make the finals.  On the women's side Jenny Simpson and Morgan Uceny have both shown themselves capable of getting a medal when they line up for Thursday's final.

Finally the ageless Bernard Lagat will begin his quest for another medal on Thursday in the men's 5000.  Galen Rupp will join Lagat as both men along with another American Andrew Bumbalough will try to race their way into Sunday's final.  An American distance running medal should come from either Lagat, Uceny. or Simpson barring some bad luck.

Hopefully Universal Sports can talk the ignoramuses producing the televised feed for the IAAF into showing the complete races.  The televised coverage has been nonsensical when compared to what the Czarina and I enjoyed two years ago on the Internet from Berlin.  Here's to four more days of outstanding track and field.

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