Sunday, August 11, 2013

Missing Moscow

The Czarina and I wanted to attend the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow, Russia in the worst way.  Going to a world championship is on my bucket list.  The trip would have given the Czarina to visit family.  Alas, the stars did not align and we settled for the U.S. Nationals in Des Moines.

Thank God for the BBC.  We awoke 6 a.m. Saturday morning to watch a bootleg feed of the BBC coverage of the women's marathon.  It was a death march.  It was simply unfair to start the race at 2 p.m.  The BBC commentators said it was done for Japanese television, where the race would appear in prime time.  It was horribly hot and humid.

Top Ethiopian and Kenyan marathoners used the conditions as an excuse to drop out and save themselves for lucrative fall marathons.  Kudos though to defending champ Edna Kiplagat who stayed just off the tough pace set by Italy's Valeria Starneo.  The Kenyan took a well deserved gold while the Italian happily settled for silver.  The Japanese got their prime time bronze from Kayoko Fukushi who never gave up after getting dropped from the lead pack.

The weather made for miserable running later on Saturday for the men's 10K.  American Galen Rupp didn't stand a chance.  He doesn't possess the crackling finish that he had a year ago.  Great Britain's Mo Farah does and that gave him gold while Rupp just missed the podium.

The Czarina and I couldn't see getting up at 2:30 a.m. to watch the women's 1500 Sunday morning.  Instead we waited until 11 a.m. to watch the evening session and the women's 10,000 went the way I expected.  I had Americans Shalane Flanaghan, Jordan Hassay and Amy Hastings going 7th, 10th and 15th.  I wasn't to far off.  They went 8th, 12th and 15th.  

Flanaghan tried to front run her way to the podium but when it started to rain she seemed to wilt.  I don't know what's wrong with Hastings this year.  Her move to the east coast following last year's Olympics hasn't helped her.  Amy is not the same runner that she was a year ago.

The highlight of Sunday was the precision performance put in by Usain Bolt.  He took the 100 meters under the stormy skies of Moscow.  Justin Gatlin gave him a race.  It's a shame Mike Rodgers couldn't run the finals like he did the semi's or the U.S.A. might have grabbed a bronze.

Another week of track and field lies ahead.  I'm looking forward to three super races.  The men's 800 could see the USA taking not one, but two medals.  Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds are fit and ready for battle.  Then both the men's and women's 1500 should be special. 

The women's rounds started on Sunday.  Prep phenom Mary Cain managed to advance thanks to her thunderous kick.  Jenny Simpson showed that she's ready to defend her title.  I may be a little distracted at work this week, trying to monitor the BBC while handling my other duties!

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