I ask this question with a few things in mind. Bernard Lagat has been the best/most consistent US distance runner over the past 5-6 years. In terms of competition within the US he has been virtually untouchable in the last few years. The one man who beat him when it counted (and just barely beat him) was Matt Centrowitz at the US champs. Centro then went on to win a bronze at the World Champs this summer.
In 07 Alan Webb beat Lagat on multiple occasions and by more than one tenth of a second. Webb beat him in New York, in Paris, and at the US Champs. I'd also argue that the Lagat of '07 was even better than the Lagat of '11 in terms of the 1500.
All of this strongly suggests Webb SHOULD HAVE medaled at the WC's. He proved more than once that he could beat Lagat. Ramzi was obviously doped and Asbel was just starting to realize his potential but outside of those three everyone was a more or less a no name.
Webb was in phenomenal shape and on fire for all of 07. With 400 to go in the final he was right off of 1st place's shoulder. It looked like this might finally be it for him. He faded pretty hard to go from 2nd with 150 to go to 8th at the finish. What happened? Was he burned out at that point? Should he have pushed the pace earlier on? Poor race tactics? Bad day? Just a headcase? Did he say anything about it afterward? It seems like everything was going his way leading up and I just want to hear what you guys think?
video of the race here:
Its called welcome to World Championship competition. Webb simply wasn't that fast. I believe he ran 54 seconds for that final lap. Not bad and better than he did at Paris when he beat Lagat handily. But at WCs that just isn't good enough.