March 9, 2014
Sopot, Poland – Chanelle Price of the USA – 800 meter world champion.
The first ever 800 gold for the US at a world championships indoors or out.
Wire-to-wire win in a world leading time of 2:00.09 for gold in just a gutsy, gutsy race.
Price Leads From Start To Finish
It was no surprise that Chanelle Price was going to go out hard in the lead in the women’s 800 final at the 2014 World Indoor Track and Field Championships. She wasn’t exactly keeping her race strategy secret as she had ran fast and hard in front of the pack in both the heats and final at USAs and the first round of the 800 here on Friday. She continued that front-running tactic this afternoon taking out the race in a quick 27.88 and then impressively still managed to be the best over the final lap to get the gold in 2:00.09. Behind her Poland’s Angelika Cichocka gave the home crowd something to cheer about as she took silver in 2:00.45 as Belarus’ Marina Arzamsova grabbed the bronze (2:00.79).
As the gun went off, Price went immediately to the lead and took the field through 200m in 27.88, 400 in 57.73 and 600 in 1:28.91. Behind her the rest of the pack was pulled along and at the bell lap, Belarus’ Arzamsova, Poland’s Cichocka and the Czech Republic’s Lenka Masna were right on her jockeying for final position. Chanelle did not hug the first turn, making sure if anyone was going to pass here they would have to go wide. Going into the final turn, Price had a small gap on the the field who all swung wide to try and run her down in the final straight.
Price dug deep and powered away for the gold medal, just missing breaking 2-minutes for the first time (indoor or out) by .10 seconds. Behind her the battle for the silver and bronze was fierce. Cichocka was able to weave through the other runners to slip into second. In the battle for third, after some contact, Arzamsova took 3rd. In the homestretch, Ukraine’s Natallia Lupu was gaining on Arzamsova but maybe thirty meters from the finish Arzamsova’s arms were going back and Lupu’s were going forward and big contact was made and Lupu lost her momentum.
After the contact, Lupu fell back and Switzerland’s Selina Buchel just nipped her at the line for 4th. There were no DQs.
Quick Take #1 – A Teen Phenom Returns To Glory: What a great day for Chanelle Price. Price was a teen phenom as she ran 2:02.38 as a high school senior in 2007 and was 6th at the World Junior Championships. But then she went to college and never really lived up to her teenage stardom as she never won an NCAA title and never made a US team for a major championship. She deserves a lot of credit for sticking with it all these years and we’re happy to see it paid off as her first global medal was a gold one. This topped off an amazing season for her as she set PRs at 400 (54.64i), 800 (2:00.09), 1k (2:36.63), and the mile (4:43.64) this year. Not bad for someone with two part-time jobs.
QT #2 – History Is Made: Price wins the first women’s 800 gold at Worlds in USA history – indoors or out (the US won Olympic gold in the 800 once in 1968). Since the start of World Indoors in 1985 (the first year it was called the World Indoor Games), the US has won four medals in the women’s 800 – all of them bronze – Joetta Clark 1 (1993 and 1997), Alysia Montano (2010) and Erica Moore (2012). Price is definitely a deserving victor.
In the post-race press conference, we asked Price if she ever thought about quitting the sport after she struggled for so long and if during that time she ever thought she would be a world champion. She said that she maybe didn’t handle the pressure of being a young star as well as Mary Cain and Ajee Wilson are now and that there was a time after college she wanted to quit. She credited her religious faith and “relationship with God” in helping her be mentally stronger and allow her to deal with the pressure now. She thinks her improvement is mostly mental saying, “In college, track wasn’t really fun anymore. Honestly I put a lot of pressure on myself, I was always tense. It just wasn’t fun and I worried about those expectations from what I did in high school too much. I just didn’t go into the races with a clear mind or any confidence. Now I honestly just run for God and don’t really care about what people say. I use the track as my sanctuary and the race as my praise. … that’s how I keep myself sane.”
QT #3 – Would There Be Yet Another DQ? Given the big contact that occurred in the final straight, many wondered, “Given the rash of DQs here at 2014 Worlds, might there be a DQ?” No, there would be none. The officials here this weekend had zero tolerance for lane violations or people stepping over the curb but contact was for the most part ignored.
We asked Arzamsova about the contact and she said she was just digging deep going for a medal, “working with my hands” in the drive for home. When asked if she was fearful of a DQ, she said she wasn’t. She said the contact was “an accident” and not really preventable. “I can’t see (behind me), she was behind me. It was without intent,” said Arzamsova. “I’m really happy (to have won bronze).”
We asked Arzamsova what she thought of the American gold medallist Price and Arzamsova admitted she was surprised Price was the victor.
“She’s good and talented but to tell you the truth, I didn’t expect her to be the winner, but she is good and (won).”
QT#4: In case you didn’t assume as much already, Price was extremely pumped by her run. Down in the mixed zone athletes walk through a long line of journalists positioned at different points. The TV stations get first dibs at interviewing the athletes, then media not wanting to film, then at the very end are the web guys who want to get video. By the time she got to us for the video interview below she was probably on her 3rd or 4th interview, but she still had plenty of energy and excitement. The only disappointment for her on the day came from not getting to dip under 2-minutes for the first time. She said, “I think all of us kind of wanted to see that 1:59 on the board. … It would have been nice to hit 1:59, but you can’t get mad at a personal best and a world championship gold medal.”
QT #5: Quick video interview with Switzerland’s Seina Buchel. At the time there were questions about whether there might be a DQ and if she’d be elevated to bronze. As a rewsult, we asked if she had any perspective to add on the contact in the final straight, but she said she didn’t see it clearly enough to comment, but did say, “It’s the 800 meter, it’s a fight.”
Highlighted version from Universal Sports