Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Men's 1,500: Lagat Gets A Deserved Gold
America's 99 year wait for a championship gold in the men's 1,500 meters came to an today as naturalized American Bernard Lagat accelerated down the homestretch to capture his first world title in 3:34.77- a much deserved one. Lagat, the 2nd fastest all-time at 1,500 (3:26.34) had finished as the bridesmaid at both the 2001 world champs and 2004 Olympics.
Webb Led Early
It appeared that Webb had no intentions of being the sacrificial rabbit for the field for as they neared 600, the pace slowed and field strung together. At around 700 meters into the race, Kenya's 18-year old sensation Asbel Kiprop got antsy and moved from last to first as 800 was reached in 1:58.08. In a near ideal situation, Kiprop then served as the rabbit for Webb and ratched down the pace to a more honest level. Coming into the bell (2:41:51), all of the major contenders were in near perfect position. Kiprop led and was followed by Webb in 2nd. Korir was in 3rd and Lagat was perfectly positioned in 4th on the outside of Webb as 2005 world 1,500 and 800 champion Rashid Ramzi was in 5th.
The pace started to quicken on the turn as Kiprop hit the 1,200 in 2:55.21. Webb was in perfect position running behind him. Entering the last 200, it was clear that any of the top 8 or 9 could still win as the honest but not suicidal pace had resulted in a near perfect race from a spectator's and athlete's standpoint - lots of guys still in contention.
Kiprop in the Lead Heading into Homestretch
Ramzi was directly behind them, looking for a way to get around them. Unable to squeeze between he was forced to try to jump outside to get around and lost a little momentum in the process. Meanwhile, Lagat, who had been perfectly positioned the whole race in the outside of lane 1 running in third, fourth, of fifth, also encountered a little traffic as he was forced moved to the outside into lane three for a few steps as he began to accelerate past the fading Webb.
Lagat's sprint finish looked just as good as it did in the semifinals when he blew away the field to win his heat. Clearly, the best of the bunch Lagat powered home for his first world title although it would have been a very, very close finish had Ramzi not encountered traffic. Ramzi got around the Kenyans and moved up for the silver position (3:35.00). Ramzi was just ahead of Korir (3:35.04) who got the bronze. Kiprop ended up in 4th (3:35.24) in the tightly contested race as the top eight all finished within a second of each other.
In the end, the two who looked the best in the semifinals and were expected to battle it out for gold finished 1-2.
The eighth-placer (3:35.69) was the world leader, Webb, who in typical type-A Webb fashion was disgusted with his performance and called it a "colossal breakdown""
"I was doing so awesome
until this week. It was a colossal breakdown. I've changed nothing
really. I thought I had more left than I did. I wish I could learn a
lesson from that, but I learned nothing. I got nothing out of it. If I
wanted to get seventh, I would have run for seventh and gotten seventh,
or whatever the hell I got. I didn't come to get seventh, I came to get
first. I didn't."