Where Your Dreams Become Reality
May 27, 2008
*Last week's week in review can be found here
Since the US D1 collegians were taking a week off before regionals and most of the US pros were taking off a week in the week between the adidas meet in LA and the Reebok meet in NY, we imagine some thought that the last full week of May would be a dull one from a running perspective. They were wrong as a lot went on.This past week's homepages: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday
Hengelo Recap - Pamela Jelimo!!!!! Simply Unbelievable Her Run and Rise Through the Sport
Simply breathtaking. Now if for some reason you are on a dial-up connection and can't watch the video, let us try to put her performance in context. 1:55.76 is very, very, very fast. How fast? Well it makes her the 20th fastest performer in history. That's pretty impressive in and of itself but one needs to realize that the vast majority of the top women's 800 times in history are times from totally doped performers. For example, of the 19 performers in history faster than Jelimo, 14 of them came from Eastern Bloc countries in the 1970s and 1980s when steroid usage was systematic and drug testing a joke. Another performance is from convicted drug cheat Jolanda Ceplak. Thus some are thus wondering if Pamela Jelimo's performance is the fastest clean 800 time ever run? We say no, but it's not far off (Maria Mutola has run 1:55.19).
That doesn't impress you? Well it also shattered the world junior record. Want more? It also is a new Kenyan national record - breaking World Champ Janeth Jepksogei's 1:56.04. Still more? How about this? Jelimo is only 19 and she just started running the 800 this year. YES SHE JUST STARTED RUNNING THE 800 THIS YEAR. Last year, she ran the 200 (24.68) and 400 (54.93). This year, she's run the 800 four times and she's won four times (including the African champs). Thus she's undefeated for her life in the 800.
Early in 2008, the biggest story on the men's pro track circuit was the emergence of two young 800 stars in David Rudisha and Abubaker Kaki. It looks like the ladies have a new star as well. Athletics Kenya must be very excited about the Olympics as Kenya also has 2007 world champ Janeth Jepkosgei in the women's 800. (Until 2007, unlike the men, the Kenyan woman basically had had little success on the track at World Champs/Olympics as they averaged less than one medal total per world championship with zero success in the middle distances (0 medals until last year)).
Oh yeah, one more thing. Jepkosgei is going to open up her 2008 season on Sunday at the Golden League Meet in Berlin where she'll square off against Jelimo. A MUST SEE EVENT.
Since we're talking about the women's 800, it seems appropriate to mention that one of the women ahead of Jelimo on the all-time 800 list who actually likely was clean - Maria Mutola - is going to be honored at the Prefontaine Classic next weekend when she goes for her 16th straight and last win at the meet in the 800. The meet is going to honor Mutola by retiring her bib number and giving out a Maria Mutola Outstanding Athlete Award. Very much deserved.
Pre meet director Tom Jordan summed up Mutola's legacy perfectly when he said, "There has never been another competitor like her. An Olympic gold, three World Championship golds, seven World Indoor gold medals she has dominated her event like no other athlete.
Rest of the Meet - Geb Impresses as Does Saladino
The rest of the Hengelo meet did not disappoint. Irving Saladino jumped farther than anyone has in 14 years (28'7.75") and extended his win streak to 21. Let's hope the win-streak continues as there is nothing like streaks to capture the attention of the average sports fan.
In the men's 5k, Kenenisa Bekele had no problems with the competition (he had a tougher time with the hot and windy conditions) as he absolutely crushed the field to win in by nearly 12 seconds in a world leading time of 12:58.94 to Edwin Soi's 2nd in 13:10.88. American Matt Tegenkamp struggled home in 13:28. Meanwhile Bekele's compatriots swept the top 3 in the women's 5k led by Gelete Burka in 14:45.84.
In the 10k, distance fans got a blast from the past as the great one - Haile G - gave everyone a thrill when he took the lead in the 5th mile and pushed the pace before finishing a surprising second in 26:51.20 to Sileshi Sihine's 26:50.53, defeating 2003 world 5k champ and 2007 world 5k runner-up Eliud Kipchoge in the process. Losing to Sihine is nothing to cry about as he's earned the silver in the 10k at the last two world champs as well as the 2004 Olympics.
The question is now whether Geb runs the 10k at the Olympics or not. We bet he doesn't as it's clear to us he really wants to go for the marathon world record in Berlin instead.
Hengelo: Pamela Jelimo 1:55.76, Geb Sub 27, Bekele Sub 13
Making bigger news than perhaps the nationals themselves was Wejo labeling them the "Baby Nationals" in an attempt to differentiate them from the D1 nationals for our international visitors. Lots of D2 and D3 runners took it as a slight and a huge message board thread on the issue erupted. Certainly our Thread of The Week.
Trust us, Wejo doesn't look down upon D2 or D3 athletes. He just made the classic mistake so many politicians make. Don't try to justify or explain yourself, just say you're sorry for offending people. We're sorry.
They Are Only In High School But They Are FAST!!!
The #1 performance came from Pennsylvania's Chanelle Price (headed to Tennessee or pro) who absolutely shattered the long standing state meet record from 1981 held by the late Kim Gallagher of 2:05.47 by running 2:02.90. News reports of the meet are all also stating that the mark eclipsing the national high school record of 2:04.50 set by Joetta Clark in 1980.
We're not sure what record it breaks. They are saying it's a "National Federation" record which must mean regularly scheduled high school meet as Price ran faster (2:02.76) against high school only competition last year at the Nike outdoor nationals. Her PR of 2:02.38 came against mixed competition at the USA nationals last year when she got 7th as a 16 year old.
Anyway, Price is really, really good. How good? Well let's just say her 400 split at the state meet was 57.24. That would have won the AA 400 title and got her 4th in the AAA girl's 400. Crazy. Prior to state, Price's seasonal best was a 2:03.20 she ran on May 10th, when she dispatched the field with ease at the New Balance NYC Qualifying Challenge at Icahn Stadium..
Also in Pennsylvania, Neely Spence (signed with Shippensburg), Steve Spence's daughter, went after the state meet record of 4:41.08 from 1981 held also by Kim Gallagher. Windy conditions got in the way but a 4:44.85 isn't too bad.
But the crazy thing is Spence's 1,600 wasn't even the fastest of the weekend in the high school ranks. That would belong to California's Christine Babcock, who ran a ridiculous 4:36, which is a "National Federation" record as well.
We're not sure what we should be our High School Performance of the Week as on the men's side German Fernandez pulled off a 4:07/8:45 double that a college coach said was "like a walk in the park". Fernandez's performance was so good it almost caused us to totally not mention that in Connecticut, Donn Cabral (headed to Princeton) and Willie Ahearn (UT bound) both broke the previous Connecticut record for 2 miles as Cabral got the win in 8:56.35 to Willie Ahearn's 8:57.92 at the Danbury Dream Invitational.
So who wins the High School Performance of the Week? Well ... we're giving it to Andrea Nelson, who crossed the line 2nd in 10:40 in the 3,200 in the 4A girls state race in Washington.. Now given the exemplary performances listed above, you may be asking why is she the performer of the week? Well because in the 3,200, Nicole Cochran made a move on the last lap to break away from the field and win by 4 seconds in 10:36. One small problem for Cochran, she apparently stepped on the line on the curve with a lap to go one too many times and was DQ'd (her coaches claim there is no way she stepped on the line). During the awards ceremony, the runners that were defeated by Cochran, led by the runner-up Nelson, decided to all give their medals to the person who finished ahead of them (Nelson to Cochran, 3rd to 2nd, 4th to 3rd, etc) to right the injustice being inflicted by an overzealous official.
Nelson summed up the situation perfectly , "That's not how you win state. She (Cochran) totally deserves it. She crushed everybody."
Talk about a classy thing to do.
US Pro Action
Kenya News: Recommended Read: Ex-Manager Goes on the Record With How Inept Athletics Kenya Is
Weekly Doping News
So this week, we'll start with some positive news. We think that some people assume that we think all top pros are on drugs. No we do not.
Starting last year, we began to think, "Could this guy possibly be clean?" Yes, we think he is. Why do we say it? Well for one, his anti-drug message seems so genuine as compared to the fake PR happiness that used to come out of Regina Jacobs' mouth. But we know in the past drug cheats have been great liars. Gay backs up his talk with action.
This week it came out that he voluntarily did six drug tests in two weeks to the anti-doping people so they could establish a baseline for his hormone levels which enables them to easily detect if they change through artificial means. Did Gay have to do it? No. He did it because he knows he's clean and wants to prove it.
It was a very impressive piece in our mind. Again talk is cheap. but we'll back up our confirmation with words. If Tyson Gay ever is banned for drugs, we'll pay $250 to the first person who emails us to remind us of this bet.
No need to offer a bet to back that one up as he basically did it himself. If he's busted, we hope they punish him by throwing him in jail.
Want even more good news? Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell are actually going to race prior to the Olympics. They'll race each other in England on July 25th.
The world really must be coming to an end.
The two biggest sprint kings spend the week heading the anti-drug fight and then they agree to square off in a race.
Even more good news? Gay will face Usain Bolt - the Jamaican who has more than taken advantage of Powell's absence over the last month to establish himself as a legitimate gold medal threat at 100 and 200 - this weekend at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York.
And we did not feature this article on the homepage, but it is an in-depth report by ESPN.com and a good read: U.S. Pro Sports Leagues Still Trail in Drug-Testing Arms Race
Tyson Gay Mr Clean The Times of London
takes an in-depth look at Gay and his attitude on drugs. Gay's a
refreshing personality in the sport. He had a conversation with his mom
on how he could compete against all the cheats. Plus he gets nervous
before races, calls his mom an hour before every race, and barely gets
recognized on the street.
And The Bad....
Track & Field Needs More Rivalries - So We're Happy Try To Build One
Coming down the homestretch, it was unusual as Christopher definitely was gaining on Wariner, but in our minds the victory was never in doubt. Try telling that to Christopher's coach, Kevin Tyler.
Jeremy Wariner, do you read letsrun.com? Read the following quote from Kevin Tyler.
Let's hope they start some trash talking.
Never Ever Doubt The Power Of LetsRun.com - It May Save Your Life or Get You a Raise
See an excerpt from his email below:
Pretty scary stuff. So major kudos to all the medical types on the messageboards.
LetsRun.com also played a role in the Modesto Bee covering German Fernandez's amazing 4:07/8:45 double (click on the link to get a great photo from the 3,200). Apparently, we linked to a bunch of the Bee's coverage of Fernandez's xc exploits and the extra click-throughs played a role in the paper sending Will DeBoard to cover Fernandez in track.
Paula Radcliffe Has Stress Fracture - Still Hopes to Compete in Beijing
And Lastly, We Swear We Aren't Making This Up
Odds & Ends Now Follow
China Olympic Test
the Spira logo
ING Ottawa Marathon: David Cheruiyot Gets Hat Trick at ING Ottawa Marathon, Drug Cheat Asmae Leghazoui Wins Cheruiyot got the win in his Spira shoes. And remember how USATF said Spira shoes weren't banned? Then how do they explain this letter that says USATF cannot support athletes affiliated with apparel "that does not in (sic) comply with IAAF and USATF rules". We never thought we'd see the day when Spira, not USATF, has our sympathy, but it's here. This is very simple. Either ban the shoes, or don't, but don't talk out of both sides of your mouth.
Ottawa 10k: Julius Kiptoo Wins Men's Race and Wins Gender Challenge at the Tape The battle of the sexes was super close. Photos below.
Looking Ahead - Reebok Grand Prix
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