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LetsRun.com's 2009 IAAF Berlin World Championships Preview

Men's Javelin - Wirkkala Works His Way Up The Rankings

By LetsRun.com
August, 2009

When: August 23 (finals), 21 (qualifiers)
*LRC's World Championship Prediction Contest
*LRC WC Previews/Results/Recaps By Event
*LRC WC Previews/Results/Recaps By Day
IAAF Worlds Page

Four Finns, a Norweigan and a Latvian stand as the top javelin throwers in the world in 2009. Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen is a 2-time Olympic champion (2008 and 2004), and a 2-time IAAF World Championships runner-up (2005 and 2007). Thorkildsen has hit his stride this year after some early losses to Finnish rival Tero Pitkämäki, who defeated Thorkildsen at Worlds for gold in 2007.

Behind the top 2 on our list is the 2009 world leader and 2004 Olympic silver medallist Vadims Vasilevskis, the only man to eclipse 90 meters in this calendar year. Though he has the top throw, Vasilevskis is an underdog to Thorkildsen and Pitkämäki because of their consistent 85m and up efforts. The Norweigan and Finn have been more likely to produce a big throw at every competition.

Three other Finns have broken 85 meters this year besides Pitkämäki, and they will likely be medal contenders. Teemu Wirkkala is the biggest threat, as he has been very strong late in the season, including a win over Pitkämäki at the Finnish Championships.

It will be interesting to see if Thorkildsen can add an IAAF World Championships gold medal to his double Olympic gold haul, or if Pitkämäki can get back the winning advantage he displayed in his early-season Golden League wins.

The American WC entrants in the javelin are certainly interesting. 21-year-old Chris Hill of McNeese State won not only the NCAA but also the American Championships this year, capping his domestic season with an 83m personal best in Eugene. Hill, 8th on the world descending order list, decided to tour the European throwing circuit but has been subpar, failing to break 80 meters in every competition. 3rd place at USAs went to Dartmouth alum Sean Furey, and his A-standard performance from 2008 means he gets a shot at making the final in Berlin.

LRC Predictions:
Gold: Andreas Thorkildsen NOR
Silver: Tero Pitkämäki FIN
Bronze: Vadims Vasilevskis LAT
4th: Teemu Wirkkala FIN

Men's Javelin Statistics By LRC Coaching Guru John Kellogg

90.71  Vadims Vasilevskis (LAT)  PR 90.73 (#10 all-time) (2007)   Silver medal in 2004 Olympic Games, 4th in 2007 World Championships, 9th in 2008 Olympic Games
88.97  Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)  PR 91.59 (#6 all-time) (2006)   Gold medal in 2008 Olympic Games, gold medal in 2004 Olympic Games, silver medal in 2007 World Championships, silver medal in 2005 World Championships, gold medal in 2006 World Cup, 11th in 2003 World Championships
87.79  Tero Pitkämäki (FIN)  91.53 (#7 all-time) (2005)   Gold medal in 2007 World Championships, bronze medal in 2008 Olympic Games, 4th in 2005 World Championships, 8th in 2004 Olympic Games
87.23  Teemu Wirkkala (FIN)   5th in 2008 Olympic Games, 12th in 2007 World Championships
85.70  Ari Mannio (FIN)
85.03  Antti Ruuskanen (FIN)  PR 87.33 (2008)
84.85  Adrian Markowski (POL)
84.24  Sergey Makarov (RUS)  PR 92.61 (#3 all-time) (2002)
83.87  Chris Hill (USA) (#6 all-time USA)
83.86  Mark Frank (GER)  PR 84.88 (2005)   8th in 2005 World Championships
83.52  Igor Janek (POL)  PR 84.76 (2008)   7th in 2007 World Championships
83.46  Tino Häber (GER)
83.24  Ilya Korotkov (RUS)  PR 84.04 (2008)   7th in 2008 Olympic Games
82.65  Tero Järvenpää (FIN)  PR 86.68 (2008)   4th in 2008 Olympic Games, 8th in 2007 World Championships
82.47  Ainars Kovals (LAT)  PR 86.64 (2008)  Silver medal in 2008 Olympic Games, 7th in 2005 World Championships
82.40  Aleksandr Ivanov (RUS)  PR 88.90 (2003)   Bronze medal in 2006 World Cup, 5th in 2007 World Championships, 5th in 2005 World Championships, 5th in 2004 Olympic Games, 10th in 2001 World Championships, 12th in 2003 World Championships
82.06  Mike Hazle (USA)  PR 82.21 (2008)
78.63  Sean Furey (USA)  PR 80.45 (2008)



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