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Aviva London Grand Prix Recap - Day 1
Bolt 100m, 800ms, men's 5,000m and some good field events headline the day. But of course it was all about Usain.

By LetsRun.com
July 24, 2009

The normal internet feed meet announcer and his color commentator had the duty of doing the stadium commentary, which left us with a backup in the booth. He isn't the most exciting guy to listen to, so the athletes had to really step it up. To be honest, few did, but Usain Bolt showed up to play as did the men's shot putters.

On top of that, LetsRun.com users crashed the meet website so results, meet schedule and startlists were unavailable. We guess that's the price track and field has to pay for inching its way back into the public eye.

Find out how American 800m leaders Nick Symmonds, Maggie Vessey and Khadevis Robinson did in the 800ms below.

Men's 100m - He Bolts To Last, Then Bolts To First
AVIVA London Grand Prix - Day One After a slow start and an increasingly polished pre-race dance routine topped off with a kiss, Usain Bolt turned on the afterburners to destroy a men's 100m field that started with 7 sub-10.00 men.

He looked a little pressed as he got out behind, but by 60m the race was over. By 80m it was a joke. Bolt had it by meters. Precocious Jamaican Yohan Blake came up to pass Asafa Powell and the world's most prolific producer of sub-10.00 second 100m times just gave up. Finishing almost in last, Powell looked broken. So much for all of the psychological classes he's been taking.

Bolt looked unstressed. He had time to click off a few rounds from his imaginary hand guns as he crossed the line as the crowd roared. Before the start, Bolt had his competitors feeling good, relaxed, fit and confident. Afterwards, they could not help but feel inferior. The 6'5" monster's time of 9.91 into a 1.7m/sec headwind is pretty good, considering a bunch of 9.9x guys were running well over 10.1.

Did Bolt look unbeatable? We think he's undeniably the best in the world. Based on Blake, Powell and American Ivory Williams' performances today, we believe only Tyson Gay can beat him, but even that simple task appears nearly impossible. Bolt has jets that others don't have. Also, he runs from behind and just crushes people's psyches while blowing by them mid-race. Perhaps Gay can get out to a lead and frighten Bolt, but that likelihood has to be leveled as "slim."

1 Usain Bolt JAM 9.91 20
2 Yohan Blake JAM 10.11 16
3 Daniel Bailey ANT 10.13 14
4 Simeon Williamson GBR 10.19 12
5 Ivory Williams USA 10.21 10
6 Asafa Powell JAM 10.26 8
7 Craig Pickering GBR 10.46 6
8 Trell Kimmons USA 10.47 4

Men's Shot Put - What A Battle!
Track and Field: USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships Christian Cantwell, Tomasz Majewski and Reese Hoffa waged a great battle in the shot put as the crowd was treated to the world's best throwers in the ring.

Things really got rolling late in this event as Hoffa vaulted himself up to first place with a 21.55m throw on his 5th attempt. In the 6th round, Olympic champion Majewski threw his best of the season, launching a 21.43m throw to put himself in second.

Leading in the 5th round, suddenly Cantwell was in third. But as he was last to throw, he had the last say. And actions spoke loudly for Christian as his final throw was a seasonal best 21.82m to win the competition.

American veteran Adam Nelson threw by far his best of the season for 4th place in 21.07m. We've been writing him off all season, but today he beat the other member of the US "Big 4," Dan Taylor.

1 Christian Cantwell USA 21.82 20
2 Reese Hoffa USA 21.55 16
3 Tomasz Majewski POL 21.43 14
4 Adam Nelson USA 21.07 12
5 Ralf Bartels GER 20.91 10
6 Daniel Taylor USA 20.76 8
7 Dylan Armstrong CAN 20.34 6
8 Scott Martin AUS 19.22 4
9 Kieren Kelly GBR 18.33


Men's 5k - Farah Misses 13:00, Shaheen Bombs, American/NCAA Guys Struggle
The race was hyped as British record attempt by Mo Farah, who wanted Dave Moorcroft's 27-year-old record (at the time, it was the WR) of 13:00.41. Talk of that record seemed a little brash to us, as Farah had only run 13:12 for 11th in Oslo on July 3rd.

The weather was decent for distance running (64 Fahrenheit and 8 mph winds) and Farah ran smart at the start as he worked his way up from 9th in the early going to the lead group. 13:00 is 2:36 per km pace and the pacing early on was right on, as they went 2:35 and then 2:36. However, going into 3k it was clear there was going to be a problem as the pace was slowing. As the rabbit started to kicking it in to finish a 2:40 third kilometer, it was clear that no one else was going to push the pace, as the world record holder in the steeple, Saif Saaeed Shaheen, who was in 2nd, fell back 4 or 5 meters behind the rabbit. At 3k (7:51.86), they were already almost 4 seconds behind pace and things would get a lot slower as there would be a 67 lap thrown in there at some point and 4k was hit 10:36ish (2:44).

With 800 to go (11:08), it was a 3-person race as Shaheen had the lead, with Farah right behind him and Sammy Mutahi in third. With 600 to go, Shaheen fell off hard, very hard. It looked he just stopped running. Mutahi moved to the lead, but Farah tracked him and took the title in the last 100 thanks to a 58-high last lap. Farah won in 13:09.13 to Mutahi's 13:10.17. Shaheen ended up way back in 5th in 13:29, meaning he lost 19 seconds over 600 to Farah.

For American-based runners, the race was a near-disaster, as no one broke 13:30. Abdi Abdirahman was 7th in 13:33, beating Bolota Asmeron (13:36), Stephen Pifer (13:45), Shawn Forrest (13:52), David McNeill (14:00) and Alistair Cragg (DNF). Forrest's and McNeill's struggles might make Galen Rupp fans a bit nervous, as they were the two runners-up to Rupp at NCAAs.

1 Mohammed Farah GBR 13:09.14 20
2 Sammy Mutahi KEN 13:10.17 16
3 Mike Kipruto Kigen KEN 13:17.79 14
4 Dejen Gebremeskel ETH 13:20.45 12
5 Saif Saaeed Shaheen QAT 13:29.31 10
6 Ahmad Hassan Abdullah QAT 13:29.59 8
7 Abdihakem Abdirahman USA 13:33.79 6
8 Bolota Asmerom USA 13:36.60 4
9 Stephen Pifer USA 13:45.01 3
10 Christopher Thompson GBR 13:50.34 3
11 Shawn Forrest AUS 13:52.08 3
12 David McNeill AUS 14:00.75 3
13 Mark Draper GBR 14:08.72
14 Ryan McLeod GBR 14:18.53
Bethwell Birgen KEN DNF
Alistair Ian Cragg IRL DNF
Moumin Geele SOM DNF
Bernard Kipchirchir Kiplagat KEN DNF
Scott Overall GBR DNF

Women's 800m - Vessey Lays An Egg As Worlds Slip Away

For true American distance fans, coming into the meet, this race was undoubtedly one of the races everyone was most focused on. And the focus was on one person, Maggie Vessey. Given the fact that Vessey had won two major meets this year, Prefontaine and Rome, and was undefeated in her two European races so far this year in 2:00.13 and 2:00.04, expectations were very high that she might be able to break 2:00.00 and the get the IAAF Berlin qualifying standard.

When the gun went off, it immediately became apparent that there was no rabbit in the field and Vessey fans probably became instantly worried. Given the fact that Vessey almost always runs in last for the first lap, they were probably thinking, "How is she possibly going to weave her way through this field of 10 and still break 2:00?"

But Brit Marilyn Okoro was in the field and she is a noted frontrunner. She took the field through 200 in 28.70 and a slimmer of hope existed for Vessey, who wasn't in her customary last-place position, but rather in next-to-last (9th). By 300, Vessey was in her normal spot of last, but the pace was slowing and at 400 (60.42 for the leader), it was almost certain that a sub-2:00 was out of the question for her and probably everyone in the field.

Over the last lap, it became clear that the slow opening pace didn't matter for Vessey, as she had absolutely nothing and basically laid a goose egg. Last until the last 100 meters, she only was able to pass two people and finished 8th in 2:03.06. Up front, we were basically watching a replay of the British Championships, as at 600 (1:30.84), it was Okoro in lthe lead, with 2009 UK champ Jemma Simpson right behind her, and the 2009 UK runner-up Jenny Meadows in 3rd. In the homestretch, Jemma Simpson powered to the front and got a comfortable win in 2:01.08 as Okoro faded to 3rd in 2:01.78, while Meadows moved up to 2nd in 2:01.35. The exact same order of finish as the British Champs on July 12th. 2007 USA and NCAA champ Alysia Johnson, who never really was in the hunt up front, ended up best of the rest in 4th in 2:02.16

1 Jemma Simpson GBR 2:01.08 20
2 Jennifer Meadows GBR 2:01.35 16
3 Marilyn Okoro GBR 2:01.78 14
4 Alysia Johnson USA 2:02.16 12
5 Lucia Klocová SVK 2:02.19 10
6 Mayte Martínez ESP 2:02.36 8
7 Treniere Clement USA 2:02.78 6
8 Maggie Vessey USA 2:03.06 4
9 Claire Gibson GBR 2:03.09
10 Neisha Bernard-Thomas GRN 2:04.55


Men's 100m Semis - Usain Bolt Loses To Training Partner
Running slower than his 200m pace, Usain Bolt lost preliminary #2 to Daniel Bailey of Antigua. Glen Mills must have been chuckling as Bolt sauntered through the line just 0.02 ahead of GBR's Simeon Williamson.

Rare sight: Bolt NOT in first.

1 Daniel Bailey ANT 10.26
2 Usain Bolt JAM 10.31
3 Simeon Williamson GBR 10.33
4 Craig Pickering GBR 10.47
5 Harry Aikines-Aryeetey GBR 10.50
6 Monzavous Edwards USA 10.55
7 Aaron Armstrong TRI 10.97
Tyrone Edgar GBR DQ

Women's Pole Vault - Isinbaye-What? She Lost?
Heavy underdog Anna Ragowska of Poland cleared 4.68m for her second personal best of the day (her PB was 4.54 coming in to the competition). Her clearance came on her second attempt, while world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva took three attempts to clear a rather dull height for her.

All expected that Isinbayeva would show her class on the next height of 4.78m, especially in solid, though windy, conditions. But it was not to be so. One miss, two miss, then three misses later Isinbayeva was waving to the crowd - albeit a confused crowd - as she finished in second place. We'll say it here: Isinbayeva is in trouble for the Golden League jackpot and she's in trouble in Berlin. She's still clearly the favorite, but hopefully American record holder Jenn Stuczynski is licking her chops. We've been hoping all along to see Jenn in a European Golden League meeting to challenge a weakened Isinbayeva. Hopefully, we'll see that after Berlin.

Great Britain's Becky Dennison set her 7th national record in the vault with a 4.58m clearance to grab third in the event. Apparently, every time she breaks the national record in her home country, she earns £5,000, so good on her for missing at 4.68m. She should move it up one centimeter at a time.

1 Anna Rogowska POL 4.68 20
2 Elena Isinbaeva RUS 4.68 16
3 Kristina Gadschiew GER 4.58 13
3 Monika Pyrek POL 4.58 13
5 Kate Dennison GBR 4.58 10
6 Chelsea Johnson USA 4.43 8
7 Lisa Ryzih GER 4.28 6
8 Stacy Dragila USA 4.28 4
9 Lacy Janson USA 4.28
Anna Battke GER NM


Men's 800m - Gary Reed Gets Win As Symmonds Leaves Himself Boxed
American record holder David Krummenacker rabbited what used to be his signature event and did a great job. 24.77 though 200m and 51.11 through 400m were the splits. Surprisingly, Aussie 1,500m specialist Jeff Riseley was the nearest to Krum, while Canada's Gary Reed was farther back on the outside. Khadevis Robinson was even farther back in a tight pack while Nick Symmonds, making what we believe to be his European debut this season, was near last.

Krum dropped out before 600m, and the field crossed that mark in 1:19. Riseley started to fade badly at the front, causing a compression of the field. Gary Reed's outside position suited him well, as he was first around and first to the finish. Symmonds got caught behind and had to wait to get between Robinson and young Polish European Under-23 champion Adam Kszczot. Eventually he got through and was charging down the home straight but had to lean for third, not for the win. The winning time was 1:45.85 in this relatively tactical affair.

In other news, we've just received word that Sudanese 800m sensation Abubaker Kaki has returned from injury in Sweden, winning a low-key 1000m race in 2:20. Good news for this otherwise weakened event.

1 Gary Reed CAN 1:45.85 20
2 Adam Kszczot POL 1:46.05 16
3 Nick Symmonds USA 1:46.11 14
4 Michael Rimmer GBR 1:46.13 12
5 Fabiano Peçanha BRA 1:46.74 10
6 Khadevis Robinson USA 1:46.91 8
7 Jeffrey Riseley AUS 1:47.28 6
8 Damien Moss GBR 1:47.29 4
9 Miguel Quesada ESP 1:47.75
David Krummenacker USA DNF


Women's 4 x 100m - Coach/Manager/Administrator Nightmare As Abhorrent Exchanges DQ Several Teams
Belgium's squad and Germany's squad couldn't get the stick around while the American A team got the win in the fastest time of the year at 42.39. The Bahamas were second.

1 United States USA 42.39
2 Bahamas BAH 43.35
3 United States "B" USA 43.51
4 Great Britain & N.I. GBR 43.86
5 Great Britain & N.I. "B" GBR 44.14
Belgium BEL DNF
Germany GER DNF


Women's High Jump - Mortal Blanka Vlašic Gets Big Confidence Boost 2.02m Win
Croatian sensation Blanka Vlašic came through with a gutsy, close clearance at 2.02m to take the high jump over high-quality Spaniard Ruth Beitia.

1 Blanka Vlašic CRO 2.02 20
2 Ruth Beitia ESP 1.92 16
3 Amy Acuff USA 1.88 13
3 Levern Spencer LCA 1.88 13
5 Deirdre Ryan IRL 1.88 10
6 Melanie Skotnik FRA 1.88 8
7 Nicole Forrester CAN 1.84 6
8 Vikki Hubbard GBR 1.84 4


Men's 110m Hurdles - Robles Wins By A Nose
Barbados' Ryan Brathwaite truly gave Olympic champion Dayron Robles a good run for the win. The Cuban champ held him off though, despite a great lean from Brathwaite. They ran about 13.30, but into a headwind in excess of 2.0 meters/second, so their times have to be put in perspective.

Robles had a clean run but did not exhibit the powerful between-hurdles running he exemplified last year. Or perhaps the career-best run of Brathwaite made Robles look a bit more average. In either case, Robles joins a long list of dominant 2008 athletes who have been highly susceptible to defeat in 2009.

1 Dayron Robles CUB 13.29 20
2 Ryan Brathwaite BAR 13.31 16
3 Andrew Turner GBR 13.66 14
4 Kirkland Thornton USA 13.69 12
5 Eric Mitchum USA 13.70 10
6 William Sharman GBR 13.76 8
7 Callum Priestley GBR 13.81 6
8 Antwon Hicks USA 13.94 4


Men's Triple Jump - Dyed And Pierced Phillips Idowu Doesn't Impress At Home - Big Win For American Brandon Roulhac
Olympic silver medalist Phillips Idowu
is not the most consistent jumper, but he has to be pretty frustrated to lose against a solid but not outstanding field, especially at home in a rather mundane distance of 17.16m. He was chopping steps and struggling with fouls. His best jump, clearly, was a narrow foul, so perhaps he got a bit unlucky.

Three Cubans are at the top of this event as far as seasonal bests, but they haven't been jumping as well away from home as they were in the more local meetings earlier in the season. The triple jump appears to be wide open heading into Worlds.

1 Brandon Roulhac USA 17.33 +2.3 20
2 Arnie David Girat CUB 17.18 +1.9 16
3 Phillips Idowu GBR 17.16 +0.2 14
4 Leevan Sands BAH 17.13 +1.8 12
5 Onochie Achike GBR 17.07 +1.9 10
6 Randy Lewis GRN 17.02 +2.2 8
7 Dmitrij Valukevic SVK 16.88 +2.7 6
Nathan Douglas GBR NM





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