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Aviva London Grand Prix Recap - Day 1
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
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."
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.
Men's 5k - Farah Misses 13:00, Shaheen Bombs, American/NCAA Guys Struggle
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.
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?"
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
Men's 100m Semis - Usain Bolt Loses To Training Partner
Rare sight: Bolt NOT in first.
Women's Pole Vault - Isinbaye-What? She Lost?
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 Ł5,000, so good on her for missing at 4.68m. She should move it up one centimeter at a time.
Men's 800m - Gary Reed Gets Win As Symmonds Leaves Himself Boxed
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.
Women's 4 x 100m - Coach/Manager/Administrator Nightmare As Abhorrent Exchanges DQ Several Teams
Women's High Jump - Mortal Blanka Vlašic Gets Big Confidence Boost 2.02m Win
Men's 110m Hurdles - Robles Wins By A Nose
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.
Men's Triple Jump - Dyed And Pierced Phillips Idowu Doesn't Impress At Home - Big Win For American Brandon Roulhac
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.