Saturday In Monaco: Bernard Lagat, David Oliver And Dayron Robles Entertain

By Weldon Johnson,
November 21, 2010

Many of the stars of the sport in Monaco for the IAAF Gala and have addressed the press. Last night, Alberto Juantorena, Sebastian Coe, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha stole the show with their amazing 40-minute reunion, so we dedicated most of our attention to them, which you can find here.

However, also yesterday, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Meseret Defar, Fabiana Murer, Bernard Lagat, Dayron Robles and David Oliver (jointly), and Andreas Thorkildsen all appeared as well.

For fans, Bernard Lagat was the highlight, but we found the the joint session with David Oliver and Dayron Robles fascinating. We have the videos below but know most of you won't have time to watch, so we'll give the brief highlights. When we have time, we'll try to have more quotes.

Veronica Campbell-Brown

She had the top time at 100 and 200 in 2010 but parted ways with her coach of one year, Tony Carpter. He said he believed the split was a "business decision" and you can read more about that here. Campbell-Brown has not chosen a new coach but has ruled out training in Jamaica and moving up to the 400.

Meseret Defar -
No Desire To Move To The Roads Soon

The main news was she'll only run the 5,000m at Worlds after failing big time at the 5k / 10k double in 2009. Despite a fabulous half marathon debut (1:07:45 in Philadelphia) just weeks after running a 3,000m, the focus in 2010 will be the track and there is no desire to move up in distance or to the roads. She said Philly was pretty easy: "Before Philadelphia I was a little scared because it was my first Half Marathon. But I only had problems in the last kilometre. But I'm still focusing on the track."

Bernard Lagat Talks About Moving To The 5,000m, Raising The Bar For Other Americans And Having Them Raise The Bar For Him, Plus His Brother Robert Cheseret's Chances Of Making The 2011 Worlds Team

The hardest core of you all will love the video below. We hope to next week recap more of Lagat's talk. The highlights are he said his competitive focus now is just the 5,000m. The main focus on the mile is over, although he will still run some 1,500m and mile races and may still try and improve on his record of Wanamaker Mile titles.

Lagat had high praise for world record holder David Rudisha, who is in the same group as him with agent James Templeton. Lagat said, "I look at him as a youngest young brother. One thing about him is that he's very, very, very smart. He's very, very talented. He works hard."

We'll have much more on Lagat later but when asked whether he felt he had raised the bar for the other American distance runners, he said it works both ways. Once Dathan Ritzenhein broke Bob Kennedy's 5k record, it inspired Lagat a bit more to go out and break it himself.

Lagat also discussed his brother Robert Cheseret, the former NCAA star (this guy fell down and still beat Dathan Ritzenhein in the 2004 NCAA 5k), who is on the comeback trail in 2010 and recently won the US 5k road championships in Rhode Island. Cheseret had quit the sport completely due to injury but Lagat told him he still had the talent and now he is coming back and losing weight. Lagat said when Cheseret was fit, he was one of the few guys in the world who he felt could push him in training. Lagat feels Cheseret has a chance to make the US 5k team in 2011.

Lagat On 2010, The Future, His Brother And More (18:26)

Dayron Robles And David Oliver Give Us A History Lesson And Agree Allen Johnson Is The Best Hurdler Of All Time

David Oliver is a star of the sport in case you didn't know. Not only is he fast, but he has a great personality and we hope he stays around. Also, he is a true student and historian of the hurdles and it shows. He and Dayron Robles talked about their love affair with the hurdles and both guys basically gave us a history lesson on the sport. Robles would love to race in America because it is the birthplace of great hurdles, but the political situation makes it difficult.

We'll have more on this next week, but the most relevant part was when they both ranked their all-time list of hurdlers.

David Oliver has his own blog and had already ranked the hurdlers (we love the fact this guy has an opinion and is willing to say it).

David Oliver's rankings. More on his blog and in the video (the discussion of top 5 starts 12:37 in).

1) Allen Johnson 2) Roger Kingdom 3) Colin Jackson 4) Liu Xiang 5) Greg Foster 6) Renaldo Nehemiah 7) Daryon Robles

Dayron Robles' top 5:

1) Allen Johnson 2) Roger Kingdom 3) Liu Xiang 4) Colin Jackson 5) Renaldo Nehemiah

Their rankings will no doubt get the historians debating, but the two stars are in agreement on one thing - the recently-retired Allen Johnson is the best hurdler of all time. How is this for praise for Johnson from Robles?: "Allen Johnson is definitely #1. He may not have broken the world record ever in his career ... Not only did he win a world title, he doubled, he trebled. It's not only what he did on the track, but the man he is ... He's an honorable man and deserves admiration. He managed to conquer the crowd wherever he went. If there is somebody we should look up to, that  is Allen Johnson."

David And Dayron Captivate The Crowd (28:14)


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