2011 Double world champ (10,000 & 5,000) Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya will look to show good form in the women's 5,000 to prove she's ready to take on double Olympic champ Tirunesh Dibaba at the Olympics. Cheruiyot hasn't lost a track race since this meet was held two years ago on August 13, 2010. That sounds impressive, but she's going to have to be in top form, as Dibaba hasn't lost since September 12, 2009.
In this race, Cheruiyot will be challenged by two very hungry Kenyans in Sylvia Kibet and Linet Masai. Masai, the 2009 world 10,000 champion (and 10,000 bronze medallist last year), missed qualifying for the Kenyan team this year as did the 2009 and 2011 World Championships silver medallist Kibet, who as 4th at the Kenyan Trials. Both women are probably wondering why Kenya didn't have a wild card selection in place for this year like they have at times in the past. The 6th
placer at the Kenyan Trials in Veronica Nyaruai is also racing.
Women's 1,500: A Fantastic Field With Uceny, Simpson, England, Rowbury, Dobriskey, Jamal and Langat
The women's 1,500 features a stellar field as it features last year's world #1 Morgan Uceny, last year's world champion Jenny Simpson, last year's world silver medallist Hannah England, 2009 silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey, 2009 bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury, 2008 Olympic champ Nancy Langat and 2007 and 2009 world champ Maryam Jamal.
Langat isn't on the Kenyan Olympic team this year and Jamal was only 10th in Paris last week, so in our minds the answer to the following question will likely be the winner of the race: "Who is the fastest Westerner in the world?"
Uceny, who won the US champs the last two years, is the heavy favorite in our minds. She earned the world #1 ranking last year for a reason - she's very good. This year, she's run faster than everyone else in the field and there is no reason to think she won't get the job done here.
QT #1: The top Africans from Kenya, Ethiopia and Morocco aren't here; nor are the Russians or Turkey's Asli Cakir, and they have been running really fast this year. Considering that last year no one in the world broke 4:00 in the women's 1,500, it's hard to believe that Uceny, the #1 seed with a 4:01.59 seasonal best, is only the 18th-fastest woman in the world this year (6 of 9 Russians are removed from the list as Russia can only send 3 to the Olympics). So far this year, 12 different
women have gone sub-4:00.
QT #2: It will be interesting to see how Hannah England looks. The Brit has only run 4:04 this year but that's because she's only run one 1,500 and she won that in Hengelo. Her Achilles was spiked though in the meet and she skipped the UK Trials as a precaution. In this race, she'll face the #1 and #2 from the UK Trials in Laura Weightman and
Lisa Dobriskey, as all three UK Olympic 1,500 runners are running.
QT #4: Two-time world champ Maryam Jamal was only 10th in Paris but her 4:02.84 wasn't too bad for a 1,500 opener. If she takes a step forward here and gets the win or contends, we're not ruling her out for tehe Games, but we aren't expecting that to happen. In some ways, despite the 4:02 time, she was still 10th in Paris and 10th isn't very good at the world level.
QT #5: This race is big for everyone involved. If world champion Jenny Simpson doesn't look way better than she has so far this year, it seems as if her medal chances are almost gone.
Men's 5000: World Champ Mo Farah Gets Ready As Does Dathan Ritzenhein
World 5,000 champion Mo Farah is one of the marquee attractions of the meet as he'll get to run his best event in front of the home crowds. For the most part, he faces a bit of a watered-down field, as the Kenyan and Ethiopian Olympians are off getting ready for the Olympics.
The biggest challenger (and really only challenger in our minds) is 2007 World Championships bronze medallist Moses Kipsiro of Uganda. Kipriso has run 13:00 and 27:04 so far this year and in those two races, he was pretty close to the lead. In the 13:00 race, he was 1.76 seconds behind 12:46 man Dejen Gebrmeskel and in the 27:04 race, he was 1.89 seconds behind Kenenisa Bekele.
Non-African born stars of past and present also are competing in this race. US fans will undoubtedly be focused on how 10,000 Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein performs. Earlier this year, Ritzenhein said he was on track to a sub-13:00 clocking later in the year - will he show that type of form here? 2005 World Championships bronze medallist Craig Mottram is clearly past his prime, but he's racing and
probably hoping to make the Olympic final. He ran 13:16.08 - a seasonal best - on
July 7th in Heusden. Aussie Collis Birmingham has run 13:10 twice in his career - in 2010 and this year at Pre - and will be looking to go under 13:10 for the first time ever.
QT# 1: We thought the Diamond League was supposed to have the very best athletes. This is another race that is seemingly set up to let the best Westerner win. 15 guys so far this year have broken 13:00 in the 5,000 and only 8 of them can be in the Olympics (3 Kenyans, 3 Ethiopians and Galen Rupp). We know the Olympic Kenyans and Ethiopians are off limits, but would it be too much to ask to have one or two of the other seven in this race to challenge Farah?
QT #2: We'll be glued to the tv watching Ritzenhein but he's done nothing this year to indicate he's in sub-13 shape other than talk about it. A 27:36 at the US trials is a long way from sub-13.
More: MB: Farah & Ritz in London 5K - American AR in jeopardy?
Men's Pole Vault: Renaud Lavillenie Looks To Stay Unbeaten
So far 2012 has been magical for world leader Renaud Lavillenie of France as he's undefeated and won all 8 of his competitions this year. The 2012 world leader will face 2012 world #2 Björn Otto, US champ Brad Walker and 2008 Olympic champion Steve Hooker who hasn't gone higher than 5.42 this year.
Men's Discus: Virgilijus Alekna Headlines
Two-time Olympic and two-time world champ Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania, who is #2 in the world so far this year at 70.28, is still throwing well at age 40!!! He will face last year's silver medallist at worlds in Gerd Kanter.
QT: Maybe we'll pay attention to the discus some more. The idea that a 40-year old might be an Olympic champ is amazing.
Men's 110 Hurdles: The Sub-13 Men Battle!!!
The three men who have gone sub 13.00 this year will square off in a fantastic men's hurdles as the man who would have won worlds last year had he not been fouled, Lix Xiang, will face 2011 world champ, Jason Richardson, and 2012 US champ, Aries Merritt.
QT #1: Richardson was one of the best, if not the best interviews in Eugene. We were going to start paying a lot of attention to a non-distance guy but once we learned that he continues to hang out with a guy with a 10-year doping ban, we lost all respect for him.
Women's 400 Hurdles: Davydova vs. Walker & Spencer
2012 European champion Irina Davydova, who was the runner-up at the world university games last year, is #2 in the world this year at 53.77. She'll face the silver medallist from last year's worlds in Melaine Walker and 4th placer in Kaliese Spencer. Walker and Spencer went 1-2 at the Jamaican champs.
Men's 400 Hurdles: Dai Greene vs. Javier Culson
Last year at worlds, Dai Greene won and Javier Culson was second. Last week in Paris, Greene ran a PB but was unable to beat Culson. A salivating re-match will take place here. The Americans normally dominate this event and can't be ignored though as 2000 and 2008 Olympic champ Angelo Taylor, the runner-up at the US Trials, is here as is the surprise US champ Michael Tinsley and US 4th placer Bershawn Jackson.
Women's High Jump: Chicerova Vs. Lowe
In the women's high jump, the top two on the 2012 world list will battle as world champion Anna Chicherova will face US champion Chaunte Lowe.
Men's Long Jump: The Aussies + Rutherford Against The Best From 2008
2011 world outdoor silver medallist Mitchell Watt of Australia will battle fellow Aussie Henry Frayne, the 2012 world indoor silver winner, in the men's long jump. Chris Tomlinson, who is the co-British record holder with Greg Rutheford, is also competing. We have no idea where Rutherford is.
2008 Olympic silver medallist Godfrey Mokoena may be the man to beat however as he's got the best mark on the year - 8.29m (#6 in the world). But this is definitely an interesting event as it also includes 2008 Olympic champ Irving Saladino of Panama in his 2012 debut.
Women's 200: Sherone Simpson
Beijing silver medallist at 100m Sherone Simpson headlines. Her 22.37 makes her the 9th fastest so far this year.
Mens' 100: A Real High Quality Affair With Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Keston Bledman & Others
The men's 100 is a very high quality affair as Tyson Gay will clash with Asafa Powell as upstart Keston Bledman tries to spoil the party.
Gay, the double world champ in 2007, and Powell, the former world record holder, are really well known but the 24-year old Bledman came within .03 of Blake in New York and then ran 9.86 at the Trinidad and Tobago championships.
Those aren't the only good guys in the field as it also includes US third placer Ryan Bailey and a ton of others.
All together there are 8 guys in this race who have gone sub-10 - the #4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 17th guys on the 2012 world list are all here.
QT #1: With Bolt and Blake absent, this race may be a preview of the battle for the bronze medal at the Olympics. Yes, world #3 Gatlin isn't here either but Gay beat him last week.
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