We are working on the WTW this week and have this about the improved quality of the women's 5000.
Four years ago, in the winter of 2012, Abbey D'Agostino had a 15:40.69 pb and had zero NCAA titles on her resume. Yet she ended up missing the Olympics by the narrowest of margins - just .19 - when she ran 15:19.98 at the Olympic Trials. Four years, later she has 7 NCAA titles on her resume and a 15:03 pb and yet her Olympic chances are far from a sure thing.
On Saturday at the Armory, D'Agostino ran 15:24.44 at Millrose. That only placed her 5th. The 5000 has just gotten a lot better in the US since 2012.
In all of 2012, indoors and out, there were a grand total of 3 women who broke 15:10 in the 5000.
15:01.32 Molly Huddle
15:05.38 Julie Culley
15:08.52 Julia Lucas
In 2016, it's still only February and already 5 women have done it in 2016.
14:57.31 Molly Huddle
15:00.91 Emily Infeld
15:06.05 Marielle Hall
15:06.22 Shelby Houlihan
15:09.31 Kim Conley
Plus Nicole Tully (15:05.58) did it last year as well.
It will be interesting to see who ends up on the 5,000 team in 2016. If 10k stars Molly Huddle and Emily Infeld are healthy and decide to double back from the 10k, then they seem like virtual locks for the team, leaving only one spot. But if they decide not to bother, then there is a lot more Olympic opportunity in the 5000.
That got us to thinking. Let's say Huddle and/or Infeld do double back and finish top 3 in the 5000. Could a 4th or 5th placer offer to pay them a large sum of money say $20,000 (that may sound like a lot but it's nothing if you have a $50,000 bonus for being an Olympian) to not run the Olympics in the 5,000. Or even offer them that before the 5k Trials are even run?
What would you think of this? Has this ever happened before?
Would everyone still benefit financially? Do shoe contract bonuses simply include "an Olympic bonus" or would you get a "double bonus" if you go in two events?