by: Weldon Johnson, LetsRun.com
July 25, 2013
Before turning your attention to the Friday-Saturday London Anniversary Track meet, I want to finish up with 5 quick thoughts from Monaco’s meet last Friday.
1) Jenny Simpson A Winner On and Off the Track in Monaco
World Champion Jenny Simpson’s first Diamond League win was the big LRC story on the women’s side of the meet.
After talking to Jenny in the mixed zone, (video interview and highlights here), she turned to walk off. She then took a step back towards me, put her hand on my arm which was on the rail separating the media from the athletes and said, “Keep being hard on the cheaters.”
That was my personal highlight of the meet.
We at LetsRun.com have been strong supporters of the anti-doping fight from the beginning of this website. To have Jenny, a World Champion, acknowledge this, in the immediate aftermath of her Diamond League win, was a vote of confidence.
The other non-track highlight with Jenny was to watch Shalaya Kipp’s reaction when I told her Jenny won the 1500m. Shalaya had just hit the “A” standard to qualify for Worlds in the steeplechase and her mentor Simpson had already congratulated her on the run. However, Jenny forgot to mention to Shalaya that Jenny had won her own race. Kipp’s reaction when I tell her Jenny won is priceless.
Shalaya Kipp Reacts to Finding Out Jenny Simpson Won in Monaco:
2) The American Women Not Named Jenny Simpson and Brenda Martinez Do Really Well in the 1500
In addition to Jenny Simpson winning in Monaco, Brenda Martinez got third, just .01 from making it an American 1-2. They got the bulk of our attention in our post-race coverage.
To the victor go the spoils, and the same is true for our post-race coverage. As a journalist, Diamond League meets are very hectic. A full track meet packed into two hours. There often isn’t time to talk to the third and fourth American in an event. As a result, the strong runs by Shannon Rowbury in fourth in 4:01.28 and Gabrielle Anderson in fifth in a pb of 4:01.48 got little attention. (You can see Gabrielle Anderson’s excited 3 seconds of fame below)
Gabrielle Anderson is Excited in Her 3 Seconds of LRC Post-Race Coverage
Rowbury’s run was a seasonal best by over 5 seconds (4:06.81 in Lausanne was her previous best). The 2009 Worlds bronze medallist didn’t qualify for Worlds in her primary event, the 1500m, but she bounced back to make the team at 5000m, and showed she still can run well at 1500m this year.
For Anderson the run was over a 3+ second pr (previous best 4:04.84 from last year).
The US depth at 1500m the last few years had been amazing. Jenny Simpson was the world champion, Morgan Uceny was the World #1 (2011), Christin Wurth-Thomas and Anna Pierce went sub 4, and Rowbury got a bronze (2009). This year was looking like a down year for the US women with only Simpson on the Worlds team of those five. Now, with the runs of Martinez, Rowbury, and Anderson, the US has three women who have run 4:01 or under not going to worlds.
3) Lawi Lalang Runs 13:00.95 and LRC Yawns
In the 5000m, NCAA star Lawi Lalang died off a really fast pace, yet still ran 13:00.95 and there wasn’t a ton of buzz about it on LetsRun.com. Lalang has a year of eligibility left, beat America’s best distance runner of the last few years, Galen Rupp, and it’s largely taken for granted that he can do it because he’s Kenyan. I think that’s the thinking of most people. If Lalang were an American, the boards would be crashing.
Lalang’s run deserves some props and he’s rewriting what is possibly by a collegian. Well done Lawi.
4) Brigetta Barrett Stars On and Off the Track
Brigetta Barrett won the high jump over Olympic gold medallist Anna Chicherova. It was a great competition and the crowd was really into it. Barrett was just getting going by winning the competition. Afterwards, Barrett, who has sung the national anthem at NCAAs before, performed an Stevie Wonder song and dance before the large crowd in Monaco.
My wife and mom were in Monaco to witness their first professional track meet. I’ll share more on their impressions later, but all they wanted to talk about afterwards was Brigetta. Photo of her signing autographs below. Video of her singing here.
5) Queen Harrison Gets First Diamond League Win
Queen Harrison won her first Diamond League meet in Monaco. As I said above, the meet can be hectic for a journalist with everything so compact. I was fairly certain Queen had won her race when she came through the mixed zone, but to be honest wasn’t certain so I led with “I didn’t see the race, talk me through it.”. Queen was super excited afterwards, had a great smile, and recognized me as being with LRC so she deserves some recognition. I forgot to upload her post-race interview so here it is. The US 100m hurdle women could go 1-2-3 (and even 4) at Worlds.