July 4, 2013
Six takeways from the non-distance action at the Lausanne Diamond League Athletissima meet.
1) Men’s 100m: Tyson Gay The Pro, Asafa Powell Appears, Kim Collins PRs At Age 37
The men’s 100m ended up being pretty damn good. Tyson Gay ran 9.79 to win over a surprising Asafa Powell in 9.88. Powell has run under 10 more than anyone in history, but he hadn’t done it officially this year (see this) and was just seventh at the Jamaican trials. All of sudden, just as everyone had started to write him off, there he is running 9.88. Powell said afterwards (interview here), he wants to be on the Jamaican 4 x 100 team at Worlds. The Jamaicans did set a WR in London without Powell last year.
Watching 37-year-old Kim Collins go sub-10.00 was very impressive. Even more impressive was learning 9.97 was Collins’ personal best. Everyone goes sub-10.00 these days and Collins, the World Champion in 2003 in 10.07, hadn’t run 9.97 before? For those of you wanting a valid reason on how a 37-year-old PRs in the 100m, realize Collins did have the perfect legal 2.0 m/s tailwind tonight.
(Editor’s addition: If you adjust for wind, the wind was worth .11 as compared to running in still conditions. So Powell’s 9.88 was equal to a 9.99 and to get top three at the Jamaican Trials you had to run 9.99 into a 1.2 m/s wind (which is equal to 9.91 in no wind)
This wasn’t Gay’s best run, but on a night where many Americans were off their game in their first big meet since USAs, Gay was pretty damn good. Victor Sailer, the photographer behind most of the great photos on our site, said it best when talking about Tyson, “He’s a pro.” No excuses, no jet-lag, Tyson does the job he is paid handsomely to do.
2) High Jump: Bohdan Bondarenko Nearly Breaks The World Record
Admit it, you had never heard of this guy, and he nearly broke the world record in the high jump. Bondarenko was tremendous. The Ukrainian cleared a world-leading 2.41 (7′ 10 3/4″) on hit last try. Then there was no messing around. He set the bar at a world record 2.46 (8’0 3/4″) and came really close to clearing it. We like the moxie.
Bondarenko was a stud as a youngster. He jumped 2.26 (7’5″) as a 16-year-old to get bronze at World Juniors in 2006 and then won the World Juniors in 2008 with another 2.26. He then didn’t get much better, jumping 2.31 before this year.
He started this year jumping 2.33 in his first two Diamond League meets. Then on Sunday, he went 3 centimeters higher (2.36). Tonight, 4 days later, he went another 5 centimeters higher, and nearly added another 5 on top of that. These stats might help:
5 centimeters (2 inches): Bondarenko’s improvement the 6 years prior to this one.
8 centimeters: Bondarenko’s improvement this week
10 centimeters (4 inches): Bondarenko’s improvement this year (and he almost added another 5 centimeters to the 8 & 10)
3) 100m Hurdles: Lolo Jones Calls It A Season To Go Bobsledding, Gets A Date, Asks If Her Date Is Legal, And Gives $4,000 To Her Bobsled Teammates
2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper continued to dominate the Diamond League as she got the win over Kellie Wells and Lolo Jones. LetsRun.com is all things Lolo, so we won’t say anything else about Harper except she’ll get her chance to shine in Moscow.
As for media darling Lolo (Lolo was the one hurdler we wanted to talk to … FYI Olympic Champ Sally Pearson avoided speaking to the media after running poorly), this was her final track race of the year. From here on out, unless her bobsled coaches say otherwise, it’s bobsledding the rest of the year.
“This was my last race before I go to bobsled. The last race of the season is kind of bittersweet because it is so early in the season and everyone else is gearing up,” she said.
Lolo had pledged her prize money here to her boblsed teammates. Her third-place finish earned Lolo’s bobsled mates $4,000. It was interesting that Lolo thought third place paid $6,000. The $2,000 difference may not mean much to Lolo, but it likely is a huge deal to her bobsled teammates. Last month, she got in some hot water with some bobsledders for tweeting out a picture of her bobsled check of $741.84, for 7 months of work.
Although Lolo did not make the US team for Moscow (Lolo has missed three straight Worlds although she did make the Olympics last year) she has run well this season with a 12.50 at USAs. Her all-time best is just a tad faster: 12.43.
“I want to run more races, I was in more races, but I had to pull out of the last five,” she said. Since she didn’t make Worlds, the bobsled coach wanted her training full-time for next year’s Winter Olympics. “This (year) is on pace of what I ran in ’08 (when she set her PR). It’s just a shame because I really feel like I would have PBed this season … Who knows maybe I’ll have a gap in bobsled and I’ll be able to convince the coach to let me come back out,” she added.
“To bobsled I go,” said Lolo.
Lolo admitted bobsled “started out as a distraction from track.” Now, however, she said, “I love it” before quipping, “The best part is putting on weight. I’m going to go back to the hotel and eat a whole bunch of chocolate and a double cheeseburger.”
Speaking of love, Harry “Bubby” Lyles, a college student at Georgia State, asked Lolo for a date on Twitter. She said she’d go on one with him if he got 150,000 retweets. Well, he’s now over 150,000 retweets.
Lolo was asked whether she’d honor the date request. Before Lolo found out Bubby got his 150,000 retweets, she said she wanted to know from him, “Hey, are you legal?” Speculate away.
She added, “How old is this kid? Is he Justin Bieber legal, like one year over the age?” For the record, Bubby is 21.
Once she found out Bubby had over 150,000 retweets, the affable Lolo was a good sport, “Good for him, I’ll go on a date with him.”
Then there was one more question remaining. “The question is who pays? I’m going to eat four entrees.”
Lolo said she would pay, but we say no way. Bubby asked her out. Bubby, the check had better be on you.
Lolo Talks About Bobsledding And Her Date
4) Women’ 200: Kimberlyn Duncan Runs Like A Rookie
Duncan, the former LSU star, turned heads in her pro debut by beating Alyson Felix in a world-leading 21.71 at USAs. This was Duncan’s first individual race in Europe and she performed like a rookie, running 22.73 for 3rd. As a collegian, Duncan could run that sort of time and win. Not so in the pros. Afterwards, she lay on her back in the mixed zone for a good twenty minutes, feeling the nausea. She said the nausea was no big deal. She was genuinely excited to be getting paid to race. She made $4,000 for her efforts and even wished you a Happy 4th of July.
5) Men’s 110 Hurdles – David Oliver Is On His Way Back
2013 USA runner-up David Oliver got the win here in a world-leading 13.03. 2011 World Champion Jason Richardson (13.20) was a distant second, and 2013 US Champ Ryan Wilson (13.27) was further back in 3rd. Wilson gave himself a “D -” on his performance tonight. Wilson really had trouble over the first few hurdles.
Oliver had little trouble and continues to improve. Oliver went sub-13.00 fives times in 2010. He’s only done it once since. Last year he was dealing with injuries, and this year he is healthy, firing on most of his cylinders, and getting closer to 13.00. It’ll be interesting to see where he is in a month when Worlds roll around.
A Healthy David Oliver With The WL
No Grade Inflation From Ryan Wilson
6) Lauryn Williams Is Not Yet Retired
At USAs, we thought former 100m World Champ Lauryn Williams was retiring right then and there. We jumped the gun; she’s retiring at the end of the season. Post-race she talked about enjoying the season and not knowing what meets she’ll be running in. When she burst on the scene in 2005 to win Worlds, that clearly wasn’t a problem. Williams did run 11.00 at USAs but that didn’t even get her in the final. If Lauryn finds a lane, she’ll run the 100 in Paris on Saturday.
Lauryn Says She Wants To Stay In Sport, But No TV