The American Impress at 800m: Three Really Quick Takes on the 2013 Worlds 800m Semifinal
August 11, 2013
Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds
won their 800m semifinals to make the 800m final at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow automatically advanced to the 800 final. Solomon won his heat going wire to wire, while Symmonds was .01 behind first in his heat. Fellow American Brandon Johnson was the first unlucky loser as he the lead in his heat only two be passed by two guys in the final 15 meters, running 1:44.84 to miss the final by .04. (Results at bottom of article).
1) We’d Be Shocked if the US Doesn’t Get a Medal.
Historically, medals for the US in the 800 have been few and far between but that should change on Tuesday night as it will be incredibly disappointing if the US doesn’t snag at least one medal in the final.
An American man or woman hasn’t won a medal of any color at a global outdoor championships since Rich Kenah snagged bronze in 1997. An American hasn’t won a gold since Dave Wottle in 1972.
Duane Solomon’s 1:43.87 was the fastest time ever in a Worlds semifinal. Solomon, the 2013 World leader delivered today. The previous fastest time ever at Worlds was Rudisha’s 1:44.20 in 2011 (One word of caution, the fastest time ever in a semifinal at an Olympics was Norberto Téllez’s 1:43.79 at the 1996 Olympics and he ended up 4th in the final).
5-time US champion Nick Symmonds wasn’t too shabby either as the fourth fastest man in the world in 2013 advanced automatically out of heat two. Symmonds said afterwards he thinks he’s had the “easiest path to the final.” As one of the fastest guys in the final, he wants it “to be an honest race. Let’s go see who can run the fastest 800.”
Solomon and Symmonds were fourth and fifth last year at the Olympics and the top 3 from London are not competing at Worlds. Interestingly, neither Symmonds nor Solomon qualified for the London final automatically last year. Both were time qualifiers.
2) The final is likely to play out just as Symmonds wants it – a bit of a replay of last year’s Olympic final but with Duane Solomon taking the rabbits role from David Rudisha.
Post-race Symmonds pointed out that a lot of 800s used to be very tactical, but that’s changed in recent years thanks to the likes ofAbubaker Kaki and David Rudisha.
With front-runner Duane Solomon in the final, Symmonds is likely to get his wish.
3) What a year by Brandon Johnson
Two years ago, Johnson a former 400m hurdler was done with running and taking a jogging class while in community college for nursing. Today he ran 1:44.89 to become the fastest man ever at Worlds not to make a final (thanks to stat man Ken Nakamura for that).
Afterwards, Johnson was not content with coming so far this year. He vowed next year will be the year of Brandon Johnson. If you’ve got time there is an excellent interview with Johnson below. You see the fire and passion he has to compete. Plus there is a nice exchange with Nick Symmonds and then a Nick Symmonds interview after. The Johnson interview was our favorite at Worlds so far.
Great Interview With Brandon Johnson
A Nice Moment Between Nick and Brandon
Student of the Sport Nick Symmonds Hold Court
Mo Aman After Winning His Semi
Nice Audio Interview with Symmonds
There’s also a great audio interview we had with Symmonds that you can download here. Symmonds had some great insight on attempting an 800/1500 double at the Olympics, whether there should be an asterisk next to whoever wins on Tuesday as Rudisha isn’t here and the key to his durability (he’s never been injured knock on wood).
Solomon went wire to wire to runt he fastest semifinal ever at Worlds. Super impressive. Did he save himself something for Tuesday’s final?
|1||1167||Duane SOLOMON||USA||1:43.87 Q|
|2||745||Abdulaziz Ladan MOHAMMED||KSA||1:44.10 Q||PB|
|3||863||Marcin LEWANDOWSKI||POL||1:44.56 q|
|4||498||Andrew OSAGIE||GBR||1:44.85 q||SB|
|701||Ferguson Rotich CHERUIYOT||KEN||DQ|
Brandon Johnson took the lead on the backstretch and held it for most of the homestretch as Aman and Bosse just got ahead of him before the line to make Johnson the first lucky loser.
|1||414||Mohammed AMAN||ETH||1:44.71 Q|
|2||444||Pierre-Ambroise BOSSE||FRA||1:44.75 Q|
|5||388||Luis Alberto MARCO||ESP||1:46.75|
When the pace lagged Nick Symmonds went to the front and remained in control although Ayanleh Souleiman got the heat win.
|1||343||Ayanleh SOULEIMAN||DJI||1:44.99 Q|
|2||1169||Nick SYMMONDS||USA||1:45.00 Q|
|3||898||Musaeb Abdulrahman BALLA||QAT||1:45.43|
|8||773||Amine EL MANAOUI||MAR||1:49.08|