Women’s 800m Semifinals Quick Thought: Don’t Be Surprised if An American Wins the Final, All Three Americans Advance

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by: LetsRun.com
August 16, 2013

Tomen’s 800m semifinals went really well for US fans as all three Americans advanced to the final. Alysia Montano went wire to wire in heat #2 and was followed closely by Brenda Martinez. In heat #2 world junior champion and teenager Ajee Wilson moved up from 7th to the third the final 100m to go to the final. Results first and then two thoughts appear below (updated with a third thought):

Heat #1

Details1923Alysia JOHNSON MONTANOUSAUSA1:58.92 Q
Details2928Brenda MARTINEZUSAUSA1:59.03 Q
Details3854Nataliia LUPUUKRUKR1:59.43 QSB
Details4745Ekaterina POISTOGOVARUSRUS1:59.48 q
Details5289Lenka MASNÁCZECZE1:59.56 qPB
Details6600Halima HACHLAFMARMAR2:00.55
Details7394Laura MUIRGBRGBR2:00.83
Details8554Winny CHEBETKENKEN2:01.04

Heat #2:

Details1571Eunice Jepkoech SUMKENKEN2:00.70 Q
Details2760Mariya SAVINOVARUSRUS2:00.73 Q
Details3959Ajee WILSONUSAUSA2:00.90 Q
Details4274Rose Mary ALMANZACUBCUB2:00.98
Details5151Marina ARZAMASOVABLRBLR2:01.19
Details6734Elena KOTULSKAYARUSRUS2:01.75
Details7395Marilyn OKOROGBRGBR2:02.26
Details8597Malika AKKAOUIMARMAR2:02.29

1) Alysia Montano or Brenda Martinez Could Win the Final

The semis showed THIS THING IS FOR THE TAKING. If you liked Nick Symmonds and Duane Solomon’s chances in the men’s 800m you’d better like Alysia Montanos’s and Brenda Martinez’s much, much better in the women’s final.

The women’s 800 semifinals has two heats, whereas the men have three heats. Thus, winning a heat or looking good in the men’s semis does not tell you quite as much as it does in the women’s. In the women’s semis you have more of the finalists already racing each other in the two semis. Montano and Johnson were clearly best in their heat. 5 of the 8 finalists are from their heat. They already are clearly better than 3 of them.

That leaves heat #2. Nobody in heat 2 looked particularly great. Montano and Martinez have both been way better than American Ajee Wilson this year and Wilson was .20 from winning heat #2. The one wild card is World and Olympic champion Mariya Savinova who was in heat two (she let up right before the line and got 2nd). She didn’t look like a world beater.

The one wild card is Savinova is known for upping her game in the final and not impressing in the semis. However, we don’t think she is in the same sort of form as 2011 or 2012 as her best time coming in is only 1:58.75. Savinova will have 60,000+ cheering for her on Sunday, but she has not looked like the Savinova of the last two years so far this year.  We don’t think Eunice Sum is going to be a world champion.

Give us 24 hours to reassess this, but with the men’s final we wouldn’t have been surprised if the US had taken home two medals (they got one, Nick Symmonds silver) or if an American had won. With the women’s final, we’re now expecting two medals, and would be more surprised if an American doesn’t win it than if they do. That’s how much this thing is for the taking. With 24 hours to think about it we might be able to be convinced to put Savinova as more than a 50% favorite, but right now we don’t see it. She hasn’t indicated she is the Savinova of 2011 and 2012, but she doesn’t need to be to win this one.

2) 19 Year Old Ajee Wilson is in the Final
We definitely didn’t expect Wilson to make the final but she did. Well done. She is the world junior champion, but she jumped up into the senior ranks quickly this year. More 800m coverage coming and all of our World’s coverage at the link below.

Updated with point #3) To be truthful, this piece went up without it going through the normal extensive vetting process we have at LetsRun.com. Ok that’s a joke. There is no extensive vetting process. But one employee put it up without asking the others what they thought.

There certainly is some internal debate. Some at LetsRun.com think Savinova isn’t being given enough credit here. Yes, the Americans looked good but Savinova is the two-time defending champion and will have the home crowd behind her. Yes, she hasn’t been winning impressively, but that in many ways reminds us of men’s 800 champion Mohammed Aman. He wasn’t winning impressively all season long but no one can beat him either. Admittedly, Savinova isn’t winning anything at all here as she’s failed to win either heat, but you get our point.

How can Alysia possibly win if her third 200 is over 31? Is it really possible that someone going 56-62 could be the World champion? That’s highschool-esque type pacing. We guess so as it’s definitely a down year for the 800 and in our mind only Savinova, Montano or Martinez are winning the final.World Championships 2013

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