August 15, 2014
In the men’s 800 at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich today, Poland’s World Indoor silver medallist Adam Kszczot made a big move with 150 to go that nobody could answer as he pulled away for a dominant win in 1:44.15. France’s national record holder Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, who ran a world #2 1:42.53 in Monaco last month, led most of the race but tied up badly and stunningly finished last.
France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse led the field through 200 in 24.11 and as he hit the bell in front in 50.97, the field had begun to string out behind him. Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (2010 European champ, 4th at Worlds in 2013 and 2011) was in second with Slovakia’s Jozef Repcik and Kszczot in third and fourth. Bosse continued to press on the second lap and opened up a gap of a few meters over Lewandowski on the back stretch (Kszczot had moved up to fourth by this point).
Bosse hit 600 in 1:17.24 in the lead. Kszczot suddenly accelerated by Lewandowski and with 130 to go had blown by Bosse into the lead. Denmark’s Andreas Bube was also moving up and with 100 to go, he and Lewandowski were level with Bosse.
There was no stopping Kszczot, however, whose lead grew with every step on the home stretch as he pulled away for the win. With 50 to go, Bosse began to fade as the field started to pass him on the outside. Ireland’s Mark English was battling Bube for second, but another Pole, Artur Kuciapski, was storming by everyone and caught English just before the line to take silver.
The race video, results and our quick analysis appear below.
1 KSZCZOT Adam POL 2 SEP 1989 4 1:44.15 SB
2 KUCIAPSKI Artur POL 26 DEC 1993 8 1:44.89 PB
3 ENGLISH Mark IRL 18 MAR 1993 5 1:45.03 =SB
4 BUBE Andreas DEN 13 JUL 1987 7 1:45.21 SB
5 LEWANDOWSKI Marcin POL 13 JUN 1987 3 1:45.78
6 TUKA Amel BIH 9 JAN 1991 2 1:46.12 NR
7 REPCÍK Jozef SVK 3 AUG 1986 1 1:46.29 SB
8 BOSSE Pierre-Ambroise FRA 11 MAY 1992 6 1:46.55
Quick Take #1: This is what makes the 800 great.
The 800 is always one of the most exciting races on the track and this was a great example why. It’s possible to win from the front or the back, and the last 100 often features significant changes in position because some runners are really struggling to hold on while others are launching into their kicks. Kuciapski went from 7th to 2nd in the last 150 while Bosse went from 1st to last. Add in a dominant performance up front from Kszczot and this was a great race to watch.
Quick Take #2: Who is Artur Kuciapski?
If you had said before the race Poland was going to go 1-2, it would have been a surprise given how well Bosse has been running but not a total shocker since Kszczot and Lewandowski have been among the best in the world in the event over the past few years. However the second Pole across the line was not Lewandowski, but 20-year-old Artur Kuciapski.
A European silver was the culmination of a breakout year for Kuciapski, and he will be another one to watch in the best men’s event on the track right now. Before 2014, Kuciapski had never broken 1:48, but he’s done that in 10 of his 12 races this year (one of the ones he didn’t was a prelim at the Polish championships). He was so far off the radar that he wasn’t even named to Poland’s silver-medal-winning 4×800 team at the World Relays in May. Friday’s performance dropped his PR from 1:46.04 to 1:44.89; we bet he’ll be on the World Relays squad in 2015.
Quick Take #3: Bosse looked very bad over the final 100 meters.
We were excited to see what Bosse could do today as we considered him the strong favorite after he ran 1:42.53 to take second against the world’s best 800 guys in Monaco. Perhaps as the favorite, Bosse felt the pressure to lead with no rabbit or David Rudisha in the field, and that strategy didn’t appear to suit him as he totally ran out of gas over the final straight and finished last. Bosse had run well from just behind the leaders so far this season and it doesn’t make sense to change a successful strategy just because you’re the fastest guy in the field. Bosse would have been better served staying in second or third and trusting his kick, even if it would have meant a slower pace up front.
His race reminded should remind everyone just how hard it is to be the favorite. We’ve always said that racing with the expectation of victory is a lot harder than say running for a medal and upgrading to gold when others falter.
Quick Take #4: Who needs a coach?
Ireland’s Mark English is currently self-coached. He seems to be doing a good job of coaching himself as the 21-year old, who has a 1:44.84 pb, came through with a seasonal best which delivered him a medal.
Quick Take #5: Want even more info on this race including some post-race quotes. Below is David Monti’s recap:
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
ZÜRICH (15-Aug) — When Europe’s fastest man this season at 800 meters, France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, took out the pace hard at the 21st European Championships here this evening at the Stadion Letzigrund, Poland’s Adam Kszczot kept his distance. The two-time European indoor 800m champion expected Bosse’s move, and he was ready.
“I’m pretty sure he would start the way he did,” Kszczot told reporters in English.
Despite cold and wet conditions, Bosse clipped through 400 meters in 50.97, followed by Kszczot’s Polish teammate, Marcin Lewandowski and Slovakia’s Jozef Repcik. Bosse continued on the front through 600 meters (1:17:24), while Kszczot continued to hold back. Full of confidence, he was saving his energy for the final drive for the finish.
“I was pretty sure I was ready before, but now I know it,” he said.
Bosse began to tie up, Kszczot bolted past him, and was never challenged down the homestretch. He ran a quick 1:44.15, a season’s best, and finally had a gold medal from a major outdoor championships.
“It’s a great feeling,” said the 24 year-old runner from Lodz. “As I said, I knew I was able to win, but it’s not enough if you know it. It’s not enough at all.”
Behind him, a fierce sprint for silver and bronze was playing out between four athletes. Bosse quickly faded out of contention –he would finish last in 1:46.55– while little known Artur Kuciapski of Poland was mounting a ferocious charge from the back of the pack.
“When I started sprinting I was seventh,” he said in Polish with Kszczot translating for him to English. “It was pretty far from the main group. When I was catching them, I was just believing that I could beat them.”
He did. Kuciapski managed to roll-up the rest of the field to finish an astonishing second in a personal best 1:44.89. He was as surprised as the rest of the field.
“I wasn’t sure I was able to get into the final,” Kuciapski admitted. “No one was suspecting, even me, that I could run so well in the final. I’m really surprised.”
Ireland’s Mark English was in second place inside of the final ten meters, when Kuciapski came past him on the outside to take the silver. Nonetheless, the Irishman said he was pleased with how he executed his race and his bronze medal performance of 1:45.03.
“I was thinking, I’ve got a medal here,” English told reporters. I knew I had it. I had so much energy left.”
Andreas Bube of Denmark, the silver medalist from these championships two years ago in Helsinki, finished fourth in a season’s best 1:45.21.