August 26, 2016
Sometimes you wait ages for a train, only for two to arrive in quick succession. That’s what’s happening on the Diamond League circuit this week as, after a one-month break, there will be two meets in a three-day span — Thursday’s Athletissima in Lausanne and Saturday’s Meeting de Paris.
There are 27 Olympic medallists slated to compete at the Stade de France just outside the French capital. In the distances, Paul Chelimo headlines the men’s 3,000 field, which includes fellow Olympic silver medallist Paul Tanui plus Ryan Hill, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Muktar Edris and Yomif Kejelcha. Olympic champ Faith Kipyegon could be capable of something really fast in the 1500 as she faces Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury, while Ruth Jebet, Hyvin Kiyeng and Emma Coburn renew acquaintances in the steeple. Plus Boris Berian vs. Ayanleh Souleiman vs. Olympic silver medallist Taoufik Makhloufi in the 800.
In non-distance action, there’s Ryan Crouser vs. Joe Kovacs in the shot put, home favorite Renaud Lavillenie in the pole vault, Dafne Schippers in the 200, Keni Harrison in the 100 hurdles and French sprint stars Jimmy Vicaut and Christophe Lemaitre in the 100.
What: 2016 Meeting de Paris
Where: Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France
When: Saturday, August 27. The TV broadcast begins at 2:00 p.m. ET.
How to watch: In the U.S., we assume it’s live on beIN Sports from 2:00 p.m. ET to 4:00 p.m. ET. beIN Sports has the U.S. broadcast rights and has shown every DL meet outside of the Pre Classic live this year, but their website is atrocious and currently lists soccer to be shown at that time so we can’t confirm it 100% (the meet may be on one of their online only channels). If the meet isn’t on Bein, check the live thread on LetsRun.com, someone will have a link to a stream.
Don’t have beIN Sports? Here is some info on how to sign up for beIN Sports.
Men’s 800 (2:25 p.m. ET): Fresh Off His 2:13 1k in Lausanne, Ayanleh Souleiman Takes on 6 of the 8 Olympic Finalists
Olympic champ David Rudisha is absent, but this should still be a tasty race, assuming Ayanleh Souleiman and Jonathan Kitilit aren’t tired from running 2:13 in Lausanne on Thursday (Souleiman won the race while Kitilit was third). Add to that Olympic silver medallist Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria, plus five more Olympic finalists (Boris Berian, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, Marcin Lewandowski, Alfred Kipketer, Ferguson Rotich) and this could be an extremely fast two laps of the track.
Berian was last in the final in Rio, perhaps worn down by the rounds, but assuming he’s recovered (he’ll have had 12 days to rest), he could get dragged to a PR here as he fares well when he gets out fast and plays follow the leader. Bosse, fourth in Rio, will have the home crowd on his side.
We think it comes down to Souleiman or Makhloufi in the battle for the win. Neither man will be totally fresh — Souleiman cranked out that 2:13.49 1k on Thursday while Makhloufi ran three rounds of the 1500 in Rio after the 800 wrapped up, but they look to be the class of the field in terms of fitness. 2:13.49 is really moving. Only four men have ever run faster, but Makhloufi is one of them, and taking silver in both the 800 (in a pb of 1:42.61) and 1500 in Rio is almost as impressive (and some would argue more impressive) than Makhloufi’s 1500 win four years ago in London.
If those two men falter, everyone else in the field is world-class and has a chance to win, save for Samir Dahmani, who’s only in this race because he’s French.
Women’s 3000 Steeplechase (2:40 p.m. ET): Olympic Rematch as the Top Five From Rio Clash Here
|Etenesh Diro Neda||Ethiopia||9:14.07||9:16.87|
Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Kiyeng are tied atop the Diamond League standings, but the DL title will almost certainly go to whichever of those two women wins the final in Zurich next week as the points are doubled in the DL final. No, what the fans will care about here is whether Jebet, after coming close twice in Eugene and Rio, can wipe Gulnara Galkina‘s 8:58.81 world record from the books.
Assuming Jebet is recovered from her effort in Rio (the Olympic final was 10 days ago), she will have the competition and setting to make a serious run at it. When Jebet ran 8:59.75 to win Olympic gold, the temperature was in the high 70’s but it felt warmer than that on the track as the race was held in the midday sun at 11:15 a.m. local time. It’s supposed to be very hot (high of 97) in Saint-Denis on Saturday, but that will cool off in the evening (the sun is scheduled to set during the steeple, which begins at 8:40 p.m. local time). The temperature won’t be significantly cooler (low 90’s is likely) but being in the shade/dark will make running fast easier.
The other big difference is that Saturday’s race will have a rabbit. In Rio, Jebet went out in just 3:05.93 for her first kilometer — 9:17 pace — before picking it up and still almost breaking the world record. If she can go out just a little faster in Saint-Denis, she has a great shot to break the record.
Jebet showed at the Olympics that she’s in a different class from the rest of the world right now, and while we expect her to win on Saturday, that’s not a given. Running fast all the time can be exhausting, and if she falters, expect Kiyeng, the silver medallist in Rio, or Emma Coburn, who earned the bronze to challenge for the win. If Jebet goes out on world-record pace, don’t expect Cobun to follow, though you could see the American lower the American record she set in Rio. The same caveats apply, however: like Jebet, she could be tired. And it’s also very hard to summon a career-best performance twice in the span of two weeks.
LRC Prediction: Jebet FTW, but her world record attempt falls short in the final kilometer.
Women’s 1500 (3:05 p.m. ET): Faith Kipyegon Tries to Keep Her Perfect Season Alive Against Jenny Simpson, Shannon Rowbury and Laura Muir
|Sifan Hassan||The Netherlands||3:56.05||4:00.87|
|Laura Muir||Great Britain||3:57.49||3:57.49|
Nine of the top 10 finishers from the 1500 final in Rio will be in action here, with Genzebe Dibaba (who ran the 3,000 in Lausanne on Thursday) the lone exception. As is the case in most Olympic rematches, the Olympic champion will be favored. That’s Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, who is a perfect five-for-five in finals this year. Even better, aside from her championship races (Kenyan Olympic Trials, Olympics), Kipyegon has run some extremely fast times — 3:56 in Shanghai and Eugene, 4:18 for the mile in Oslo. After her 1:57.3 final 800 in Rio, Kipyegon looks to be capable of even faster on Saturday, though that’s assuming she’s physically and mentally recovered from Rio and has a desire to run fast.
Laura Muir has been in fine form most of the year, and though she was only seventh in Rio, that was largely a result of trying to run for gold rather than running for a medal. That’s not to say Muir would have been guaranteed a spot on the podium had elected not to go with Dibaba’s hard move with two laps to go, but we think she would have been higher than seventh. She’ll get a small chance for redemption here. Likewise, World Indoor champ Sifan Hassan ran out of gas down the homestretch in Rio and wound up fifth after being passed by Americans Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury. She will be looking to avenge that result.
If Kipyegon chases a truly fast time, this race could become very interesting. She ran 4:08.92 in Rio, closing in 1:57.3 for the last 800. Last year in Beijing, Dibaba ran 4:08.09, closing in 1:56.9. Dibaba ran 3:50 last summer to break the world record, so based off the similarity of their championship results, Kipyegon could be capable of something like 3:51-52 under perfect conditions. Remember, Dibaba went from 3:54.11 to 3:50.07 in one race last year, so it would not be unheard of for Kipyegon to knock a few seconds off her 3:56.41 pb.
If Kipyegon doesn’t chase a truly fast time, the Americans are the most intriguing athletes in this race, and we’re not just saying that because this is a U.S.-based website. We’ve already seen what Kipyegon and Muir are capable of in fast races with good competition, but Simpson is way fitter than she was back in May when she clocked 4:04 in Shanghai and 4:01 at Pre; as is Rowbury when she ran 4:04 at Pre. If it goes quick, we expect both women should be able to go sub-4:00, and Rowbury’s American record of 3:56.29 could be in danger should Kipyegon attack the pace up front. Rowbury will be extra motivated to protect that as it would be totally crushing for Simpson to beat her out for an Olympic medal and take her American record within a two-week span.
LRC Prediction: Kipyegon wins it and could PR but won’t run faster than 3:55. Sub-4:00’s for Simpson and Rowbury, though we expect Simpson to come out on top again and move to 4-0 against Rowbury in 2016.
Men’s 3,000 (3:40 p.m. ET): Americans Paul Chelimo and Ryan Hill Take on the World’s Best (Minus Mo Farah)
There’s no Mo Farah in this race, but with the Olympic silver (Paul Chelimo) and bronze (Hagos Gebrhiwet) medallists in the 5,000 and the Olympic silver medallist in the 10,000 (Paul Tanui) plus the gold (Yomif Kejelcha) and silver (Ryan Hill) medallists at this distance at World Indoors, there are plenty of decorated runners in this field. There are two marks worth chasing. First, there’s the world-leading 7:32.62 that Farah laid down in Birmingham on June 5. The bigger goal is 7:30.00, a time no one has been able to eclipse outdoors since 2011.
With this many fast guys in the field, that mark is certainly attainable, but as with the other events in Paris, the determining factor will be how tired the athletes are from Rio (it will have been a week since the 5,000 final) and how committed they are to running fast. Chelimo is the top finisher from the Olympic 5,000 and has to be considered a serious threat for the win here (we’re no longer counting this guy out in any race). Chelimo’s PRs (7:39/13:03) are now a closer indication of his true talent level, but both were run in championship races (the 7:39 at USA Indoors, the 13:03 at the Olympics). Put this guy in a fast race and there’s no telling how fast he can go. After closing the last 3k of the Olympic 5k final in 7:47, expect Chelimo to run in the low 7:30’s in Paris.
Gebrhiwet should be a major factor as well; in addition to his bronze in Rio, he also managed to beat everyone — including Farah — in the 3k in Doha last year. Ethiopian countryman Muktar Edris, who has won twice on the circuit this year in 5ks and was fourth in Rio before being DQ’d, should also contend for the win.
Then you’ve got the guys who weren’t at the Olympics. Kejelcha was third in Oslo and second in Stockholm and would almost certainly have made the Olympic final had he been in Rio. American Ryan Hill was 6th in the 5k at the U.S. Trials, but since then he’s run a 1500 pb of 3:35 and clocked 13:15 for 5th in London on July 23. Both men were medallists at World Indoors and 3k is Hill’s best distance, so they should be in contention here.
Finally there’s Abdelaati Iguider, who is always a threat in these races. He won the non-DL 3k in Rabat earlier this year and was 5th in the 1500 in Rio (4th in the 3k at World Indoors).
LRC Prediction: We’ll go with Gebrhiwet but with Farah absent, there are a ton of guys who could win here. Sub-7:30 is possible if it’s fast from the gun, but that’s an extremely fast time; if the pace lets up even a little, sub-7:30 will slip away.