July 9, 2017
The 2017 Müller Anniversary Games offered a few glimpses of the future as there were several terrific performances on the same London Stadium track that will host next month’s World Championships. In the men’s 800, Nijel Amos showed that he is back to his world-beating form of 2014 with a dominant 1:43.18 victory, while Hellen Obiri took down Laura Muir to win a fast women’s mile in 4:16.56. Mo Farah rounded out the day’s action by cruising to victory in the men’s 3,000 in 7:35.15.
Elaine Thompson won the 100 in 10.94, and though the time was nothing special by Thompson’s standards, the circumstances were as she ran it from lane 7 (she was just the sixth-fastest qualifier in the prelims) into a 1.4 m/s headwind. Kerron Clement was back on top to win the men’s 400 hurdles in 48.02, while there were wins for Allyson Felix (400), Ameer Webb (200) and Charlene Lipsey (800) as well.
We recap everything below, beginning with the mid-d/distance races.
Missed the meet live and want to re-live it? Check out our official thread. MB: Official 2017 London Diamond League live discussion thread
Men’s 800: Nijel Amos looks terrific, blasts 1:43.18 world leader
Amos was clearly best today, but a strong run for Brazier
With 11 men in the field (plus a rabbit), the pace needed to be quick up front to avoid any logjams, and Nijel Amos, running on the same track where he earned his Olympic silver medal in 2012, wasted no time as he was right on rabbit Bram Som from the gun. Behind him, Donavan Brazier also got out well and after a cautious opening 100 Asbel Kiprop ran aggressively on the backstretch to move into fourth. Brazier was right where he wanted to be in second place at the bell (49.58 for Som, 49.7 for Amos, 50.0 for Brazier). The quick pace meant that the field was already strung out by this point and on the backstretch, Amos, Brazier and Kiprop had separated from everyone else.
Brazier moved into position on Amos’ shoulder at 600 meters (1:16.67) and was in a perfect position to move by him, just as he blasted past Erik Sowinski to win the U.S. title last month. But Amos is much better than Sowinski, and though Brazier almost managed to draw level with the Botswanan around the final turn, he had already used his move while Amos still had more in the tank. Down the homestretch, Amos pulled away for a comfortable victory in a world-leading 1:43.18 and the order behind him remained unchanged as Brazier was second in 1:43.95 — the #2 time of his career — and Kiprop took third in 1:44.43. Sowinski bounced back well from the TrackTown Summer Series final on Thursday to take third in 1:44.82 while British champ Elliot Giles broke 1:45 for the first time in his life and punched his ticket to Worlds by taking fourth in 1:44.99.
Quick Take: David Rudisha, are you worried yet?
The men’s 800 is going to be very interesting at Worlds. David Rudisha, the greatest 800 runner of all time, is the defending world/Olympic champ, but he has not been in terrific form this year (though he did run a season’s best of 1:44.90 to win in Hungary on Tuesday). Amos, meanwhile, just won his second Diamond League race in the span of nine days and he looked incredible doing it. He’s now gone from 1:45.74 to 1:44.24 to 1:43.18 in his last three races, all victories, and appears to be peaking at the right time in his first year under Mark Rowland in the Oregon Track Club.
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Rudisha’s past accomplishments have earned him some leeway, but Amos has always raced against Rudisha very well; in fact, he owns a 6-2 career record against the Kenyan. We should point out, however, that the only two times they’ve met at a global championship (2012 Olympic final, 2015 World Champs semis), Rudisha has won the race.
Quick Take: If Worlds go like this, Donavan Brazier is a medal threat
Brazier is most comfortable running in second with a fast guy in front of him, and Amos’ strategy played perfectly into his hands today. Amos, a 1:41 guy, was too good for Brazier today, but if he runs like he did today, Donavan Brazier will beat a lot of guys when he returns to London next month.
Chances are that Brazier will face at least one slower race, whether it’s in the prelims, semis, or final itself. But if he can survive that, he could contend for a medal.
Quick Take: Props to Erik Sowinski for overcoming the 1:45 barrier twice in the span of four days
Sowinski’s PR of 1:44.58 dates to 2014, but this year it looked as if he hit a roadblock at 1:45.00 as he ran 1:45 in five of his first six races but never faster. In fact, prior to Thursday, he had broken 1:45 just twice in his life. Now he’s run 1:44 twice in four days as he did it in New York on Thursday and again today in London.
Quick Take: A PR parade for the Brits
Five British men lined up for this race and four of them set personal bests, with all five hitting the IAAF standard of 1:45.90. Elliot Giles and Guy Learmonth were 1-2 at the British Trials, so they’re guaranteed to run at Worlds. Kyle Langford was third in that race and with Jake Wightman likely gaining selection in the 1500, Langford is the leading contender to grab the third spot in the 800.
QT: Not a bad run for Kiprop, who has a month to get ready for Worlds
Kiprop said he was only at 40-45% when he finished last in the Bowerman Mile at the Pre Classic while sick, but he’s trending in the right direction with a 3:33 1500 in Stockholm on June 18 and his 1:44.43 800 today.
Women’s mile: Hellen Obiri blasts 4:16.56 Kenyan record to take down Laura Muir
This race was billed as a British record attempt for Laura Muir (the record was 4:17.57 by Zola Budd) and Muir, who is no stranger to front-running, was up for the chase. She got out quickly behind rabbit Jenny Meadows and Kenyan Olympic 5k silver medalist Hellen Obiri followed in close pursuit as US champ Jenny Simpson was back in the second half of the pack.
At 800 (2:07.27), it was still Muir and Obiri but American Kate Grace had moved up to third as the top three were beginning to gain separation on the rest of the field. Meadows stepped off at 900 meters and as she did, Muir attacked and began to pull away slightly from Obiri and Grace. Though Grace could not respond, Obiri had closed it up by the bell, and she and Muir were 18 meters in front of Simpson and Grace, who seemed set to battle for third.
Muir, who needed to close her final 400 in 63.7 for the record, was straining now and could not create any separation on Obiri. With 100 to go, Obiri blew by and a spent Muir could not respond, as Obiri pulled away to win easily in 4:16.56, #6 all-time and fastest ever by a Kenyan. Muir was rewarded with a PR for her efforts (4:18.03), but the 32-year-old British record will live to see another day (likely quite a few days as the women’s mile is so rarely run).
The hot early pace came back to bite the Americans over the final lap, with Simpson dropping from third to fifth with a 64.3 last 400 and Grace dropping from fourth to tenth with a 68.3. Simpson still managed to PR, however, clocking 4:19.98, the first sub-4:20 by an American in 32 years (Mary Decker Slaney is the only other American to ever do it).
MB: Muir vs Obiri
Hellen Obiri is the clear favorite in the 5,000 at Worlds
We expected that Obiri would be the only woman capable of challenging Muir today and were proven correct as the Kenyan was incredible. Obiri’s combination of strength (14:18 5k) and speed make her a formidable championship runner and though Muir plans on doubling up (1500/5k) at Worlds, it’s unlikely Muir can challenge Obiri in the 5k given what happened today (even if Muir did lead all but 100m of the race).
The only woman with a chance to stop Obiri is Almaz Ayana, but Ayana has been hurt this year and with less than a month until Worlds, the reigning champ still has not raced in 2017. Her agent Jos Hermens told us she is planning on running Monaco, but she would have to do something truly special there to wrest favorite status away from Obiri. Remember, Obiri beat Ayana in the 5k in Rio last year as well.
Full respect to Laura Muir for going for it
Muir never holds back in races and she fell just .46 short of the British record today. Muir did go out a little fast (see splits below), but she was still in good position to get it with a lap to go. She just didn’t quite have it over the final 100 meters, but her run today showed she’s still definitely a medal contender at Worlds.
“I can’t complain with a PB,” Muir said. “I am really happy. I took the race on and really went for it. Training has been going really well and I have had no reaction to the foot. It responded well today and hopefully it will hold up for the Worlds.
“I knew Hellen was in really good shape. I heard her on my heels but I gave myself the best chance to win and get the record. The Worlds are still a month down the road and I am encouraged after today – I know I can come back even fitter and faster.”
The one question is whether Muir will try to do what she did in Rio last year and run for the gold or be content to simply run for a medal. We expect Muir will have her eyes firmly fixed on gold on home soil, but with several women running well in the event right now, that approach carries risks — as Muir knows well.
Muir’s splits: 64.1 (409) – 65.0 – 64.7 – 64.2
Don’t sleep on Jenny Simpson
When a former world champion and Olympic bronze medallist finishes fifth in a DL race, which is what happened to Jenny Simpson today, it’s nothing to celebrate. However, Simpson has proven in the past she is good at running well when it matters most and she is clearly improving as 2017 goes on.
At the Pre Classic, Simpson only ran 4:04.16. Today, her mile time equates to 4:00.68 for 1500 using the 1.0802 conversion. That puts her in the ballpark of what she’s run in the past when she’s medalled at Worlds/Olympics. Here are Simpson’s seasonal best times heading into Worlds/Olympics when she’s medalled in the past.
2011: 4:03.54 (5th in Monaco) – Worlds result: upset gold.
2013: 4:00.48 (win in Monaco) – Worlds result: silver
2016: 4:01.57 (4th at Pre) – Olympic result: bronze.
It’s fascinating to note that the one year that Simpson put down an amazing time prior to a global championship, 2015, she bombed at Worlds. In 2015, she ran 3:57.30 at Monaco but was only 11th at Worlds. Though to be fair, Simpson lost her shoe in that race.
With Kipyegon, Hassan and Muir all in good form, a medal seems like a real long shot for Simpson but she’s rounding into sub-4 shape and clearly benefits from rounds.
Men’s 3000: Mo Farah wins in front of the home fans
For the last six years, Mo Farah has been virtually unbeatable on the track. The odds that he’d lose a non-DL 3000 before the hometown fans on the very same track where he became a big-time star in 2012 were remote at the start of this race and non-existent at the end as Farah did what he almost always does – kick away from the front to victory. After a 59.18 penultimate lap during which Farah took over the lead with 470 meters remaining, Farah used a 55.33 last lap to get the victory in 7:35.15 as Spain’s Adel Mechaal, the European indoor champ at 3000 this year, was second in 7:36.32 ahead of Brit Andy Butchart (3rd in 7:37.56) and Aussie Pat Tiernan (4th 7:37.76). The three American World Championship team members in this one were disappointing and complete non-factors. US 10k champion Hassan Mead was the best of the bunch in 7th in 7:38.51 (which, to be fair, was a PR), ahead of two US 5000 team members Eric Jenkins (9th, 7:40.36) and Ryan Hill (14th, 7:43.81). American steepler Andy Bayer, who was 4th at USAs and isn’t going to Worlds, had a good race as he ran a pb of 7:38.90 (previous pb of 7:42.33) to finish 8th and take the scalps of both Jenkins and Hill.
After an honest opening 1k (2:32.65) during which Farah got out in last for the first 200, the pace really slowed over the 2nd km (2:37.38 – 5:40.03) and when it was time to race, Farah was in perfect position (2nd) as is almost always the case. Andy Butchart took over the lead with 3 to go and still led with 800 left but Farah got the lead with 470 remaining and never relinquished it.
MB: That race in London is why I hate Mo Farah
MB: Easy field for Farah win in London
Quick Thought: If you were wondering if Farah was challenged in this race, we have proof for you that he wasn’t
The post-race quotes from Butchart prove without a doubt that Farah had this one in the bag well before it was over. He was so un-pressed he was coaching Butchart mid-race. Here is what Butchart said post-race.
“I’m over the moon with that performance, and the stadium was incredible. Mo was coaching me mid-race and giving me advice on what to do, and I felt really good. The British Champs was an easy race for me, so my legs were quite fresh. I had so much fun out there; it was a good rehearsal for the world championships. Next I’m off to Font for prep camp, and then in August I’m rooting for a place in the final. Today gave me a lot of confidence and I have a lot of self-belief I can do really well in London.”
As for Farah, there certainly was nothing we could find wrong with his performance today. He’s so good, our only complaint comes from Farah’s post-race comments.
Farah did disappoint us as fans – after the race was over – as he revealed he won’t be racing in the Monaco 1500. “The preparation is going well – I’m grafting and continuing to tick boxes, initially I was going to try and fit a 1500m race in between now and the world championships, but this is my last race now. I go to Font tomorrow,” said Farah. “This stadium is home for me, this is where my life changed and I made my name. The people make it for me.”
Skipping Monaco to get in training probably makes sense as Farah is most vulnerable at 10,000 – to Geoffrey Kamworor. The Kenyan 5000 squad is very weak and Farah is such a good kicker, it’s hard to see him losing the 5000 (unless he’s already lost at 10,000).
Quick Thought: A stellar year for Patrick Tiernan continues
Tiernan has been racing at a high level for eight months now as he won NCAA XC in November and has continued to improve. In March, he was 13th at World XC (top non-African-born finisher) and he’s PR’d in all five of his track races in 2017 (results courtesy All-Athletics).
Women’s 800: Charlene Lipsey stays red hot
In this non-DL race, American Charlene Lipsey picked up the first European victory of her career as she powered away from the field coming off the final turn and won in dominating fashion in 1:59.43 as Brit Shelayana Oskan-Clarke closed hard to finish second in 1:59.82 and Norway’s Hedda Hynne was third in a big pb of 1:59.87 (previous pb of 2:00.94). Olympic 6th placer Lynsey Sharp was fourth in 1:59.96.
No one went with the rabbit (57.22) as the field was about 1.5 seconds back at the bell led by Lipsey, who was followed closely by Sharp. The 600 split was 1:29.06. Lipsey, as she has on several occasions this year, controlled the race from the front over the first 700 meters before exploding to the victory in the home straight.
Quick Take: Lipsey continues to roll
Considering the fact that Lipsey came into this race fresh off of a 1:57.38 pb and had run 1.42 seconds faster than anyone else in the field this year (1:58.80 Sharp), and the field only included 3 women who had broken 2:00 on the year before today, her win wasn’t a surprise. But it’s always nice to win and to keep the momentum going.
“It was ok – I was a little nervous beforehand, and I raced a couple of days ago in Lausanne where I ran a personal record, so the nerves were on the back of thinking how well I would recover,” said Lipsey after the race. “Overall I have to be pleased with a race win – I tried to take the lead and was challenged a few times, so to hold my ground for the line was great. It’s a beautiful stadium and the crowd were roaring us on the whole way, so it makes me excited to come back here.”
Men’s 1500: Chris O’Hare continues his fine season
It was tight with 20 meters to go
Last week, former NCAA mile champ Chris O’Hare won the British title in Birmingham, and on Sunday, he earned his second straight victory on British soil, kicking away late from Kenya’s Vincent Kibet and Norway’s Filip Ingebrigtsen.
Kibet and his countryman Bethwell Birgen were eager to follow the rabbit early and as the rabbit hit 400 in 57.49, they were right behind him with O’Hare and Charlie Grice behind them. At 800 (1:55.24), the Kenyans were threatening to run away with it, but Grice moved up right behind them with 600 to go, and at the bell there were still several guys in with a shot, with Birgen, Kibet and Grice running 1-2-3 at the bell followed by O’Hare, Ingebrigtsen and Ben Blankenship.
Grice moved into second on the first turn, and on the backstretch Ingebrigtsen moved into first with Kibet behind him. It looked to be a battle between those two, but O’Hare was moving up quickly on the outside and coming off the turn, he was right behind them on the outside. It was a close three-man battle for most of the home stretch, but O’Hare never relented and pulled away for the win in the final 30 meters.
Quick Take: Another fine run from Chris O’Hare
O’Hare has been snakebitten in recent years as he came just short of making the World Championship final in 2015 and the Olympic final last year despite battling injuries both years (hamstring in ‘15, knee in ‘16). This year, O’Hare looks to be 100% and the results have been terrific as he’s won his last three races and clocked the two fastest times of his career (he ran 3:34.35 at Oxy and 3:34.75 today).
Nothing is ever a given in the 1500, but O’Hare looks like a good bet to make it back to the World Championship final, which he made for the first time in 2013 a few months after graduating from the University of Tulsa. His fitness is certainly there, but he’ll want to be in better position to close against the world’s best when he returns to London for Worlds.
“I knew with 200 to go I had a lot to do,” O’Hare said. “I was mad at myself for that so I thought I had better go and hope there was enough track left and there was by half a meter. I feel so much stronger than I have ever been. I have put in a lot of work. I didn’t use any of my finishing speed until the last 150m.
“It is huge just knowing even in a 3:34 race that I’ve got the finish and could close down on the big guys so it is a huge confidence builder.”
Quick Take: Charlie Grice probably did not do enough to earn World Championship selection
Grice has been the UK’s best miler the last two years as he was 9th at Worlds in 2015 and 12th at the Olympics last year, but he was the odd man out at the British Trials as he could only manage fifth behind O’Hare, Josh Kerr and Jake Wightman. Grice needed to do something truly special today to move past Wightman, who won the Oslo Diamond League in June, in the eyes of the selectors (the first two spots on the British team go to the top two finishers at the Trials; the third is determined by a panel of selectors). Grice went for it and was right on the lead with 300m to go, but his 3:36.29 fifth-place finish today probably won’t be enough.
Women’s 100: Elaine Thompson runs 10.94 from lane 7. Into a 1.4 headwind. In flats?
Olympic champ Elaine Thompson of Jamaica looked shaky in qualifying as she had just the sixth-fastest time (11.16) in the prelims. As a result, she had to run the final in lane 7, but it didn’t matter as she closed down the field over the final 30 meters to take the win in 10.94.
On paper, 10.94 doesn’t sound that fast, especially for a woman who has run 10.70, but Thompson’s run becomes far more impressive once you account for the 1.4 m/s headwind. The IAAF and several journalists also reported that Thompson raced in flats, though the photo of Thompson below shows that there may have been small spikes in them.
Thompson will only be running the 100 at Worlds as it looks like the women are following the men in terms of avoiding the 100-200 double. Usain Bolt and Thompson are only running the 100, and Christian Coleman announced the same earlier this week. Tori Bowie, who medaled in the 100 and 200 last year in Rio, also said she will only run one event in London. We hope it’s the 100 as Bowie vs. Thompson would be a lot of fun.
Women’s 100m Hurdles: Kendra Harrison Wins but Sally Pearson is Back
World record holder Kendra Harrison got the win in 12.39 but in the middle of this race she was pressured by Sally Pearson. Harrison pulled away the final two hurdles to win as Pearson ran 12.48 for 2nd. Pearson has only run faster than that in two years in her life in 2012 and 2011 when she was Olympic and World Champion. Pearson showed today she could be a major factor at Worlds.
Men’s 110 Hurdles: Aries Merritt comeback continues to gain steam
Aries Merritt’s inspirational comeback from his kidney transplant continues to gain steam as he overcame a sluggish start to get the win in a dominating 13.09 – the first sub-13.10 clocking for the world record holder since his kidney transplant in 2015. The runner-up was Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus who lowered his own national record from 13.27 to 13.25. Devon Allen had a good start but hit a bunch of hurdles and faded to 13.30.
Women’s 400: Allyson Felix crushes the field with a world-leading 49.66
Allyson Felix will face Shaunae Miller-Uibo at Worlds in a rematch of their dramatic Olympic final in Rio, and based on Felix’s run today, it should be quite a race as she crushed this field to win in a world-leading 49.66. The 31-year-old Felix is clearly fit, and Miller-Uibo has broken 50 seconds twice already this year, but don’t forget about US champ Quanera Hayes, whose 49.72 at USAs was the world leader until today.
Men’s 400 hurdles: Olympic champ Kerron Clement runs down youngster Kyron McMaster
World leader Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands, just 20 years old, looked as if he was shot out of a cannon at the start of the race and coming off the final turn, he led by five meters. But he butchered the next to last hurdle (and wasn’t great on the last one either), opening the door for Olympic champion Kerron Clement to come through for the win in 48.02, the #2 time in the world this year. Clement is famously inconsistent (he was just 7th at USAs, though he has a bye to Worlds), but at his best, he’s very difficult to beat. Remember, last year, he ran a season’s best 48.40 to win in London and went on to claim gold in Rio a month later. He ran even faster today, which makes him a serious contender for gold at Worlds once again.
Clement (lane 7) had a tone of ground to make up in the last 100
“It was a tough finish especially the last 100m but I am peaking at the right time,” Clement said afterwards. “The World Champs is in three weeks.”
This race was quick all around as it included three of the six fastest performances in the year. The third placer today in Yasmani Copello was the third-placer at last year’s Olympics.
QT: Kyron McMaster is certainly on the way to stardom
The 20-year old, who won the Juco indoor 400 title last year (47.95) for Central Arizona and then won world junior bronze outdoors in the 400 hurdles, is clearly at a new level in 2017. He ran 47.80 to win in Kingston and then showed no fear today in his DL debut.
Men’s 100: CJ Ujah wins
This was a non-DL event and Ujah took the win as nobody broke 10 seconds.
Men’s 200: Ameer Webb runs 20.13 into a headwind
Texas A&M grads went 1-2 in this one as US champ Ameer Webb won it in 20.13 and US 400 champ Fred Kerley took second in a personal best of 20.24. The performance was a big improvement on Webb’s last race as he only managed 20.48 for fifth place in Paris on July 1. Granted, that did come into a 0.5 m/s headwind, but the wind was even bigger today (-0.7) and Webb improved by .35.
Women’s 400 Hurdles: Janieve Russell wins as Muhammad struggles for her third straight race
Rome winner Janieve Russell, who was 4th at the Jamaican trials and won’t be at Worlds, got the win in this non-DL event in a seasonal best 54.02 as American Cassandra Tate, who didn’t make the final at USAs this year but was a bronze medallist at the 2015 Worlds, grabbed second in her seasonal best of 54.59. Reigning Olympic and US champ Dalilah Muhammad had her third straight disappointing race since USAs as she was just sixth in 54.99. Since winning USAs in a world-leading 52.64, Muhammad has run 54.62 for third in Hungary, DNFed in Lausanne and now run 54.99 today.
Men’s 1-mile race walk: Brit Tom Bosworth breaks the world record
This is a first. We’ve never covered a one-mile race walk on LetsRun.com. Bosworth broke the 27-year-old world record (officially, a world best) of 5:36.9 by over five seconds.
Men’s 400: Michael Cherry wins
Cherry, a 2017 LSU grad, ran a PR of 44.66 in Lausanne on Thursday and kept rolling in London, winning over fellow American Tony McQuay.
Women’s pole vault: Olympic champ Katerina Stefanidi claims her third DL victory of the season to remain undefeated in 2017
Stefanidi made it six wins in six outdoor competitions this year, as after claiming wins in Doha and Rome she made a victorious return to the Diamond League circuit in London. Stefanidi was the only woman to clear 4.81 meters on the afternoon as her rival Sandi Morris struggled and only finished fourth.
Men’s Long Jump: Jeff Henderson Wins, If He Gets in Worlds He Should be a Contender
Jeff Henderson is the Olympic champion and jumping well in 2017. His only problem was he was only 5th at the US Champs, so he’ll only qualify for Worlds if 3rd placer Demarcus Simpson of Oregon or 4th placer Jarvis Gotch don’t hit the Worlds qualifying standard of 8.15. Neither of them has jumped since USAs according to all-athletics.com and that is good news for Henderson as he showed he’s in good form with the win today. Henderson only had two legal jumps but they both were 8.17, the only 8-meter jumps in the competition.
Men’s Discus: Daniel Stahl wins on his final throw
Daniel Stahl of Sweden was only third entering the final round, but he unleashed a clutch toss of 66.73 on his last attempt to snatch the win from Fedrick Dacres of Jamaica.
Women’s high jump: Mariya Lasitskene continues her mastery
No one has challenged Mariya Lasitskene all season and that was again the case today as she cleared 2.00 meters to win the competition. Lasitskene has now cleared 2.00 seven times this year outdoors. No one else has done it even once.
American teen Vashti Cunningham was the best of the rest, clearing 1.97 for second. She will certainly contend for a medal when she returns to London next month.
Women’s javelin: Barbora Spotakova turns the tables on Sara Kolak
In Lausanne three days ago, Spotakova, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champ, broke the meet record only for Kolak, the 2016 Olympic champ, to win the competition in the final round. Today, the roles were reversed as Kolak broke the meet record with her 67.83 third-round toss but Spotakova responded in the final round to win the competition with a heave of 68.26 meters.
Women’s long jump: Tianna Bartoletta breaks the meet record
Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic took just one jump (6.88m) and retired but through four rounds, she was still leading the competition. Eventually, however, Olympic champ Tianna Bartoletta hit a big one, and it came in the fifth round as she tied her SB of 7.01 to win.
Missed the meet live and want to re-live it? Check out our official thread. MB: Official 2017 London Diamond League live discussion thread
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