Windy Conditions Wreak Havoc With Times at 2022 USATF Bermuda Games

By Jonathan Gault & Robert Johnson
April 9, 2022

A nice crowd and live US national television audience watched the first USATF Bermuda Games today where the name of the game was the wind. Every sprint final faced a headwind of at least 2.5 m/s (three of the six were 5.0 or more), which led to some very slow winning times and the withdrawal of world champion Grant Holloway, who elected not to contest the 110 hurdles in the windy conditions. Distance times were also slow as Ajee’ Wilson ran 2:03.09 to win the 800 and Kenya’s Kamar Etiang 3:45.26 to win an entertaining 1500.

Below, four takeaways from the first stop on the 2022 World Athletics Continental Tour Gold.

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*Compiled  results

The wind wreaked havoc with the times in Bermuda

Here’s a list of the wind readings for the finals of the sprint events today (winning time and winner appear in parentheses):

Women’s 100 hurdles: –2.5 m/s (12.67 Jasmine Camacho-Quinn)
Men’s 110 hurdles: -3.8 m/s (13.78 Shane Brathwaite)
Women’s 200: -5.0 m/s (23.25 Anthonique Strachan)
Men’s 200: -4.7 m/s (20.79 Steven Gardiner)
Women’s 100: -5.2 m/s (11.45 Teahna Daniels)
Men’s 100: -5.6 m/s (10.38 Jerome Blake)

With the conditions slowing the times to a comical degree, most of the athletes decided to laugh along with it, particularly Teahna Daniels, who won the women’s 100 in 11.45 seconds into a 5.2 m/s headwind and couldn’t help but smile before flashing “5 2” with her fingers after crossing the finish line.

Daniels lets you know it was windy out there

The only person who ran anything close to a fast time was Olympic 100 hurdles champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico, who somehow managed to run a world leader of 12.67 into a -2.5 (no one else in the race broke 13 seconds).

Not everyone was having fun, however, as 110 hurdles ace Grant Holloway, who pleaded with the organizers to reverse direction for the sprint races to no avail. Holloway ultimately decided to scratch rather than compete in the windy conditions.

“The wind is out of control, as high as 4.6,” Holloway told NBC’s Lewis Johnson. “I don’t think that is great for the hurdle event. I’m trying to do consistency is the main cue for this season, so I decided to pull out of this race.”

After seeing the times from today’s meet, you have to wonder if that will scare off top pros from competing next year should this meet remain on the calendar unless they change the direction of the sprints.

P.S. If you’re wondering why this meet was in Bermuda in the first place, three-time US 800m Olympian Hazel Clark is now Director of Global Sales and Business Development at the Bermuda Tourism Authority – one of the organizations that sponsored today’s meet.

If you factor in the wind, the winning times were actually pretty good in many events

Below, we’ve used a couple of online calculators (https://jmureika.lmu.build/track/wind/index.html and https://maximmoinat.github.io/windCalculator.html) to adjust the winning times for the headwinds. If our recap had started by telling you the season opening meet featured a 12.38 run by Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and an upset win in the men’s 100 by Jerome Blake of 9.94, you’d have thought it was a pretty good meet. Heck, if there had been a 2.0 tailwind, those times theoretically would be 12.23 and 9.86 according to the calculators.

Winning Times Adjusted to a 0.0 Wind
Women’s 100 hurdles: 12.38 Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (12.67 -2.5 m/s)
Men’s 110 hurdles: 13.28 Shane Brathwaite (13.78 -3.8 m/s)
Women’s 200: 22.59 Anthonique Strachan (23.25 -5.0 m/s)
Men’s 200: 20.31 Steven Gardiner (20.79 -4.7 m/s)
Women’s 100: 10.95 Teahna Daniels (11.45 -5.2 m/s)
Men’s 100: 9.94 Jerome Blake (10.38 -5.6 m/s)

The men’s 1500 was the most entertaining race of the day

On paper, it looked as if Kamar Etiang – the 19-year-old who finished second at last year’s Kenyan Olympic Trials but didn’t get to run the Olympics as he wasn’t in the testing pool – should run away with the men’s 1500, and for the first 1100 meters, he was doing exactly that, carving out a 20-meter lead at the bell. Then all hell broke loose on the last lap.

Etiang, who opened a gap on the field after 400 meters (58 seconds), started to see his lead shrink, and by the top of the home straight, it was down to 10 meters. At that point, Etiang began to struggle even more, his lanky, upright form buffeted back by the wind as the Bowerman Track Club’s Amos Bartelsmeyer, who ran 3:35 last year, began furiously kicking behind him.

As the finish line approached, Etiang stole a glance back and noticed Bartelsmeyer coming for him, at which point he sped up his cadence. That last burst of speed looked as if it would be enough to deliver the victory…until inexplicably decided he needed to stop his watch as he finished. As a result, Etiang cost himself valuable momentum just before the finish line by reaching his arms in front of him to stop the watch before throwing them up to celebrate what was ultimately a very narrow victory, 3:45.26 to Bartelsmeyer’s 3:45.35.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bermuda’s Dage Minors handled the windy conditions better than anyone as he finished an impressive third in 3:46.82 – barely a second off his 3:45.63 pb.

Minors (l) and Etiang

The race reminded us of two things:

  1. Crazy weather may not produce fast races, but it can lead to some wild finishes.
  2. Anything can happen when a young athlete is racing for the first time overseas. This race reminded us of the 2015 World Relays, when a 19-year-old Timothy Cheruiyot, running his first international race, went out in 51 seconds on the anchor leg of the DMR for Kenya, opening the door for a historic US victory? Today, Etiang almost lost the race because he slowed down to stop his watch. We’re sure he’ll learn from that mistake going forward, but it made for one entertaining finish.

Lyles or Knighton? Neither.

A lot of athletes pulled out of this meet, from Sha’Carri Richardson and Athing Mu (well ahead of time) to Ronnie Baker and Kenny Bednarek (a couple days ago) to Grant Holloway just minutes before his race. But two big stars remained for the final event of the day, the men’s 100: Erriyon Knighton and Noah Lyles.

But once the race was over – run into an enormous -5.6 m/s headwind, the biggest for any final all day – it was neither Knighton nor Lyles on top but powerfully-built Canadian Jerome Blake, who ran 10.38 as Knighton and Lyles took second and third in 10.39. The wind makes it hard to put too much stock in the results, but those are a couple of nice scalps for Blake, who owns a pb of 10.06 and was part of Canada’s bronze-medal-winning 4×100 in Tokyo last year.

It’s also worth noting that, if the conversions from earlier in this article are to be believed, Knighton’s 10.39 was worth 9.95 in still conditions. Considering the national high school record is 10.00, we’re very excited to see what Knighton can do if he gets good conditions for a 100.

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