2022 Lausanne Preview: Lyles & SAFP Chase Fast Times; Ingebrigtsen & Hassan Lead Distance Fields

By Jonathan Gault
August 24, 2022

Last week, track athletes from around the world were kids in line for the coolest ride at a water park, watching the Europeans having the time of their life splashing around in Munich while knowing they’d have to wait their turn to join in on the fun. (Okay, maybe that was just me. Either way: serious FOMO). But now that Commonwealths and Euros are over and the Diamond League is back, it no longer matters what continent you’re from or which monarch lorded over your ancestors — everyone is invited to Friday’s Athletissima Lausanne.

With just two meets remaining before the Diamond League final in Zurich September 7-8, athletes are eager to secure their spots. Or, in the case of the two marquee races of the meet, run really freaking fast. The women’s 100 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-PryceShericka JacksonElaine Thompson-Herah) and men’s 200 (Noah LylesErriyon Knighton, and Michael Norman) are loaded with talent and the Lausanne track has been known to produce quick times in the past. You won’t want to miss either of those races.

The stars are showing up in the distance races as well — Jakob Ingebrigtsen vs. Ollie Hoare vs. Timothy Cheruiyot in the 1500, Sifan Hassan vs. Laura Muir vs. Elise Cranny in the 3000, and Soufiane El Bakkali and Evan Jager in the steeple. It’s a great way to kick off the weekend. Let’s preview the most exciting events below.

*Schedule, entries, & results *TV/streaming information (2-4 pm ET, Peacock) *All LRC 2022 Lausanne coverage

Women’s 400 hurdles (2:04 p.m. ET): Bol vs. Muhammad

How can you not love Femke Bol? If anyone earned a break after Euros last week, it’s the the 22-year-old Bol, who completed a historic triple by winning golds in the 400 (49.44), 400 hurdles (52.67), and 4×400. Instead, she’s back in action for her fifth Diamond League of 2022 (two more than Sydney McLaughlin has run in her entire life). Bol vs. former world record holder Dalilah Muhammad is the matchup to watch here, and though it wasn’t close at Worlds (Bol ran 52.27 to Muhammad’s 53.13), we know Muhammad was banged up earlier this year. This will be Muhammad’s first race in a month, and if she’s healthier now, it could be a great battle.

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Women’s 800 (2:12 p.m. ET): 4 of top 5 from Euros to battle American Allie Wilson

This is a non-Diamond League event, but there are a number of women entered who are in top form. The two continental champions from last weekend, NACAC winner Ajee’ Wilson and Euro winner Keely Hodgkinson, aren’t running, but American Allie Wilson — who finished .01 behind Ajee’ at NACACs is entered. So too are the 2nd through 5th finishers at Euros. France’s Euro runner-up Renelle Lamote leads the way, followed by Poland’s bronze medalist Anna Wielgosz (in the midst of a breakout year at age 28), Switzerland’s Lore Hoffman, and Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie.

Men’s 110 hurdles (2:22 p.m. ET): America vs. Jamaica

The best rivalry in the 110 hurdles is between America and Jamaica, and so far in 2022 America is winning. Grant Holloway and Trey Cunningham went 1-2 at Worlds and again on August 10 at the Monaco Diamond League. Those two are back again to take on Olympic champ Hansle Parchment (3rd in Monaco) but this time they also have to face Parchment’s 22-year-old Jamaican countryman Rasheed Broadbell, who surprisingly won the Commonwealth Games in a pb of 13.08. It could take sub-13 to win this one. And is it hyperbole to say that every time Holloway races there is a WR alert?

Men’s 1500 (2:33 p.m. ET): Everyone gets another crack at Ingebrigtsen

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After double gold in the 1500 and 5000 in Munich, add Jakob Ingebrigtsen to the Femke Bol club of athletes who have a built-in excuse to skip Lausanne but are competing anyway. Kudos.

As usual, Ingebrigtsen will head into this one with a massive target on his back, but in recent years he has proved near-impossible to beat in rabbitted races. Since winning the Olympic 1500 in August 2021, Ingebrigtsen has run eight races with pacemakers, ranging from 1500 to 5,000 meters. He has won seven of them, his only defeat coming to Timothy Cheruiyot in last year’s epic Diamond League final.

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Of course, Ingebrigtsen doesn’t lose many races, period — his only other defeats in that span came in a low-key 800 and a pair of runner-up finishes in the 1500 at World Indoors and Worlds. But he’s especially comfortable in these Diamond League races when he can push hard in the middle stages of the race while avoiding the brunt of the wind up front thanks to the pacer — leaving Ingebrigtsen with the energy to gradually pull away from the field on the last lap and demonstrate his superior fitness once the pacer inevitably drops out.

There are a few men in the field who are rather tired of that outcome.

Olli HoareJosh Kerr, and Abel Kipsang are three of the best 1500 runners in the world, but they are a collective 0-19 against Ingebrigtsen in their lives (Hoare is 0-7, Kerr 0-6, Kipsang 0-6). All would love for that streak of futility to end.

Hoare has the best shot — he’s coming off the race of his life, a 3:30.12 victory at the Commonwealth Games. Kipsang is no longer winning everything in sight as he was earlier this year and was only 4th at Commonwealths, but he still ran 3:30.82. Kerr was dead-last in that race in 3:35.72 but was reportedly sick for that race so he gets a mulligan.

Meanwhile Timothy Cheruiyot — who was better at Commonwealths (silver in 3:30.21) than at Worlds (6th in 3:30.69) — is also running Lausanne. As the last man to beat Ingebrigtsen in a Diamond League, he can’t be ignored.

Euro silver and bronze medalists Jake Heyward and Mario Garcia Romo are entered as well.

Will Jakob Ingebrigtsen win the 1500 in Lausanne?

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Women’s 3000 (2:43 p.m. ET): Hassan vs. Niyonsaba, at last

At the start of 2022, Sifan Hassan vs. Francine Niyonsaba seemed destined to be the matchup in women’s distance running this year. Hassan won double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 in Tokyo while Niyonsaba went on a post-Olympic rampage that included wins at Pre, Paris, Brussels, Zurich, and Zagreb.

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It didn’t quite work out that way. Hassan, mentally and physically exhausted from her Olympic triple (remember she medalled in the 1500 as well), didn’t resume training in earnest until May and was not back to her old self by Worlds. Meanwhile Niyonsaba, after defeating Faith Kipyegon over 3,000 in Doha and scaring the 2-mile world record at Pre in May, developed a stress fracture in her foot that kept her out of Worlds.

On Friday, the two will finally face each other for the first time in 2022, and it could offer a glimpse of what is to come in the long distances next year (ideally world champs Gudaf Tsegay and Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia would also be here to get a true idea of where things stand, but neither is entered).

Hassan, who ran out of gas just before the end at Worlds, won the 3,000 in Silesia on August 6 and will be favored, though Niyonsaba and Worlds 5,000 bronze medalist Dawit Seyaum — the winner at June’s Oslo DL — should provide stiff competition. Laura Muir and Konstanze Klosterhalfen, fresh off Euro titles in the 1500 and 5,000, are also running.

Four Americans have made the trip overseas for this one — Elly Henes, Josette Norris, Alicia Monson, and Elise Cranny. Cranny, the US 5,000 champ, has the best chance of success. And it’s worth watching the clock as well.

Two weeks ago, Cranny’s Bowerman TC teammate Grant Fisher set the men’s American record at 3,000 with his 7:28.48 in Monaco. Could Cranny, coming off a 3:59.06 1500 pb in Monaco, do the same in Lausanne?

The race has to go fast enough of course — Hassan’s winning time in Silesia was only 8:39 — but Cranny’s times at other distances suggest the AR is within reach (Mary Decker Slaney has the outdoor AR at 8:25.83 but Karissa Schweizer‘s indoor AR of 8:25.70 is actually faster). Here’s how Cranny’s pbs (all set in 2022) stack up according to World Athletics’ scoring tables:

Event PB WA points 3000m equivalent
1500 3:59.06 1213 8:28.80
5,000 14:33.17 1216 8:27.95
10,000 30:14.66 1235 8:22.56

Who wins the women's 3000 in Lausanne?

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Will Elise Cranny break the 8:25.70 American 3000m record in Lausanne?

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Women’s 100 (2:59 p.m. ET): Time for a 10.5?

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could call it a season right now and her 2022 campaign would go down as one of the greatest in women’s sprinting history. She has won all six of her finals and has broken 10.7 in all six.

How insane is that? Only one other woman has broken 10.7 four times in a career — Elaine Thompson-Herah, who also happens to be in this race. Oh, and Worlds silver medalist Shericka Jackson — the #2 woman ever in the 200 at 21.45 — is also entered.

Courtesy Diamond League AG

The field is stacked, but SAFP has shown this year she’s on a different level. The big question is whether she can join Thompson-Herah and Florence Griffith-Joyner as the only women to break 10.6.

Lausanne is a good place to do it as it’s one of the fastest sprint tracks around. In 2012, Yohan Blake ran 9.69 here — the non-Bolt 100m world record — while SAFP’s own pb of 10.60 (#3 all-time) also comes from this track. But there was another key factor in that 10.60: the wind.

When SAFP ran 10.60 in Lausanne last year, the tailwind was +1.7, the best she received all season. This year, SAFP hasn’t had a tailwind better than +1.3 and the tailwind in Monaco for her 10.62 SB was just +0.4. If she can catch a big one, she has a shot at running something super fast on Friday.

How would much faster would SAFP have run this year if she had an ideal tailwind each time out? I used Jonas Mureika‘s sprint/altitude conversion tool to convert all her 100m races this year (plus her run at last year’s Olympics and her pb in Lausanne last year) to sea level/0.0 wind and then to a +2.0 tailwind. Here was the result:

Meet Time Wind Revised to 0.0 wind Revised to +2.0
2021 Olympics 10.74 -0.6 10.69 10.58
2021 Lausanne 10.60 1.7 10.71 10.60
2022 Nairobi 10.67 -0.4 10.70 10.59
2022 Paris 10.67 0.5 10.70 10.59
2022 Worlds 10.67 0.8 10.72 10.61
2022 Silesia 10.66 0.5 10.69 10.58
2022 Székesfehérvár 10.67 1.3 10.74 10.63
2022 Monaco 10.62 0.4 10.64 10.53

That’s right: SAFP’s 10.62 in Monaco with a +0.4 wind was, correcting for conditions, the greatest run of her life. It was also, according to Track & Field News, the #4 performance in history:

Greatest women’s 100m performances in history converted for wind/altitude, courtesy T&F News

Adj. Clock Wind Name Site Date Pos. Meet
10.50 *10.49 0.0 Florence Griffith-Joyner Indianapolis 16-Jul-1988 1q1 OT
10.57 10.61 -0.6 Elaine Thompson-Herah Tokyo 31-Jul-2021 1 OG
10.60 10.54 +0.9 —–Thompson-Herah Eugene 21-Aug-2021 1 Pre
10.64 10.62 +0.4 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Monaco 10-Aug-2022 1 Herc
10.66 10.67 -0.1 Carmelita Jeter Thessaloniki 13-Sep-2009 1 WAF

*Probably strongly wind-assisted, but is officially AR and WR

As the table above shows, it’s rare for a runner to catch a big wind on their best day, but if SAFP produces the same level of performance in Lausanne as she did in Monaco and gets a +2.0 wind, it would convert to 10.52 (she gets an extra .01 because Lausanne sits at 600m of elevation). Stay tuned.

Men’s 3000 steeplechase (3:06 p.m. ET): Jager runs first DL in four years

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Apart from the moment when the field had to dodge a cameraman in lane 2, the World Championship steeple final was kind of a stinker. Though the last lap was chaotic, with 11 men still in contention, the field was still pretty strung out by the end of the race with Soufiane El Bakkali the clear champion in 8:25.13 — the slowest winning time in a global final since 1968.

Lausanne should go faster, but El Bakkali will be the heavy favorite considering the only man who has challenged him this year, Lamecha Girma, isn’t entered (El Bakkali’s 7:58 sb is eight seconds faster than the #2 man in the field, Ethiopia’s Hailemariyam Amare). As the strongest in the field and the best kicker, it’s hard to see El Bakkali losing.

For US fans, it’s encouraging to see Evan Jager running his first Diamond League steeple since 2018. Jager’s season’s best this year is 8:17, set in his runner-up finish at USAs, but he hasn’t had an opportunity to run faster since then since Worlds went slow. Jager was a creditable 6th at Worlds, and on Sunday he won NACACs by nine seconds in 8:22. If he can run in the low 8:10’s or faster in Lausanne, it will be another important step forward for Jager toward possible medal contention in 2023.

How fast will Evan Jager run in Lausanne?

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Women’s 100 hurdles (3:23 p.m. ET): This field is stacked

After the flurry of fast times at Worlds, led by Tobi Amusan‘s shocking 12.12 world record and her wind-aided 12.06 in the final, the women’s 100 hurdles is suddenly one of the most intriguing events in the sport. Amusan is running Lausanne, as is Worlds silver medalist Brittany Anderson of Jamaica, Worlds bronze medalist/Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico and former world record holder Keni Harrison of the US. Should be a fast one.

Men’s 200 (3:42 p.m. ET): Can Lyles go even faster?

There’s no doubt that the fastest 200m runner on the planet right now is Noah Lyles. If his 19.31 at Worlds didn’t definitively prove it, he showed up and dusted bronze medalist Erriyon Knighton and 400 world champ Michael Norman in Monaco on August 10 by running 19.46, the second-fastest time of his career. Knighton and Norman are back for more in Lausanne — and credit to them for being up for it — but as in the battle of stars in the women’s 100, there’s one above the rest right now, and that’s Lyles.

Lyles has been on top of the world in 2022 (Courtesy Diamond League AG)

Lyles is back to the happy, confident athlete we saw in 2018 and 2019, and he’s talking a big game. In the pre-Monaco press conference, he told everyone that Usain Bolt‘s 19.19 is on his mind.

“I didn’t think my peak was going to show at Worlds,” Lyles said. “…It was fun. But I’ve been telling everybody, give me a month and the world record will be in my sights.”

A month has now passed since Lyles won the world title on July 21, the DL season is drawing to a close, and he’s in Lausanne — a fast sprint track where Lyles set his pre-2022 personal best of 19.50 in 2019. Bolt’s 19.19 is so far out there — no one has come within a tenth since Yohan Blake’s 19.26 in 2011 — that it seems almost taboo to even mention the time. And honestly, it’s a little greedy to ask more of Lyles considering he has already delivered two of the greatest moments of the season with his rundown of Knighton at USAs and his spellbinding 19.31 at Worlds.

But when your pb is 19.31, the next logical target is the world record. By Lyles saying it’s in his sights, he’s only verbalizing what the track world is already thinking. That doesn’t mean he’ll get it — 19.19 is one of the greatest performances in the history of the sport — but it sure will be fun to watch him try.

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