After a few hours sleep, I had these thoughts about a few of the events on Monday, August 26, 2007. See what you think, if I am as far off as some say!
Some Final thoughts on Monday
Three Helsinki Winners Did not Defend today
With the last round heroics of Valeri Vili of New Zealand, Nadezhda Ostapchuk of Belarus was unable to defend her Helsinki title in the shot. Cuba's Zulia Catalayud did not move on the in 800 meters and Bershawn Jackson came very near injuring himself as he stepped on the last hurdle, and out of a chance to defend his Helsinki title at the 400 m hurdles.
800 meters rounds-fast!
The rounds of the 800 meters were so hot on Sunday, as 14 runners went under
two minutes and Maria Mutola just made it as last of the fastest losers! Svetlana Klyuka of Russia ran 1:58.57, taking the lead from the start and making sure she made the final by winning her heat. She was rewarded not only with first, but also a personal best! It was in this heat that Cuba's Zulia Calatayud, the Helsinki winner, ran last and finished in 2:06.97. Reports were that Calatayud had reinjured her shins, and she ran in defiance of advisors' suggestions.
But the story of the 800 meters for women is Janeth Jepkosgei, who took her second semi out in 56.54, and ran to a relaxed first place in 1:56.17. Not only did Jepkosgei set a Kenyan National record, and world leader, she had the fastest qualifier of the event!
My picks for the women's 800 meter final are the two Russians and Jepkosegei to win. This women has the talent to get the world record in the 800 meters.
400 m hurdle qualifying
This is going to be a great final. James Carter continued to look like the class of the field and he will be my pick for gold in the finals. Marek Plawgo of Poland ran 48.18 in the last heat and has the fastest time going into the finals, but I am not picking him for a medal.
Felix Sanchez is my pick for the bronze medal, as his three year odyssey with injuries seems to be over-he ran 48.35 in the heats. Sanchez should have been second, but Bershawn Jackson hit his last hurdle, while in the lead and dropped to third in 48.95, a time that would not move the 2005 Helsinki gold medalist on to the finals.
Kerron Clement, my pick for the 400 meter world record holder, ran well and should take the silver. If he can overcome the last two hurdles, he could blow away the entire field, but that, my friends, is a big if!
Final on Tuesday night.
Women's 100 meter rounds, 1, 2.
Christine Arron of France, Lauryn Williams, Torrie Edwards all looked good in both rounds. The disqualification of Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka, who had run the third fastest time in heat one was a surprise.
Fourteen time World Championship medalist Merlene Ottey is 47 years and 105 days old. She ran 11.66 in round one, taking fourth. That race was her 59th performance in a World Championship event, dating back to 1983. Ottey now represents Slovenia, where she won the national champs in 11.59. She has set a record for longevity with a sprinter and also in the Worlds that will probably never be surpassed!
Final Thoughts on Day two
After sleeping on the events of the day, I have these thoughts about Tyson Gay and Carolina Kluft. Gay, with his acceleration, and his focus, should come very close to MJ's 200 meter record.
On Monday afternoon, I was part of a group intereview with Liu Xiang, the world record holder in the high hurdles. Xiang is a superstar in China and his exploits are covered in great detail.
I asked him how important it was that he broke Renaldo Nehemiah's World Junior record of 13.13? He told us, through an interpreter, that it was a huge deal, but also reminded me that it was in the same city that he set the World Junior record that he set the World Record---Lausanne.
Xiang is one of those athletes who seems unflustered by the attention he is getting-it is a job and he knows it.
My second interview of the day was with Kara Goucher, the bronze medalist in the women's 10,000 meters. I had watched her run many times, but never had a chance to speak to her. After her NCAA cross country win, Goucher had three and a half years of tough times, and her 5,000 meter run at the US champs last year, where she took second was a turning point.
The real turning point was when Kara and her husband, Adam Goucher, decided to move to Portland, Oregon and become part of Alberto Salazar's small cadre of athletes.
Alberto is a man of huge ambition. His coaching of Adam put him back on the road to running at the world class level and his coaching of Kara has had the same salubrious effect.
When Kara spoke to us of her training, of the nine hours a day she spends between running, lifting, massages, stretching, and running again, you can tell she is most appreciative of the support she gets, but there is one other important notion-Alberto has showed Kara and Adam that they are doing everything that they can and should do, so that, when they get to the line, they know they are prepared, and they are ready to roll. Kara told us that Alberto Salazar told her she was ready to medal
in Osaka, and she did!
Her final comments are telling: " I have, in the past come to the line thinking, I have a chance for a medal. The next time, my goals will be higher."
For related articles for August 27, 2007: http://osaka2007.iaaf.org/news/kind=2/newsid=40789.html#osaka+2007+highlights+day
For the complete results of August 27, 2007: http://osaka2007.iaaf.org/results/bydate.html#racedate=08-27-2007
For complete coverage by American Track & Field magazine:
For the digital version of American Track & Fields' Resource Guide 2007, including
the 32 pp History of the World Championships, 1983-2005, please click on: http://www.flipseekllc.com/ATFguide.html