The Reebok Boston Indoor Games was a) a sell out, b) produced world bests, and national records galore, c) well produced.
But, to this blogger, it showed some very interesting beginnings to the road to Beijing.
First the shot put. Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson and Dan Taylor put on a great show. The battle to make the shot put team on the US Olympic team will be on of the toughest events to make, and it has been that way for decades. But these guys, along with John Godina, have ruled the shot world for much of the past decade and one half.
Cantwell, Hoffa, Nelson and Taylor put on great throwing expositions. Their battles have been watched and enjoyed all over the world. At the old adidas Oregon classic, for nearly a half decade, one of the highlights was the early shot put competition, where Nelson, Godina and others produced some superb competitions. Yet, why has no one come up with a series of shot only competitions to show off the throws in North America? It is a perfect opportunity to showcase the event and entertain sports fans!
Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba racing in the same meet, over different distances is like the Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett parallel racing of the early 1980s. I was not a fan of it then, am an not convinced now. I understand that, if I remember that I always speak to you, our dear readers, about essence of sport as competition and that track, to gain some real sponsorship dollars has to notch up the entertainment, two Ethiopian women racing in different races is better than one. Also, as a former coach, and if I did not want my top two runners to murder each other in a early meet, I always threw them in different races. So, I am in a quandary. On personal levels, Dibaba and Defar race so differently, but I believe we probably will see them race against each other in Beijing.
Defar's 5,000 meters in Oslo was amazing! What I like about watching Defar run is that you know she is working hard! She runs with power and strength, and she just runs away from the field.
Except on this time, Kim Smith of New Zealand showed real guts and gave us a true glimpse of her talent with her fine 9:13, ten seconds under the current world best and only three seconds behind Defar! Smith's 9:13 puts her in 14:30 shape. She could be one of the real players in Beijing.
Dibaba runs like a hunter. She has a loping, light stride that changes when she goes in for the kill. Her last lap is brutal and seems to be tough at any pace.
The miles were revealing in many ways. On the men's side, no one seemed ready to run under four minutes. Lots of strength there, but no speed. Rob Myers is right, it all comes down to speed. A young man with alot of guts, he is working on his leg speed. Galen Rupp, the Oregon duck redshirt, is racing a few mile races on the boards. He ran well, and stayed in the fight, running very close to his personal best.
On the women's side, several things came up. First, Jennelle Detherage, the winner, is finished with school, as is her husband. She also has a new coach, in Juli Henner. It was the smartest race Jenelle has run in a long time. She stayed out of trouble and used her strength and speed to make a over over the last 400 meters. Jenn Toomey ran a good mile her, a nice follow up to her 2:07 at the Greater Boston Indoor. She is healthy again, and the game is, for all the athletes, to be ready for Eugene the end of June.
The final event was the men's 3000 meters. Craig Mottram is a very popular athlete in Boston. The giant Australian has nearly a foot on some of his competitors. A tough racer from the mile to 10,000 meters, Mottram never makes excuses. It was only in seeing Mottram at 3k in the world champs 5k, in Osaka that I knew something was wrong. The next day we heard about a hamstring injury that Mottram had been recovering from for three weeks.
During the 3,000 meters in Boston, Mottram was full of running. When he took off on the rabbit at 1200 meters, Mottram never looked back. Watching Mottram as he pushes the pace, breaking the race wide open is inspiring. Mottram is an emotional runner, and when he is on, no one can stay with him. Saturday was his night, and his all comers record for North America for 3k broke the record of the great Haile Gebreselassie. That is great company for Mottram.