Beijing Diary, August 15, 2008, Day 1, Session 2, Cantwell takes Silver, Flanagan takes bronze!


Christian Cantwell, on his last throw, hit 21.09m, moving from fifth to second! Shalane Flanagan, sick for all week, gutted it out and in the last two laps moved into third and captured the bronze in an American record of 30:22.20! More on Shalane in a few hours!

Beijing Diary, Day Seven
Track & Field Day 1, Evening Session
August 15, 2008
8:30 PM Beijing time
7:30 AM Chicago time
National Stadium


Ni Hao (Hello) from Beijing!

Big evening of track and field tonight, with the Men's shot final, Men's 1,500 meter qualifying, Women's 10,000 meter final and women's steeplechase qualifiers plus second round of the 100 meters. Plus day one of the heptathlon.

Heptathlon, Women

Well Hyleas has some competition! As you recall, Hyleas started off the 100 meter hurdles in 12.78 for 1,158, and the lead. Natalia Dobrynska of the Ukraine was in seventh after her hurdle race, with a time of 13.44 and a point total of 1059. Jessica Zelinka of Canada hurdled 12.97 for 1129 points and was second. Anna Bogdanova of Russia hurdled 13.09 for 1111 points and was third. In fourth was Kelly Sotherton of Great Britian with 13.18 for 1097 points.

In the high jump, Hyleas set a personal best, clearing 1.89 meters for 1093 points and a two event total of 2,251. In second, Anna Bogdanova cleared 1.86 m for 1054 points and a two event total of 2,165. In third, Lyudmila Blonska, also cleared 1.86m for 1054 points and a two event total of 2,132. Kylie Wheeler of Australia cleared 1.89 m, for 1093 points and a two even total of 2,117. In fifth, Kelly Sotherton, who had cleared 1.83 meters for 1016 points had a two event total of 2,113.

In the third event, Natalia Dobrysnska, who was tenth after the second event, threw the shot 17.29 meters for 1015 and a three event total of 3,052, taking over first. Hyleas Fountain threw 13.36m a sub par throw, and only 751 points (19th in that event) for a three event total of 3,002 and second. Anna Bogdanova of Russia threw 14.08m for 799 points in the shot and a three event total of 2,964 for third. In fourth, Lyudmila Blonska of the Ukraine threw 14.29 meters for 813 points and a three event total of 2,945. In fifth place, Kelly Sotherton of Great Britain threw 13.87m for 785 points and a three day total of 2,898. Jolanda Keizer of the Netherlands threw 15.15m for 871 points and a three even total of 2,880, moving her from fourteenth to sixth!

Jackie Johnson of the USA was not having a good day. Her first event, was a nice 13.22 for the 100 m hurdles, for 1091 points and fifth place. In the high jump, Jackie cleared 1.77m for 941 points for eleventh place and in the shot, where she threw 11.82m, for 649 points, she has dropped to 22nd.

Diana Pickler, after hurdling 14.28 in the 100m hurdles, did not start the high jump, and has retired from the competition.

In the fourth and final event for the heptathlon day one, is the 200 meters. Hyleas Fountain sprinted a fine 23.31 for 1,058 points and a four event, one day total of 4060. Fountain is back in first. In second, Natalia Dobrynska of the Ukraine ran a fine 24.39 for 944 points, settling into second. Kelly Sotherton of Great Britian ran a fine 23.39 for 1040 points and a first day total of 3,938. in fourth, Anna Bodganova of Russia ran 24.24 for 958 po9nts and a one day total of 3,922. In fifth, Lyudmila Blonska of the Ukraine with her time of 24.14, a point total of 967 for a one day total of 3,912. In sixth, Canada's Jessica Zelinka ran 23.64 for 1016 points and a one day total of 3,866.

Jackie Johnson ran 24.74 for 911 points and stayed in 22nd place.

For the heptathletes, it is off to dinner, dreamy land and an early morning for the second day....

Men's 1,500 meter rounds

Heat one

Vyacheslav Shabunin of Russia took the heat out in 59.74 for 400 meters, 1:57.64 for 800 meters, before Nicholas Willis of New Zealand, the 2006 Commonwealth champion took over the race, leading at 1,200 meters in 2:55.52 (he had taken the lead just after 1,100 meters).

Willlis looked great coming off the turn as Mehdi Baala of France took over the heat, winning in 3:35.87. Willis held on for second in 3:36.01. In third was Daham Naim Bashir of Qatar, in 3:36.05. In fourth was Tarek Boukensa of Algeria in 3:36.11. In fifth was Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia, the World indoor champion, in 3:36.22 and in sixth was US runner Leonel Manzano, who ran a seasonal best of 3:36.67 ( he would later qualify by time).

Notable non qualifier was Reyes Estevez of Spain. This guy has been around for much of the 90s and also this decade. Estevez won the bronze medal at 1,500 meters in both the 1997 and 1999 World Champs and as current as 2005, took the bronze in the 1,500m and 3,000m in the World Indoor. He did not advance tonight, at the age of 33. His stylish running and fearsome kick will be missed.

Heat two

Asbel Kipruto Kiprop of Kenya took the field through a pedestrian 60.78 for 400 meters, before Nava Goran of Serbia in an even more pedestrian 2:05.39. Goran kept the lead through 1,200 meters in 3:02.63 before the crowd decided to race. Kiprop went to the lead, where he stayed,finishing first in 3:41.28. Nate Brannen of Canada, another of the Michigan crowd coached by Ron Warhurst, finished second in 3:41.45. In third, Juan Carlos Higuero of Spain, was third in 3:41.70. In fourth place was Bernard Lagat, of the US, who ran 3:41.98. Antar Zerguelaine of Algeria was fifth in 3:42.30. Nava Goran, who had lead most of the way, was sixth in 3:42.92, setting a Serbian National record.

Lagat did not look that good, but he moved up nicely over the last two hundred meters and moved into fourth and stayed there. Lagat noted, " I am just gonna relax , get some food, hydrate and maybe spend a day with my son tomorrow...I just want to get in. I finished fourth, that's good. Note that Nate Brannen was spiked in the round as well, " I got spiked but that's justthe name of the game. You feel a little prick out there and it just stings a little better.

Heat three

Tildrek Nurme of Estonia took the lead, hitting the 400 meters in 56.83 and the 800 meter sin 1:55.58. Abdalaati Iquider of Morocco took the crowded field through 1,200 meters in 2;54.77. Then it got interesting. Juan van Deventer of South Africa took over, finishing in 3:36.32! In second, Arturo Casado of Spain, a World Indoor medalist, ran 3:36.42. In third, Andrew Baddeley of Great Britain ran 3:36.47. Abdalaati Iquider of Morocco held on for fourth in 3:36.48. In fifth, Lopez Lomong of the USA ran a tough race, pushed with about a lap to go, he held on for fifth in 3:36.70. In sixth and final qualifier from Bahrain, Belai Mansoor Ali, ran 3:36.84!

Heat four

Augustine Kiprone Choge knows how to wake people up. The young Kenyan cranked a 54.79 first lap, and then went through 800 meters in 1:54.65. Still leading at 1,200 meters in 2:53.99. In a moment of clarity or insanity, Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain, the 2005 gold medalist at 800 and 1,500 meters, pulled out the stops and ran a scintillating 3:32.89, waving his arms as he went through the finish! That was Ramzi's seasonal best. Mohammed Moustaoui of Morocco finished second in 3:34.80. Choge held on for third in 3:35.47. and Christian Obrist of Italy was fourth in 3:35.91, also a seasonal best. Kevin Sullivan of Canada took fifth with a time of 3:36.05. In sixth was Carsten Schlangen of Germany in 3:36.04. Mulaget Wendimu of Ethiopia took the final qualifier with his time of 3:36.67.

Men's Shot Put Final

Christian Cantwell uncorks silver medal winning last throw to take lone US medal in Men's Shot, courtesy of PhotoRun

In the first final of the track and field portion of the Beijing Olympics, Tomasz Majewski of Poland had the throwing day of his life. Hitting 20.80m on his first, 20.47m on his second, 21.21 on his third-a personal best, and then clobbering a fourth round of 21.51, his fifth round foul and his sixth round 20.44 m did not matter. Majewski, who looks like he should be driving a VW bus to Grateful dead concerts, did his country proud with his fine throwing.

US fortunes were a bit strange tonight. Adam Nelson had three fouls, obviously in pain, the two time silver medalist lived the Olympic creed, but did not get a fair throw.

Reese Hoffa fouled his first throw, hit 19.81 m for his second, then 20.53 and 20.38m, finishing seventh.

Christian Cantwell, the 2008 World Indoor Champion, used his Missouri stubborness to stay focused and build into the event. Hitting 20.39m, 20.98m, 20.88m, 20.86m, 20.69m and in his final throw a fine 21.09m, Cantwell moved from fifth to second!

Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus, the European leader, hit 21.05 in his third throw, and his foul, 20.78m, 20.57m and final throw of 20.93m did not matter-he got the bronze!

Dylan Armstrong of Canada threw 20.62m, 21.04m, two fouls, a 20.47m and a final foul. His 21.04 meters, a Canadian record, was one centimeter out of the medal standings. Cantwell's final throw pushed Armstrong out of the medals!

Pavel Lyzhn of Belarus was fifth in a personal best of 20.98 meters.

In the end, the dream of a US sweep was a pipe dream. Reese Hoffa had a bad day,

The gold medalist had this to say after his surprise victory, : " I feel really blad and I want to congratulate all of the Polish people. I want to say I made it, just beat everyone and I made it."

Reese Hoffa had a bad day at the office, finishing out of the medals.

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