Welcome to day five, evening session. It is humid once again in Beijing, about 80 degrees with 40 percent humidity. My twenty minute walk from MPC-the main Press Centre had me dripping in my shirt. A good night of track and field in store!
Here is Walter Dix, one of my new favorite athletes. Walter knows how to get the job done and stays focused. That is a talent.
August 19, 2008
Olympic Track & Field
Well I have had it. the BOCOG folks talk about a green Olympics. Instead of just sending us the results, front and back of page, they send us four sheets, one line on each and every time BOCOG burps or gives out medal. It is ridiculous and means nothing. I have not seen one member of media use the paper. It just makes the medal presenter feel good. Please, BOCOG, give us a rest! Put all medal presenters for one night on one sheet and that would be useful, this just puts more paper at our workstations and drives us nuts.
Your Liu Xiang Update
When I arrived back at my condo after last night's session, it was about 4 am and I turned on the local television. They had a special on Liu Xiang with Sun Haiping, Liu's coach, and pictures of Liu training over hfurels, doing plyometrics, all of the things that an athlete does in preparation for their event.
In a copyrighted story in the Financial Times, Hong Kong edition, it was revealed that Chinese vice president, Xi Jin Ping, sent Liu Xiang a telegram. It was supposed to read as follows" the comrades of the Party central are very concerned about your injuries.." but are convinced that Liu " will come back and win even greater glory for the motherland."
Chinese national TV, owned by the government, asked for " concern" over Liu's health but to give him time to recover. Web sites across China have been quite tough, one today used the "sick man of Asia" analogy to hurl an insult at Liu Xiang.
Today, Liu Xiang apologized to the Chinese people for his injury and not being able to represent his country. His coach, Sun Haiping, was weeping during the press conference describing the pain Liu Xiang put himself through the last week, trying to compete. Feng Shuyong, the head coach of the Chinese track & field federation was on the stage at the press conference yesterday, describing the nature of LIu Xiang's injury as an achilles injury near the heal, on the right foot.
Liu Xiang revealed his problems to the world, on live global TV during his warmup. He winced as he tried to jog and put his hand on his lower right leg, near the soleus, where the achilles connects to the foot. He seemed to be rubbing the lower part of ones' achilles. In the false start, he actually made it only five steps out of the blocks before it was too much for him.
Speaking of bad days, here is a trivia question for you. When was the last time that no US man was in the high jump, long jump or triple jump in Olympic history? This is not a trick question, well, besides Moscow boycott, US has never NOT had finalists in above events, well until Beijing.
First round Men's 400 meters ( from August 18, 2008)
Leslie Dihone of France won heat one in 45.12, followed by David Neville in 44.22.
Christopher Brown of the Bahamas lead four under 45 seconds with his 44.79. Also going on was Joel Milburn of Australia in 44.80, a personal best, Johan Wiseman of Sweden, in 44.81, a seasonal best and Senga Gary Kikiya of the Ivory Coast, in 44.89, also a seasonal best.
Nery Brenes of the Costa Rica ran 45.36 to take the third heat, with James Godday in second in 45.49.
Martyn Rooney of Great Britiain ran 45.00 for the fourth heat win, with Sean Wroe of Australia in 45.17, a personal best.
LaShawn Merrit ran a nifty 44.96 to take heat six, with Saul Weipogwa of Nigeria in second in 45.19.
Andrew Steele of Great Britain ran his first sub 45, with a nice 44.94 for a personal best and the win. Renny Quow of Trinidad took second in 45.13. Not moving on was Jamaica's Michael Blackwood and Canada's Tyler Christopher, whose 45.67 and 46.30 just did not cut it in this level of competition.
Jeremy Wariner won the last heat, in 45.23, with Tabarie Henry of the US Virgin Islands ran 45.36, a national record for ISV, in second place.
August 19, 2008 Back to the present
Women's 200 meter, round 2
Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica ran 22.64 for first. Allyson Felix of the US, the defending gold medalist, ran 22.74 for second. Debbie Ferguson McKenzie of the Bahamas was third in 22.77 and the final qualifier from heat one was Cydonie Mothersill of Cayman Islands, in 22.83.
Roqaya Al Gassra of Bahrain, ran 22.76 to win this heat. Muriel Hurtis Houairi of France, ran 22.89 in second. Susanthikia Jaysinghe of Sri Lanka ran 22.94 in third, Roxana Diaz of Cuba, in fourth in 22.98 and final qualifier from heat two was Aleksandra Fedoriva of Russia in in 23.04.
Yuliya Chermoshanskaya of Russia won the third heat in 22.63, her personal best. Kerron Stewart of Jamaica was secodn in 22.74. Marshevet Hooker of the US was thrid in 22.76 and Natalia Pygyda of the Ukraine was fourth in 23.03. Only four qualified from this heat.
Sherone Simpson of Jamaica won in heat four in 22.60. Muna Lee of the US took second in 22.83, with Emily Freeman of Great Britian in third in 22.95 as the final qualifier from this round.
A few telling words from Muna Lee, fifth in the 100 meters the other night: " I feel really good, it was a good round for me. I am pretty happy with it and I am ready to see what my coach has to say..It is a strength and a mental thing, if you can overcome the soreness and the fear of not getting first, you can do anything. I just wanted to hold form, did not want to go into the Muna Lee swing. I felt better than other times."
Women's 5,000 meter semi finals
Silvia Wesssteiner took this one out, hitting the kilometer in 3:04.85. As she was followed by Tirunseh Dibaba of Ethiopia, Sylvia Kibet of Kenya, Alemitu Bekele of Turkey, Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia, Jenn Rhines of the USA and Guinara Galkina-Samitova of Russia, the gold medalist from the Olympic steeplechase.
The whole idea here is to expend as little energy as possible. But, for the exception of Dibaba, this will be a hard one for most concerned. Dolores Checa of Spain took over the leading chores through the second kilomter, hit in 6:10.02, a 3:06 kilometer, or 15:30 pace, still quite comfortable for the top ten or so.
Checa kept the lead through three kilometers, hit in 9:18.42, a 3:08 kilometer, still slowing down and the pack was together.
Trying to burn off some of the kickers, the elegant Guinara Galkina-Samitova of Russia took the lead and hit four kilometers, hit in 12:23.46, a 3:05 kilomters, the second fastest of the day, but also a time when all are hurting in the 80 plus degrees, and 40 percent humidity. Galkina Samitova runs so gently, that it hides her leg speed.
Running the last kilometer in 2:46, an the last lap in 63, Galkina Samitova finished fifth in 15:11.21. Going by her like a freight train, Tirunesh Dibaba, Sylvia Kibet and Alemitu Bekele, plus Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia went positions, Dibaba for the win in 15:09.87, Kibet in second in 15;10.37, Bekele in third in 15:10.92 and Melkamu of Ethiopia in fourth in 15:11.21. Dibaba ran her last lap in 61. The leaders had hit the bell in 14:08.
Finishing in sixth, the last auto qualifier was US runner Jenn Rhines, who continues to run semis better than just about any American distance runner, finishing here in 15:15.12. Rhines had three runners on her back so she had to hustle the last lap.
This one got down right to the big question-who wants it the most?
Kayako Fukushi of Japan took the crowd through the kilo in 2:58.70 and the race was off. Closely following Fukushi were former world record holder Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, Lilia Shobukhova of Russia, Priscah Jepleting Cherono of Kenya, plus Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher of the USA.
Yukiko Akaba of Japan took over the next chores for leading, hitting the 2k in 6:01.92, nine seconds faster than the first heat! The pack broke up into two packs, the first eight and then a couple of following packs.
Lilia Shobukhova of Russia took over the lead, and hit three kilometers in 9:06.99, and four kilometers in 12:08.58, with the lead pack down to seven.
Defar and Cheruiyot went by Shobukhova liked she was standing still, but not for long. Hitting the bell in 13:55, Defar took first in 14:56.32, Cheruiyot took second in 14:57.27, her seasonal best while Shobukhova took third in 14:57.77. In fourth was Priscah Jepleting Cherono of Kenya in 14:58.07. In fifth, Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey, the 10,000 meter silver medalist, ran a seasonal best of 14:48.79. Following her in sixth place, 10,000 meter bronze medalist ran her seasonal best. In seventh, also qualifying was Kara Goucher of the US, who ran 15:00.98, the Osaka bronze medalist at 10,000 meters.
Jenn Rhines spoke for the entire field, when she said, " When I stepped in here today, this is what I have been training for twelve years. "
Kara Goucher noted : " We have three women in the five kilometer final. I am really proud to be part of that team. Three runnes in the final makes it less nerve wracking. I think we are making a statement.
Men's 110 meter hurdles
David Payne dominated this heat, hurdling well and taking the heat in 13.24. Petr Svoboda of the Czech Republic was second in 13.41, with Dongpeng Shi of China, to the delight of 85,000 Chinese fans, running 13.42. In 13.46, Konstadinos Douvalidis of Greece was fourth in 13.46, in a Greek national record. In fifth, Richard Phillips ran a seasonal best in 13.48, the last qualifier in this heat.
Dayron Robles of Cuba, ran clean here, the class of this field in 13.19. Artur Noga of Poland ran 13.36, a personal best in second. Gregory Sedoc of the Netherlands ran 13.43, a seasonal best for third. In fourth was Samuel Coco-Viloin of France in 13.51, the last qualifier in his heat.
Maurice Wignall of Jamaica won here in 13.36, a seasonal best. Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados hurdled 13.44 here for second. In third, Paulo Villar of Columbia ran 13.46. In fourth, Marcel van der Westen of the Netherlands
ran 13.48 for the last qualifier here.
David Oliver of the US ran a strong 13.16 to run the fastest of the competition. Ladji Doucoure of France, healthy once again, ran 13.39 for second. Jackson Quinonez of Spain ran 13.47 for third. Quinonez was the final hurdler to qualify for the next round.
Ladji Doucoure, one of the veterans the circuit had thoughts for Liu Xiang: " He is a dear friend of mine and I am so sorry for China because the Beijing Olympics was his competition."
Men's 200 meter semifinals
Martina Churandy of Netherland Antilles ran another national record, wining here in 20.11. In second Brian Dzingai of Zimbabwe ran 20.17, a seasonal best. In third Walter Dix, continues to impress as he runs 20.19 for third. The final qualifier in this heat is Christian Malcolm of Great Britain in 20.25, seasonal best.
Usain Bolt continues his jog to greatness, as he ran a 20.09, not shutting down until Shawn Crawford of the US did, who ran 20.12 for second. Wallace Spearmon, who looks good, ran 20.14-we had heard he had an injury.
Kim Collins, the 2003 World Champion at 100 meters, ran a seasonal best here of 20.25 to take the last position in the Olympic 200 meter final.
My picks? Bolt, Dix, Spearmon, 19.45 for the time.
After the 200 meter heats, Usain Bolt said that in the final, " I am going to run my heart out." That, sport fans is just scary!
Men's 400 meters semifinals
Jeremy Wariner got out of his blocks well, made up the stagger before 200 meters on the entire field and ran a controlled 44.15 for the win. Christopher Brown of the Bahamas ran 44.59 for second. Kevin Borlee ran 44.88, a national record for Belgium, but will not move on. Nery Brenes of Costa Rica ran a national record of 44.94 in fourth and did not move on.
Leslie Djhone of France won here in 44.79, a seasonal best for first. in second, David Neville of the US ran 44.91 as the final qualifier for the finals from this semi.
La Shawn Merritt of the USA ran 44.12 and looked in total control! Martyn Rooney of Great Britian ran 44.60, a personal best for second. Johan Wiseman of Sweden ran 44.64, a seasonal best for third. Renny Quow of Trinidad ran 44.82 in fourth, a seasonal best, he will be the last qualifier.
Wariner had this to say afterwards: " Coach Ford wanted me to work on the first 200 meters, I was able to shut it down. I am excited for the finals. I knew where I was at. I did everything I wanted to. "
My pick for the 400 final, : Wariner, Merritt, Rooney of Great Britian, with Neville to spoil. It will take 44. 4 to medal in final. Winning time--two guys gutting it out, both under 44 seconds, winning time of 43.4. We shall see!
For more on the sport, please check out http://www.american-trackandfield.com