Beijing Diary, August 20, 2008-Amazing Night of Track & Field! by Larry Eder


The world record over 200 meters was one thing! Usain Bolt was amazing. But, during the victory lap, Wallace Spearmon was disqualified due to running out of his lane, rule 163.3. Then, after a US protest, Martina Churandy of Netherland Antilles, who had run 19.82, was disqualified, moving Shawn Crawford to second and Walter Dix of the US to third. Strange night.

Kenenisa Bekele shown here after his 10k victory-is the 5k gold in the cards for him?

Beijing Diary
August 20. 2008
Day Six, Olympic Track & Field


The crowds in every session in the Birds Nest have been near sell out. 85,000 plus. Sports fans, coming to track and field. The crowds have been superb. But, also, according to the Mercury News in San Jose, CA, the sport is dead. And that is the way NBC is treating it. At the very least, NBC should be providing 24 hour coverage on Universal the former WCSN, but no, they have better ideas.

Track Fans, seriously, I am going to start taking up a collection to help ESPN and Disney get NBC out of the Olympic business. They sure do not understand track and field and ESPN covers the sport much better, so lets go! Heck, Versus is doing a better job with Golden League. I like the commentators, Ed Eyestone, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson, even Carol Lewis, but how bout doing something about putting it on before it is old news?


Men's 200 Meters

Someone said that records are made to be broken. Running from lane five, Usain Bolt " ran his heart out", coming off the turn with a sizable lead and just blazed away, breaking the world record of one Michael Johnson, set twelve years ago in Atlanta. His gear after 140 meters was insane, as he destroyed the field, winning in a new World and Olympic record of 19.30! In second was Martina Chardinay of Netherland Antilles ran 19.82 for his third National record of the Games. And at first, Wallace Spearmon was third, but was disqualified for running out of lane nine. The sad thing was, no one told Wallace until after he had completed his victory lap and he looked and said , " Me"? thinking it was a joke. Shawn Crawford, the 2004 gold medalist moved up to the third position. Crawford ran 19.96 and Walter Dix in fourth, ran 19.98.
Brian Dzingai of Zimbabwe ran 20.22 for fifth. Christian Malcolm of Great Britain ran 20.40 and Kim Collins, the 2003 Wold Champion, ran 20.59 for seventh. Wallace Spearmon was disqualified for infringing on IAAF rule 163.3, running outside of the lane. To my eyes, he ran on the lane for four steps and one in the next lane, but did not infringe on the other runner. The US is making a protest.

This was Usain Bolt's second world record and second gold medal of the Games. He has won both with frightening speed and in this race, he showed his true ability. In my mind, the world record at 100 meters, 9.69 is tremendous but the really impressive record is this one the 19.30 for 200 meters.

If you want to hear my complete thoughts, check NPR tomorrow around five pm your local time. Tom Goldman, the NPR sports columnist, and I had a chat on the nature of our sport, Usain Bolt and other minutae. It was quite fun and Tom is a wonderful interviewer. Check it out!

Men's 110 Meter hurdles Semi finals

Semi final 1

Dayron Robles looks more like a college professor than a hurdler, with his spectacles adorning his head. Robles took the first semi final quite easily, running 13.12, and looking very good and every bit the world record holder. David Payne contines to impress, the US hurdler taking second here in 13.21. Ladji Doucoure of France, took third here in 13.22, with Richard Phillips of Jamaica running 13.43 for the final qualifying sport.

Semi final 2

David Oliver of the US took the second semi in 13.31. Artur Noga of Poland, running a personal best, in second has a time of 13.34. Jackson Quinonez of Spain ran his seasonal best in third for 13.40. Maurice Wignall of Jamaica ran 13.40 for fourth and final qualifying place.

The huge roar that filled the Bird's Nest for Shi Dongpeng of China, the number two hurdler in China was impressive. It was also indicative of the level of pressure all Chinese athletes are under and especially now, with the demise of Liu Xiang with his achilles injury. Shi Dongpeng ran his heart out, and leant at the line, finishing in 13.42 in the second heat, but his time, alas, was not good enough to move to the final. Shi Dongpeng finished fifth. As the time was announced, and his place, the crowd again erupted in applause at his valiant effort.

Dayron Robles of Cuba is the world record holder. In the World Indoors, he mistook another sound for a false start in the semi finals and did not move on. Here, he must battle David Payne and David Oliver, the two US hurdlers, who are, in my mind, both running very on. Ladji Doucoure, who beat Liu Xiang in 2003 and also ran on the French gold medal 4 x 100 meter team. He is healthy, for the first time in several years and quite dangerous.

My picks? David Payne, Dayron Robles, Ladji Doucoure, David Oliver to spoil.

Men's 5,000 meters, round 1

Heat 1

Alistair Cragg of Ireland lead here through 2:45.60 for the first kilometer. Cragg, the former Arkansas star, kept the lead thorugh 2 k, hit in 5:31.53. Aadam Khamis of Bahrain took over the pacing chores, hitting the 3k in 8:19.28, with Eliud Kipchoge, the 2003 world champion at 5,000 meters, taking the field through 11:108.43, another 2:49 kilometer.

Running the last kilometer in 2:29, Eliud Kipchoge (13.37.50) took second, Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia third (13.3750),
Kidane Tadesse of Eritrea (13:37.63 in fourth), Aelemeyehu Bezabeh of Spain in fifth (13:37.88), with Alistair Cragg in sixth in 13:38.57 and Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico in 13:42.39 in seventh as the final qualifier.

The first qualifier? Well, Osaka fourth placer Matt Tegenkamp, who stayed out of trouble, in fourth through sixth the whole way, then sprinted the last 200 meters, moving into the lead with thirty meters to go, Matt ran 13:37.36.

Heat 2

Moses Kipsoro of Uganda took the pacing chores here, leading through the kilometer in 2:57.63. Mo Farah of Great Britian ran the second kilometer in 5:53.17 and the third kilometer in 8:40.02. Moses Ndema Kipsoro of Kenya took the lead through 4 kilometers, hit in 11:18.99.

Again a last kilometer in 2:28 gave the round to Edwin Cheruiyot Soi of Kenya, in 13:46.41 in first. Moses Ndema Kipsoro of Uganda in second in 13:46.58. Abrehem Cherkos of Ethiopia in third in 13:47.60. In fourth, Jesus Espana in 13:48.88 was the last qualifier from this round. MO Farah of Great Britian did not advance.

Heat 3

Phillip Bandi took this heat through the first kilometer in 2:44.41 and the second kilometer in 5:31.49. Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya ran the third kilometer, hitting 8:24.09 and Bernard Lagat took the lead through four kilometers, hitting 11:15.19.

This one was the kickers heat. Running the last lap in a scintilatting 55.15, Bernard Lagat took the lead in the last five meters, winning in 13:39.70. In second, James Kwalia Ckurui of Qatar, ran 13:39.96. In third, Kenenisa Bekele, gold medalist from 2004 and 2008 at 10,000 meters, ran 13:40.13. And finally, Thomas Pekemei Longosiwa of Kenya took the final spot in 13:41.30. Craig Mottram of Australia, running 13:44.39, did not move on.

My picks for the 5,000 meters-Lagat, Bekele, Tegenkamp, Soi.

Women's 200 meters, semi final

Veronica Campbell Brown, the 100 meter Osaka champion, ran 22.19 here to take the first semi final. Kerron Stewart of Jamaica, gave this semi a 1,2 for Jamaica. In third, Muna Lee ran a personal best of 22.29 . IN fourth, Debbie Ferguson McKenzie of the Bahamas ran 22.51 for the final spot in this semi for the finals.

In the second semi final, Allyson Felix ran 22.33 to take this round. Marshevet Hooker ran 22.50 for second. In third, Sherone Simpson of Jamaica ran 22.50 andin fourth, Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands ran 22.61, her seasonal best.

My pick for the final? Felix, Brown, Lee, time of 21.7.

Men's 800 rounds

Nick Symmonds ran his race here, and moved on to the next 800 meter round. Christian Smithsp sprinted his butt off, running 1:48.05, but took fourth in his heat and did not advance. Andrew Wheating also made a brilliant last move, with about fifty meters to the finish, and just missed qualifying, in fact, his 1:47.05 was 01. from quaifying. Wheating put his head in his hands after the race, knowing he had not moved on.

Men's Pole Vault Qualifying

At 12.15 am, the event called off and 13 vaulters moved on. Derek Miles of US was one of them, Brad Walker was not.

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