Olympic Games, Day 1, Session 1, by Bob Ramsak, Track Profile, Notes by Larry Eder

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As we have featured the writings of Bob Ramsak and Alfons Juck all year long, we will continue to do that in the Olympic Games. See this as another vision of the Olympic experience!

Another treat, check out this video, featuring Donovan Bailey, 1996 Olympic 100 meter champion, as he previews the womens' 400 meters! http://www.roadstobeijing.com/news/737/57/Women-s-400m-PREVIEW/d,vid-full.htm

TRACK PROFILE Report #804
15-August-2008

OLYMPIC GAMES – DAY 1, Session 1 Report

By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2008 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

BEIJING – The chase for the title of World’s Fastest Man’ began as the Olympic track and field program got underway at the National Stadium in the Chinese capital.

A near capacity crowd was on hand at the “Bird’s Nest” as Jamaican world record holder Usain Bolt, reigning world champion Tyson Gay of the U.S. and former world record holder Asafa Powell shook off the rust in the first round on the men’s 100m.

No major surprises emerged from the opening round, with Bolt (10.20), Powell (10.16) and Gay (10.22) all advanced easily. Briton Tyrone Edgar, the winner of the sixth heat in 10.13, produced the quickest performance of the morning.

TOUGH DRAWS FOR QUARTER FINALS

But the easy opening round leads to some difficult heat draws in this evening’s quarter-finals, scheduled for 7:45. The fourth of five quarters will be particularly intriguing, with American Botl, Darvis Patton, defending silver medallist Francis Obikwelu, and Norwegian Jaysuma Saidy Ndure lining up for the three automatic qualifying spots. Heat five includes Powell, world championships silver medallist Derrick Atkins, and American Walter Dix. In Heat 2, Gay will face African record holder Olu Fasuba and Trinidad’s sub-10 man Richard Thompson. The first three from each heat, plus just one of the next fastest, will advance to tomorrow’s semi-finals.

MEN’S SHOT PUT QUALIFYING – No Surprises

The first track and field gold medal of the Games will be awarded at tonight's shot put final. There were no major casualties from the morning's qualifying round, which were lead by Poland's Tomasz Majewski, the bronze medallist at this year's World indoor championships, who reached a career best 21.04m (69- 1/2).

Favorites Adam Nelson (20.56) Christian Cantwell (20.48) and world champion Reese Hoffa (20.41) all advanced without difficulties. Most eyes were on Nelson, the two-time defending silver medallist who had recently suffered a muscle pull in his lower chest, but he seemed to compete unfazed.

JELIMO, JEPKOSGEI CRUISE, BUT MUTOLA FASTEST

2008 800m breakout sensation Pamela Jelimo made her eagerly anticipated Olympic debut this morning, and she did it by barely breaking a sweat. No, not an easy task in the morning’s hot and hum but otherwise sunny conditions.

The 18-year-old who lowered the world junior record to 1:54.97 this summer to become the sixth fastest woman in history arrived in Beijing as the overwhelming favorite in the event just four months after taking up the event. The only difficulty she probably encountered was with forcing herself to run slow. Interestingly her 2:03.18 was the slowest winning time of the morning’s six heats.

The fastest was 2000 Olympic champion Maria Mutola, the woman Jelimo succeeded as African recor holder, who is competing here in her sixth consecutive Olympic Games. She won comfortably in 1:58.91. Janeth Jepkosgei, whom Jelimo succeeded as Olympic favorite, won in a gun-to-tape run in 1:59.72.

The biggest casualty of the opening round was U.S. champion Hazel Clark, who after mixing with the leaders for about two-thirds of the fifth heat, faded badly down the stretch to finish fifth. Briton Jemma Simpson, fourth in Heat 1, was also left behind. The semi-finals are tomorrow night.

FOUNTAIN LEADS HEPTATHLON AFTER TWO EVENTS

American Hyleas Fountain leads the heptathlon after two events. The Ohio native led off with a 12.78 victory in the 100m hurdles, the fastest of the day, and also produced the higest jump of the morning, clearing a career best 1.89m, to tally 2251 points. Anna Bogdanova or Russia is second with 2251 points, and Ukraine's Lyudmila Blonska third (2132).

The only other qualifying round of the morning came in the men’s hammer throw, where just one man, Hungarian Christian Pars (80.07m) managed to throw beyond the 80m line. With a modest 75.34m making the cut for Sunday’s final, no casualties emerged.

In addition to the men’s shot put, the women’s 10,000m champion will be crowned this evening in the night-capping event.

Tonight’s program also features the opening round of the mens' 1500m and 400m hurdles and the women's discus throw and triple jump, along with the 3000m steeplechase which will be contested for the first time at the Olympic Games.

ENDS

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Used with permission of Bob Ramsak, publisher of TrackProfile.com

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