Tori Bowie's Excellent Adventure

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At the Pre Classic this past May 27-28, we were treated to some amazing performances. On Saturday, we were waiting for Elaine Thompson to run a fast 200 meters. She did run a fast 200 meters. There was just one problem: Tori Bowie ran even faster, with a 21.77. And, so did Shaunae Miller-Uibo, running 21.91.

At the nationals, in hot, hot Sacramento, Tori Bowie won the 100 meters in 10.94. Tori looked better each and every round. In the 200 meters, Tori Bowie took third, and was obviously worn out. After the race, she told media that she might focus on one race in London.

Tori Bowie is a fascinating athlete. Over the past three years, Tori Bowie has developed a confidence in her running, her coaching and herself. In Beijing, even running races that were less than her best, Tori Bowie took a bronze in the 100 meters. In 2016, Tori Bowie took silver in the 100 meters, bronze in the 200 meters and gold in the 4x 100 meters. In Rio, Tori told the media that she liked winning medals and that was obvious. Bowie took silver in the 100 meters with a last rush to the finish. Her bronze in the 200 meters was another example of the glass being half full. Bowie's last fifty meters was better than her competition. She seem to decide that she wanted to run in the last section of the race. In the relay, it was obvious: Tori Bowie really wanted to run.

The 200 meters that Tori Bowie ran at Pre Classic in May 2017 showed Bowie at her most confident so far. Her start was good, but her turn was tremendous, and as she came off the turn, it was as if Bowie and Miller-Uibo were in their own race.

In London, Tori Bowie looked better and better each round in the 100 meters. In the final though, Bowie had a great start, but seem to struggle mid race. It was over the final forty meters that Tori Bowie won the race. Not only did Tori Bowie run the best race, she ran the best finish. Leaning just before the finish, Bowie's torso was over the line, textbook finish, well, except for the fall.

Bowie wanted that 100 meters, and her finish showed it. Tori Bowie bruised herself up with her drop and roll at the finish, and that was a good part of the reason that she did not compete in the 200 meters. During the week between the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100m relay, we saw Tori Bowie two times. We asked her if she wanted to run the 4x100m.

It was a dumb question.

Tori Bowie wants to run. She knows what it feels like to race well. Those wins have built her confidence. Over the past three years, Coach Lance Brauman has helped Tori Bowie develop her physical skills, but, perhaps more importantly, her mental skills.

In the world of elite sprinting, the differences between first, second, third and fourth are minute. Is it that improved start? Is it those 150 meter with a running start? Or, is it those discussions on the level of competition, and just how good the athlete is that make the difference?

I believe it is the combination, the countless repetitions of starts, lifts, sprints and races run well, that make a champion.

Let's talk about the 4x100 meters.

Akinosun-Bowie4x1m1d-WC17.JPGThe 4x100 meters, final hand-off, photo by PhotoRun.net

Take a look at the video. That last hand off was less than perfect for the US. In truth, Tori Bowie ended up running two races. The goal for the 4x100 meters is to get the baton around the track, exchanging in correct zones, and doing it faster than anyone else. The faster one runs the 4x100m, the more precision needed in passing that baton.

Bowie's anchor leg showed an athlete who was not about to take second. Bowie just got faster and faster as she closed in on the finish and her goal.

In the presser, this writer tried to get Tori Bowie to say something about her race. She smiled, and let Allyson Felix, her team mate do the talking.

Tori Bowie knew one thing in that moment: her amazing anchor leg said more about her desire to be the best sprinter in the world and to show respect for her 4x100m team mates than anything she could have said.

Tori Bowie's Excellent adventure for 2017 was over.

Tori Bowie knew it, and that's why she ended her season.

And then, she rested.

We look forward to what Tori Bowie will do in 2017.

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