The world championships were nine days of great track and field. In my sixth visit to a world championships, there are certain truths that come from all world championships and Olympics. Here, I attempt to give you some insights into what I see at the worlds and how to figure out who will win, who will loose, who will surprise.
1. Experience counts. Look at Bernard Lagat. Lagat is 32 years old, but most of all, Bernard has the tools and has been at worlds before. His early season was not outstanding, but his come from behind, last 80 meters rush to the finish wins in both the 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters kept him out of trouble and gave him two victories.
2. Some people need a World Champs to channel their inner selves. Look at Lauryn Williams. Lauryn has battled all kinds of hassles since her Helsinki win. But the 5-3 dynamo was at her best when the going got tough, and her 11.01 gave her the silver in Osaka at the 100 meters, with six sprinters so close a finish line photo looked pretty darn crowded.
3. Bold moves, bold moves..Luke Kibet, in absolutely horrendous conditions, won the men’s marathon with a move at 35 kilometers. The field got close, but they did not catch him. He was exhausted at the finish, but Kibet was exhausted with a gold medal.
4. Some are to inspire. The bronze medalist Kara Goucher inspired many. Her run, with 800 meters to go, put her in a heated battle with Kim Smith and Jo Pavey for the bronze medal. Making a move with 400 meters to go, Goucher broke her followers and cemented her place as the first American man or woman to win a World Champs medal at 10,000 meters.
5. A medal winning performance is an enormous endeavor. The U.S. had more medals than any other country. Over 40 countries took home medals. Japan, the host country, took home one medal. To win a medal in the world championships means that you are one of the best in the world. That should be celebrated.
6. There is an event to inspire, enthrall, capture everyone’s fancies. Whether it is the emotion of the shot put, or pole vault, whether it is the dance of victory after the high jump or the look of shock of a middle distance runner crossing the line, there is an event for all sports fans! The World Championships is about one essential truth, to run, jump or throw, our sport is all about the competition! That simple act inspires us and allows us to leave our humdrum lives to admire and live through the simple act of running, throwing or jumping.