Evolution is heady stuff. Yet, dear readers, evolution is not easy, nor is it linear. Some things end, some things are birthed, some things fuse. What we know, is that after seven World Athletics Finals, that party is over. Before that, it was the IAAF Grand Prix Final (which also had seven versions).
The lessons from the weekend, and the season, for me, were the following:
Usain Bolt–in two seasons, has brought many new fans to the sport. Especially young fans. Part of it is Usain’s obvious enjoyment of the competition, and the fun it has brought to the sport.
The competition. The Usain Bolt vs Tyson Gay build up was great. Bolt and Gay running all out gave something for Bolt to race against. That is key.
Surprises. Defar, Isinbayeva show that our athletes are only as good as their last race. Defar and Isinbayeva also show that champions come back.
The medium is the message: The IAAF web site, Universal NBC, Versus, NBC, ESPN, BBC and Eurosport all give track fans somewhere to look and worship. Finally, our sport is behaving like other major sports and giving access to fans and potential fans on many a website, iphone, blackberry.
The Diamond League, and its fourteen events will be the future in 2010. Somethings will go well, somethings, will not. That is the nature of our sport, and the nature of sport in general. If we keep our eyes open, and ears clear, we will hear the sounds and see the effects of how our sport will react to this next, evolutionary act.
Usain Bolt showed that even he is human, ending his season with a 19.68 for 200 meters, (photo from WC 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.)
In case you need a song for the day, might I suggest Warren Zevon’s ” Keep Me in Your Heart…” ?
That was it, the last (7th) IAAF World Athletics Final. Before that IAAF Grand Prix Final (1985-2002). The final version in Thessaloniki before big crowd, in good weather and some excellent results. Some athletes will miss it.
Carmelita Jeter’s time at WAF, 10.67 into 0.1m/s head wind, is the fastest time ever into the headwind. The previous record was 10.70 by Marion Jones in 1999 World Championships in Sevilla. She still has races in Shanghai and Daegu. â€œAfter todayÂ´s race and more hard work in training I think it is possible to come down to the world record level,â€ she said.
Usain Bolt ended unbeaten his season. â€œNothing is decided about my programme for next year. We sit down with my coach, my manager, my agent and will see what we will do. I hope the welcome at home on Monday in Jamaica will be as less stresfull as possible. And for what I m looking forward after my return â€“ for a good sleep.â€ Bolt missed his Greek All-comers record from Tsiklitiria 2008 only by 0.01 with 19.68 (starting reaction 0.169, but easing down at the end).
Blanka Vlasic attacked three times world record 210. â€œI have good feelings, I wanted to do it. But you need to have all perfect. But after Zagreb and today I think I already know how to manage next year. I expect that it should come,â€ she was quoted after her last competition of the year.
Sunday World Champions sheet: 9 won, 5 lost (Phillips, Kamel, Fraser, Cheruiyot, Samuels), in four events the world champion was not competing. In total 17 won, 12 lost, 7 did not compete.
Three world leads on Sunday, all by women: Valerie Vili in shot put (21.07, the first over 21 metres since 2005 and 34th overall over that barrier). Meseret Defar 8:30.15 at 3000 m and fast 10.67 of Carmelita Jeter. There was no world lead on Saturday.
6 meet records on Sunday, on Saturday 4 that means in total 9.
Unbeaten remained Bolt and Vili on Sunday throughout the season.
9 European wins, all in technical events. Five by men (Rybakov, Mazuryk, Alekna, Kozmus, Thorkildsen) and four by women (Vlasic, Isinbayeva, Abakumova, Heidler).
Meseret Defar will be the most decorated winner of WAF, having six wins out of seven editions in single event (3000 m) and total of nine (three at 5000 m). Five wins in single event by Sanya Richards at 400 m and Yelena Isinbayeva in Pole Vault. Richards is also having six in total with one at 200 m. Only one event with all different winners was women steeple, but that was held in total only five times.
HILVERSUM (NED, Sep 13): NetherlandÂ´s track circuit ended with last meeting Arena Games. Gregory Sedoc clocked 13.71 (+0.9) at 110 m Hurdles. World youth champion Cherono Koech posted 2:07.21 800 m win and US Thomas Hunter won the 100 m in 10.44 (-1.3) in close race over home sprinter Guus Hoogmoed.
Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News, who gives RBR readers a daily view of the athletics world.
For more on the sport, please click on http://www.runningnetwork.com