A GREAT YEAR IT HAS BEEN:
2012 has been a great year for the running sport, especially given that it has been an Olympic one. There were many great moments that made fans scream with excitement as they witnessed the events. There were also moments that created emotional disappointments and caused tears to flow and even fainting for some. To me, this year will go down as one of the most memorable ones so far and I thought it proper to write down some of the moments for future reference.
While memories of the London Olympics are still fresh in my mind, I am wishing that moments like those that happened when Carmelita Jeter of the US dashed towards the finish line at the world record time of 40.82 during the women’s 4x100m relay shall happen again in another event in the near future.
It was a really great year for Mo Farah, of Great Britain, who gave spectacular performances that made him a double gold medalist, and as though to suggest it was a destiny that was beyond human understanding, his wife gave birth to twins soon after that.
Usain Bolt was also amazing, together with his countryman, Yohan Blake, especially at the 4x100m relays where they also set a new world record of 36.84.
Then there was the surprising victory of the little known Ugandan, Stephen Kiprotich, in the men’s marathon event that will also remain in my mind for a long time.
There is a lot to say about the Games; the world record front run by David Rudisha in the 800m event, Ezekiel Kemboi finishing the 3000m steeple chase in lane seven and the Judo medalist meting out “poetic justice” to a spectator who misbehaved in the stadium, among others.
I can only wonder whether the next one in Rio will be close to it in terms of the excitements it had to offer.
For the first time in history, the Kenyan nation held their trials for the 10,000m event out of their country in a move that raised a lot of controversies and disapproval from athletes, veterans and some officials in the country. Despite yielding dismal results, the officials are still insisting that they are adding the 5000m event to this new criterion next year in the trials for the World Championships in Moscow.
The Kenyan nation performed generally below their expectations at the London Games, even after most of these same athletes performed tremendously in the Samsung Diamond leagues that happened shortly before this big event. Was it a problem with the management of the national team? An inquiry into that was formed after the Games and no clear results seem to be coming out of the inquiry, so far.
This year was also the IAAF centenary and the celebrations were held in Barcelona, Spain, where Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix were awarded the IAAF Athlete of the Year awards while David Rudisha got the Performance of the Year award.
Dennis Kimetto, who was hardly known until April this year, rose up to achieve so much in a very short time, and therefore is also worth mentioning. He started by winning the Berlin half marathon in April. Two months later, he set a new world record in the 25km event, then took the second place at the recent Berlin Marathon, where some argue that he let his training mate, Geoffrey Mutai, win because the latter stood a better chance to win the World Major Marathon Series (WMM) title. Otherwise, they claim, Dennis would have broken the world record. We will have to prove that next year!
Perhaps one phenomena that will go a very long time without being forgotten is the cancellation of the New York City Marathon that happened due to the effects of a rare storm, Hurricane Sandy, that caused a lot of destruction in the city rendering many residents either homeless or without their basic necessities. It was not actually cancelled because the road was impassable for the athletes to run on, but because of the perceived feelings of those who were affected by the storm. Some athletes understood, but others were not pleased with the move.
Geoffrey Mutai and Mary Keitany finally became the overall winners of the WMM titles following the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, but Sandy took away Wilson Kipsang, Edna Kiplagat and Sharon Cherop’s chances to compete for the title.
I’m sure I have just touched on the tip of the iceberg of all that happened, but one word that can describe this year, as far as running is concerned, is that it was an amazing year.
I wish we will have a similar one next year.
Happy New Year!