Athletissima Lausanne Diamond League: Great Crowd, Great Performances and Fireworks
by Kevin Mangan
The Lausanne Diamond League meeting got off to a very relaxed start with the Women’s Discus kicking things off at 5:30, half an hour before the track action started. The stands were still mostly empty, but the crowd was excited and loud during the Discus introductions. It was a mostly sunny day with the sun peeking through occasionally. Cool for a summer day, slightly above room temperature. The winds were perfect for sprints and jumps, but not too fast to make for wind-aided marks. The stands were full by the start of the DL track events and possessed a great energy, especially around the south turn where the HJ was being staged. The crowd was excellent throughout the whole meet, they enhanced what was happening on the track and even more so in the field.
Zaneta Glanc of Poland started the meet with a 59.04, but was surpassed by former World Champ Dani Samuels who threw 61.87. YaimÃ PÃ©rez of Cuba lead after the first round with a throw of 63.13. Sandra Perkovic, who coming into today had the best pb by a meter over Barrios and at least three meters over everyone else, had a 65+ meter throw that just went wide.
Yarelis Barrios unleashed a big throw in round two and let out a powerful scream to take a big lead with a 67.36 meter toss. Perkovic responded with an even better second throw of her own: a World Leading and Meeting Record 68.96, an outstanding mark.
There was no change at the top through the next few rounds and nobody came close again to threatening Perkovic’s howitzer of a throw and she took the win.
The crowd continued to file it’s way in through a series of races featuring young Swiss runners and the sun came out to brighten things up. The Women’s Discus throwers got a good applause as they exited the field.
Men’s High Jump
Six of the eight men had jumped 2.36 before (Grabarz has actually jumped 2.37) and all have jumped over 2.30. Very much a loaded field, with several of the world’s best. The only two missing that come to mind are Barshim and Ukhov. MickaÃ«l Hanany of France got the most applause from the largely Francophone crowd. Kynard and “Air Canada” Drouin took their NCAA rivalry to the pros and international today.
Everyone cleared the opening height of 2.20 rather easily, except Bondarenko, who passed. Nobody missed during the second either, with Bondarenko entering at 2.24. Aleksey Dmitrik’s miss at 2.27 was the first of the competition, lots of clean jumps early on from this talented field. Dmitrik, Grabarz and Drouin all had trouble with 2.27, with Dmitrik and Drouin clearing on their third try and Grabarz ending his day with a 2.24 best.
Hanany cleared 2.30 on his second try, much to the crowd’s delight. Dmitrik had trouble with 2.30, much as he did with 2.27. However, this time, the third time was not the charm and he bowed out of the competition.
Another loud exasperation from the crowd as Hanany missed his first attempt at 2.33. Kynard was the only person clean all through 2.33. Bondarenko was as well with two clean jumps. He’s alternated heights, passing 2.33. Drouin, Hanany (much to the vocal dismay of the crowd), Jonas and Tsyplakov go out at 2.33 after all having two or three good attempts. Close, but no cigar for those four. Kynard and Bondarenko were the two men left at 2.35.
Kynard had a very close miss and Bondarenko went over on his first try at 2.35. Kynard passed his last two attempts at 2.35 to go for 2.37 and he cleared it easily for a new lifetime best. Bondarenko passed at 2.37. Both men went for 2.39, by this time it was quite the battle. Kynard missed his first attempt at 2.39, but was very close. Bondarenko’s alternating heights strategy kept him fresh and he made 2.39 on his first try and only his fourth jump of the day. Kynard passed his last two attempts at 2.39 and went for 2.41. Kynard had a great attempt at 2.41, but barely missed and then missed his last attempt. From there, it was the Bohdan show.
Bondarenko made 2.41 on his last attempt and the crowd went wild. With victory secured, the Ukrainian went after the World Record with three attempts at 2.46. He looked up to his compatriot Sergey Bubka, a man perhaps more familiar than anyone with going for new world records, when he was young. This was one of the best performances I have ever witnessed. I regard Javier Sotomayor’s World Record as one of the most difficult to break in any sport. It is sort of like Wilt Chamberlain’s single game scoring record, everything needs to be perfect for someone to score 100 points in a game. In much the same way, everything needs to be perfect for a man to
jump 2.46 meters. Unfortunately, Bondarenko had to jump into the wind. His first attempt was oh so close, but not quite there. He probably would have cleared 2.44. They weren’t terrible high jump conditions, but a WR into the wind would be supremely impressive. Another good attempt, but not quite as close the first time around. The winds really conspired against Bondarenko who missed his third attempt as well. His three valiant attempts and fearless attitude to attempt a WR (Unlike Barshim who stopped after clearing 2.40 at Pre), tells me this probably won’t be the last time he flirts with 2.46. Somewhere in Cuba, Javier Sotomayor probably got at least a bit nervous today.
Here are some quotes from Bondarenko who tried to stay humble after the competition:
“Even though I’m “only” 5cm away from the world record, my goal is still to win a medal at the (world) championships”
“Jumping 2.41 is something, I do realize improving on that will be very difficult. But I do feel that I will get there.”
“Why didn’t I jump 2m46? Well, my manager told me how much I would get if I would go over 2m41… He didn’t tell me how much I would get by breaking the world record 😉 (jokingly said)”
(Note: the official press release had the winky face emoticon)
The birthday girl Amantle Montsho has to be the favorite, but Natasha Hastings, Christine Ohuruogu and Francena McCorory should give her a tough challenge.
Hastings got out well, as did Atkins, but it was Francena McCorory leading off the turn. Mantsho proved to be the strongest over the final 100 meters but was just unable to catch McCorory who edged Montsho by .01 (50.36-50.37) in a very close race. Novlene Williams-Mills ran a solid race to get third in 50.87. Ohuruogu edged Hastings for the fourth spot. Joanna Atkins was not able to maintain her great start and faded in the latter half of the race to sixth. Former Razorback starlet Regina George got some good international experience and got seventh in a decent 52.32, but definitely not as good as her 50.99 from a few weeks ago to win the Nigerian Championships.
Jeter came off the turn looking very good and a decent lead, but she faded a bit down the stretch and finished fifth. Ryemyen came almost out of nowhere to take the win. I was so focused on Moore and Duncan trying to run down Jeter who was on the outside that I missed Ryemyen on the inside until the end, a very impressive last 50 meters for. Ryemyen has had a good outdoor season so far, having run 22.70 and 22.73 in June and she was able to race smart and seize victory in the latter stages of the race. Carmelita Jeter continued her comeback with a new season’s best of 22.77, which is slow compared to year’s past, but it’s good to see she is making progress after an injury hiccup.
Women’s 100 Hurdles
Can Pearson recapture last year’s magic? She had a rough go of things last time out in Birmingham. Which of the American’s can make a statement today?
Pearson got off to a great start but Dawn Harper-Nelson had the best second half of the race and edged Kellie Wells, Lolo Jones, Nia Ali and Tiffany Porter in a close race across the board. A 12.53 SB (+1.2 m/s) got the win for Harper-Nelson, who has been running very well so far this year. She was .02 seconds away from Gold in London. I think she has a good shot at getting World Champs Gold this year. There was a 1-4 sweep for USA on the Fourth of July, which is always impressive. Pearson faded after a nice start and finished seventh in 12.69. For Sally Pearson, the form is there right now, but the speed isn’t. She had another tough race. This was her third race in the past week and the times have all been about the same, she has some serious work to do to catch up to Rollins before Moscow.
Tyson Gay has a great shot at breaking his own 9.69 American Record. There is a nice tailwind that has been legal in every sprint race so far, but it is a bit cool (mid 60s) and the sprinters like it hot, which it was in Des Moines a few weeks ago when he ran 9.75.
Gay didn’t get the greatest start and had to work hard to hold off a hard charging Asafa Powell, which he did with a great last 70 meters. Gay got the win in a good time of 9.79 (+2.0) (as correctly predicted by my colleague, Roy Stevenson) and Asafa had a good comeback race as he broke 10 seconds for the first time this year to take second in 9.88. Mike Rodgers equaled his season best with a solid 9.96 and the elder statesman, Kim Collins ran 9.97 for a new PB and a new national record for St. Kitts and Nevis. Ashmeade and Bailey Cole were fifth and sixth and both ran 10.05. Jimmy Vicaut, the young French sensation ran .09 off his pb to finish 7th in 10.11 and Richard Thompson equaled his season’s best of 10.14. This w
as Tyson’s race. Nobody could keep accelerating as long as him, and he pulled away for a mostly comfortable win.
This is probably about an equal performance for Tyson as in Des Moines, as it was definitely not as warm and ideal as Des Moines was. He probably would have equaled his 9.75 or run slightly faster had he got a better start, it wasn’t a terrible start, but he usually starts better. It will be very interesting to see how Bolt does in the 200 in Paris in two days. I’m very much looking forward to seeing them battle in Moscow.
Many in the track world, including myself, thought Asafa was done this year. I thought there was a good chance he wouldn’t break 10 seconds all year. But he proved me wrong and proved his 7th place at the Jamaican Trials to be a fluke. Look for him to be hungry to win some big time Diamond League meets and be ready to get the stick in the 4×100 in Moscow. With him running well, that makes the Jamaican team even more dangerous.
Every year, we always think its Kim Collins last year as a world-class hurdler. But at the ripe young age of 37, he ran faster than he ever has before with an age-defying 9.97. From now on, I’ll just keep thinking he can run under 10 seconds every year, until he finally can’t. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt in my mind.
Men’s 400 Hurdles
Felix Sanchez got out to a fast start. Javier Culson came off the turn and proved his lead to be insurmountable. Culson took the win in a season’s best 48.14 .Sanchez came back after fading a bit in the middle of the race to take 2nd. He finished well with a very strong last 100 to run 48.58 SB. Senegalese ace Mamadou Kasse Hann ran a solid race to take 3rd in 48.56 just off his lifetime best. Justin Gaymon ran a solid 48.81to finish fourth. I’m sure he would have liked to have a better last 100 and beat Hann and Sanchez, but it was not a bad race for him.
Jackson and Tinsley ran 49.07 and 49.63 in second to last and last, not a good day for them, well off their great starts to the season.
Men’s 110 Hurdles
By the time the 110 hurdles started the stadium lights made the track glow and the recently set sun made the sky glow against the clouds. The dual glow set the mood very well, the focus was on the track, on the athletes. With a “shhhhh….” from the PA, the crowd grew quiet with anticipation. The calm before the storm. They name hurricanes and major storms. Unlike in nature, sometimes a storm will reemerge. The name of tonight’s storm: David.
A very even start with all 8 men over the first hurdle together. But today, the power running of David Oliver proved too much for the rest of the field. His form was superb and by the fourth or fifth hurdle he was pulling away. His lead leg was excellent and he snapped it down faster than anyone. He didn’t try to do too much between the hurdles, the sign of veteran experience, and ran a very smart race to win in a world leading 13.03 (+0.9). Jason Richardson ran a solid race to take 2nd in a season’s best 13.20. Ryan Wilson (13.27) and David Payne (13.30) made it another 1-4 sweep for USA in the sprint hurdles. When David Oliver is on top of his game, he is one of the most pure talents and a true joy to watch. Today he had one of those races, a technically superior power runner like him is a very dangerous thing. He has proven to be a sub 13 hurdler in the past and if he can improve his foot speed even slightly, the storm will grow more powerful. For the past few years there has been a different name taking the US hurdles by storm, this year seems to be taken by a storm from years past, David.
Jason Richardson made a nice improvement from what he had done previously this year. He seems to be rounding into shape nicely for worlds, although David Oliver looked mighty tough to beat this evening. Jason will have his work cut out for him to defend his title in Moscow.
Postmeet Fireworks Show
First of all, every meet with any kind of budet that ends when it’s dark out should do this. Second, it was very cool that the fireworks were all launched and went off inside the stadium. A very well done show, especially considering they needed to go much more horizontal than vertical because of the overhangs over the stands. A great way to cap off a great meet.
The guy running around in the cow costume is great, just like a mascot at a football, basketball, baseball or hockey game in America. He had some great dance moves. He got a good reaction from the crowd with a faux triple jump. He also tried to get the wave going during the steeplechase, but I’m not sure the crowd knew what he was going for. The cow managed to get in the Swiss women’s 4×100 national record photo.
The crowd really loved Hanany, every time he cleared a bar they cheered loudly. Every time he missed, they were loudly disappointed. I wonder if he is this big in his home country of France, because he was the darling of the meet early on. They also loved Teddy Tamgho and Renaud Lavillenie. Lots of love for all the athletes, but especially the Francophones.
Lavillenie had a tough day at the office and no heighted with three straight misses at 5.62. Lots of misses across the board in the men’s vault, the crosswind must have messed with them today. The winning height was 5.72 by Filippidis, very low considering there were a handful of guys in the 6 meter neighborhood.
Churandy Martina capped off an impressive day by running 20.02 to win the 200 (non-DL). Earlier he won the B heat of the 100 in 10.03.
The Swiss crowd went wild after their women’s 4×100 team won and set a new national record. The only times I can remember possibly being in a stadium so momentously animated was when Nick Symmonds or Galen Rupp won a USA title or a UO athlete won an NCAA title at Hayward Field.