Beijing on TV: A View from the US, Day 4, by Jeff Benjamin

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FraserPryce_ShellyAnnFH1-World15.JPgSchipper, Fraser-Pryce, VCB, 100 meter final, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 100 meter final for women featured Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce winning gold, Dafne Schippers taking the silver and setting NRs in semi and finals, and Tori Bowie of US taking the bronze, after her blocks slipped.

Bowie_ToriFL-World15.JPgTori Bowie, bronze medalist, 100 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

Beijing on TV- a view from the States Day 4
By Jeff Benjamin
The NBC foursome of Announcers returned for this part, which opened with the Gold medal ceremony for Usain Bolt.
The women's 400 hurdles semis were next and while the usual suspects advanced, 20 yr old Shamier Little gets my vote as the athlete who knows how lucky they are. In a very emotional interview post-run with Lewis Johnson, Little and Johnson both recounted her starting in youth track at the age of eight and the place she is in now 12 years later. Fighting back joyous tears, Little said, "I deserve to be here".
NBC then showed the Men's long jump qualifiers and then, it was on to the sprints, with the women's 100 semis interspersed with both the women's javelin and triple jump qualifiers. Then, the Gold Medal ceremony for American shot putter, Joe Kovacs, took place followed by an amazing display of strength and speed in the men's 400 heats. This event might be the deepest of all as two competitors clocked under 44 seconds, and many ran in the mid 44 second range. One must wonder if the 400 World Record of 43.18 held by Michael Johnson might be in jeopardy ( and I can't even think to pick a favorite out of these guys!)
The men's pole vault was then shown with one figuring that nothing would stop the world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, who even though has an Olympic Gold, seems star-crossed at World Championships. Yet in a major upset, it was Canadian Shawn Barber who competed at the University of Akron until turning pro this summer who shocked everyone by winning!
It seems Barber's timing, both on and off the track has been perfect this summer, as he jumped 19 feet, 4 1/2 inches. NBC did a good job showing the distraught and shocking reactions from the other competitors including Lavillenie, who, although netting a shared bronze with Piotor Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowsk, didn't complete a lap of honor with Barber and silver medalist Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany.
It was then in to a slow, tactical Women's 10k in the humid conditions of the Bird's Nest. Vivian Cheruiyot (31:41.31) joyously celebrated her win, one of many over the last few years. Then came in a pack if 3, as the Ethiopian Gelete Burka finished 2nd (31:41.77) followed by 2 closing Americans. In a reminder of the old adage " the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" Molly Huddle started to raise her hands just before the finish in anticipation of the Bronze, only to be nipped at the line and losing a place on the medal stand to Emily Infeld (31:43.49), beating Huddle by under a tenth of a second. And while Infeld joyously celebrated with 6 th place finisher and training partner Shalene Flannigan with steepler Evan Jäger prior to his race getting in on the celebration, a shocked Masback commented about the previously underestimated Enfeld. Referring to her almost quitting at one time, Masback poignantly stated, "Nobody in the world, not even her family, thought she would medal!"
Johnson then interviewed the joyous duo of Enfeld and Flamnagan and then turned to Huddle. To say the look on her face was disheartening is an understatement. Always a humble low-key athlete, Huddle handled herself quite well in the postrace interview, but you could see the desolation in her eyes.
If Jaeger was hoping to get some Karmetic energy from Enfeld's celebration for the Steeplechase final, the Kenyan foursome of Ezekiel Kemboi (8:11.28), Conseslus Kipruto (8:12.38), Brimin Kipruto (8:12.54) and Jairus Birech in 4th shut them down as Jager, Donn Cabral ( who I was really rooting for!) and everyone else just couldn't go with about 500 meters to go when the Kenyans put in a big surge after a slow early pace. Dan Huling caught Jager over the last barrier to take fifth.
The Women's 100 meter final concluded the broadcast as Boldon once again delivered great technical expertise and showed his knowledge as Shelly Fraser Price (10.76), all decked out in an eye catching Flowerchild-style colored dye hair replete with little yellow dandelions (?) dominated the race, never allowing silver medalist Dafne Schippers (10.81) or American Tori Bowie (10.86) to get her over the final 30 meters of the race.
Boldon then went on to compare her medal count with greats Gail Devers and Wyomie Tyus. Watching Schippers, whose medal for her native Netherlands was the country's first in the world Championships, reminds this viewer of the great German sprinter Katrin Krabbe and one must wonder if there is potential there for the 200 and even the 400!
Bolton then proclaimed,"Jamaica has the king and the queen of World sprinting!"
PostScript-- Tori Bowie was happy with bronze and told Johnson her plans, which can be echoed by any of the competitors who didn't get gold or any medal here in Beijing.
"This is a stepping stone. I'll go home, work on my start and technique. Being here now I know what to expect next year hopefully in Rio"
Very sound advice -- sports are truly unique that way because there's always the chance for redemption!

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