Mark Cullen has his own website, trackerati.com.
Here is his first piece for us, on the hammer throw qualifying.
The link to his site, with this piecei is: http://www.trackerati.com/
A long time fan and participant in the sport, Mark ran at Oregon in the 1970s, knew the late Steve Prefontaine, and has a shoe collection that is the envy of shoe geeks everywhere. His style is thoughtful and observant, key requisits on being a writer on my team.
He also, most importantly, is a critical thinker and writer, not a cynical one.
I have no time for that.
Women’s Hammer Throw Qualifying
15th IAAF World Championships
August 26, 2015
by Mark Cullen
One and done – that was the morning’s hammer throw competition for Poland’s world record holder Anita Wlodarczyk, one of the most prohibitive favorites in any event of these World Championships.
Wlodarczyk’s 75.01/246-1 leads 12 qualifiers into Thursday’s final.
China, Germany, and the United States grabbed 6 of the 12 qualifying spots.
Zheng Wang (3rd, 73.06/239-8) and Wenxiu Zhang (4th, 72.92/239-3), will have the support of this highly vocal hometown crowd.
Germany’s 31-year-old 2007 World champ Bette Heidler (9th, 70.60/231-7) seeks her 5th World or Olympic medal in her 10th appearance at a major meet. Compatriot Katrin Klaas (7th, 71.41/234-3) goes for her first major medal in her 8th attempt; she was 4th in 2009 and 5th in the 2012 London Olympics.
US teammates Amber Campbell (72.06/236-5) and Amanda Bingson (69.99/229-7) advanced by placing 6th and 11th, respectively. Campbell noted that she feels very comfortable in this facility as these World Championships mark her fourth competition in the Bird’s Nest.
“It feels super comfortable, the people are always super accommodating, so it’s a great atmosphere to throw in.”
“It’s been a very good year so I’m just going to keep building on that,” she continued. “I had a 72 to open with and I’ll take it!”
Campbell was gracious to teammate and fellow qualifier Bingson. “I’m so happy for her. I know she was back here sweating but she’s a solid, solid girl and strong enough to do great tomorrow.”
US record holder Bingson, who finished 7th in the first qualifying group and then had to wait through the second before learning she had advanced, was excited by her 3rd throw, a three meter improvement over her other legal mark.
Until this point in her career, she said, “… it’s been super, super jumps, and now we realize at 75m, you just can’t make those kinds of jumps anymore.”
“I know I have the strength and I have the power and I know it’s in my head. I know on the last throw I just relaxed a little bit and trusted myself to do what I knew I had to do.”
Bingson is delighted with her performance here so far, but her sights are clearly set on Rio.
“Next year is really what we’re banking on.”