The World Indoors has been over for 36 hours now, and David Hunter’s piece has been ready since last night. Now, with photos and my pithy intro, here our our Ten Moments of the World Indoors. I think David did a fine job on his top Ten.
I wanted to thank David Hunter, Elliott Denman, Mark Winitz, Stuart Weir, Lindsay Rossmiller, Chris Lotsbom, and Cathal Dennehy for all of their support over the US and World Champs. The fine support from USATF and IAAF Communications made both events much better to cover. Thanks also to the Shoe Addicts, Tim Jeffries and my brother, Brian Eder, on managing our daily coverage. Thanks to Chuck Bartlett for posting the stories on RunningNetwork sites! Thanks to my son, Adam Eder, who helps manage me, which is a task for which no amount of money could compensate.
Also, thanks to K. Ken Nakamura and Tom Cassaky, of FAST, who helped me each day with esoterica that only a track geek would love and understand!
16th IAAF World Indoor Championships
2016 World Indoors: My Top 10 Moments
March 19th, 2016
There are three facets of enjoyment for a long-scheduled, much-anticipated event that proves to be memorable: the anticipation; the actual experience; and the lasting reflection. Few would disagree that these 16th IAAF World Indoor Championship gathering proved its worth as one such event. There have been so many memorable moments – some overwhelming, others more subtle – it is difficult to single out the best. While others will certainly have their own, different collection, here is the listing of my top ten memorable moments – in ascending order, of course!
#10 / w60 / Barbara Pierre’s Upset Win: Underestimated American sprinter Barbara Pierre [7.02] parlayed a rocket start into an upset win and her first global title. Dutch star Daphne Schippers – behind from the gun – couldn’t run down the American, but closed hard for second [7.04].
#9 / Heptathlon / Eaton, Beach Shine In Multi: Ashton Eaton coolly did his thing in winning his 3rd consecutive world indoor heptathlon title. Eaton’s 6490 point total is #6 all time as The World’s Greatest Athlete now has 5 of top 6 heptathlon performances of all time. Coming from way back in the standings, Curtis Beach’s courageous final-event 1000 in 2:29.04 – a new championship record – fell just 8 points short of the bronze.
#8 / Pentathlon / Theisen Eaton’s Gutty 800 Lifts Her To Gold: In 3rd place and down 114 points to pentathlon leader Anastasiya Mokhyuk with one event to go, Brianne Theisen Eaton ran a spirited final event – the 800m – in a season-best 2:09.99 to earn 965 points, giving her just enough points  to slide past the Ukrainian  for the gold medal.
#7 / wPV / Jenn Suhr’s World Championship Clearance Highlights Her Victory: After failing to win the national vault title in the same venue the week before, Suhr came back strong. Carefully managing her attempts, the 34 year old reigning Olympic champion took only 4 jumps and made them all to win the gold. Her last clearance at 4.90m/16’Â¾” set a new indoor championship record.
#6 / mPV / Renaud Lavillenie Jumps Seldom, Jumps High, Claims Title: Showcased during the Day One opening ceremony, the pole vault events claimed the crowd’s full attention. The efficient Frenchman needed only 2 jumps to win the men’s competition. The reigning Olympic champion then went on to set the championship record [6.02m/19’9″] and tantalized the capacity crowd with 3 attempts – albeit unsuccessful – at the world record height of 6.17m/20’2Â¾”.
#5 / m3000 / Hill’s “Near Perfect” Race Earns Him Silver: At the pre-race press conference, Hill revealed he was shooting for a top 5 finish, but felt he “had a shot for medal if he had a really good day. The Bowerman Track Club athlete had that really good day. After a tepid start, the NC State graduate was able cover when defending champion Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku dramatically shifted gears with 6 laps remaining. 5th at the bell, Hill never gave in. At full throttle over the final 100, Hill passed Marakesh’s Iguider off the final turn and caught Kenya’s Choge just before the line for the silver.
#4 / wLJ / Brittney Reese’s Patented Clutch Final Jump Bomb: Multiple-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese lost the early lead in the women’s long jump when Serbia’s Ivana Åœpanovic stretched out a 5th-round leap of 7.07m/23’2Â½”. As she has done so many times before, Reese returned the favor when – on her 6th and final attempt – the American jump queen uncorked a world-leading leap of 7.22/23’8Â¼” to swipe the gold medal and claim yet another indoor world championship title.
#3 / wSP / Michelle Carter’s “Buzzer Beater” Last Throw: Going into the 6th and final round, Michelle Carter’s third round heave of 19.31m/63’4Â¼” had held up as the event leader. With her final attempt, Hungary’s Anita Marton got the ball out 19.33m/63’5″ to edge into the lead. But the American Shot Diva had one final throw remaining – and Carter made it count as she unloaded a world-leading monster put of 20.21/66’3Â¾” to grab back the gold medal.
#2 / m1500 / Savvy Race Strategy Results In Gold For Centro: It was the elephant in the room. He’d won global medals before, but never gold. Would this be the time for Matthew Centrowitz? The race began cautiously. But Centro – the master of race positioning – was always in the right spot. Everyone could sense the pace winding up, but the real race began when Nick Willis spurted into the lead with 2 laps remaining. Although slightly gapped, Centro kept his cool. With 100 remaining and the decibel level inside the Convention Center never higher, the Millrose champion got on Willis’ shoulder, swung wide off the final curve in a full sprint, and overcame the Kiwi for the win – covering the final 300m in less than 39 seconds.
#1 / m800 / Bold Berian Is Courageous: Throwing caution to the wind, USA’s Boris Berian – an unsung McDonald’s employee just about a year ago – simply went for it in the 800 meter final. After splitting 400 in 49.3 to forge a 15 meter lead, Berian began to wobble with 150 meters remaining as he worked hard to hold on. Lifted by the roaring crowd, the fearless leader crossed the line in 1:45.83 to hold off a late charges by Burundi’s Antoine Gakeme [1:46.65]. Erik Sowinski’s fine 3rd place finish [1:47.22] gave the USA two middle distance medals. You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit.
You’ll note my top ten is heavily weighted with American moments – and justifiably so. While I plead guilty to a bias in favor of my homeland, with the final count at a record 23 medals [13 gold; 6 silver; and 4 bronze], Team USA simply had more grand moments. It is true that the Olympic Games are still nearly 5 months away and anything can happen. And it can be fairly observed that many exceptional foreign athletes did not compete here. But this medal harvest – gathered notwithstanding that more than a few American medal prospects [e.g. Felix, Taylor, Merritt, Simpson, Gatlin, etc.] also elected to bypass the indoor season and/or this global championships – suggests there is reason for optimism about America’s medal prospects in Rio.