Finally, the wait is over, track and field starts tomorrow – or later today depending on your point of view. Either way, things get crackin in a big way as some of the biggest names in the sport take center stage during this opening weekend. Take a look at this weekend’s line up of finals:
- Friday, finals in the men’s shot and women’s 10,000
- Saturday, finals in the 20k race walk, women’s discus, heptathlon, men’s long jump, men’s 10,000, and women’s 100
- Sunday, finals in women’s triple jump, men’s hammer, women’s 400, men’s steeple, and men’s 100
We’re talking Jeter, Felix, Gay, Gatlin, Bolt, Blake, Campbell Brown, Fraser Pryce and that’s just in the 100 meters!
I’m trying to get a fix on the weather, because it will have affect the competition. According to the latest forecasts, the weekend is supposed to look like this:
- Friday high of 71 w/ 30% chance of rain
- Saturday high of 67 w/ 60% chance of rain
- Sunday high of 67 w/ 30% chance of rain
Not the greatest weather for sprinting, but certainly favorable for the distance events. So what are we looking at this for the opening day on Friday?
Men’s Shot Put – Top Competitors
Christian Cantwell (USA)
Tomasz Majewski (POL)
David Storl (GER)
Reese Hoffa (USA)
Ryan Whiting (USA)
Dylan Armstrong (CAN)
This should be an exciting competition. Cantwell (22.31m/73’ 2”) and Hoffa (22.00m/72’ 2”) have thrown well since Trials, can they carry the momentum into London? Storl and Armstrong won gold and silver in Daegu while Majewski won silver in Berlin and is the defending Olympic champion from Beijing. This group knows how to compete. Expect six rounds of fireworks.
Women’s 10,000 meters – Top Competitors
Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH)
Sally Kipyego (KEN)
Worknesh Kidane (ETH)
Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN)
Yelizaveta Grechishnikova (RUS)
This should by all accounts be a race between the Kenyans and Ethiopians for the medals. Dibaba owned this event in the during the second half of the last decade winning in ‘05, ‘07, and Beijing, so enters as the defending champion. The Kenyans swept the medals last year in Daegu, however, with Cheruiyot and Kipyego taking gold and silver. The Kenya/Ethiopia rivalry is one of the most competitive in the sport, so look for it to intensify here. Not sure if anyone else can compete, though the Russian Grechishnikova nearly ran under 31:00 in her debut and only race and should be taken seriously.
Tomorrow we start qualifying in several events including the women’s 100, men’s 400 hurdles, men’s steeplechase, and men’s 1500. Most races will be fairly routine, but keep an eye on the women’s 100, as it shouldn’t take too long to heat up. Is defending champion Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce (JAM) still as hot as at Trials? Is World Champion Carmelita Jeter (USA) in ‘09 (10.6x) form? Is Veronica Campbell Brown (JAM) ready to battle for a medal or still struggling? Can Tianna Madison parlay her wicked starts into a top three finish? And can Allyson Felix get close enough to use her finish? We should begin to get some answers tomorrow.
With that let me let things get going, because there will be LOTS to talk about once it does. By the way, start lists are available here.