The post Olympics season began today in Stockholm and I proved to myself just how big a track junkie I am as I watched the meet on my cellphone as I drove around taking care of business today – such is the life of a track nerd!
Unless the first meet after a major is Zurich, that first one is usually a bit “down” compared to the Games – and Stockholm fit that description. There were some very nice fields, but for the most part the competition was a cut below what we got used to during the Olympics – duh.
While the marks weren’t as stellar as those we saw in London, there were some impressive performances that were turned in from a competitive standpoint.
Ryan Bailey USA) confirmed that he is indeed one of the world’s top sprinters as he clocked 9.93 to defeat Michael Frater (JAM), Nesta Carter (JAM), Richard Thompson (TRI), and Darvis Patton (USA) among others. Many thought Bailey’s third place at the Trials was a “fluke”, but since then he made the Olympic final (placing 5th); has twice clocked 9.88; and defeated a solid field today in Stockholm! Not too shabby. More on Ryan and sprinting in general tomorrow as I discuss the sprints post London.
Anna Chicherova took today’s high jump at 2.00m/ 6’ 6.75” as she looks like she is replacing Blanka Vlasic (CRO) as the world’s preeminent high jumper. She’s now jump This was her 4th meet this year with a clearance over 2 meters (all in the last 5 competitions). Vlasic may have difficulty winning this crown back when she returns next year.
Valerie Adams (NZL) easily defeated the shot put field with a winning toss of 20.26m/66’ 5.5” – 2nd place a far back 19.08m/62’ 7”. With Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR) busted for doping at the Games Adams should have her way with event for some time!
Young Sandra Perkovic (CRO) looks like she may be a tough one to beat for some time as she confirmed her Olympic win with a big 68.77m/225’ 7.5” throw of the discus. Sandra had a big early throw this year, followed by modest throws, followed by her Olympic win. Today she solidified that she can indeed throw far with regularity, and at only 22 years old should be one to watch for a while.
Dawn Harper (USA) and Kellie Wells (USA) went one- two in the 100 hurdles (12.65 & 12.76). Clearly the only woman able to defeat this duo is one Sally Pearson. And with Wells handing Pearson a defeat prior to the Games, and Harper coming oh so close at the Games, I’m now dying to see these three women on the track at least one more time.
Michael Tinsley (USA) turned the tables on Felix Sanchez (DOM) winning the 400H in a decent 48.50. Tinsley continues to look strong in the stretch and London may have been a turning point for his career – silver medals can do that!
Mohammed Aman (ETH), all of 18 years old, was very close to his own NR winning the 800 in 1:43.56. Aman is clearly one of the bright young stars of the event, and along with youngsters Timothy Kitum (KEN), Nigel Amos (BOT) and Abraham Rotich – and of course David Rudisha – should take us to new levels of the event in coming years.
Christian Taylor (USA) is beginning to look like the lead dog in the triple jump. Today he wins in 17.11m/56 1.5”. Taylor just wins, and has a very bright future ahead of him. I dare say that he will be the next 59 footer. He’s only 22 years old and given his physical tools – great speed and solid technique – to challenge Jonathan Edwards’ WR. He’s going to be a fun one to watch.
Finally, Sanya Richards Ross (USA) won the 400 against what may have been the strongest field of the meet – Montsho (BOT), Krivoshapka (RUS), Ohuruogu (GBR), Trotter (USA), Gushchina (RUS), and McCorory (USA). The time was only a modest 49.89, but R-Ross showed a commitment to her race pattern and once again was strong in the stretch. As long as Sanya sticks to this script she will be very difficult to beat.
The next Diamond League event will be in Lausanne next Thursday the 23rd. Here’s hoping the lactic acid has drained from the legs and we get hotter performances in Switzerland! Tomorrow more post London talk.