Well, I said the Lausanne start list had an Olympic feel to it and several athletes showed that they were still in Olympic form. In a meet with several Olympic caliber performances the best was turned in by Yohan Blake (JAM) who nailed the start and never looked back in the 100 meters, stopping the clock at 9.69 – making him the =#2 performer all time with the =#3 performance. The man he tied with for #2 performer, Tyson Gay (USA), was second in this race at 9.83 – maintaining his streak of 9.8’s on the season but not yet dipping below that 9.80 level. Blake meanwhile joined Usain Bolt to give Jamaica two men under 9.70 – the first country to do so.
While Blake had the best individual performance, the high jump had the best collective depth, as Qatar’s Barshim Moutaz cleared the bar at 2.39m/7′ 10″ – a huge PB, NR, & AR! He had to jump that high as the next two men – Ivan Ukhov (RUS) and Robbie Grabarz (GBR) – both cleared 2.37m/7′ 9.25″, and Ukhov was in the lead at that point. This was only three third time in history that three men cleared 2.37m in the same meet. An awesome competition!
If we’re talking competition however, it doesn’t get much tighter than the women’s 100 where both Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce (JAM) and Carmelita Jeter (USA) stuck to the script and produced the meet’s closest race. The race was real simple. Fraser Pryce burst from the blocks at the gun and looked to have the kind of lead that’s won her two Olympic gold medals. Out much slower, Jeter was in hot pursuit. For about 80 meters Fraser Pryce looked ready to replicate her Olympic win, but then the gritty Jeter began to close the gap. They blew by the line together with Pryce initially celebrating as if she’d won. But then the results came up and it was Jeter, 10.86 to 10.86! Both women are scheduled to be in Birmingham on Sunday – should be another hot one!
The meet was full of sterling performances. Take the men’s 400 where Olympic champion Kirani James (44.37) won with another solid time. His race pattern is starting to closely resemble Jeremy Wariner in his prime with a devastating 3rd 100, and similarly he was rewarded with another clocking under 44.50. I would not be surprised to see another 43 from him this season.
The women’s 100 hurdles was missing gold medalist Sally Pearson, but silver medalist Dawn Harper (USA) screamed to a dominating 12.43 win of her own – reminding us just how close she was in that London race. Harper looked confident, and assured in her own right, and suddenly it looks like Pearson may not be alone at the top! I think we may see another London like finish when this pair faces off again – and Pearson may not be the victor!
Even the 1500 meters sped up in Lausanne. Unshackled from the thought of Olympic competition, the milers got back to running fast with Silas Kiplagat (KEN) turning in a nice 3:31.78 – the kind of run we’re used to seeing from the Kenyans on the Circuit. The real surprise in the race was Matthew Centrowitz in third at 3:31.96. That’s a big time PB for Centrowitz and shows that he’s capable of running with the world’s best regardless of pace. I’ve had my doubts but Matt is beginning to look like he just may be a top tier miler – and possibly our best.
The performances in Lausanne were top shelf across the board, but at the end of the day this was a speed festival and that’s just how the meet ended – with 6 sub-20 sprinters in the 200 meters going head to head. The “lead dog” was Usain Bolt (JAM) and from the gun the others were following him around the track as he ran away from the field in 19.58 – his 8th trip under 19.60. Behind Bolt, Churandy Martina (NED) got a PB 19.85 and Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) an SB 19.94. Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir (20.03, JAM) and 4th placer Wallace Spearmon (20.10, USA) found themselves in 5th and 6th place in Lausanne!
Full results of the meet can be found here. Next,a couple days rest and some travel time and things pick up again in Birmingham – England not Alabama. Like I said, this is going to be a fun weekend.