The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Blake Jumps Starts the Weekend in Lausanne

Aug 23rd, 2012
9:17 pm PDT

Yohan BlakeWell, 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.

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13 Responses to “Blake Jumps Starts the Weekend in Lausanne”

  1. Rohan says:

    Beyond doubt, Blake’s run was the performance of the meet and yet it was Bolt who got the lead headline in the IAAF report. I know 19.58s is great( as you pointed out #8 on Bolt’s personal top ten, but outside of the all-time top ten) but goodness,this is third human to be under 9.7s and if you take into consideration the wind factor, it is superior to Gay’s 9.69s. Bolt is out of this world, but in this case Blake deserves the lionshare of the headline.

    • Eaton says:

      Rohan, I completely agree with you however it’s not the performance that create the headlines it’s the performer.

      • Waynebo says:

        And that’s what needs to change. It’s critical to the growth of the sport that the public knows there are many athletes worth watching. Fans who don’t know need to be enlightened about how fast Blake just ran and why it’s significant. We hear stats and analysis ad nauseum pertaining to football, basketball, & baseball and people tune in. Yet we fail to present our sport to the world in the same way. Yes, the stars get the most attention, but how boring would the NBA be if we heard about Lebron and no one else? They know better so they make sure we hear about much more. Track & Field must learn to do the same. The headline should have been: 9.69! Move over Usain, you’ve got company.

        • CHill says:

          Absolutely agree .. I’ve said a hundred times that the sport needs to get away from focusing on only one or two athletes at a time !!!

          Yohan and several other sprinters sit in Bolt’s shadow .. Rudisha gets almost no attention .. And the women (who actually race against each other) can’t seem to buy a headline !!

          This support has lots of budding stars right now .. Blake, Aries Merritt, Christian Taylor, Anna Chicherova, Barbora Spotakova, and Kirani James are just a handful worthy of being “touted” in the media …

          And I think doing a better job of marketing our top athletes would go a long way towards furthering the sport ..

  2. Waynebo says:

    And, oh yeah, Wallace Spearmon needs to step it up. At the very least he should be taking 2nd in a race like this. Sub-20 should be a given for him at this point in a season where he’s healthy. I’d like to know where that runner is who ran 19.65? Was it luck? A fluke? I’m just disappointed.

    • CHill says:

      Wallace opened his season at 19.95 !! He only ran .05 better in London .. Made me look bad picking him to medal !! LOL ..

      In all seriousness, there is no way he shouldn’t have medaled, let alone run 20.10 for sixth in Lausanne .. There’s a problem there somewhere .. And perhaps we won’t see that 19.65 sprinter again ..

      I want to see what he does in Birmingham .. If Tyson comes in and lights him up after having limited base training, we may be looking at a sprinter in Spearmon on the down side of his career in spite of his relative youth ..

  3. hopeton says:

    Something ain’t right with Wallace. He’s not progressing like a Martina. He needs to do something new if he intends to show up next year. The young guns are lurking around…Lemaitre, a recovered Dix, young Blake, Ashmeade & Weir plus Jason Young. Spearmon is too nice a guy and too talented to be running this badly. Hope he shows up on Sunday

    • CHill says:

      To be honest, Spearmon hasn’t been the same since he and Tyson parted ways .. After their first season as pros, Brauman had his time out because of issues at Arkansas . Tyson went to Drummond and Wallace went to work with his dad ..

      Another reason why I say pairing up and proper coaches area both critical .. Spearmon has since paired up with Doc Patton and Monte Stratton .. Not quite the same as working with John Smith, or if you’re in the state of Texas, Clyde Hart – gotta start giving him his props as a long sprint coach … And frankly Spearmon may be better off training as a 200/400 type !! Because he also was running better when he was running the quarter periodically ..

      • Anderson says:

        When did he and Tyson stop training together?
        After 2007 and 2006 his best year 2010, running his 2nd and 4th fastest times ever.

        • CHill says:

          I wouldn’t call 2010 his best year .. Not because of those two races (19.79/19.85) .. He was faster in 06 and more consistent in both 06 and 07 ..

          In 06 he finished his season with 19.88, 19.87, and 19.65 all with basically zero wind .. That run of races alone made the season better than 2010 .. Not to mention nine meets under 20.10 – five subs ..

          And in 07 he had five meets between 19.82 and 19.89 .. Again much better than 2010 … And that’s not counting his consistency in big races ..

          Spearmon was much more competitive when he was training w Tyson ..

          • Anderson says:

            Yea that’s what I was saying. After 2006 and 2007, his next best year is 2010.

          • CHill says:

            Ok, I can buy that ..

            He runs in Zurich against Bolt, Ashmeade, Weir, Young and Martina … Can he get in the top 3 ???

        • CHill says:

          Also, what I didn’t mention in my lasts comment (as I was headed out the door) is the lack of progress on Spearmon’s part .. Saying that he ran his 2nd and 4th fastest times ever in 2010 merely highlights that … Of that “class of ’05″ (referencing the ’05 NCAA’s) of Spearmon, Gay, Dix, and Xavier Carter (it also included Jason Richardson & Aries Merritt, and long hurdlers Kerron Clement and Michael Tinsley) Spearmon is the ONLY one whose PR’s date back to ’06(200)/’07(100) !!! Everyone else has moved FORWARD with the exception of Carter … And even Carter laid down a new 100 PR in ’09, and still has a faster 200 PR than Spearmon given all of is problems in the last several years …

          And those others listed up there have shown TREMENDOUS improvement since 2007, when Spearmon made his first coaching change …

          Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a big Spearmon fan over the years .. As a matter of fact he’s as talented as any other sprinter out there over 200 meters … During that ’06 season he owned Bolt !!! And that 19.79 you reference defeated Blake !!! But his record is clear, he was a better sprinter with Tyson as training partner … He NEEDS someone that can push him … He needs that, and there aren’t many sprinters good enough to do that …

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