Below are my top half dozen performers/performances from the weekend. Initially I was going to do a top five as that’s a more common number, but that Mary Cain just had to be thrown in there! Another rash of times should be expected this weekend with the NCAA Championships on tap. Then it’s outdoors we go!
Jimmy Vicaut (FRA)
6.48 to win Euro indoor title. Huge PR and win for Vicaut who looks like he’s maturing physically and ready to drop into the sub 10 zone this year. A standout for France as a junior, he’s been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of teammate Christophe Lemaitre on the world scene. If Vicaut continues to run like this however, France will have two sprinters making big noise this year!
James Dasaolu. (GBR)
6.48 in runner up position at Euro indoors. While Vicaut had been a known commodity for a while, I had to go looking for information on Mr. Dasaolu! Because heading into this weekend the Britt I expected to challenge for a medal was Dwain Chambers not James Dasaolu. I’d vaguely remembered seeing the name and went looking for his PR – 10.09 from ’09. With recent seasons of 10.13 (’12), 10.11 (’11), & 10.23 (’10) Dasaolu hasn’t exactly been a threat. That may have changed this weekend as he ran 6.52 in his semi prior to the final. Indoor success and outdoor success often have little correlation in the short sprints, but given that his previous PR of 6.7 was also set in ’09, Mr. Dasaolu could be headed for a breakout season.
Jenn Suhr (US)
5.02m / 16′ 5.5″ to set new WR to win US indoor title. Can Jen be the new queen of the event? Time and competition will tell, but she appears to be healthy, and when healthy she vaults extremely well. She’ll get tested severely outdoors as this event had several women now at the upper ranges of 25 feet – not to mention that Yelena Isinbayeva is still patrolling the vault pit. But Jenn is fit and looking ready to take a good shot at the crown in Moscow.
Darya Klishina (RUS)
7.01m / 23′ 0″ to set world leader to win Euro indoor title. I’ve often said that just as Britney Reese is the best physical talent in the long jump, Klishina may be its best technician! Today she was sharp and the result was an indoor PR and world leader. If she can stay away from injuries she just might give “da beast” a run for her money on her home turf in Russia.
Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)
6.01m / 19′ 8.5″ to win Euro indoors then clears 6.07m / 19′ 11″ for indoor WR but bar bounced and landed back on standard and called “foul”! Lavillenie has become the closest thing to Sergei Bubka the sport has seen since the WR holder retired. No one has been consistently at the heights the Frenchman is now regularly attempting. It’s a tragedy that he was denied this record. My gut says that this is his year however, and I expect to see great things from him outdoors.
Mary Cain (US)
National champion women’s mile. The time was pedestrian (5:02) and irrelevant. What was relevant is that the grown women in the field were clearly running afraid of the young phenom. The pace for three quarters of a mile looked like a jogging group out for a leisurely stroll. And then Cain struck with a withering 59 second final 400 that dropped the rest of the field like a bad habit! This girl is the real deal. She may have a bit more difficulty against the like of Morgan Uceny, Shannon Rowbury, et al but I have no doubt she’s up to accepting the challenge and will acquit herself well when the time comes. I’m looking forward to it!