He’s baaacckk. That’s the only conclusion I can come to after watching Tyson Gay blitz a world leading 9.86 in Kingston over the weekend. The slow start. The mid race, drag car acceleration. The race was vintage Tyson Gay. Most impressive however, was the way he overcame the blitzkrieg start of Nesta Carter and out ran the seasons early sensation, Doc Patton. Gay laid waste to these athletes like a sprinter who has few peers -and at=#2 all time that exactly how he should look.
On the heels of a trio of 45 second quarters – two open and one relay – Tyson opened sharp. Sharp enough that we should be able to stop talking about injuries with Tyson and get back to focusing on a true American rivalry with Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. No disrespect to the other top American sprinters – Justin Gatlin, Mike Rodgers, Walter Dix, Ryan Bailey, et al – but right now only Tyson has shown that he can run in that 9.6x zone,which is where the medals could go In Moscow. As a matter of fact, if we can get the trio Of Gay Bolt, & Blake to Moscow healthy, we could see something like the Berlin final – and personally I think this will be one of the few real shots at Bolt’s world record.
I’ll also throw out there that Tyson Gay in PR form on the third leg of the 4×1 a) makes the US sub 37, b) keeps that lead Gatlin gave him, and makes for an interesting anchor with Bolt now chasing Bailey. Now THAT’s entertaining track and field!
Kingston wasn’t all about Tyson however, as several athletes stepped their games up significantly. If the women’s100 was any kind of preview, the event is going to be HOT. Billed per race as a matchup between Allyson Felix and Veronica Campbell Brown, they did not disappoint with VCB running a year leading 11.01 (0.0) with Felix at 11.13. Who would’ve thought that this time of the year three other women would squeeze their way between them. But that’s what Kelly Ann Baptiste ( 11.05), Carrie Russell (11.08), and Murielle Ahoure (11.11) did. A very hot early season race without several of the events top stars including Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce and Carmelita Jeter!
In other action Ryan Whiting threw the shot 21.74m / 71′ 4" for a world lead, as he’s beginning to look like the youngster they’d ready to step in fit some of the aging stars of the shot. Tony McQuay toured one lap in 45.15 to serve notice that he will be a factor once again. While Dawn Harper (12.62 / 0.8) and Nickel Ashmeade (20.00 / -0.3) had swift wins against significant competition.
Kingston was certainly the best meet of the weekend, but other significant marks were turned in. Galen Rupp continues to impress as he ripped 3000 meters in 7:46.34 at the Oregon Twilight meet. Rupp has been tearing it up all year long starting indoors. He’s already run 3:34.78 / 3:50.92 indoors as well as a faster 3000 (7:30.16 AR). I’m going to stuck my neck out there and say he’s going to set at least one AR outdoors this year – and will again be a major factor at Worlds. He’s the new Pre. He’s not as brash or outgoing. Nor is his racing as " exciting". But he is as consistently fast, and the lead dog in the US running stable. He’s “The Man” of US distance running and the leader of the current renaissance above one lap!
Performing well in Tokyo was high jumper Anna Chicherova who cleared 1.92m / 6′ 3.5" – a nice opening season mark. Important because I’m expecting this event to be very deep this year with several 2 meter jumpers in the mix. Chicherova has been the lead dog in the event recently, but Blanka Vlasic should be healthy this year and Ariane Friedrich should be back to form. Throw in Chaunte Lowe, Brigetta Barrett, Svetlana Shkolina, and Ruth Betia and this’d could be one of the year’s best events.
Things should really start rolling now because the Diamond League starts this Friday! We get Doha this Friday followed by Shanghai a week later. Preliminary line ups show the following hot matchups on tap:
Doha Diamond League – May 11
- Rudisha v Aman – 1500
- Felix v Montsho – 400
- Dibaba v Aregawei – 1500
- Cantwell v Majewski – SP
Shanghai Diamond League – May 18
- Jeter v SAFP- 100
- Williams v Grabarz – HJ
- Kiplagat v Kiprop. – 1500
So the first set of preliminary bouts are just about done. Along with the DL we’ll also be getting college conference competition, followed by Regionals, and Nationals – and US and other National Championships don’t be far behind. Track season is finally here!