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

Worlds Preview – Sprints & Hurdles

Jul 30th, 2013
8:27 pm PDT

Brianna RollinsThe preliminaries are done and now it’s time for the main event! The World Championships are about ready to begin and it’s crystal ball time. Although I’m not sure how well a crystal ball is going to work for this meet with so few sure things heading into Moscow.

But this is the fun part, so I have to give it a try. I’ll start with the sprints, hurdles and relays – the speed events. Of all the events these are generally the least predictable as the margin for error is small and this time around we’re dealing with a lot of unknown entities as a lot of top talent is missing for various reasons.

For example, missing from last year’s Olympic men’s 100 final are Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey and Asafa Powell – to injury and suspensions. That’s half the final and takes out 3 of the 4 fastest men in history! Injuries also took away potential finalists Walter Dix, Bryshon Nellum, Michael Frater, Liu Xiang, Sanya Richards Ross and have hampered Carmelita Jeter & Aires Merritt – and these are just the headline names.

The speed events have taken some hits this year, but at the same time a lot of new talent has come to the fore – especially among the women. Brianna Rollins, English Gardner, Delilah Mohammed, Blessing Okagbare, and James Desoulu, are just a few of the  “new” challengers headed to Moscow.

What does it all mean?


Men’s 100

The most decimated event of the meet. We’ve lost two 9.6’s and a 9.7. The question here is who steps up for bronze.

Usain Bolt

Justin Gatlin

James Dasoulu

Men’s 200

Will someone other than a Jamaican step up? Bolt in a runaway, but there is room on the podium for someone that is hungry!

Usain Bolt

Warren Weir

Jason Young

Men’s 400

The best head to head matchup on the track. First man to 300 meters wins. Will it be speed or power than takes this one? Remember MJ v Butch?

LaShawn Merritt

Kirani James

Tony McQuay

Women’s 100

It’s time for new blood at the top, and after watching Blessing part the field twice in London she has my blessing.

Blessing Okagbare

Shelley Ann Fraser

Carmelita Jeter

Women’s 200

This is Felix’ event to lose and has been for a decade. Ahoure runs the type of turn that can defeat her. Will she do it in Moscow?

Allyson Felix

Murielle Ahoure

Blessing Okagbare

Women’s 400

Montsho has become the one to beat this year. The question as always is how the Russians perform. This time they’ll be at home!

Amantle Montsho

Antonina Krivoshapka

Francena McCorory

Men’s 110 Hurdles

Flip a coin, it’s that close right now. I’m betting that the WR holder is healthy and sharp.

Aries Merritt

Orlando Ortega

David Oliver

Men’s 400 Hurdles

Consistency is the trademark of a long hurdle champion. Tinsley has been the most consistent hurdler this year.

Michael Tinsley

Javier Culson

Bershawn Jackson

Women’s 100 Hurdles

Can we get a WR in this event? Rollins has been rolling all year. Can she get one of the sport’s greatest ever accomplishments in Moscow?

Brianna Rollins

Nia Ali

Queen Harrison

Women’s 400 Hurdles

Hejnova is also on a roll this year. And like Rollins, no one appears ready to get between her and gold. Fifty Two what?

Zuzana Hejnova

Georganne Moline

Perry S-Drayton

Men’s 4×1

With studs missing moving the stick becomes more important. The US’s first effort was faster than last year’s opener.

Unites States



Men’s 4×4

The US is just deeper in the 400 than the rest of the world.

United States


Great Britain

Women’s 4×1

United States is deepest on the clock and had TWO squads at 41.7 in the same meet – that’s Jamaica’s NR.

United States



Women’s 4×4

Russia is at home, but the US has Felix. Can Felix put the squad far enough in front to hold off a charge?

United States



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36 Responses to “Worlds Preview – Sprints & Hurdles”

  1. Anderson says:

    You really don’t think Dawn Harper-Nelson will medal?

    • CHill says:

      I’m on the fence.. I chose youth because they seemed to peak better at Nationals and all have run better overall this year.. Dawn has shown to be a championship runner and that’s in her favor.. At the end of the day I went for youth over my gut..

      • Anderson says:

        Overall Nia Ali has run better than Harper this year? I must have missed a couple of meets!

        • CHill says:

          My decision was real simple .. My contacts in camp tell me that all four women are healthy and sharp.. My assumption, right or wrong, is that we get a repeat of Trials performances..

          At some point change occurs – the older are overtaken by the younger .. This year seems to be a big one for that change.. Harper has had a great run, as has Lolo, Crawford and others.. I’m just being that that run is over..

          I won’t be surprised if Harper comes through.. I expect the US to go 1 thru 4 and for it to be close between 2 & 4 .. We’ll see how it turns out ..

  2. Hopeton says:

    Before I comment on the choices made, just a factual correction needed. In the men’s 200 metres, Jason Young didn’t make the Jamaican team based on their trials

    • CHill says:

      You’re right.. I thought I’d seen him on a list on Twitter .. That and he’s been one of their best performers this summer .. But I just went and checked JAAA website and he’s not listed, not even for relay duty.. My bad

  3. Brandon says:

    Nia Ali hasn’t looked good since the trials Queen gets second Harper gets third

  4. Aurelio Feldman says:

    SAFP a silver in the 100 and no medal in the 200, is she injured and I don´t know? I believe she regains the 100 title and gets silver in the 200 again.
    And I really believe that Kirani James and Merrit will go sub 44, but James wil get a PB and the gold medal.

  5. Waynebo says:

    With no Sanya in the 4×4, the U.S. better do what they should have been doing since 2007: put Allyson on the anchor.

    • CHill says:

      I would like to see Allyson on anchor, but only because I want to see her come from behind and split 47 .. I think second is the best spot for her because she gives us so much breathing room there .. and puts pressure on everyone else ..

  6. Rohan says:

    Well, Conway your predictions are still slightly in favour of US athletes with every close contest going to them. I can only remember Merrit beating James once in the last couple season, were he an American you surely would have gone with him. I have James for Gold in a titanic contest. Shelly must be in medal zone for the deuce and Ohurougu is too good a Championship performer for her not to be mentioned for a medal. Although both teams have been hit with problems, Jamaica still have enough fire power to be favourite to win the men’s 4×1…Oh and Bolt is lucky Tyson is out, ’cause he would ‘only’ be getting 2 silvers in the 100/200…at least that’s how I think Conway would view it!

    • Aurelio Feldman says:

      Agreed. I understand that Conway being an american would preffer that the athletes of is country win every event, but this line of thinking is clouding his judjment.

    • CHill says:

      First off all I wasn’t aware that I was making predictions to please anyone in particular ..

      As for Merritt v James, Merritt had had his own issues in the last two seasons as James made his rise to prominence – injuries and a late return to competition .. This is the first season that both have been at their best since James had grown up .. and they are 2-1 this year, the only possible record unless one was dominant over the other and they’ve been close races ..

      That said, I’ve been quite clear that to win you have to reach 300 first because both men are difficult to catch in the stretch .. had nothing to do with nationality and everything to do with speed .. Merritt has the speed to reach 300 first and had proven that healthy he’s sub 44.. We’ll see what happens ..

      Shelly Ann is good, but this is the first set of sprinters she’s faced in her career .. Okagbare had shown to be as fast and a solid competitor .. And funny thing, she isn’t American ..

      In the deuce, Allyson is the unaudited queen and has a coach that always has her ready in the big ones .. Neither Ahoure or Okagbare are American .. So clearly the prejudice that you and Aurelio see has less to do with me favoring Americans and more to do with the fact I don’t immediately select Jamaicans ..

      Funny but I see neither of you putting your selections out there, so clearly it’s easier to be critical than creative ..

      • Aurelio Feldman says:

        Come on, don´t take that so seriusly.
        I did not post my prediction because I agree with you in almost every single event.
        The 2 events that I did not agree I wrote about.
        If you look at the times, James has been faster, if you look at the race in Eugene you see that if he got a better start he would have a good chance to have won that race, so I don´t think that they are that close.
        About SAFP, she ran a fast time in the heats in london and had a terrible start in the final, I don´t think that one bad start takes away her spot as favorite for the 100 and about the 200 if you look at her times you see that she is able to get a silver or a bronze.
        And if you don´t agree with me, there is no problem, but I really think that, as Rohan said, if Gay was elegible you would pick him for the gold in both sprint events as you did with the relay, so sometimes it appears that you favours your home athletes and that´s cool, if I had a lot of brazilians in the contetion for gold I would do the same, even when they were not as favorite as other athletes.
        Finally, if we can´t desagree, maybe you should close the comments section, because ones opinion it would be enough.

  7. Rohan says:

    Co-sign Aurellio!

  8. Hopeton says:

    Hard to disagree with a lot of the predictions particularly since there is much uncertainty given the absences that exist. Here’s my take, with disagreements only
    100m Men – Not sure about the 3 rd place but think it will be like a lottery; many with a chance
    200m Men – Young will not be there, I would go with Ashmeade
    400m Men – Think James will win, with Merritt 2 nd. Like the 100m, can’t see a clear favourite for 3 rd so can’t disagree
    100m Women – Sentimentally with Shelly as she knows how to deliver on the day but Blessing reminds me of Bolt in 2008. Think Jeter is not fit enough to handle the rounds so would go with Ahoure
    200m Women – Shelley will medal, replacing Ahoure; Think Blessing will win as Felix do not seem in her usual shape
    400m Women – Ohurougu is my favourite to win with Montsho second and Williams-Mills or a Russian third
    With regards to the Relays, your choices are good. In the men’s sprint, Jamaica has too much ammunition, they can only lose if they drop the baton. Similarly, in the Women’s sprint relay for the USA. I prefer Trinidad and Belgium over Britain men in the 4 x 4.
    I have left the hurdles alone intentionally, especially the men’s sprint hurdles.

    Generally, good choices with enough gut mixed with assessment of performances to generate discussions.

  9. The voice of reason says:

    Jamaica’s w 4x100m NR before today was 41.41NR for silver in London.

    Shelly Thunder to the world!

    • CHill says:

      Jamaica passed the stick, the US didn’t – and was depleted … But much congrats to Jamaica, 41.29 is no joke …

      • Winston says:

        USA was depleted but Jamaica wasn’t, right? lol!! You’re a trip, homes!

        • CHill says:

          Not sure what you’re referring to, I’m assuming the relays, and I’m assuming both .. Both squads were missing regulars, but to Jamaica’s credit they had suitable replacements on the men’s side … Losing Gay was the equivalent of losing Bolt, and I’m not sure Jamaica wins without Bolt that brain fart on our anchor aside .. And there is no equivalent of losing both Jeter and Felix .. Yes Jamaica was without VCB, but there has always been drama with what to do with both SAFP and VCB together on the relay .. Remember, the relay is about putting the right people in the right spots, not just getting leg speed out there .. The US squad was totally dismantled in that regard …

          • You must be forgetting about Yohon Blake who distroyed Gay on the 3rd leg

          • CHill says:

            Not at all .. I said capable replacements and Weir is just that .. He’s not beating Blake on the flat (yet) but he runs the bend as well as Blake .. Blake’s much stronger on the stretch ..

            Blake did destroy Gay, but Gay wasn’t in his best form .. Edit would have done the same in my opinion after watching the race many times ..

            Also we’re talking relay not flat and Weir is part of Racers and has relay synergy with the group .. something speed alone can’t replace – just look at the US teams ..

          • Winston says:

            America lost Gay. Jamaica lost Blake. Let me not bother to add Powell’s name. Would you like me to? 🙂

            Also, VCB wasn’t the only one missing from the ladies side. There is a small matter of Sherone Simpson. Then Annie Mac pulled up in the 200m semis.

          • CHill says:

            Powell hadn’t been a relay factor for a while … No where to put him with Bolt solid at anchor … If anything maybe they missed Greater but Bailey Cole was solid .. Sherone hasn’t been a factor since ’08 .. And the two young ladies they ran were as good as Annie if not better in that relay .. Wheel and come again 🙂 … I stand by my original statement ..

  10. dreams says:

    Guess what conway your preDiction was only a dream shelly ann win the sprint double jamaica woman run the 2nd fastest 4×1 in history and they will the men sprint relay also

    • CHill says:

      More a nightmare since it required injury to both Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix to happen .. But that is part of the sport and Shelley ran admirably .. But if you’re going to tell the story, tell the whole story not just the part that you like ..

      • Winston says:

        A tired and under-prepared VCB in 2012, and same for Shelly in 2009 didn’t stop Americans from celebrating Felix and Jeter victories, respectively. Did you tell the whole story on those? 🙂

        BTW, Shelly’s pace was too hot for Felix in that 200 and over extended her. She knew she was going to be beat soundly, injury or no injury. The separation that was occurring on that bend was nothing that Felix had coming up against before…well except the many times she had to watch VCB run away from her with ease. 🙂

        • CHill says:

          Let’s tell the whole story .. To now say that those veterans showed up “tied and under prepared for those races” is to say that they didn’t get the job done when they needed to – if that was indeed the case … That’s part of racing – being ready when you need to be … Totally different from being injured ..

          As for the pace being too hot, again you need to tell the whole story, because Allyson had run VCB down to win three global titles watching her run that same pace and actually faster since since both she and VCB have regularly run MUCH FASTER than 22.19 .. Allyson was faster than that as a teen … She still has to cross the line first to win this race, but her history says the odds were certainly in her favor ..

          • Winston says:

            You need to go watch the race again. Felix was being left for DEAD. The gap was widening with tasteless haste. It was OVER! When Felix won in London you could see she was up there already. She was not way behind. Felix was done and dusted. Exhibit A: Beijing. It was going to be worse than that. The titles Felix won, she didn’t run anyone down. She was already there up with the pace. Any time she has was way behind on the straight she got taken down. Felix wasn’t injured before the race. Shelly burnt her, causing that injury. You could almost see the WTF on her face as Shelly left her for dead. And that track did not have sub 22 in it. So please leave that 22.19 talk out of this. Scary part? Shelly-Ann is still ‘new’ to this 200m. Please don’t dare her to concentrate on it and leave the 100m alone.

      • The voice of reason says:

        Carmelita Jeter has NEVER run such a time on a dead track, though she did it in the quick Greek track waay back in 2009. She never did it after rounds.

        With a +1.5 wind, that could have been 10.59s!

  11. Regardless of these injuries,you just have to look at the time of the 4x100m relay final.
    As for the 200 the time was not insane,but Felix was not impressive all year ,so one of to doubt if the results would have been different had she not being injure.

    • CHill says:

      Like I said 41.2 is no joke .. 22.19 was certainly bearable by Felix .. She’s run better than that regularly since she was a teen and has the best finish in the business .. But irrelevant now ..

      • Winston says:

        Shelly has run faster than 22.19 as well. So what? How is that relevant? The conditions in which Felix ran faster than that were different. The days were different. Felix was different. Oh, Bolt ran 19.93 as 17 year old. He just ran 19.66 in this WC, although he’s run faster than that many times. Conditions mate, conditions.

        • CHill says:

          Now you’re struggling and looking for THE scenario that says victory was inevitable .. Reality … Felix has 3 World titles and an Olympic title and as many silver’s .. She’s got several sub 22s and a 21.69 PR .. She’s #4 all time with more titles than those listed ahead of her .. You’re not talking about a rookie who “might have” run better than 22.19, because she’s done it repeatedly in every type of “condition” imaginable .. You need to find something else to try and argue about because you obviously haven’t figured out this one is done ..

  12. The voice of reason says:

    You need to Chill.

    22.19s is the fastest time in the world this year, on a dead track to boot with little or negative wind.. Felix has not been near it all year, losing to collegians at Trials.

    2013 Felix is a much weaker animal.

  13. Steve says:

    I think we should be celebrating the achievements of SAF instead of focusing on the “what ifs” the fact is this is the 2nd yr of attempting the 200 seriously and she has progressed from a silver in Ldn to Gold in Moscow & that margin of victory in the 100m was no Joke, the BBC commentators (including MJ) were quite astounded by it. She has to be put up there as one of the greatest Women Sprinter in the history of the sport.
    In regards the sprint relays both US & JA showed strength in depth to perform the way they did considering the missing participants. You have to say JA more so, since they took Gold in both.

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