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

And They’re Off

Jan 26th, 2021
9:12 pm PST

Yes, the Road to Tokyo has begun as the 2021 season is now under way, with all indications being that this year is going to be as HOT as lava in a volcano! Two weekends, two indoor world records. An American record. Several moves into the all time lists. The start of a US track league. And just a rash of outstanding performances. The highlights.

Fabrice Zango TJ world record – The small African nation of Burkina Faso started off the 2021 record rush as Zango bounded out to a huge 18.07m/59’3.25“! Just a massive leap. Setting up a battle of a trio of 59 footers with Americans Will Claye and World and Olympic champion Christian Taylor. This event was already shaping up to be exciting. Now it’s triple exciting – pun intended!

Ryan Crouser SP world record – Crouser has been on a roll since the Olympics, where he won the gold medal. In the abbreviated season of 2020 he made 74 feet common place. In the opening meet of the new American Track League, his first toss went out beyond the tape marking World Record! So there was no question that he broke the record – The question was by how much. The answer was by half a foot, as the measurement was 22.82m/74’10.5“. Once again he showed amazing consistency with another throw over 74 and one just under. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think he can throw 76 feet.

Grant Holloway HH American record – Holloway is the world’s best hurdler. The new Millennium version of Renaldo Nehemiah. Young, talented, fast, personable, and just out hurdling everyone else. In Fayetteville, the site of the American Track League series, Grant broke from the blocks and two steps later went into the lead. At the tape he’d equaled his own AR of 7.35 with second place well back in 7.56! Watching him run, I believe 7.20 indoors is within his reach. We’ll discuss outdoors later. Until then, I suspect that the world will be in pursuit.

Trayvon Bromell 60 world leader – In 2016 Trayvon Bromell was looking like the next great American sprinter. He ran 9.84, made the Olympic team – and then suffered an injury. He made the Rio final, but was last in 10.06. The injury got worse and he had surgery on his Achilles. Then spent 2017, 18, & 19 as a shell of his former self. I won’t lie, I thought he was done. Especially as new talent began to rise. Specifically Christian Coleman, Michael Norman and Noah Lyles. But 2020 was good to Bromell. He started looking “fluid” again, and dropped 9.90/9.89w. His opener in Fayetteville saw him run 6.54 heat and a 6.48 final to easily lead the world. Now, he’s right back where he was in 2016, one of the world’s best. And I can’t wait to see what he looks like come June!

Matt Boling and Fred Kerley 400 world leaders – Matt Boling did what I’d hoped to see him do, but wasn’t sure he would – run the open quarter. I say I’d hoped to see it, because it’s been my belief, based on relay legs, that this could be his best individual event. After his 45.51 opener, I’m even more convinced. Everything about him technically screams quartermiler. He reminds me of Jeremy Wariner, and that’s a good thing. His time was a world leader, for a day. As next day, Fred Kerley opened up his season. Where Boling is fluid, Kerley is a powerful bull, who bulled his way to a 45.03. For a minute it looked as if he might challenge the world record of 44.57. Not that 45.03 wasn’t fast enough. But apparently one of his shoes was a bit loose, which threw him off a bit.

Quite the opening to any track season, extraordinary given the circumstances of the year’s Covid lock downs. The delay of the Olympics has just created pent up energy in everyone – clearly in the athletes. The Games are some six months away. Sports have led the way in showing the world how to survive, even thrive in the environment created by this medical global crisis. The NBA, NFL, MLB, global soccer leagues, and yes track and field, have conducted their business safely and with minimal problems. The blueprint for conducting the Games has been established. So, with this beginning as a backdrop, I’m looking forward to one of the greatest seasons of track and field ever! By the way, Act 2 of the American Track League is merely days away!


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One Response to “And They’re Off”

  1. Waynebo says:

    It’s always great to see you back to posting coach! I am very excited about this season and I’m looking forward to reading your posts all season long.

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