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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Day 8 Summary

IAAF live blog
IAAF Review
USA Today notebook

My cross-country team's meet today is a local one and in the afternoon, so when I woke up early I decided to actually use the WCSN account I've already paid for.

The only morning-session events were the 50k walk, semis of the women's 4x100, and the decathlon.

In the first event (results - report - story - discuss), favorite Denis Nizhegorodov and WR holder Nathan Deakes were co-leaders at halfway. Deakes pulled away over the second half for a convincing win while Nizhegorodov faded to fourth.

In the women's relay (results - report - discuss), your three fastest qualifiers were the USA, Jamaica and the UK. My fantasy league pick, France, didn't make it to the final. Rats!

In the decathlon (results - discuss) Jamaica's Maurice Smith led after the first day over Dmitri Karpov. T&FN's premeet formchart had him for seventh, so even though two top athletes have dropped out injured it's still a bit of an unexpected development. Smith won both the hurdles and the discus to extend his lead. Karpov set a PR in the pole vault and regained 61 points on Smith but the Jamaican still leads by 121.

Now I'm watching the live feed, which is a bit more like actually being in the stadium. That means there are dead spots but you still have to take the effort to pay attention, and there are a whole lot of medals ceremonies. Speaking of which, is it weird that that I stopped, listened, and had a great feeling of pride welling up in me when I heard the national anthem...of Canada? I'm not Canadian, I'm an American. I've always lived close to the border and watched/listened to Canadian TV/radio. If I had to describe my heritage, I'd have to call myself "Canadian-American" although it's many generations back. Why do I take pride in a nation with which I have little real connection? It's just one of those strange things, I guess.

During any pole vault or high jump competition, it's hard for me to see the importance of any individual attempt unless I keep the chart. When I went to Edmonton's Worlds, I took a notebook to the stadium specifically to do just that, and everyone in the stands around me wanted to see it when the competitions approached their climaxes. I'm keeping the chart for the men's pole vault right now. The IAAF's screen graphics only give us each individual athlete's progression, but never puts several of them together. This is a simple graphic that could make viewing the event so much more meaningful. Why don't we ever get it?

The first group of the decathlon javelin is now done. This is not a strong event for Karpov, and his first two throws really stunk. On his third attempt he got out a good (for him) throw, just half a meter off his career best. Smith is a wildly inconsistent javelin thrower while Sebrle is quite good. Karpov is likely to fall back to third after this event is over; the gold will almost certainly be decided here.
UPDATE: Sebrle just threw a new personal record in the jav and took the overall lead.
UPDATE 2: Smith cannot catch Sebrle in the 1500m. It's over. Believe it or not, this will be super-vet Sebrle's first world championship.

Women's 5k (results - report - discuss) just completed. Prohibitive favorite Meseret Defar won as expected, with three Kenyans in her wake. Shalane Flanagan was seventh for most of the last lap, then Rhines just nipped her at the finish. Most observers would say Flanagan just doesn't have the wheels to stay with the Ethiopians/Kenyans when the real kick comes, and that's probably true. I saw another problem, though. A few years back someone did a detailed computer video analysis of Olympic distance races and found that the winners were almost always the athletes who ran the shortest distance--in other words, the ones who stayed on the rail as much as possible. Defar spent most of the race today in second place, right on the rail. Now, that's easier said than done; if you're just struggling to keep up you can't always choose where you go. Flanagan, who had no trouble keeping up, spent the first eight laps in the outside of lane 1 and sometimes in lane 2. This doesn't sound like much extra running, but take a one-turn stagger, multiply it by eight, and that's how much further she ran than Rhines did. No wonder Flanagan couldn't hold her off.

Men's pole vault (results - discuss) went to favorite Brad Walker. I thought he'd been a bit inconsistent, but if he was on he couldn't be beat. Well he was on today.

All the sprints so far have been USA vs Jamaica. The sprint relays were the same again, with USA first and Jamaica second in both.
Men's results - report - discussion
Women's results - report - discussion

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