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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 5: What Happened

IAAF report

SI recap

Love that live Canadian coverage. Eat it, west-coasters!

Women's 400 meters: Sanya Richards has shown a history in the biggest meets of hitting the gas too early and running out of fuel down the homestretch. When I saw her make up the stagger on Montsho before she was out of the turn I thought it might be trouble. It was, and Ohuruogu won her second straight championship. With Russians taking places 4-5-6, that relay is going to need every bit of Allyson Felix they can get.

Women's 100m Hurdles: This track has been so fast that it's given the horizontal jumpers trouble staying behind the foul line. Men's hurdlers, used to chopping steps, don't tend to get fouled up by extra speed but the women can have real trouble sometimes. And Lolo Jones was kicking everyone's butt until it happened to her. Had it been the final hurdle, she could have done a 1992-Devers-style fall to the finish, but it was the ninth hurdle that got her and she went from first to seventh in the blink of an eye. Dawn Harper was the beneficiary and came away with a PR and another testament to coach Bob Kersee's ability to have his athletes in the right place at the right time.

One of the nice things about watching this on foreign TV is the appreciation of what seems like minor success in the USA. Priscilla Lopes-Schliep was third, which is Canada's first Olympic T&F medal since Donovan Bailey & co. beat the US 4x100 in Atlanta. She and silver medalist Sally McLellan had to wait to see if they won anything, and when they saw their names on the board they held hands and danced around the track. That's the stuff I watch for!

Mens' 1500 meters: With a Worlds gold in '05 and a silver in '07, you can't really say Ramzi's win was unexpected. Choge's choke was, however, leaving only Kiprop to carry the banner for Kenya. I can honestly say it was a great pleasure to see Big Ten alum Nick Willis get another 1500 medal for the All-Blacks, and better yet to keep Baala off the stand.

Men's High Jump: Andrey Silnov was originally left off the Russian Olympic team, but after a few weeks they decided he was far too good to leave behind. Everyone was out before he even had a miss. Stefan Holm made a strategic pass late in the competition that gave him a shot at gold but ultimately cost him a medal.

Men's Discus Throw: The era of Virgilius Alekna appears over, as he was third to defending World Champ Gerd Kanter's gold.

Women's Long Jump q-round: Save the women's pole vault, US jumpers as a whole have really stunk up the joint so far. Not today: three finalists, and Brittney Reese has a very good chance to win--especially since heavy favorite Naide Gomes had foul trouble and didn't make the final. Kotova and Montaner are out as well.

In other event qualifying rounds, nothing surprising happened.

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