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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 7: What Happened

How tightly is NBC controlling their rights? The video link on Sports Illustrated's Olympic page takes you to YouTube.

IAAF Recap
Tim Layden's recap of the carnage

Women's 20k Walk: Monsoon, Russian wins.

Women's 1500m semis: Of the Americans, only Rowbury qualified to the finals, and she had to run a hell of a race to do it. Gelete Burka was eliminated, but her most recent race indicated that was likely. Sarah Jamieson and Viola Kibiwott were casualties as well; the runners who looked the best-peaked are Lyschynska and Jamal.

Women's Javelin: If there are two things you should have learned about this event by now, they are 1) never, ever bet against Spotakova in a major championship and 2) never, ever bet on Obergfoll in a major championship. The Czech responded to Mariya Abumakova's new European record by pegging one a good two feet further on her final throw of the competition (on the 40th anniversary of the Soviet invasion, no less), while Obergfoll's best effort didn't even beat what she did in qualifying.

Women's 200 meters: I didn't have a good feeling about this from the get-go. Felix did poorly in her last race before the games with what appeared to be a bum hip. Here she had the same issue and still ran the best second-place time ever. But she go her ass whupped by Cambell-Brown, who successfully defended her Olympic title.

Men's 800 meters semis: Nick Symmonds has adopted Yuriy Borzakovskiy's strategy of hanging back and making a late move. I thought it was going to be trouble when they were both in the same semi (along with Bungei, Lopez and Laalou). Their strategy works beautifully when the pace goes out fast and it means they run even splits...but if it doesn't, they can't stay in lane one while picking off runners around the last turn and they're screwed. Sure enough, the first-lap split was a high-school-like 54.32, and Symmonds was nearly in lane 3 coming around the last turn. Neither he nor Borza made it to the finals. In heat 3, Gary Reed showed them how it is done.

Men's 4x100 semis: USA drops baton, "coaching" staff needs to learn system from the Redeem Team.

Women's 4x100 semis: Ditto.

Men's Triple Jump
: √Čvora beats Idowu in a mild upset.

Men's 400 meters: Prior to this year, I had never seen Wariner make dumb mistakes in a race (at least not bad enough that he paid for them). Ths year, each of the three times he lost to Merritt it wasn't because he was the inferior runner. What he did here we might name "pulling a Sanya": throw away the homestretch before you get on the backstretch. Hello, Coach Hart? I'm sorry. David Neville did what we might name a "Christian Smith": throwing yourself headfirst across the line in a desperate and successful attempt for third and thus sealing the 1-2-3 sweep.

Men's 110m Hurdles: All Robles. Oliver is not healthy yet, else he might have been close. David Payne won silver; he now makes a total of eleven Olympic hurdling medals for Ohio high school alumni, by far our best event area.

Decathlon Day 1 (100m, LJ, SP, HJ, 400m): Bryan Clay is just about the only American star NBC was banking on who wasn't had something go horribly wrong. Gay, Felix, Wariner, Richards, Kastor, Lagat, the sprint relays: all bombs (at least from the suits' viewpoint). He leads, but his last two events weren't what he was hoping for. Still, he is doing so well he has a shot at the Olympic record, and the man believed most likely to give him a push, Roman Sebrle, has an ailing hamstring and doesn't appear to have much of a chance.

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