Dateline Daegu: Part X
The Armory's Jack Pfeifer tests your knowledge of the IAAF World Championships from the eyes of The Armory. (Answers at the end of this page)
1. In what event did the Gold-medal hurdler Lashinda Demus set a national high school record in the Armory in 2001?
2. The intermediate hurdler Bershawn Jackson ran at the Armory in high school and college. For what schools?
3. The veteran intermediate hurdler Felix Sanchez runs for the Dominican Republic. Where was he born and where did he go to school?
4. Name the two Big Ten graduates competing in the women's javelin.
5. Lauren Fleshman, who was seventh in the 5k final, finished eighth in the U.S. selection meet. How did she qualify for the team?
The IAAF website is featuring two of the three American winners from Thursday. Jenny Simpson, the surprise winner of the women's 1,500-meter title, hopes that her victory will end the questions about her return to the steeplechase, an event which she holds the U.S. record. LaShinda Demus, now a world champion and American recordholder in the 400-meter hurdles, talks about the challenge to shine after having twins. But today we are going to, with apologies to Len Berman, "span the globe."
In Great Britain the talk has become whether or not it is best to be the hunter or the hunted heading into the bright lights of the Olympic year. Heptathlete Jessica Ennis, the new hunter, seemed to enjoy being hunted. "I was more than happy being world No 1 and being chased. Then again, sometimes it's good to chase. It gives you that extra fire in your belly, makes you want to push on."
Dai Greene, who won the 400-meter hurdles, says to bring on the chasers. "It's a lot easier to do winter training when you have a gold medal on the mantelpiece," he told Simon Hart of the Telegraph. "Now I have three from three from the last championships, and I want to complete the set next year."
And then there is new national sweetheart Hannah England, who was runnerup to Simpson in the 1,500-meter run. Imagine a runner from the U.S. named Johnny America. I'd say that England's name has some staying power.
Ian O'Riordan of the Irish Times thinks that Thursday was one banner day for Ireland, writing:
Rarely, if ever, has Ireland produced three finalists on the same day – at least not in three banner events. O'Lionaird making tomorrow's 1,500 metres final is about as sweet as it gets, given only one Irish athlete has done likewise, and that was Niall Bruton, way back in 1995. It is, after all, still the blue riband event.
Yet earlier in the day – or rather overnight – both Alistair Cragg and Deirdre Ryan made finals too: Cragg certainly defied expectations to make his first 5,000 metres final, having so often failed in the past, while Ryan defied the apparent limitations to become the first Irish woman to make a high jump final, breaking her own national record and securing the London Olympic A-standard of 1.95 metres in the process.
Down under, any golden success for Australia lies upon the shoulders of 100-meter hurdler Sally Pearson. The story from Nicole Jeffery of the Australian came under the headline 'Pearson shapes as Australia's last hope.' Telling Jeffery that she doesn't step on the track to come in second, Pearson said "I'm coming in as the favorite and that's how I'm seeing it. It means you have been winning all your races and are on top of the world. I can't guarantee anything, no one can guarantee an amazing run, no one can guarantee a win, but I'm just hoping I step on that track and I win."
While not actually running at World Championships, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has kept himself busy by talking about countryman Usain Bolt. You may recall that just days before pulling out of the Daegu Championships, he was telling everyone with a microphone that he was the man to beat and he had no fear of Bolt. Then he backed out of competing and Bolt was disqualified from the 100 final by a false start. And now, Powell is back to talking, offering this to Gary Smith of Sporting Alert: "People want [the one false-start rule to] be changed, but it's fine the way it is. It's up to you to wait for the gun, no matter what the rule is. I don't think people should be looking into the rule too much. If it was someone else, maybe if it was Yohan Blake, no one would make a big deal of it."
The Daily Nation of Kenya has been providing great coverage of its athlete's heroics back home and Elias Makori's latest story indicates that others are ready to give up because Kenyans are simply too good to beat. Makori quotes Frenchmen Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who earned bronze behind two Kenyan runners in the steeplechase, as saying, "Kenyans are the best in the world. They are very good ... I tried to catch up with them but it was not possible ... The thing with the Kenyans is that no one is up there. There are many runners and they are all very good because they train throughout. I have tried but they are impossible to beat."
And finally, David Owen of Inside the Games says that Daegu has shown that track & field is on the verge of losing its luster within the Olympic Games themselves. "I sincerely believe that athletics will have to somehow raise its game if it is to remain much longer at the head of the Olympic pantheon," he writes. Yet he provides no evidence to support it. In fact, he claims that even a Bolt 100/200 repeat in London wouldn't have the same effect as it did in Beijing because it was done before. Yet he calls the possibility of Michael Phelps competing "enticing." Seems like that has been done before, unless he goes after nine gold medals.
1. She ran on the sprint medley relay team for Wilson High of Long Beach, Calif.
2. Miami Central H.S., St. Augustine's College
3. Born in New York City, ran for University City H.S. (San Diego) and USC
4. Barbora Spotakova (Minnesota) and Kara Patterson (Purdue)
5. The third-place finisher, Angela Bizzarri, needed the 'A' standard because the runnerup, Amy Hastings, had just the 'B.' Bizzarri however had only the B. The fourth-place finisher, Jen Rhines, had the A but opted to run only the 10k. The sixth-place finisher, Desiree Davila, had the A but chose not to run in order to prepare for the marathon. The fifth-place finisher, Julie Culley, and seventh-place finisher, Neely Spence, did not have the A. Fleshman ran 15:00.57 on Aug. 6, two days before the deadline, to get the A and the third U.S. position.