Saturday, August 1, 2009

Stockholm is in the Books - Next Stop Berlin

IAAF Super Grand Prix - Stockholm

Stockholm closed out the first half of the European Circuit in fine style. Several potential medal contenders competed and gave us some indication of how they might perform in Berlin. Among them:

Jeremy Wariner (US), 400 meters. Wariner won handily in Stockholm. But the time (44.83) and the manner in which he won the race (laid back and kicking in the end) didn't give me pause to believe he can beat Lashawn Merritt.

Allyson Felix (US), 200 meters. Felix gave the kind of performance we saw from her when she won World gold in 2005 and 2007. Fast on the turn, she lead into the straight and easily outdistanced the field down the straight to win in a world leading 21.88 - also a stadium record earning her the only diamond on the day. Anything close to this form in Berlin gives her the gold.

Dayron Robles (CUB), 110 hurdles. Robles is back in form after his bout with the flu. With Liu Xiang out of the picture this year, it doesn't appear there will be anyone in Berlin that an mount a formidable challenge to the WR holder.

Jenny Barringer (US), 5000 meters. Barringer had been missing from the European Circuit, until yesterday. All she did was set a new personal best (15:05.25). She looked fit, confident, and easily repelled the challenge of Russia's Natalya Popkova. Barringer will be competing at the shorter 3000 steeplechase in Berlin. She's definitely fit, let's see if she can get in there and get a medal.

Christin Wurth Thomas (US) 1500 meters. Wurth Thomas may have emerged from the shadows of others like Barringer and Shannon Rowbury yesterday. Christin (4:03.01) won the 1500 over Rowbury (4:05.47) and looked impressive as she powered along on the final lap to secure the win. With times of 4:01.72 and 3:59.98 to her credit, Wurth Thomas has become a real threat to get in the final in Berlin and make something happen.

Tyson Gay (US), 100 meters. Gay has a nagging groin problem and has lost some training time because of it. It didn't seem to affect him yesterday as he once again easily outran former WR holder Asafa Powell with a sizzling 9.79w (+2.6). Gay is clearly on pace to put up a stellar defense of the sprint titles he won in Osaka. Only Usain Bolt (JAM) truly stands in his path.

Stockholm was full of fine performances. Full meet results can be found here.

Now we get a two week break before the start of Worlds on August 15. Lots to review, and ponder before then.

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