Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bolt Cuts Season Short – Still Plenty to Watch

July 17, 2010 - 06183190 date 16 07 2010 Copyright imago Panoramic Athle Meeting Areva Stade de France David Oliver 110m Haies  PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxITAxBEL Athletics Meeting Areva IAAF Diamond League Paris men Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.

The word this week on just about every media outlet available – track and field web sites, major newspapers, even USA Today and ESPN – is that Usain Bolt is calling it a season. Within days of his loss to Tyson Gay in Stockholm, Bolt announced that due to lower back pain he will be calling it a season. With Asafa Powell also complaining of lower back pain following his losses to Gay and Bolt, this ensures that 2010 will have had only 1 showdown each among the world’s top three sprinters. Leaving the sport with almost as much publicity over Bolt’s end of the season as we’ve had regarding the races of the Big Three.

On the one hand, like most of the rest of the world, I am saddened that Bolt’s season has come to an end. Not so much because I will miss his races this season, but because I was hoping that we would get at least one more race between he and Tyson Gay – they had been set since the beginning of the year to run in Brussels on August 27th.

But given how much space the world’s media outlets have given to his departure for the season, perhaps the media and the fans can begin to focus on some of the other outstanding talent this sport has to offer. Something I have been asking for all season long. So for those that feel that the sport has suffered a loss to whit it cannot recover until 2011, here are some other male athletes that warrant attention during the month or more of the season that is still left.


David Oliver


110 Hurdles

While the Big Three of sprinting has been banged up, nursing injuries, and running slightly below their potential this season, David Oliver has been putting together one awesome season in his event. Oliver is unbeaten this year – 13 wins in a row and counting – and has run under the elite 13.00 barrier on four occasions. He has run an American Record twice – 12.90 & 12.89, the 4th and 5th fastest times ever – and is just .02 away from the World Record. Oliver has done all of this without yet running anything close to a “perfect” race. If you’re looking for an athlete that’s a threat to set a WR on any given day, David Oliver is your man and the 110 hurdles the race you want to keep your eyes on.


Christian Cantwell


Shot Put

Another athlete in the midst of a stellar season. Cantwell has won 12 straight competitions outdoors to go with 7 indoors. While only 5 other men have tossed the shot over 70 feet this year and struggled with consistency, Cantwell has done so in 11 of his 12 outdoor meets (5 indoors) and leads the world at 73’ 6.25” – just .20 cm from the top 10 throws all time. If you add the last two meets of last season, he’s on a string of 21 straight wins. Not too shabby. Cantwell is putting on a clinic on how to shot put spin style in 2010 – and he’s doing so against some of the best competition any event has to offer up. He’s the Olympic silver medalist and the reigning World Champion and has taken over as the King of the Ring.


David Rudisha


800 Meters

1:41.11. That’s a mark that until this year has stood for over a dozen seasons as being unapproachable. This year however, may go down as The Year of Rudisha, because he has come within inches of this mark with plenty of season left. Rudisha started the year hot with a 1:43.15 – only 1 other athlete has run as fast this year – and currently sits atop the yearly list with the #3 time in history, 1:41.51 – making him #2 all time behind the legendary Wilson Kipketer. Undefeated in 8 meets this year, he’s fresh off of a 1:42.84 win at the African Championships. Without jinxing him, he’s almost certain to run under 1:42 again, with Kipketer’s mark a definite possibility. As a matter of fact, he has enough speed (45.50 PR set earlier this year) that, dare I say, he could make real history and surpass the 1:41.00 barrier. If so that would be every bit as impressive as 9.58 or 19.19 – possibly more so.


Bershawn Jackson


400 Hurdles

Bershawn took a couple of losses early this year (Oslo & New York) but has been on a tear since then. He started with a 47.32 win at Nationals. The world leader and a time bettered by only 9 men in history. Jackson is undefeated in his last 4 races, but more importantly has run under 48.00 in each! The ease with which he has been running this past month suggests that he may be able to run in the 47.20 area – a zone that only Edwin Moses has visited more than once. Jackson has won 6 of his  8 competitions this year – a season where he’s already run 4 of the 10 fastest times of his career. Jackson seems to have a youthful exuberance to his competing this season and he’s been fun to watch.


Walter Dix



Nesta Carter



Yohan Blake



And if you have to get your fix via the sprints, these are the top three up and coming sprinters on the scene this year. Typically in an off season one or two sprinters emerge to become threats during the following major championships trifecta. This trio seems to be the emerging group of 2010. Dix set a 100 PR of 9.88 just last week, and defeated Tyson Gay earlier in the season in the deuce with a 19.72. Carter defeated Dix in that 100 and set a PR of 9.86.  And Blake gave Gay a run for his money over 200 earlier this season while setting a 19.78 PR. Dix was in Beijing in ‘08 and picked up bronze in both sprints. All three could show up in sprint finals in Daegu, London, and/or Moscow. They are young and talented and improving rapidly. While most have been eyeing the Big Three this year (Bolt, Gay, Powell) this new trio could well be in position to score medals of their own soon. Dix and Blake are scheduled to go head to head against Tyson Gay this weekend in London. Then the pair is slated to go one on one in the 200 in Zurich. Could be a preview of the futures next hot showdown.


All of these individuals are having sensational seasons in their own rights, and deserve the same sort of attention we’ve been giving to Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell. Quite frankly they’ve been having better seasons overall, and hopefully they can get a bit of the limelight now that we know there will be no more “Showdowns” this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment