Friday, November 5, 2010

The Best of 2010 –The Meet of the Year

Jun 12, 2010; Eugene, OR, USA; Keshia Baker of Oregon (right) edges Jessica Beard of Texas A&M on the anchor of the women's 4 x 400m relay, 3:28.54 to 3:28.57, in the 2010 NCAA Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field. Photo via Newscom

As I continue to take a look back at the 2010 season, I’ve looked at some standard “awards” (Athlete of the Year) as well as some not so standard (Top Breakthrough Americans).

This is another of those non standard awards. Though I think there should be some way of  evaluating how well our meets do every year. If for no other reason than to tweak them for the better. Because the better we present our product, the better the sport should become.

So, what meets caught my eye in 2010? Well, Stockholm’s DN Galan meet gave us the match up of the year as Tyson Gay defeated Usain Bolt to lay claim to the title World’s Fastest Human of 2010. While Berlin may have had the year’s most magical moment as Dsvid Rudisha toured two laps of the bright blue oval in 1:41.09 to take down one of the sport’s most revered records – Wilson Kipketer’s 1:41.11 from 1997! But both lacked depth throughout.

The European Championships in Split saw many of Europe’s best post their best marks of the year, but the results on the track were far below par in most cases compared to the best of the rest of the world.

And with no Major Championship berths on the line, most national championships were a cut below what we’ve become accustomed to. Leaving us with a lot of “good” meets but not many great meets.

Zurich and Brussels were the finale meets for the inaugural Diamond League. Which means that they brought together the largest contingent of top athletes on the circuit. And Zurich gave us an outstanding showing of speed with Campbell Brown and Jeter turning in identical 10.89’s with Veronica winning  by a whisker. Wallace Spearmon (19.79) and Jeremy Wariner (44.13) showing nice returns to form. David Oliver (12.93) once again under 13 seconds and the US 4x1 blazing to a 37.45. Throw in a 5000 meters with six men under 13 minutes and a 71’ 9” shot put by Christian Cantwell, and you have my #2 meet of the year. 

Because for #1 I’m choosing a meet that had everything that I think a track meet should have. Stirring competition throughout. Several personal best performances. Upsets. Relays. A full schedule that included ALL of the events for both men and women. And a team competition that came down the the final event of the meet! For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I’m referring to this year’s NCAA Championships – the only meet of the year that had EVERYTHING that makes for an outstanding meet!

The NCAA Championships kept me engaged for the better part of a week. It offered online streaming and TV. There were story lines galore to follow including the back and forth team battle on the men’s side; the ongoing battle between the Oregon and Texas A&M women; Wheating and the double; upsets in both men’s hurdles; a double in the women’s hurdles; and so many more.

For my money the Meet of the Year. I’m sure there will be some that agree, and those that have their own ideas. So I’ve put up a poll at the top of the page where you can register your votes for the meet you feel was the best of 2010. And feel free to leave comments as I’m curious as to how you viewed this year’s meets. Especially with the Diamond League in it’s first season.

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