Not a good day. Not on the track. Not on the ‘net. Not on the TV. Just not a good day overall for US track and field. I’ll start with the good but there was a lot of bad. It was like someone pulled the plug on my meet! Black Friday.
Jeter v Myers = Excitement
This was indeed what it was supposed to be – sort of. The two best made it to the starting line and both ran up to their abilities. Unfortunately for Myers Jeter actually got a very solid start and the race was never in doubt. Jeter blew the field away, and looks to be ready to go for gold in Daegu. Myers continued her excellent season with another solid win and should be considered a medal contender. The surprise, as is usual in the sprints, was Miki Barber, who I’ve been told is being coached by none other than Mo Greene!
Tyson Out, Justin Back, Dix a Big Meet Sprinter
Unless you’ve been under a rock you know that Tyson Gay pulled out of his semi in the 100. Hip and adductor issues. So we got no Tyson in the 100. We did get plenty of Justin Gatlin and Walter Dix however. Justin looked like the 2004 version as I predicted last week. Walter Dix looked like, well Walter Dix in a big meet. He’s not looked great this year and I thought that perhaps the competition was strong enough to keep him out. But after Gatlin executed almost exactly as he did in the ‘04 Trials (out well and off to the races) Dix hit high gear 80 meters out and reeled him in for the “oh so close win” at the tape. Meanwhile, back in third, Mike Rodgers looked like the old Mike Rodgers – good but not great. And of course there was a false start (that didn’t really look like a false start) with Ivory Williams who ran under protest – and was still dq’d. I have more to say about this race, a few of the athletes, and the rules, after the meet is over.
Clay out and Superman Parked His Cape
Bryan Clay attempted to make a race of it with Ashton Eaton in the first event of the decathlon (110 hurdles) but ate it and fell and ended up out of the competition! Eaton ran a sizzling 13.52, scored 1037 points, then looked average the rest of the day. His huge first day + hurdles gave him a final score of 8729 – well up on his previous best of 8457 – making him #13 all time in the event, and the #5 American. But he still has a lot of work to do in the field events before he can challenge the AR or WR – and perhaps Tre Hardee who is one of those Americans ahead of him on the list and will be waiting in Daegu.
Changes Coming in the 400
The tone of the day, if you haven’t gotten it yet, is that of top athletes being out of events. In the women’s 400 Sanya Richards pulled out of her semi. She’s the defending World champion so has a bye to Daegu, but let’s face it, she wasn’t going to win here. She’s got nine weeks, but somehow I’m not feeling it. Allyson Felix meanwhile cruised through to the final and looks ready to win this event and then consider the 200/400 double in Daegu. Another who looks to be “out of it” is Jeremy Wariner in the men’s 400. My question mark yesterday is even bigger today as Tony McQuay challenged him coming of the turn in their semi and Jeremy had NO response as McQuay went on to a 44.79 win – and Jeremy faded to third in 45.28! The #’s 2 thru 8 qualifiers to final all finished between 45.24 and 45.42 and suddenly it looks like three men can finish ahead of Wariner!
No One Wanted to Run the 5000
I was really looking forward to the women’s 5000 as it had rock star quality in the lineup. Then they lined up, or didn’t line up. Because ALL of the following ended up as “DNS” for the race: Jordan Hasay, Shannon Rowbury, Amy Begley, Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Jenny Simpson – now that group alone would have made one hell of a final! Flanagan and Goucher picked up plane tickets in the 10,000, so I guess decided not to get greedy. I’m guessing Hasay, Rowbury and Simpson decided to put their eggs in the 1500 meter basket – with Christin Wurth Thomas, Anna Pierce and Morgan Uceny. Now THAT could be a great race! Not to take away anything from Molly Huddle who ran a superb race – but I didn’t get to see until later, sort of!
Webcast Went to ( fill in the blank)
Word association. Friday Webcast. Crap. The webcast was going just fine. The 100 meter semis were on tap. Then the webcast disappeared! Just like that, gone. Finally we’re told that it was so ESPN could show the meet later – more on that in a minute! Finally the feed comes back up, but just some random field event action. And the corresponding commentary, as they told us themselves, was about everything but track and field! Fashion tips, cooking recipes, Justin Bieber – yeah I said Justin Bieber. Just filling time and space. At that point they may as well have shut the feed down. ESPN, NBC, or anyone else that might be paying attention. We will still watch your telecast even if we watch the live feed! We would much rather see it on the big screen anyway. Not to mention the ability to see all the various angles; being able to rewind, etc. Shutting us off from the live feed only makes us ANGRY! Especially when you give us the kind of television coverage that you do – because we ended up missing A LOT!
Telecast Was (fill in the blank)
The nicest word I can use to describe the telecast is poor – I can fill that space with a lot of others. Two hours. They had two hours. Do you know what I could do with two hours? I could have shown most of the meet in two hours. Definitely covered the majority of the heats in all the semis as well as covered the finals that occurred. Instead we got a couple of semi races. Select laps of the 5000 finals. A lot of decathlon coverage, and a lot of men’s 100 coverage – discussing Tyson NOT being in the race. The networks spend a lot of money to hire former athletes as commentators – assuming that they know the sport – but apparently they don’t have anyone on staff that’s spent time actually WATCHING a track meet! Because they have no idea how to present one! People unfamiliar with the sport have the impression that it is boring – and if they tuned in to this coverage they would be right. And for this they cut off our live feed!
I don’t know what to expect for today. The live feed will coincide with the actual telecast – which I assume means no feed and we’re stuck with whatever they decide to show us! Lots of finals including the 400’s, 800’s and 1500’s – all of which I’m really looking forward to. Not too many people left to just drop out of the meet, so hopefully that will be at a minimum. And I’ve got my fingers crossed on the women’s 1500 and men’s 800 cause if everyone shows up there should be fireworks! Let’s get this meet back on track – pun intended.