World and Olympic gold medalist Tatyana Lysenko won the Russian Championships at the end of July in a world-leading mark of 256’ 4”. She’s ready. She’s followed on the world lists by teammates Oksana Kondrateyeva in 2nd and Anna Bulgakova in 5th – a Russian powerhouse to be sure. Kondrateyeva has a huge PR this year but has competed only in Russia. Germany’s Betty Heidler has won major meet medals four times in a row, including gold in 2007, and she is undefeated coming into Worlds. Poland’s London silver medalist Anita Wlordarcryk has finished first or second in every meet this year. A scintillating competition is on tap; Russia could well bring home multiple medals. It’s hammer time!
- Betty Heidler, Ger
- Tatyana Lysenko, Rus
- Anita Wlordarcryk, Pol
m Long Jump
When I saw Alexander Menkov jump in Eugene in June, I thought I might be watching this year’s world champ. In six meets he’s won four and placed 2nd twice. Usually the early Diamond League meets reveal little about the year in store, but this was not true in Shanghai in May when Li Jinzhe was the unexpected winner and in an attention-getting 27 4 ¼”. But with only four competitions and no mark in two of them, I’m not ready to jump on his bandwagon quite yet. Great potential, but if he can’t take the heat in the Gent Flanders Cup…
One of the most exciting jumpers to come along this year is Mexico’s Luis Rivera who is either hot or not. When ‘on,’ he jumped a world lead 29 9 ¼” and defeated Menkov in Kazan. In a busy season, he has finished out of the top 3 only twice in 12 meets.
NCAA and Paris Diamond League champ Damar Forbes deserves serious consideration as a medalist… Olympic gold medalist Greg Rutherford is just back from injury and barely made the British squad… Brazil’s Mauro da Silva was 2nd to Menkov in Eugene, third in London, and in what, granted, has mostly been a regional campaign, he has finished no worse than 3rd in a dozen meets.
It’s an extraordinarily tight field as 19 jumpers are within 12” of each other on top of the world list. An exceptionally young group makes this a fascinating event. Who will be oblivious enough to the moment to shock the world? I give home field advantage to Menkov in front of a raucous sold-out stadium.
Meanwhile, Rivera, an artist of the long jump, who has his doctorate in industrial engineering and is a clear medal favorite with the world’s longest jump this year, says that “if a dream crosses your mind, it will cross your life.” (IAAF website) He is 26. I am so unworthy!
- Alexander Menkov, Rus
- Luis Rivera, Mex
- Mauro da Silva, Bra
m Shot Put
Ryan Whiting has a Valerie Adams-like lead on the world lists of almost two feet. In 8 competitions he has won 6 times and finished 2nd the other two times. Reese Hoffa (US) was second to Whiting at the US Championships. The London bronze medalist (and Osaka world champ in ’07) isn’t showing his age quite yet as his 71’ 2 ¾” at second on the world list demonstrates.
David Storl won the German title in early July; he is down on the performance list this year at more than a meter behind Whiting, but the still-young (he just turned 23) London silver medalist and Daegu world champ is a great big meet competitor. And Whiting fell apart in London. Thomas Majewski (Pol) has two Olympic golds to his credit but is clearly off-form this year. Another 23-year-old, Ladislav Pravel (Cze), had a big early-season throw of 70’ 5 ¼”, and has been over 21 meters (just under 68’ 11”) a total of four times this year.
Belated Beijing bronze medalist Dylan Armstrong gets the travel award of the year as he threw in Vancouver, BC on a Monday, Lausanne on Thursday, and Victoria on Saturday. With silver in Daegu and 5th in London, he is always in the thick of it for the podium. Zach Lloyd picked the right time to PR when he grabbed the third spot on the US team in Des Moines.
I get nervous picking two medals for the US as our shot putters have often not lived up to their pre-major meet performances.
- David Storl, Ger
- Ryan Whiting, US
- Ladislav Pravel, Cze
Mo Farah is a prohibitive favorite to win this race. With an astonishing European record of 3:28.81 in the mile and a withering last 800m in the London Diamond League 3,000m, Farah can win at any distance he wants – including a charity match race he has proposed vs Usain Bolt at 600 or 800m.
Hagos Gebrhiwet scorched a 7:30 3k in Doha and beat a stellar field as well as the weather in New York. An Olympic 5,000m finalist and World Junior Cross Country champion in March, he has finished no worse than 3rd in anything since London. He upset Galen Rupp in the Boston Indoor this year (modesty prevents me from noting that not everyone thought this was an upset…). You know what he did the next day? He turned 19. If he is anywhere near the lead with 300m to go, watch out.
Galen Rupp certainly has the finishing chops to medal if he can be in the mix with 400m to go. The slower the pace the better he’ll do. I have a feeling that with what’s perceived as a bit of an off season for him, he’s lying in wait to pounce in Moscow.
Isiah Koech (Ken) has been third twice this season in deep Diamond League meets and won the Kenyan Trials. Edwin Soi (Ken) and Albert Rop (BRN) went 1-2 in 12:51s in the outstanding Monaco race. Yenew Alamirew (Eth) has won two Diamond League 5ks this year, and Alamirew and Gebrhiwet went 1-2 in 12:54-12:55 in Rome.
And who’s getting better with each race? The United States’ Lawi Lalang, that’s who. A possible American record?
- Mo Farah, GB
- Hagos Gebrhiwet, Eth
- Edwin Soi, Ken
Allyson Felix finished second to NCAA and US champ Kimberlyn Duncan at the US Nationals,
and she is ever-so-slighty below her 2012 gold medal standards. Same can be said for Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. But Felix and SAFP are great big-meet competitors, and slighty off for them can be still be gold. Muriel Ahoure brings strong credentials at 22.24 and 10.91, the former her winning time at Monaco. And note that Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemeyen beat Duncan in Lausanne – I’m just sayin’. Duncan brings great multiple rounds experience and is a strong contender for a medal/
- Allyson Felix (US)
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
- Muriel Ahoure (CIV)
The US dominates the 400m lists with 10 of the top 22. It could be pretty wide open for medals… Bahamas has great depth with Chris Brown on anchor… Jamaica has three at 45.28 or better with plenty of 200m runners who can move up… and Belgium will have plenty of crowd support with the three Borlee brothers. Last year’s surprise bronze medalist, Trinidad and Tobago, have only one athlete in the top 20 this year. Russia and Great Britain always have highly disciplined teams. Think Russia hasn’t made it a national priority to bring home a medal in one of the Championships’ signature events?
- United States