Friday, July 25, 2014

Found: What Hayward Field Has Been Missing All These Years

The art of the possible was perfected Thursday evening on Day 3 of the World Junior Track and Field Championships.

With nine finals in a packed schedule, Hayward Field came alive. Featuring dramatic ‘can you top this?’ competitions, frequent lead changes, a final-throw win in the javelin, and a crowd that was rockin’ at last, international track and field received the embrace it has long sought here - and deserved.
Russia’s Ekaterina Starygina led the javelin competition until the 6th round when Sweden’s Sofi Flink took the lead. But Starygina had one last opportunity, and in a track and field classic, won on the event’s final throw.
Ekaterina Starygina
World Junior Javelin Champ
Both the men’s 110m hurdles and shot put had a ‘we have seen the future’ aspect to them. France’s Wilhelm Belocian set the world junior record and became the first junior ever under 13.00 in the 110m hurdles with his historic 12.99. Hard to believe that Jamaica’s Tyler Mason mined only silver with his 13.06.

Harder to comprehend is that Konrad Bukowiecki’s (Pol) massive 22.06/72' 4.5" earned him the yearly shot put lead and third on the all-time list, but not a championship record, as Jacko Gill’s 22.20/72' 10 1/4" withstood Bukowiecki’s assault. There will be some significant reshuffling of the international pecking order as Belocian, Mason, and Bukowiecki move into the senior ranks.
US vault phenom Desiree Freier twice set the American junior record, only to be topped by Russia’s Alena Lutkovskaya’s championship record of 4.50/14' 9 3/16". The men’s long jump saw China go 1-2 with favored Qing Lin second to teammate Jianan Wang, who soared past 8 meters.

Jonathan Sawe
World Junior 1500m Champion
Kenya’s Jonathan Kiplimo Sawe won the 1500m with a scintillating last lap. When Race Results Weekly’s David Monti asked him when he thought he would win, he replied, “At 400 meters.” Now that is confidence in your kick. He won going away by 1.36 seconds, a significant margin in this day and age of sit and kick races.
Kenya’s Margaret Wambui won the women’s 800m after Iceland’s Anita Hinriksdottir went out in an eager 56.33 for the first 400m. This race was a reminder that it's kids who are competing here - all under 20 and some far younger than that - most with modest experience on a stage such as this.
Well, that about wraps it up… oh, wait, did someone say Mary Cain?! The US distance prodigy ran 62.93/29.90 for the last 400m/200m to blow the competition off the track in a tactical, edgy 3,000m race.

The crowd could be heard in Portland.

Maine.
 
Mary Cain
World Junior 3,000m Champion

The Prefontaine Classic, held here at the end of every May, is an international event whose focus is always, necessarily, on individuals. Medal ceremonies, however, change the nature of a championship.  They cause us to pause and note that the achievements of the three medalists honored are supported by many.

When flags are raised and anthems played, we are reminded of the distinctive cultures these athletes represent. As we were reminded last evening, it is - often to widely varying degrees - a national effort that gets these remarkable athletes to the podium.
Even the setting sun added flair to the medal ceremony for the men’s 110m hurdles. As the athletes were presented their medals, the first sunset of these rainy championships painted the East Grandstand gold.
Heretofore, the focus in this stadium - in a college setting - has rightly been on individuals and teams. Last night, as the first chords of the French national anthem were played, that changed.
What historic Hayward Field has been missing all these years is 
La Marseillaise.

 
 

5 comments:

  1. One of the best things about being a Hayward Field track & field nut is that we can root for individuals without all the nationalistic fervor of the Olympics. Anthems Shmanthems!

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  2. "Anthems shmanthems"?! Anthony must have never stood on the gold medal podium representing his country...ask any of those athletes what that experience is worth.

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    1. How about you, 'Anonymous'? Any podium experience? I doubt it, otherwise you would have the courage to write your name. No, even if I won a gold medal, I would have the guts to stand by my convictions. Not so easily influenced here.

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  3. DRUGFREEATHLETES.US--A PHIL AND PENNY KNIGHT GLOBAL PROJECT, ASSISTED BY COACHES BILL DELLINGER, TOM BOWERMAN AND OTHERS A TRUE NEW FRONTIER IN SPORTS!!!

    CONGRATS TO ALL JR. COMPETITORS, GOD BLESS ALL OF U ALWAYS!!

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  4. A Starygina tem muita presença, e um estilo lindo q so ela tem, seu belo arremeço , com aquele belo porte dela e combinaçao de leveza e força, ela arrebenta com sua beleza, ela arranca suspiros, ela e uma gata.

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