Track is my field: Mark Cullen's international track and field website featuring storytelling, commentary, and predictions and event analyses for the Olympics and World Championships. I'll be writing from the 2018 European Championships in Berlin in August. I'm active on Facebook and Twitter: @trackerati.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

World Record(s) in Eugene Today?

Uncommon is common at Hayward Field, 
where stars mingle readily with the night,
and night gives the stars all the space they need. 


Link to Steve Prefontaine tribute: “Steve”


Day 2 - 2015 IAAF Diamond League Prefontaine Classic

There is much chatter in Eugene today about the possibility of a world record.

How realistic is this - and who might the claimants be?

The vertical jumpers have the best shot.

Renaud Lavillenie – pole vault
The French 2014 Male Athlete of the Year (Track and Field News and IAAF) supplanted Sergey Bubka (UKR) as world record holder with his 20’ 2.5” clearance in Donetsk, Ukraine, 15 months ago – with Bubka in attendance. He’ll have to contend with the often swirling winds here, but gentle versions of these could be his ally as much as his nemesis.

Mutazz Essa Barshim – high jump
Bogdan Bondarenko (UKR) and Barshim (QAT) electrified this event in 2014, and many made the case that the men’s high jump was the event of the year.

Javier Sotomayor’s 8’ ½”/2.45m world record has stood since 1992; Barshim (2.43m) and Bondarenko (2.42m) are the best since.

A video of Barshim clearing the bar by the proverbial mile went viral last summer. Nail one of those and that world record is history.

Genzebe Dibaba – 5,000m
Dibaba (ETH) has been on a tear – indoors. Since 2/1/14, she has set new standards at 1500m (3:55.17), 3k (8:16.60), 2 miles (9:00.48), and 5k (14:18.86). The world outdoor record is 14:11.15 by sister Tirunesh.

Much could be on the line today, including who gets first dibs on dessert at the next family gathering.

If it were up to me, that would be settled easily if cousin Deratu Tulu - Sydney Olympic and Edmonton World 10,000m champ - dropped by. Meanwhile, waiting her turn for dessert is third sister, Ejagayehu, silver medalist in the Athens Olympic 10k.

(Shhhhhh… dare I speak his name? Justin Gatlin (200m today) is deeply committed to showing he’s better than Usain Bolt; there’s only one way to do that.)


Meanwhile, have you noticed that the acronym for Mutazz Essa Barshim’s name is MEB? I’m just sayin’…

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