Saturday, March 19, 2016

Gold at First, Gold at Last

Arriving at the Oregon Convention Center for the 2016 World Indoor T+F Championships was a little like coming home to my Dutch relatives - I was greeted by waves of orange, the Dutch national color. Here was a sea of volunteers in bright orange shirts. Even my souvenir backpack is visible from Mars.

Gold at Last
The first full day of competition saw three-time World silver medalist Brianne Thiesen-Eaton join her husband, Ashton, as a World Champion. The Canadian pentathlete - a University of Oregon graduate - ran a thrilling 800m in front of a raucous crowd to win her first World title. In 3rd place with the 800m run to go - and more importantly, 150 points behind - Thiesen-Eaton rallied to an indoor personal best 2:09.99 to win by 34 points and send the partisan crowd into a frenzy.

The golden couple, indeed.

Gold at First
In a recent interview, Trayvon Bromell (US), spoke bravely about his decision to, well, take the money and run. He turned professional after medaling in the 100m at the outdoor World Championships in Beijing last August. Clearly, he missed his college coaches, missed his trainer, missed his teammates and missed being part of a team.

Perhaps not quite so much today. He now stands as the newly crowned World Champion of the 60m dash. Bromell won against a loaded field that included Jamaica's Asafa Powell, who in spite of a stellar 6.44 in the semi-finals, just missed his long-sought World title by 3/100th of a second. 9/100 separated 1st from 8th.

Bromell is 20.

Gold Forever?
That's what Thomas Walsh's (NZ) shot put competitors may well be asking, and with good reason. Walsh unleashed the greatest series of throws in indoor shot put history to win going away in 21.78m/71' 5.5". So dominant was he that 5 of his 6 throws would have won the competition. His 21.78 is his personal record, indoors or out.

Notable in his achievement is that there is no indoor track and field in New Zealand. In the past two years he has thrown indoors 4 times (including practice), and his total number of times in the wooden ring in his career he counts as "maybe 10."

His only disappointment? Walsh's coach had promised to grow a handlebar mustache if he threw 21.80.

After such a dominating performance, it's important to still have goals.

Up tonight is New Zealand's multiple World and Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams in the shot put, with the distinct possibility of the island nation claiming both golds. She is coming back from serious injury... is she all the way back?

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