Thursday, August 24, 2023

North America Sweeps the Hammer - Budapest Day #6

Stephen Pond/Getty Images for World Athletics

Joy in Hammersville

Camryn Rogers, Canada, gold (center)
DeAnna Price, US, bronze (left)
Janee Kassanavoid, US, silver (right)

Canada's Camryn Rogers ascended to the World hammer throw throne with a relentless assault that included four throws that would have won. She took the lead with her first throw of 77.22 (253-4) and was never headed.

The Cal graduate and three-time NCAA champion was the only one of the 8 finalists to record six fair throws, and her series of 77.22, 77.07, 76.75, 75.68. 76.72, 74.92 was a statement in itself. 

Rogers, only 24, completed a three-year climb to the top which started with 5th place in the Tokyo Olympics, continued with silver last year in Eugene, and now gold on the banks of the Danube.

There was plenty of tension throughout the competition as it took some time for other throwers to get unwound.

The best of these was Janee Kassanavoid (US), who moved into 2nd place with her second throw of 76.00 (249-4), a place she fiercely defended, especially against DeAnna Price. She improved to 76.36 (250-6) in the 3rd round, a mark which would stand up for silver.

Price got off to a slow start with two fouls to the right - a bit uncharacteristic of her fouls, which tend to drift left. Still, she pulled it together in the 3rd round with a 73.28 (237-2) that qualified her for three more throws. Then, her 5th round 75.41(247-5) vaulted her into bronze medal position and secured her place on the podium. 

Three-time major meet medalist Zheng Wang of China had an uncharacteristic performance. Only her first two throws were legal. Her 2nd round 72.12 (236-7) got her into the final and and three more throws, all of which were fouls. 

In addition, a very disappointed Hanna Skydan of Azerbaijan finished 4th after having set a national record of 77.10 (252-11) in qualifying. She has made the top eight at Worlds three times in her career, but has yet to leave with a medal.

Sharing in her disappointment was Poland's Malwina Kopron, London and Tokyo bronze medalist, who opened with three fouls and was done for the day.

Had defending World Champion Brooke Andersen (US) not failed to advance from qualifying, they might have had to add a 4th step to the podium! Most unfortunately, she has been dealing with serious shoulder pain this season.

Now Rogers, Price, and Kassanavoid each has two World Championship medals: Rogers gold ('23) and silver ('22), Price gold ('19) and bronze ('23), and Kassanavoid bronze ('22) and silver ('23). 

Add Andersen's gold from 2022 and we have a region of the world that dominates women's hammer in a way that Central Europe once did.

And with the emergence of young (21) Canadian gold medalist Ethan Katzberg on the men's side, North Americans won 4 out of the 6 hammer medals on offer - with both golds to Canada.

"I cannot be any happier," said the newly golden Rogers. "Competing in the final with such amazing and talented throwers makes this piece of history even better. It enriches the experience knowing you are among amazing people who are all aiming for the same goal. ... I am excited about what next year will bring. Paris will be huge."

In an extraordinarily busy day of seven finals, here are several additional highlights.

*Femke Bol of The Netherlands won the 400m hurdles in 51.70, cementing her position as #2 in history, while Jamaica's Rushell Clayton, 30, won bronze, her first major medal in a long career. Shamier Little (US) won her second World silver; the first was 8 years ago in Beijing.

* Greece's 2021 Olympic Champion Miltiadis Tentoglou came back from what was for him a disappointing silver in Eugene to win the long jump by a scant 2 centimeters over Jamaica's Wayne Pinnock, 8.52-8.50. Jamaica took places 2-3-4, with 2019 World Champ Tajay Gayle 3rd and Carey McCloud 4th. Gayle and McLeod tied at 8.27 and McCloud won bronze with a longer 2nd-best jump.

*Jamaica's Danielle Williams upset the form charts by winning the 100m hurdles by 1/100th of a second over 2021 Olympic Champion, Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. This should not have been as much of a surprise as it may now seem; Williams won World gold in Beijing (2015) and World bronze in Eugene in 2022. Former world record holder Keni Harrison (US) was 3rd.

*21-year-old Antonio Watson of Jamaica unexpectedly took down a stellar 400m field in in 44.22. Four-time European champion Matthew Hudson-Smith moved up from bronze in Eugene to silver today (44.31), while Quincy Hall (US) set a personal best of 44.37 to nab bronze. Multiple relay gold medalist Vernon Norwood (US) missed his first major individual medal by .02.

*The men's and women's 35 kilometer racewalks were staged in conjunction with each other. Spain did well enough, thank you, and walked away with two champions: Maria Perez and Alvaro Martin, with Perez nailing a championship record and Martin a national one.

Second and third for the men were Brian Daniel Pintado of Ecuador in an area record, and Japan's Masatoro Kawano. 

Canada's Evan Dunfee finished 4th in both walks. 

He oughta take up hammer.

Second and third for the women were Kimberly Garcia-Leon (Peru) and Antigoni Ntrismpioti (Greece). 

Considering Ntrismpioti's first name, I'd say this turned out rather well.

~ by Mark Cullen, written in Seattle

Ever Seen This Before?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images for World Athletics

The men's and women's 35 kilometer walk races were held jointly on the same course in Budapest.

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