2012 medal projection update: Track and field

SECOND update (July 10-11, 2012)

Original posts are here: men’s running, women’s running, field events.

The results that matter: 2011 World Championships in Daegu and the 2012 top performances.

Changes are in bold italic.


100 meters: Jamaica’s Yohan Blake has gone from “guy who won world title when Usain Bolt was DQ’s” to “guy who has beaten Usain Bolt more than once.”  Meanwhile, Justin Gatlin has gone from “suspended former star” to “legit medal threat,” while fellow American Tyson Gay is progressing nicely after hip surgery. Asafa Powell could always make it a Jamaican sweep, while Ryan Bailey rounds out the U.S. team. Formerly JAM-USA-JAM, now Jamaica, Jamaica, USA

4×100 relay: The USA and Britain collided at Worlds, adding to a long series of relay mishaps that make this event more difficult to predict. Until we see that someone else is actually faster, we’re not changing the projection. Jamaica, USA, Britain

200: Another Blake-Bolt showdown in the making, especially with 2011 runner-up Walter Dix (USA) not qualifying and 2011 third-place Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) nowhere near the 19.80 he ran in Daegu. Churandy Martina, formerly of the now-defunct Netherlands Antilles and now of the Netherlands, lost the 2008 silver medal in a controversy over lane violations but is back in the sub-20 club this year with Blake, Bolt, Jamaica’s Warren Weir and top American Wallace Spearmon. The other Americans, Maurice Mitchell and Isiah Young, are long shots. Was JAM-USA-USA; now Jamaica, Jamaica, USA

400: Where have all the U.S. quarter-milers gone? Only one, LaShawn Merritt, made the final at Worlds. He was run down at the line in Daegu by Grenadan teenager Kirani James, and he was fighting for his Olympic eligibility. The good news: He got it, and he has the two fastest times of 2012. American Tony McQuay makes a 1-2 U.S. finish a possibility; Bryshon Nellum is farther down the list. Belgium’s Borlee brothers carry legit European medal hopes, but then come the other Caribbean prospects — James, Dominica’s Luquelin Santos, and a few from the Bahamas and Jamaica. Was USA-JAM-JAM; now USA, Grenada, USA

4×400: Still enough depth for the USA to win here, especially when the hurdlers are pulled into the pool, though Merritt needed to pull off some last-leg heroics to take gold at Worlds. Hard to explain how South Africa finished second in Daegu; that’s not likely to happen again. Jamaica finished third in Daegu and should still have the depth to medal. The rest is a grab bag — Russia was fourth in Daegu but slow in 2012, the Bahamas have churned out a few top runners, and then the hosts look capable of putting together a decent team. So we’ll leave things unchanged: USA, Jamaica, Britain

800: Kenya’s David Rudisha is simply the master, with Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki the only guy within range of catching him. Third place is wide-open, with the USA’s Nick Symmonds in the mix along with a host of other Kenyans, but we’ll stick with the original projections. Another American, Khadevis Robinson, may make the final but is unlikely to medal, while Duane Solomon is a long shot. But we’re bullish on Symmonds, so we’ll make a change. Was KEN-SUD-KEN; now Kenya, Sudan, USA

1,500: The results at Worlds matched the original 2012 medal projection of Kenya, Kenya, USA. Matthew Centrowitz, who is far down on the list of top times, wasn’t the American runner I had in mind, but it shows that the U.S. runners can get in there in a sprint finish. Centrowitz made the team again, along with Leo Manzano and Andrew Wheating. Kenyans and other Africans have all the top times, but everyone runs “tactically” these days, so that might not matter Still, the Americans are far down the list and haven’t been keeping up with anyone in big races, so we’ll revise. Was KEN-KEN-USA; now Kenya, Kenya, Ethopia

5,000: As predicted, we had an Ethiopia-Kenya-Ethiopia finish in Daegu. They just happened to finish 3-4-5 while Britain’s Mo Farah held off the USA’s Bernard Lagat in a thriller. Farah may well have the race of his life at home. Lagat hasn’t posted a great time anywhere this year, but Galen Rupp is just getting better and better. The third American, Lopez Lomong, has an outside chance at sticking around. Was ETH-KEN-ETH; now Britain, Ethiopia, USA

10,000: Another classic finish in Daegu, with Farah barely failing to complete the 5,000/10,000 double. Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele didn’t finish; his fellow Ethiopians took gold and bronze. Rupp, Matt Tegenkamp and Dathan Ritzenhein could be in the mix, but Farah may be the best hope of breaking up the parade of Africans. Was ETH-KEN-USA; now Ethiopia, Kenya, Britain

Marathon: Ethiopia has five of the six fastest times of 2012, and three of those runners are on the team. The fastest: Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero, 2:04.23 in Dubai. But that was a very fast race. The second-fastest, Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, did it in London over a course that overlaps with the Olympic course. If any of of the Kenyans and Ethiopians falter, Americans Abdi Abdirahman, Meb Keflezighi (2004 silver medalist) and Ryan Hall have as much of a chance as anyone else. Was KEN-KEN-KEN; now Kenya, Ethiopia, Ethiopia

Steeplechase: World Championship results matched the medal projections made last year. Kenya is so deep that Paul Kipsiele Koech, who has the top two times in the world this year, didn’t make it out of trials. The Daegu 1-2 of Ezekiel Kemboi and Brimin Kiprop Kipruto is back, and France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is running fast enough to match his third-place finish in Daegu. Americans Evan Jager, Donald Cabral and Kyle Alcorn would do well just to make the final. No change: Kenya, Kenya, France

110 hurdles: David Oliver curiously fell out of form last summer and had an abysmal start in the final at Worlds. The Americans are surprise world champion Jason Richardson, Aries Merritt and Jeffrey Porter. Merritt had the fastest time of the year — a blazing 12.93 — in trials. He and Richardson have five of the top eight times; Porter has another. The other two belong to China’s resurgent Liu Xiang, who had rotten luck in Daegu — Cuba’s Dayron Robles was disqualified for interfering with him. Robles still has the world record but isn’t even the fastest Cuban this year. So it’s still the USA, China and Cuba, but in what order? Was USA-CUB-USA; now USA, Cuba, China

400 hurdles: This one defies prediction. Last year, the USA had three of the top five on the times list and six of the top 10. Their results at Worlds? Sixth and seventh. David “Dai” Greene of Britain won in Daegu and has the second fastest time this year behind Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, who went 1-2 with Greene in Paris. South Africa’s L.J. Van Zyl has disappeared. Bershawn Jackson is the fastest American this year, but he stumbled in trials and didn’t make the team — the squad is Michael Tinsley, Angelo Taylor and Kerron Clement. They’re all contenders, as is the Dominican Republic’s ageless Felix Sanchez. Was USA-USA-USA, but that’s overly optimistic. Now Britain, Puerto Rico, USA

20k walk: Italy’s Alex Schwazer is back in form with the top time of the year. China’s Zhen Wang and Ding Chen are next, finishing 1-2 at a race in March. We’re guessing the three Russians who swept in Sochi in February can improve by a few seconds. Teenager Trevor Barron is the best American walking prospect in decades. Was ITA-AUS-RUS; now Italy, China, Russia

50k walk: Russia owns this event, and but Australia got two of the top five at Worlds, and Jarred Tallent showed he’s still kicking with a third-place finish behind two Russians in Saransk in May. Schwazer has a top-five time, while Japan has surpassed China so far this year. American vet John Nunn is back. Was RUS-CHN-FRA; now Russia, Australia, Japan

High jump: Jesse Williams (USA) won the world title, then nearly missed the Olympic team. He’s third in the world this year behind two Russians. Britain’s Robert Grabarz may spoil the old-school Cold War matchup, but Americans Erik Kynard and Jamie Nieto can hang with anyone. Was RUS-RUS-USA; now Russia, USA, Russia

Pole vault: France’s Renaud Lavillenie (5.97 meters this year) and the German duo of Bjorn Otto (5.92) and Malte Mohr (5.91) are just way ahead of everyone. Even world champion Pawel Wojciechowski (POL, 5.62). Even stunning Daegu runner-up Lazaro Borges (CUB, 5.60). Even sentimental favorite Steven Hooker (AUS, 5.42) is going to regain his form. And even the Americans — Brad Walker (5.72), Jeremy Scott (5.60) and Derek Miles (5.60). Was FRA-AUS-GER; now France, Germany, Germany

Long jump: I said in an earlier iteration of this that in the year 3012, the bionically and cryogenically preserved Dwight Phillips will rise from his box and win yet another gold medal. Unfortunately, that won’t happen in 2012. The four-time world champion is out injured this year. Runner-up Mitchell Watt (AUS) isn’t in top form, though he won the Diamond League meet in New York. Britain’s Greg Rutherford and young Russian Sergey Morgunov share the world’s top mark (8.35 meters), with Germany’s Sebastian Bayer and the USA’s Marquise Goodwin just behind. Fellow American Will Claye is in the mix, though he’s not as strong here as he is in the triple jump. The third-best American on the list, Ashton Eaton, is tied up in the decathlon, so George Kitchens has the third spot. Was USA-GER-AUS; now Australia, Britain, Russia

Triple jump: There I was last year, watching the usual assortments of Europeans and Cubans contesting the world title, and then these two young Americans turned up and blew everyone away. Well, not quite — Christian Taylor and Will Claye took gold and bronze, surrounding Britain’s Phillips Idowu. Taylor and Claye are 1-2 on the top list this year, more than compensating for the lack of a third American in the field. Other top performers include Russia’s Lyukman Adams and Italy’s Fabrizio Donato, but you have to figure Idowu is saving up for a big performance at home. Was FRA-GBR-CUB; now USA, Britain, USA

Shot put: Surely the USA couldn’t be shut out in this event at Worlds AND the Olympics. Germany’s David Storl came up with a personal best to win the world title last year ahead of reliable Canadian Dylan Armstrong, Belarus’s Andrei Mikhnevich and all four Americans. The performance list this year is a U.S. sweep — Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa and Ryan Whiting. The only contenders anywhere near that group are Polish vet Tomasz Majewski, Storl, Russia’s Maksim Sidorov and Armstrong. We’re sticking with the original picks: USA, Poland, USA

Discus: Germany’s Robert Harting is the most consistent thrower in the world these days, so his world title is no surprise. Olympic champion Gerd Kanter of Estonia hasn’t had as many big throws but came on strong for second at Worlds and is still in the top 10. Poland’s Piotr Malachowski faltered in Daegu, leaving the door open for surprise bronze medalist Ehsan Hadadi of Iran. They’re still in the top six, but the only two over 70 meters are Harting and Lithuania’s Virgilijus Alekna. Then it’s Malachowski, British youngster Lawrence Okoye and Hungary’s Zoltan Kovago. Americans Jason Young, Lance Brooks and Jarred Rome are within six meters, but that’s a long way at this stage. Was POL-GER-HUN; now Germany, Poland, Lithuania

Hammer: The only mark I can find for world champion Koji Murofushi (Japan) in 2012 is nearly 10 meters behind the leaders — Belarussian Ivan Tsikhan and consistent Hungarian/world runner-up Krisztian Pars. Poland’s Pawel Fajdek is close, and then it’s Russia and Belarus for a while. American A.G. Kruger isn’t too far back; Kibwe Johnson is back with Murofushi. Was JPN-SLO-BLR; now Hungary, Russia, Belarus

Javelin: The best name in sports, Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen, just isn’t coming up with the throws this year. Neither is German world champion Matthias de Zordo, who beat Thorkildsen in Daegu but is seven meters off his best this year. The Czech Republic’s Vitezslav Vesley finished fourth in Daegu and has a massive 88-meter throw this year. Then it’s a grab bag — Latvia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Poland — all ahead of the usual Scandinavian powers. So do we go with history or form? A mix.  Was NOR-FIN-GER; now Czech Republic, Norway, Germany

Decathlon: Last year, Bryan Clay didn’t make it to Daegu, and the USA finished 1-2 anyway, with Trey Hardee winning and phenom Ashton Eaton second. Clay once again won’t make it — the USA won’t even have a third decathlete — but Eaton set a world record in trials. Hardee’s marks only placed him sixth on the world list, but we’ll keep him second ahead of Germany’s Pascal Behrenreich, the only man with in 500 points of Eaton. Was USA-FRA-CUB; now USA, USA, Germany

(updated to this point)


100: The USA’s Carmelita Jeter has the world title and the second fastest time of the year between two Jamaicans — 2008 gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Hyphen-Overkill and 2011 runner-up Veronica Campbell-Brown. Kerron Stewart was part of a Jamaican sweep in 2008, but between Jeter, Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison, the USA has three runners who should prevent that. Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste is the only runner outside the USA and Jamaica with any shot at a medal. Was JAM-USA-JAM; now USA, Jamaica, Jamaica

4×100: Projection last year: USA, Jamaica, Ukraine. Finish at Worlds: USA, Jamaica, Ukraine. But Trinidad and Tobago was a close fourth in Daegu, and their runners are simply posting faster times than anyone outside the USA and Jamaica. Ukraine is by no means out of it. Another contender: Nigeria. Was USA-JAM-UKR; now USA, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago

200: Doing the “double” is difficult, as the USA’s Jeter and Felix can attest after losing to Campbell-Brown in Daegu. Jeter, who won the 100, was second. Then came Felix, who was second in the 400. Sanya Richards-Ross, who’s better at 400, has the second-best time this year after the dominant Felix. Fraser-Pryce is third fastest this year, followed by Jeter. Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson are farther back, but one Jamaican should be able to get onto the podium somehow. Projection unchanged: USA, Jamaica, USA

400: Botswana’s Amantle Montsho didn’t quite come from nowhere — she has posted several sub-50 times over the years — but her win at Worlds is still a bit of a surprise. But Russian Anastasiya Kapachinskaya has the top time of the year and should be the biggest threat to the USA’s Sanya Richards-Ross, who’s back in superb form this year. Defending champion Christine Ohuruogu of Britain will be a sentimental favorite but doesn’t have any times this year that inspire confidence. All three Russians are medal contenders, as are Richards-Ross’s fellow Americans, Deedee Trotter and Francena McCorory. Was USA-RUS-USA; now USA, Russia, Russia

4×400: Jamaica set a national record but still couldn’t run down the USA in Daegu even with an unnerving late fade. Russia was a disappointing third in Daegu but has strength in numbers that only the USA can match. This might be the best race of the Olympics, but we’re sticking with the 2008 order: USA, Russia, Jamaica

800: Russia’s Mariya Savinova and South Africa’s Carter Semenya had a terrific duel in Daegu, posting the top two times of the year to that point. Savinova, one of several contending Russians, is in form to do it again. Semenya isn’t, but she has the track record to suggest she’ll turn it on in London. Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo, the 2008 gold medalist, has the best two times of 2012, followed by the USA’s Alysia Montano. The other U.S. runners, Geena Gall and Alice Schmidt, are less of a threat. Was KEN-RSA-USA; now Russia, Kenya, South Africa

1,500: The stats tell us 21 women ran this distance faster than the USA’s Jenny Simpson in 2011. In Daegu, no one did. While all the African runners botched the tactics, going much too slowly through 1,400 meters or so, Simpson and Britain’s accurately named Hannah England blasted through at the finish. Surely they won’t make such a mess of things in London, right? We’re going to with the charts showing Morocco’s Mariem Alaoui Selsouli with the best time and Ethiopia’s Abeba Arigawe with the second-best time and Diamond League lead, but who knows what will really happen? Russian runners have a ton of fast times, and the USA’s Morgan Uceny isn’t far behind. Shannon Rowbury also has shown championship form at times, and then there’s the unlikely defending world champion, Simpson. Was KEN-BAH-USA; now (with much trepidation) Morocco, Ethiopia, Russia

5,000: The expected Kenya-Ethiopia duel materialized in Daegu, with Kenya’s peerless Vivian Cheruiyot winning the world title. She has the best time of 2012 as well, barely getting past Ethiopia’s Meseret Dafar in a thriller in Rome. Julia Lucas has the fastest U.S. time this year but didn’t make the team, which will include Julie Culley, Molly Huddle and fast finisher Kim Conley. No change in the projections. Kenya, Ethiopia, Kenya

 10,000: Cheruiyot did the double in Daegu, leading a Kenyan sweep of the top four places. The Kenyan trials were curiously slow, so the Olympians from the event’s dominant country are far down the 2012 list. Meanwhile, Ethiopians Tirunesh Dibaba and Belaynesh Algera have posted faster times this year than anyone has this year OR last. Breaking up the Ethiopia-Kenya stranglehold on the top times: Russia’s Elizaveta Grechishnikova and the USA’s Amy Hastings. The other Americans, Janet Bawsom and Lisa Uhl, also aren’t far back. The host country has 38-year-old favorite Jo Pavey in the mix along with Julia Bleasdale, and Ireland has a contender in Fionnuala Britton. Two Japanese runners also are in the top 10. So it could be interesting, but you really can’t pick against Africa here. Was ETH-KEN-TUR; now Ethiopia, Kenya, Ethiopia

Marathon: Kenya swept the World Championships. Kenya swept the first five places in London in April, led by Olympians Mary Keitany, Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo. For sake of variety, Ethiopians won in Rotterdam (Tiki Gelana) and Dubai (Aselefech Mergia) in the second- and third-fastest times of the year behind Keitany. Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova doesn’t appear to have run this distance this year, but she ran both London and Chicago each of the last three years and finished with four wins, one second place and one third. Japan and China have a few runners who could surprise, and the USA’s Shalane Flanagan has made a strong transition up to this distance. Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher have the other spots on the team. Was RUS-ETH-KEN. Now Kenya, Russia, Ethiopia

Steeplechase: Finally, the Kenyan logjam is broken — Russia’s Yuliya Zaripova won in Daegu with the best time of 2011 to that point, and Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi set a national record to finish second. Ghribi hasn’t come close to that recently, but neither have most of the Kenyans other than Milcah Chemos Cheywa. Other than Chemos Cheywa and Zaripova, the only runners under 9:10 this year are Ethiopians Sofia Assefa and Hiwot Ayalew. Emma Coburn is by far the best contender out of the U.S. contingent, which also includes Bridget Franek and Shalaya Kipp. Was KEN-KEN-RUS. Now Russia, Kenya, Ethiopia

100 hurdles: Australian world champ Sally Pearson is still leaving everyone in the dust. American Lolo Jones, who had a heartbreaking fall in Beijing, has been climbing back into form and made the team in a very competitive final. But the only runners in this field close to Pearson are Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hylton and American Kellie Wells, though American Dawn Harper has been in the ballpark in the past. Was USA-CAN-USA; now Australia, USA, Jamaica

400 hurdles: Yes, we see Russia’s Natalya Antyukh and Irina Davydova atop this year’s list. But American Lashinda Demus isn’t far behind, and she edged defending champion Melaine Walker of Jamaica for the world title in a fast final. Walker and Kaliese Spencer haven’t posted great times this year, but we can’t write off Jamaica. Nor can we write off the other Americans — Georgeanne Moline and Ti’erra Brown. Was USA-JAM-RUS; now USA, Russia, Jamaica

20k walk: China has replaced Portugal as the country most likely to prevent a Russian sweep. Hong Liu did just that in Daegu, and she’s second on the list of top times in 2012. Making the Russian team might be just as difficult as medaling, though. Russia and China have the top 11 times in the world. The USA’s Maria Michta is one of the best in this hemisphere. Was RUS-RUS-POR; now Russia, Russia, China

High jump: The long-standing top two of Croatia’s Blanka Vlašić and the USA’s Chaunte Lowe had an off year in 2011. Vlašić was injured and nearly missed Worlds — then came back to finish second, anyway. We don’t know what’s up with Vlašić this year, but we know world champ Anna Chicherova of Russia has the top two marks in the world this year, just ahead of Lowe and fellow American Brigetta Barrett. The only other jumper over two meters is Russian Svetlana Shkolina, though Russian Irina Gordeeva is close. The third American, Amy Acuff, has attended every Olympics this millennium (whether you start counting in 2001 or 2000) but hasn’t been over 1.96 in quite a while. So it’s a showdown of three Russians, two Americans and possibly a Croatian. Was CRO-USA-ITA; now Russia, USA, Russia

Pole vault: Another case of wondering if the top two can come back. Yelena Isinbayeva has the top 11 jumps in history but hasn’t reached such heights since returning from some time off. The USA’s Jennifer Suhr is more erratic, splitting the next several jumps on the all-time list with Isinbayeva and posting the best before Worlds last year but missing the podium in Daegu. Suhr also has the top mark this year, followed by Brazilian Fabiana Murer. Then it’s Australia’s Alana Boyd, Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg … THEN Isinbayeva. We’re going to guess she has one more good vault and leave the projections unchanged. The other Americans to emerge from a competitive final at Trials are Lacy Janson and Becky Holliday. Russia, USA, Brazil

Long jump: Potential for another USA-Russia showdown, with two-time world champion Brittney Reese ahead of Anna Nazarova and Chelsea Hayes on the 2012 list. Belarussian Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova has two top marks very close to the limit for a tailwind, but then it’s another Russian (Yelena Sokolova) and another American (Janay DeLoach). Was RUS-RUS-USA; now USA, Russia, Russia

Triple jump: Ukraine’s Olha Saladuha won the world title and has the top mark in the world this year, followed closely by Colombian Caterine Ibargüen, who was third in 2011. Host Britain will have a contender in roundabout fashion — Yamile Aldama left Cuba in 2001 and competed for Sudan while waiting for Britain, her new home, to grant her citizenship. That took 10 years, but she finally got it, and she’ll be a contender again. Cuba still has plenty of talent, but their marks this year trail a gaggle of Eastern Europeans led by world runner-up Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan. The USA’s lone representative is Amanda Smock. Was CUB-KAZ-RUS; now Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Colombia

Shot put: The two athletes who dominated in 2010 did so again in 2011, but New Zealand’s Valerie Adams moved ahead of Belarus’s Nadzeya Ostapchuk. So far in 2012, Ostapchuk is slightly ahead. They’re a distinct top two, leaving a race for bronze between Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko, China’s Lijiao Gong and the USA’s consistent Jillian Camarena-Williams. Michelle Carter should make the final; Tia Brooks has her best years ahead. Was BLR-NZL-CHN; now New Zealand, Belarus, USA

Discus: Six athletes are far ahead on the 2012 list — Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova, Germany’s world runner-up Nadine Müller, Croatia’s Diamond League leader Sandra Perkovic, Cuba’s Yarelis Barrios (third at worlds), China’s world champion Li Yanfeng … and the USA’s Stephanie Brown Trafton, the surprising winner in 2008. Americans Gia Lewis-Smallwood and Aretha Thurmond have good shots at making the final. Australia’s Dani Samuels won the 2009 world title and interrupted Perkovic’s winning streak in the Diamond League this year. Was CUB-CRO-AUS; now Croatia, Germany, China

Hammer: Germany’s Betty Heidler and Russia’s Tatyana Lysenko have soared past Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, with Heidler breaking Wlodarczyk’s world record and Lysenko winning the world title. This year, Lysenko has the top mark, followed by Belarussian Aksana Miankova (2008 gold medalist) and Heidler. Russia has two more contenders high up the list along with China’s Wenxiu Zhang. The Americans are Amber Campbell, Amanda Bingson and Jessica Cosby; one or two could make the final. Was POL-GER-RUS; now Russia, Germany, Belarus

Javelin: The Czech Republic’s Barbora Špotáková still has the world record, but Russia’s Maria Abukumova wrested away the world championship with the best throw of the year. This year, South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen has the world’s top mark, winning head-to-head against Špotáková in New York. The top four has been the same this year and last, with Germany’s Christina Obergfoll and Abukomova rounding it out this year. American Kara Patterson hasn’t regained her form of a couple of years ago; Rachel Yurkovich and Brittany Borman may struggle to reach the final. Was CZE-RUS-GER; now Czech Republic, South Africa, Germany

Heptathlon: Britain will be watching Jessica Ennis the way it watches its soccer team, Mo Farah or Andy Murray. Ennis won the 2009 world title and posted the best score of 2010, then lost the world title last year to Russia’s Tatyana Chernova. But Ennis, despite her struggles with the javelin, beat Chernova head-to-head this year in Gotzis. Germany’s Jennifer Oeser was a clear third in Worlds but a disappointing eighth in Gotzis — one ahead of 2008 gold medalist Natallia Dobrynska (Ukraine). The USA’s Hyleas Fountain was in position for a medal in Daegu but couldn’t finish the 800 meters. She seems to be back among the contenders, though Canada’s Jessica Zelinka has been better this year. Russia and Germany have some depth. The USA’s Sharon Day and Chantae McMillan aren’t likely to contend. Was GBR-UKR-RUS; now Britain, Russia, Germany


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