This is only the sixth week of the Woly Award, the reincarnation of the U.S. Olympic Athlete of the Week honors I used to do for USA TODAY, and we already have our first repeat winner.
Tyson Gay won it a couple of weeks ago for running a 10.02 time in the 100 meters with a headwind and rain while still easing up in the last 20 meters.
This week, Gay and the rest of the U.S. track and field community was busy at the USA Track and Field Championships, which double as the trials for the World Championship team. Normally, domestic events don’t get much weight in the Woly Awards — you’re not going to see a U.S. wrestler win it for beating another U.S. wrestler, even for the titanic clash of world champion Jordan Burrough and college phenom Kyle Dake.
But track and field gives us the ability to compare times around the world. It’s not an exact comparison — Gay’s 10.02 against the wind and rain would be better than someone else’s 9.99 with a light tailwind — but it gives us a decent metric for comparing athletes.
So if we look at the top times in the 100 meters this year, updated through the weekend, the first name is: Tyson Gay, 9.75, Friday. (On the same day, Usain Bolt posted his best of the year: 9.94, though he had a slight headwind.)
Let’s check the 200 meters, in which the U.S. final was Sunday. No. 1 on the list: Tyson Gay, 19.74.
One weekend, two world-leading sprints.
Yes, Tyson Gay takes this week’s Woly Award.
And the competition was tough. Three U.S. records fell on the blue track and football-lined field in Des Moines, Iowa:
– Brianna Rollins, women’s 100 hurdles, 12.26. That beat the 12.33 set by the legendary Gail Devers in 2000. This final was fast — six of the top seven hurdlers this year were in the race (defending world champion Dawn Harper has a wild-card entry into this year’s worlds), and five of them ran their fastest times of the year. See the video.
– Amanda Bingson, women’s hammer throw, 248-5 / 75.73 meters. She actually broke Jessica Cosby’s 2012 record twice, first by 26 inches, then by four feet.
– Michelle Carter, women’s shot put, 66-5 / 20.24 meters. This was close: just 2.5 inches (6 cm) past the record shared by Ramona Pagel (1988) and Jillian Camarena-Williams (2011).
Other top performers from the USATF meet and where they rank on the world lists this year:
400 hurdles: Michael Tinsley, 47.96, first (also: Kerron Clement, 48.06, third; Bershawn Jackson, 48.09, fourth. Johnny Dutch still holds the second spot at 48.02 but couldn’t match it in Des Moines, finishing fourth in 48.21 and failing to make the World Championship team)
Shot put: Ryan Whiting, 22.11 meters, second only to his own 22.28 in May.
400: LaShawn Merritt, 44.21, second
110 hurdles: Ryan Wilson, 13.08, tied-second
100 hurdles, Brianna Rollins, 12.26, first (and U.S. record; see above)
High jump: Brigetta Barrett, 2.04 meters, first
Heptathlon: Sharon Day, 6,550 points, first
100: English Gardner, 10.85, tied-second (Barbara Pierre matched that time in a semifinal with a barely legal wind but only finished fifth in the scorching final at 10.94)
400: Natasha Hastings, 49.94, second (leader Amantle Montsho has three faster times)
Shot put: Michelle Carter, 20.24 meters, second (and U.S. record; see above)
Hammer throw: Amanda Bingson, 75.73 meters, third (and U.S. record; see above)
800: Alysia Montano, 1:58.67, third
For more on the U.S. Championships, Daily Relay has a wrap of the meet’s best, including this great picture of shot put champ Ryan Whiting lifting the women’s 5,000-meter medalists.
In other sports …
BEACH VOLLEYBALL: You know big, bald Phil Dalhausser from his days winning the 2007 world championship, the 2008 gold medal and countless FIVB events with Todd Rogers. With Rogers’ retirement, Dalhausser has paired up with Sean Rosenthal. The pair took its first Grand Slam win over the weekend in Rome. The long-standing April Ross-Jen Kessy duo took second in the women’s competition.
GYMNASTICS: Sam Mikulak took gold in the horizontal bar and bronze in the floor exercise at the FIG World Challenge Cup in Anadia, Portugal.
And elsewhere … U.S. paddlers won World Cup medals, and U.S. fencers won most of the available titles at the Pan American Championships.