How do you stand out in track and field in a non-Olympic, non-World Championship year?
A world record is the best way to do it, and high jumpers are getting closer and closer. That’s the highlight of this week’s Daily Relay Monday Morning Run, which starts with the Diamond League event in New York, the first in which two men cleared 2.42 meters (that’s 3/4 inch shy of 8 feet). Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko and Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim each took their shots at a new record of 2.46 meters (that’s 3.4 inch over 8 feet) but fell shy.
The funny thing is that they might not even be the best high jumpers in the world at the moment. Russia’s Ivan Ukhov and Canada’s Derek Drouin missed the New York meet. They’ve jumped 2.40 and 2.41 this year. USA’s Erik Kynard has gone over 2.37. Ukhov also cleared 2.42 indoor, while fellow Russian Aleksey Dmitrik got over 2.40.
Meanwhile, we’re promised a few record attempts at the Golden Spike meet tomorrow in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Slight asterisk there, though — they’re in the rarely contested distances of 1,000 meters, 2,000 meters and 20,000 meters. (For the latter, the “one-hour run” mark is also at risk.)
Other best and worst of the week in myriad sports:
BEST U.S. NATIONAL TEAM WIN
U.S. women’s water polo, World League champions despite losing Kami Craig in the final with a lacerated hand.
MOST OVERACHIEVING U.S. NATIONAL TEAM
U.S. women’s field hockey, fourth place at World Cup.
He’s the best decathlete in the world, so Ashton Eaton already has a pretty good claim to the “best athlete” title. But now he has won an individual Diamond League event: 400-meter hurdles.
BEST ITEM IN OLLIE’S ROUNDUP
“World governing body Fila, fed up with being mistaken for a form of pastry best employed with spinach, is …” read the rest.
BEST EXCUSE FOR SOCCER REFEREES
Hey, at least we don’t allow 12 players on the field like those charlatans in field hockey.
BEST DEFENSIVE START TO A WORLD CUP QUALIFYING CAMPAIGN
England’s women: Seven games, seven wins, 36 goals scored, 0 goals conceded. (OK, so Germany has scored 56. They conceded three. Slackers.)
MOST SURPRISING CYCLING WIN
Now you know why the big guns always chase down the breakaways — American Andrew Talansky won the Dauphine Libere when Alberto Contador and Chris Froome waited too long to catch him in the final stage.
FASTEST SKATER AMONG MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS
Short-track skater Eddy Alvarez is going into the Chicago White Sox farm system.
WORST DIVE OF ALL TIME
Still the champion …