Woly Award: Tyson Gay beats the elements

If we told you Tyson Gay ran a 10.02 in the 100 meters over the weekend, would you be impressed?

No? How about if it was cold and raining?

A little better? OK, shall we add that it was into a headwind?

Interested now? Let’s finish with this: He eased up over the last 20 meters because he was so sure he would take the Diamond League win in New York. And he did.

So Tyson Gay takes this week’s Woly award for outstanding achievement by a U.S. Olympic sports athlete.

Also at the adidas Grand Prix:

Women’s long jump: USA’s Janay Deloach-Soukup was nowhere near Brittney Reese’s world lead (7.25), but she set a meet record (6.79) to edge Britain’s Shara Proctor by 0.07. Reese fouled twice in her three attempts.

Men’s shot put: World leader Ryan Whiting was 1.01 meters off his season best of 21.27 but still won comfortably and led a U.S. sweep of the top four places with Reese Hoffa, Cory Martin and Joe Kovacs.

Women’s pole vault: Jenn Suhr entered the competition at 4.63 meters and cleared it on her second attempt. No one else did.

Men’s 400 hurdles: Good race – USA’s Michael Tinsley (48.43) held off Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson (48.53) and world leader Johnny Dutch (USA, 48.78).

Women’s 3,000 steeplechase: USA’s Bridget Franek interrupted the Kenya-Ethiopia hegemony with a fourth-place finish, less than five seconds behind Kenyan winner Lidya Chepkurui (9:30.82).

Women’s discus: Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic dominated — meet-record 68.23 meters extended her own world lead and beat the USA’s Gia Lewis-Smallwood by more than 6 meters.

Men’s triple jump: No one was getting near the world lead in these conditions. France’s Benjamin Compaore (16.45) held off the USA’s Christian Taylor by 0.03 meters.

Women’s high jump: The athlete who most looks like a Bond villain, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, tied the meet record at 1.94 meters. The USA’s Brigetta Barrett, fresh from a mention in SI’s Faces in the Crowd, finished third at 1.91.

Women’s 1,500: Brenda Martinez had the top U.S. finish (third, 4:06.25), finishing one spot ahead of world leader Nancy Jebet Langat of Kenya and two ahead of the USA’s Shannon Rowbury.

Women’s 400: Botswana’s Amantle Montsho (49.91) broke the meet record of Sanya Richards-Ross, who was a late scratch from the race. Natasha Hastings and Francena McCorory finished 2-3.

More Diamond League: Recap | Results | Analysis

Elsewhere in Olympic sports, the weekend was light.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson were second in the FIVB Grand Slam in Argentina. April Ross and Jen Kessy were fourth in the women’s competition.

WATER POLO: Some lopsided scores in World League continental qualifying.

FENCING: Mariel Zagunis was second in saber Grand Prix competition.

2012 medal projections, men’s track: Bolt, then who?

The typical trend for men’s running events: The Americas (USA, Jamaica, other Caribbean) battle in the sprints, African nations split the distance events, and British hearts slowly break until they all watch Chariots of Fire and reminisce.

No real reason so far to think that’ll change, but the World Championships (Aug. 27-Sept. 4, Daegu, South Korea) might unearth some talented runners who haven’t earned Diamond League slots.

ATHLETICS: Men’s running events

Good sources for 2010 performances are the ever-handy list of top performances, this terrific chart of Diamond League performances and the Diamond League site’s event recaps. The Diamond League launched last year, combining the Golden League and a few other top meets, filling the gap between World Championship years.

Continue reading 2012 medal projections, men’s track: Bolt, then who?

Diamond League: The pen-penultimate meet

As with many track and field competitions, the Diamond League is coming to a conclusion that should be exciting but is a little odd.

Each event is contested seven times during the spring and summer. The finals in each event are split between the last two meets in Zurich and Brussels. In those meets, the points are doubled — 8 points for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third.

This weekend’s meet in London is two days (Friday/Saturday, hopefully on a working Universal Sports stream), and it has the penultimate gathering for each event. Except, for some reason, five — men’s 200, men’s 800, men’s 5,000, women’s 100 and women’s pole vault.

The full standings in PDF form are here under the link “Actual Standings.” The events to watch, admittedly from a provincial U.S. point of view:


100: The marquee sprint has been disappointing because of the injury wave among the Big Three of Usain Bolt (JAM), Tyson Gay (USA) and Asafa Powell (JAM). Bolt only ran twice, beating Powell in Paris and losing to Gay in Stockholm, before shutting things down for the season. Powell leads the Diamond Race with 10 points, winning two races, but he sat out in Stockholm. Powell, Richard Thompson (TRI, 7 pts) and Gay (4) are all scheduled to start. They’ll run two heats, so several more Americans are in the current field of 16.

400: Jeremy Wariner (USA, 16) is 4-for-4 and can clinch the Diamond title by beating Jermaine Gonzales (JAM, 8), who won in Wariner’s absence in Monaco.

110 hurdles: David Oliver (USA, 16) has dominated the event with four wins and should make his season title official here. Ryan Wilson (USA, 6) is second. Dayron Robles (CUB, 4) won in Oliver’s absence in Rome but will miss this one.

400 hurdles: Bershawn Jackson (USA, 16) has three wins and has twice finished second to Kerron Clement (USA, 10). Clement is out, so Jackson almost has this one sewn up.

Long jump: Dwight Phillips (USA, 12) has had a good season-long duel with Fabrice Lapierre (AUS, 11). Irving Saladino (PAN, 7) also is in the mix and upset Phillips in Eugene.

Shot put: Christian Cantwell (USA, 20) is the only male athlete with a perfect record. He has clinched the season title ahead of Dylan Armstrong (CAN, 6).

Javelin: Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR, 18) won the first four of the season but finally dropped one to Tero Pitkamaki (FIN, 8), leaving a mathematical chance that the Finn could catch him.


200: Allyson Felix (USA, 10) took control of the event with two straight wins after a loss to Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM, 4). She’ll virtually clinch it here.

400: Felix (USA, 8) has two wins here as well, sharing the lead with Amantle Montsho (BOT). They’re both entered in London along with Shericka Williams (JAM, 5), Debbie Dunn (USA, 5) and everyone else.

800: Alysia Johnson (USA, 8) has won the last two events to take the lead from Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN, 7). This is wide-open — 10 runners have points.

100 hurdles: Lolo Jones (USA, 13) is looking to bounce back from an upset loss in Stockholm. She leads Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (CAN, 10) and Sally Pearson (AUS, 4), who finished 2-1 in Stockholm.

400 hurdles: Lashinda Demus (USA, 12) won the first three, then stumbled in Monaco and isn’t entered here. Kaliese Spencer (JAM, 12) is.

High jump: Blanka Vlasic (CRO, 20) has edged Chaunte Howard-Lowe (USA, 10) in all five meets so far. Vlasic has all but clinched the title, but their competitions have been entertaining.

Long jump: Brittney Reese (USA, 10) won in Lausanne and Paris ahead of Naide Gomes (POR, 7) before both lost in Stockholm to Darya Klishina (RUS, 5).

Javelin: An American contender in a women’s throwing event? Kara Patterson (USA, 8) trails Barbora Spotakova (CZE, 12).

Other events:

Continue reading Diamond League: The pen-penultimate meet

Diamond League: Gay, Pearson upset Bolt, Jones

The introductions were fantastic, sounding every bit like a UFC fight. But the odds favoring Usain Bolt against Tyson Gay at the DN Galan, a Diamond League meet Friday in Stockholm, were even greater than Anderson Silva’s odds against Chael Sonnen.

The delays were annoying. It took two tries just to get everyone set. But then it was a clean start, with Gay getting out slightly ahead of Bolt.

And he stayed there. Win and meet record 9.84 for Gay, just 0.02 off Bolt’s world lead.

Neither guy has been fully healthy this season, so there’s only so much we can read into this. It was a convincing margin — Gay at 9.84, Bolt at 9.97.

Asafa Powell was unable to run but maintained his Diamond League lead in absentia.

Other highlights included the typical impressive runs from Bershawn Jackson and Allyson Felix, along with an upset in the women’s 100 hurdles and a personal best from a U.S. distance contender. Full rundown (the Universal Sports broadcast had a technical hitch at the beginning, so I missed a couple of events):

Continue reading Diamond League: Gay, Pearson upset Bolt, Jones