Woly Award: Mary Cain, class of 1:59.51

What were you doing with your weekends when you were in high school?

Mary Cain uses hers to break U.S. track and field records. She took down a few indoor and junior records in the indoor season, and she’s doing it again outdoors. In May, she ran the 1,500 in 4:04.62, smashing Suzy Favor Hamilton’s junior record of 4:09.10 and her own high school record.

Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic, Cain took advantage of a rare opportunity to break not just a record but a round number. No U.S. high school woman had ever run the 800 meters in two minutes.

Cain’s time: 1:59.51.

And she’s a little excited about it:

The flower is from U.S. champion Alysia Montano, who barely held off Cain for fourth place in the race. Montano then hugged Cain and transplanted the distinctive red flower from her own hair to Cain’s.

(Fourth place? Yes, this race was fast. Winner Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won in the fastest time in the world this year and the fastest time ever on U.S. soil – 1:56.72.)

Cain takes this week’s Woly Award, given to the top U.S. athlete in Olympic sports over the weekend.

The Pre kicked up a couple of nominees, including 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin. In the men’s 400, LaShawn Merritt won a thrilling duel with Olympic champion Kirani James.

And we had a rare steeplechase skirmish.


SOCCER: You may have noticed that the U.S. men and women each won on Sunday. Clint Dempsey and Alex Morgan had two goals each.

TRIATHLON: Gwen Jorgensen finished fourth in Madrid but still leads the World Triathlon Series.

SWIMMING: Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin are tuning up nicely for the U.S. Championships with Grand Prix wins.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Two runner-up finishes for the USA at the FIVB stop in Brazil: Jake Gibb-Casey Patterson and April Ross-Jennifer Kessy.

MODERN PENTATHLON: Margaux Isaksen was sixth in the World Cup final.

Full recap at TeamUSA.org

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.

Woly Award: Jordan Burroughs rules the mat

Wrestler Jordan Burroughs is the winner of this week’s Woly, the weekly award for U.S. Olympic-sports athletes.

I used to give this award for USA TODAY, and it continued for a while after I departed. They stopped, so I’m restarting.

Burroughs, the Olympic and world champion, capped a big weekend for his sport with two massive wins, running his international record to an astounding 54-0. He needed to rally to win his match against Russia’s Saba Khubetzhty at Wednesday’s “Rumble on the Rails,” but under new international scoring rules, he roared past the same opponent Sunday in Los Angeles.

The USA lost to Iran in the first head-to-head matchup Wednesday at Grand Central Terminal, rebounded to swamp Russia, adapted after Iran withdrew from the L.A. event, then won seven matches in L.A.

A couple of other events from Olympic sports last week:

TRACK AND FIELD: “WL” = “world list,” the top performances in the world this year.

At the Diamond League meet in Shanghai, the USA’s Jason Richardson and Ryan Wilson finished 1-2 in the men’s 110 hurdles and moved into first and third on the world list at 13.23 and 13.25.


Other results:

Men’s 400: Kirani James (JAM, 44.02) and LaShawn Merritt (USA, 44.60) top two WL.

Women’s 100: Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) 10.93, top WL.

Women’s 400 hurdles: Top two WL: Zuzana Hejnova (CZE, 53.79) and Angela Morosanu (ROU, 53.85).

Men’s long jump: Top two WL: Li Jinzhe (CHN, 8.34) and Aleksandr Menkov (RUS, 8.31)

Men’s javelin: Top two WL: Tero Pitkamaki (FIN, 87.60) and Vitezslav Vesely (CZE, 86.67)

Men’s 3,000 steeplechase: Top seven times WL, all Kenyans. Winner: Conseslus Kipruto, age 18, 8:01.16.

Women’s 5,000: Top eight times WL, all Kenya and Ethiopia. Winner: Genzebe Dibaba (ETH, 14:45.92)

In Los Angeles, three U.S. runners moved into third, fourth and fifth on the world list: Jennifer Simpson (2:00.45), Phoebe Wright (2:00.58), LaTavia Thomas (2:00.68). No. 1 is 2:00.33. Also, Mary Cain demolished the U.S. junior record in the 1,500 (4:04.62).

In Ponce, Puerto Rico, U.S. hurdler Johnny Dutch ran a world-leading 48.02 to upset the host country’s Javier Culson (48.36, 2nd WL).

CYCLING: Tejay van Garderen proved he can win a multistage race and that a cyclist can win a multistage race with a newborn at home. He’s the new Tour of California champion.

The rest of the week in Olympic sports: the U.S. men won bronze in ice hockey’s World Championships, U.S. women won eight gold medals in Continental Championship boxing, and Olympians Brady Ellison and Khatuna Lorig won mixed-team gold in the archery World Cup opener.