Friday, August 15, 2008

Day one of the REAL events of the olympics


SPOILER ALERT...Brian apparently has no consideration for us, not realizing that they did not show the events live, and that many of us work during the day. Bri, for your consideration, they are showing the events in primetime tonight, and everyone has done a good job of not going on the Internet. I just had to bump this down a little so that results were not in the top half of the page. DO NOT READ this post until after you watch the races tonight, if you indeed do not want to know the results.

I don't know if many of you watched any of today's olympic track and field yet, but you should. It's a holiday here, so I got to stay home and watch it. It was awesome, mainly for the second round of the men's 100m (the first was at like 3am, and I didn't watch it) and the women's 10,000m final, but also due in part to the first round of the men's 1500m. If you don't want to hear what happened, read no further. Otherwise, here are my awards for the day:

Seriously, if you don't want to know what happened, stop reading.

Drumroll please....

Best personal performance: Shalane Flanagan, 'cuz she gots a medal, and a PR.

Worst strategy: Lornah Kiplagat, who led round about 7km of the women's 10k at 30:30 pace or so. Duh.

Best strategy: Tirunesh Dibaba, who Haile Gebreselassie'd the race, never leading a step before the last lap, and then winning fairly commandingly. It was her first olympic gold, and it should be a world record (but in the record books it's #2 all-time).

Tough-as-nails Award: Elvan Abeylegesse, former 5k WR holder, who broke the 10k open by running her last 3k in 8:42, leading until the last lap, and still being able to throw down an absolutely NASTY (thanks for the word, Elf) last lap, staying in the game until the last 200m. Third best 10k of all time, second best 10k ever in a real race.

The Maybe-you-should-save-something Award: Rashid Ramzi, who won his heat in the 1500m by almost two seconds after all-out sprinting the last 250m, and almost setting an Olympic record in the process. Then he put up his arms in victory. I know he was worried about being out of shape, having not raced in a while, but I'm still not giving it my stamp of approval.

NOTE: I missed the first two heats of the 1500m, but it looks like Brannen and Willis impressed, and Lagat and Manzano got through. Lomong looked okay in his heat, but I could tell he wasn't totally chilling.

And the final award....

The WTF Award of 15 August 2008: Usain Bolt. The last time I saw someone make a fast time look so easy was in the 1996 Atlanta games in the semis of the 200m dash. Yes, the fabled Michael Johnson's semifinal, when he was leading by 10m off the turn and jogged the last 80m or so. In every heat there was a false start I believe (except maybe one), and I thought it was funny that Bolt didn't even move from the blocks when someone false started. Everyone else jumped out as people usually do, but Bolt just stayed there, and stood up slowly. This guy must have nerves of steel and the ears of a bat, because he obviously had the best start on the restart, and looked twice as relaxed as anybody else over the first 50m, at which point he looked both left and right, and appeared to jog the last 40m. He looked as if he was in a 1500m race while the other guys' legs were moving twice as fast, but not catching up. I have never seen anybody in a 100m dash pull up before the last 20-30m, but Bolt did it, and still ran 9.92. This goes on the Most Impressive Non-finals List, whatever that's worth, above Alan Webb and Nick Willis back at 2003 NCAA Regionals, and even above MJ's '96 semi. I can't wait to watch the semis and finals. At one race earlier this year, Bolt reminded me of Donovan Bailey back in '96, when he was "mid-pack" early in the race but literally ran away from everyone over the final 50m. I have never seen anyone move up as quickly through a 100m as those two. Summary: Usain Bolt is SICK. Asafa Powell is good, too, but he ain't no Bolt. Damn, now I'm excited about the 4x100m, too.


fbg said...

Should I not have posted this? What's the schedule like for everyone else watching this crap? Let me know if I should not post anything at all about results until a day later, or if I should just avoid posting about the big stuff. Does anyone *accidentally* read past my DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT line?

fbg said...

I also meant to give props to Tomasz Majewski (Poland) for PR'ing twice in the shot put final, both times long enough to win gold, and in the end destroying the field. Kudos to the three Shot Put Dream Team americans, none of whom threw within a meter of their personal or season bests. More specifically, the Choke of the Day Award goes to Adam Nelson, who, despite having the best throw of the year, somehow forgot which direction he was supposed to throw the metal ball, and failed to register even a single throw. Nice.

RM said...

I just changed the post around slightly to make sure people really saw the DO NOT READ, because you mentioned Shalene in the first half of the post. I unfortunately had found out results already. In typical NBC fashion they are waiting until NIGHT to show the finals, even though they take place in our morning.

Adam Nelson is a headcase, what did you expect?

And yeah, Bolt = NASTY. He looked like he was walking. WALKING. Gay looked like he was working quasi-hard, as did Powell. Bolt looked like he was walking.

Mad props to Shalene, go ACC.

fbg said...

OK, sorry about that. I figured a lot of the prelim stuff wouldn't even get shown in prime time, at least in full. I have the feeling that if I don't watch an event live, I'm going to miss it, and I thought it was worse in the U.S. last time around. From now on I'll put SPOILER ALERT in the title, because I'm a dork like that and I like applying the word "spoiler" to random things that some people don't know yet.

RM said...

Spoiler isn't dorky, that's what it is!

Conversely you can just wait til you know it's aired here....haha