The morning session got underway here at 10 am local time, with the day
starting out a little warmer and more humid than it has been. The stadium
was only maybe one-quarter of capacity, but it was still loud, especially
when German athletes were jumping, running or throwing. Tonight it should
be close to capacity, so it will be fun to see how loud it gets then.
Pretty low-key so far, but there were some moments of real excitement for
U.S. athletes. Jenny Barringer is an outside threat to contend for a medal
in the 3000 meter steeplechase and she looked good through most of her
qualifying heat. She led for several laps early in the race, then settled
into the middle of the lead pack of seven women about halfway through the
seven and a half laps. But going into the last lap, Barringer fell back into sixth about 10
meters behind the leaders. With only the top four automatically
qualifying for the final, it looked a little dicey for her as they went
over the water jump and headed down the home stretch. Then, suddenly, she
unleashed an amazing burst of speed over the last 50-60 meters to catch
three runners right before the finish and take third, ensuring her spot
in the final.
I talked to her after the race and she admitted she was nervous about her
precarious position, but never lost her confidence."Yeah I gave everyone a heart attack, but I qualified," she said. "I was
nervous, I was definitely a little nervous but I knew, with two laps to go
I changed the game plan. I said don't try to take control of this race. We
had a good tight little pack of people and we weren't running
exceptionally fast and so I just kind of calmed down a bit and gave myself
some room to see and know what I wanted to do. I was really confident with
100 meters to go that I could catch that qualifying pack . . . but I got
through today, I'm really happy with qualifying and we'll be ready to go
(in the finals)."
|Brianne Theisen (lane 8)
Another athlete I was watching this morning was Brianne Theisen, UO
sophomore-to-be, who hails from Canada and is representing that country in
the heptathlon. She showed real poise in her first major international
competition, perhaps because she has competed in several international
meets as a junior.
Theisen started out with close to a personal best, 13.69, in the 100 meter
hurdles, and followed that with a solid high jump. She jumped 1.77 meters
(you'll have to do the conversion as I left my green book at the hotel
this morning - I think that is around 5-10 or 5-11), and was one of the
top two in her group of 14 competitors. A good start for a 20 year-old who
has had a very long season when you think about fall training, indoor
meets in the winter, a three-month spring season and now two more months
of national and international meets. Two more heptathlon events tonight.
The men's 100 got started with 12 first round heats. None of the top
runners had to push themselves, but one qualifier, Ronald Pognon of
France, noted, "The track is very soft." That's interesting, since soft
tracks mean slower times for sprinters. Maybe we can't assume that Bolt
will demolish any world records here. By the way, yesterday no one was
keeping me from going anywhere I wanted here, and I went down on the
track. It did seem pretty soft to me, too.
The morning session is over. Some big events tonight, including the
women's 10K final and men's shot final, as well as the quarterfinals in
the men's 100. I'll try to post after the evening session, too, if it
doesn't get too late for me.