The (Unbelievable) Recap of Thursday at the London Games

New World Record

Some of the more intelligent bloggers predicted David Rudisha would break the world record for the 800 at these Olympics. BTW – you can ignore the parts where I predict no swimming records would be broken or Usain Bolt would get shut out by Yohan Blake. Oops.

Anyway – the final of the men’s 800 was EASILY one of the greatest races I’ve ever seen in my life. Having seen Rudisha run on television a handful of times, I knew that he was going to take the race out hard. And take it out hard, he did. He brought the field out in a ridiculous 23.4 second opening 200. To put that into perspective, that 200 time would’ve placed you 4th in the meet to qualify for the high school state tournament in my area. He split 49.28 at the 400 (would’ve been 2nd in our entire state). But he wasn’t done. He split 1:14.30 at the 600 and closed the last 200 in 26.61 breaking his own world record of 1:40.01 with a time of 1:40.91.

More amazing than the record is how he did it. First of all, he led from wire to wire in a championship race and didn’t use a pacemaker. Second of all, he led from wire to wire. And finally, he DIDN’T USE A PACEMAKER.

To anyone who isn’t familiar with distance running, nearly every record from the 800 meters and above is set in time trial-style race with multiple rabbits.

Don’t take my word, though. Here’s what former 800m world record holder, Olympic champion, and chair of the London Olympics Sebastian Coe had to say: “That was simply an unbelievable performance. David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final. Instead of just doing enough to win the race he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the World Record as well. Rudisha’s run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories. I feel privileged to have witnessed it in London.”

Somewhat lost in Rudisha’s record was 18-year old Botswanan (is that a word?) Nijel Amos set a world junior record of 1:41.73 for silver. 17-year old Timothy Kitum took third in 1:42.53. Duane Solomon (1:42.82) and Nick Symmonds (1:42.95) both nearly caught Kitum for third (as well as nearly setting the American record), but had to settle for 4th and 5th in what’s been already being called the greatest 800 meter race of all time.

Bolt!

Michael Phelps is being hailed as the greatest Olympian ever. That’s all fine and dandy, but Usain Bolt certainly is staking his claim to the throne.

He’s doing things we’ve never seen before. The 100 or 200 meter dash is usually decided by a human body length. He’s beating people by 2-3 lengths of a race horse. Not only is he winning decidedly, he’s making it a performance.

The 200 meter final was once again built up as a battle between countrymen Bolt and Yohan Blake. The field was considerably weaker than the final of the men’s 100 meter dash especially on the American side. The only American contender was Wallace Spearmon who was awarded the gold in Beijing only to find out he was disqualified for stepping on the lane line halfway through his victory lap.

From the gun, it was obvious that Bolt and Blake were the only contenders for gold. In fact, within about 5-10 steps, Bolt had already pulled ahead of Warren Weir who was to the lane to his outside. What’s crazier is Weir went on to win the bronze and run 19.84.

Bolt ran a fantastic turn and was in control of the race with 100m to go. But with about 60m remaining, Blake made a strong push and looked like he might have enough to contend with Bolt. Bolt put the hammer down pulling away before easing up for the last 3-4 steps running 19.32 just short of his Olympic mark from 2008 (ironically tying Michael Johnson’s amazing run from Atlanta in 1996).

He’s the best… AROUNDDDDD!

A few weeks ago, I made a prediction that American decathlete Ashton Eaton was going to be one of the most memorable athletes of the entire Olympic games. Seems like that prediction is going to fall short, but he certainly was great winning gold over fellow American Trey Hardee. I’m a little disappointed that Eaton didn’t make more of a push to try to break the Olympic record, I understand he was trying to pace himself to ensure Olympic gold.

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