Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 1 of the Olympics

6:33 pm: Diana Pickler's steps were thrown off at hurdle 8, then tried to regain the rhythm in hurdle 9. She ran 14.28 for ninth, worth 939 points. At the Olympic Trials in Eugene, she ran 13.13, worth 1105 points. Not a good start to the competition.

This is shades of what happened to her sister Julie in Eugene--bad hurdle race!

She will need to jump 6-5 1/2 (1198 points), which is a very significant personal best to get back on track, or realistically (using her marks from the Olympic Trials), high jump 6-2 (1080 points), throw the shot 40-6 (684 points), and run the 200 in 23.49 (1030 points).

That would give her a score of 3733 points, which would put her 17 points behind her first day score of 3750 in Eugene.

After one event, Pickler's in 36th place...to give you some perspective, if she runs close to her 13.13 in Eugene, she is easily in the top 6-8 places. Jackie Johnson, her longtime rival from Arizona State, stands fifth with 1091 points, after running 13.22. In Eugene, Johnson ran 13.12.

Larry Eder of The Running Network, who is in Beijing, said that Pickler hit one of the hurdles hard, and never really recovered.

Hyleas Fountain, as expected, holds the early lead with 1158 points.

7:40 pm--Canada's Anson Henry, a Washington State product, ran 10.37 to finish fourth in heat 7 of the 100 meters. The race was won by Portugal's Francis Obikwelu in 10.25, with Obinna Metu of Nigeria second in 10.34 and the USA's Walter Dix third in 10.35.

Top 3 in each heat plus the next 10 fastest advance to the second round tonight in Beijing. There are three more heats to go, and it appears he should get in.

The heptathlon high jump is now under way.

8:15 pm--Haley Nemra (left/photo courtesy beijing2008.cn), the young lady from Marysville-Pilchuck HS, representing the Marshall Islands, is about to toe the line in heat 2 of the women's 800.

Larry Eder reports that she hit 400 meters at 64.3, and finished at 2:18.83, a distant seventh in her heat.

9:05 pm--All the running events this morning are done; only the heptathlon high jumps and the hammer are going on. The bar in Group B (where Diana is seeded in) is at 1.74 meters or 5-8 1/2, which is worth 903 points.

Just posted on the IAAF blog being run by Parker Morse: Diana Pickler did not start the high jump! I will try and find out what's going on...

UPDATE ON PICKLER--Found out that Pickler had a hamstring problem going into the meet.

UPDATE # 2 ON PICKLER--Jill Geer, the USA Track & Field communications director informs us that Diana strained her left hamstring. Turns out that Pickler strained that hamstring earlier this year during Washington State's spring break meet at USC, which forced her to skip the Texas Relays meet, a meet that she traditionally competes well in.

11:08 pm--The Friday morning session is done...we'll be back at 4 am, Seattle time, as Bernard Lagat runs his first round heat of the 1500, and Aretha Thurmond throws the discus.

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