Friday, August 13, 2010

Kara Patterson falls nine centimeters short of victory in London...

LONDON, England--Nine centimeters.

Nine centimeters was the difference between reigning Olympic javelin champ and world record holder Barbora Spotokova of the Czech Republic and a potential loss to Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) at the Aviva London Grand Prix meet at Crystal Palace under wet and rainy conditions.

Spotokova, throwing with a wrap around her throwing elbow, got the spear out 208-4 (63.50m) on her first and only attempt, wincing in obvious pain, to force Patterson to chase the University of Minnesota alum, after throwing 195-5 (59.57m) on her first attempt.

Patterson, a graduate of Purdue University, improved in round two, throwing 202-8 (61.77m), then rifled the spear 185-4 (56.50m) in the third round.

In the fourth and final round, the Skyview High School alum improved to 208-0 (63.41m), four inches short of the Czech's winning toss.

With the victory in London, Spotakova earned 4 points (4-2-1 for 1st-3rd) to bring her Samsung Diamond League point total to 16 points, while Patterson remains in second with 10 points.

Next week's Weltklasse meet in Zurich is the final meet of this event. With Zurich offering double points for first through third, Patterson is faced with a must-win situation if she is to claim the $40000 winner's check and the Diamond trophy.

Patterson must win the Zurich meet and hope that Spotakova finishes out of the top three places. If Patterson wins and Spotakova finishes third, they would be tied with 18 points, in which case Spotakova holds the tiebreaker over Patterson with wins in Rome, Monaco, and London, while Patterson's only win in the Samsung Diamond League series came in Eugene.

Nonetheless, Patterson's two best throws Friday were the sixth and fifteenth best performances in American history, and marked the seventh straight meet in which she's thrown 200 feet or better. According to Track & Field News, Patterson owns 14 of the 22 marks over 200 feet.

Here's a video link to see Patterson's series, courtesy of Universal Sports…

In other events at the Aviva London Grand Prix, former WSU standout Bernard Lagat ruined the homecoming of European Championships 5000/10000 double winner Mo Farah, winning the men's 3000 in 7:40.36, pulling away from Farah and Australia's Collis Birmingham on the final bend.

"My plan was just to hang back a little bit because I knew I hadn't raced in three weeks," said the 35-year-old Lagat.

"I wanted to see how I felt, and I felt good. Mo is a great athlete and I knew he was running strongly and I'm glad I was able to run with him really well today."

Former Washington Husky and three time Olympian Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way finished sixth in the discus, spinning the platter 191-6 (58.38m) as Cuba's Yarelis Barrios clinched the Samsung Diamond League title by winning the competition with a mark of 215-3 (65.62m).

In his 2010 season debut, former Husky and 2007 world outdoor champion Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace finished fourth in the pole vault with a jump of 18-1 (5.51m) as Poland's Lukasz Michalski took the win at 18-8 3/4 (5.71m).

Another former Husky, Ingvill Måkestad of Norway finished seventh in the women's 1500 meter run, clocking 4:10.95 in a tactical race, as Kenya's Nancy Langat, the 2008 Olympic champion won in 4:07.60 after a slow first 800 meters.

In the women's 100 meter hurdles, Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Powell Crawford finished sixth in the finals, running 12.85, as Canada's Pricilla Lopes Schliep, a rival of Crawford while attending the University of Nebraska, ran a world leading time of 12.52.

Crawford, a former NCAA champion while attending the University of Southern California, ran 12.92 in the heats to advance to the finals.

Former Washington Husky Märt Israel from Estonia will compete in the men's discus on the final day of the Aviva London Grand Prix.

Complete day 1 results are available here.

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