Friday, August 10, 2012

Brad Walker no-heights in Olympic final...

LONDON--Brad Walker's (left/photo courtesy University of Washington) hopes of earning an Olympic medal of any color ended with a crash as he failed to clear a height in the finals of the pole vault in the penultimate day of track and field competition at Olympic Stadium.

Walker opened the competition at 18-6 1/2 (5.65m), and on his first attempt, aborted the run and restarted before the clock ran out. He had lots of height, but ended up veering left and nearly landing on the standard.

His second attempt was very similar, in that he was still veering to the left in failing to clear the bar.

On his final attempt, the University of Washington and University HS/Spokane alum cleared the bar with room to spare, but brushed the bar on the way down, ending any chances to move on and compete for a medal.

Walker and defending Olympic champ Steve Hooker of Australia were the only two in the 14-man field who failed to clear a height.

France's Renaud Lavillenie took the Olympic title with a new Olympic record clearance of 19-7 (5.97m), while Germany's Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe went 2-3 with both clearing 19-4 3/4 (5.91m).

Walker did not speak to USA Track & Field's media liaison in the mixed zone upon the conclusion of the event.

In other finals involving Team USA, the women's 4 x 100 relay team of Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter roared to a new world record time of 40.82, crushing the mark of 41.37 set in 1985 by East Germany.

Jeter told the media, “It feels great. We ran as a team. Everyone ran a great leg and we got that stick around and a gold medal and a world record.”

Felix, who has an opportunity to win another gold medal Saturday night as a member of the 4 x 400 relay squad, said, “It’s a relief – a joy. We went into it so comfortable. We were laughing. We were very comfortable in practice with each other.”

A depleted men's 4 x 400 meter relay team, who were missing injured runners and former Olympic champs Jeremy Wariner (2004) and LaShawn Merritt (2008), could not hold on to a potential victory as Ramon Miller of the Bahamas overtook two-time Olympic 400 hurdles champ Angelo Taylor on the anchor leg with 50 meters to go, to give the Bahamas the win in a national record of 2:56.72 to Team USA's 2:57.05.

With the injury in Thursday's prelims by Manteo Mitchell, who ran the last 200 on a broken fibula, Team USA went with USC's Bryshon Nellum and Josh Mance, along with Florida's NCAA champ Tony McQuay, before giving the stick to Taylor, who also owns two Olympic relay gold medals in his career.

In the women's 1500, US Olympic Trials champ Morgan Uceny went down on the track at the bell after being impeded by the back-kick of a runner (David Monti of Race Results Weekly said in a tweet that it was Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi, though on the video, it appears that Russia's Ekaterina Kostetskaya may have had contact as well) and didn't finish, much as she did at last year's world championships in Daegu.

Turkish runners Asli Alpetkin (4:10.23) and Gamze Bulut (4:10.40) went 1-2, while Maryam Jamal of Bahrain was third in 4:10.74.

It should be noted that Alpetkin (maiden name Cakir) served an IAAF two year suspension for metenolone from 2004-2006 as an up and coming steeplechaser at the world junior championships. She improved from 4:08.07 in 2009 to 4:02.17 in 2010, before making a major breakthrough last month, running 3:56.62 at the Paris Samsung Diamond League meet.

San Francisco's Shannon Rowbury finished sixth in 4:11.26.

The women's 5000 turned out to be essentially a three-lap race as Ethiopia's Meseret Defar claimed gold in the 5000m final, denying her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba the chance to add another title to the 10,000m crown she won a week ago.

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot was second in 15:04.73, and Dibaba third at 15:05.15. Kenya's Sally Kipyego, who trains in Eugene with the OTC Elite and was second in the 10000 finished fourth in 15:05.79.

American record holder Molly Huddle was 11th in 15:20.29, while Julie Culley was 14th in 15:28.22.

Complete day eight results are available here.

In the final day of competition, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat looks to add a medal in the men's 5000 to the pair of medals he earned in 2000 and 2004 as a member of Kenya's Olympic squad in the 5000.

The US Olympic Trials runner-up and American record holder in the event will have to contend with Nike Oregon Project runners Mo Farah of Great Britain and US Olympic Trials champ Galen Rupp, who went 1-2 in last week's 10000, along with a slew of Kenyans and Ethiopians led by Dejen Gebremeskel, who has a season best of 12:46.81.

Vancouver Island native Cam Levins, the NCAA champ at this distance, is also entered in the finals, which gets underway at 7:30 pm London time (11:30 am in Seattle).

The start list for the final day of Olympic track and field competition is available here.


On Friday, the IAAF announced the formation of a new World Relays competition to be held in Nassau, Bahamas in May 2014 and 2015.

This new two day competition will bring together the world’s best athletes, with a schedule that includes the traditional 4x100m and 4x400m events but also 4x200m, 4x800m and 4x1500m. It is expected that the World Relays will be used to qualify some teams for the World Championships and Olympics.

The venue of the event is the 15,000 capacity Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in Nassau which will host the 2013 edition of the CARIFTA Games.

There will be a pool of $1.4 million in prize money available.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field, the IAAF,, and the London 2012 Organizing Committee contributed to this report.

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