BEIJING, China—If you had to look at Tuesday night’s finals results from a strictly American perspective, there would be a better than even chance that one would conclude that it wasn’t a good night for Team USA on the fourth day of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the National Stadium, aka the Bird’s Nest.
The biggest disaster was in the men’s long jump when no Americans advanced to the finals, as Jeffrey Henderson (26-1, 7.95m), the reigning Pan Am champion and current world leader at 27-11.5 (8.52m), had a miserable series, and saw three athletes pass him in round three to place him ninth and out of the running for three more jumps, while Mike Hartfield failed to even get a mark.
Meanwhile, the Chinese long jumpers, who are now coached by former Bellingham resident Randy Huntington, better known as the man who coached world record holder Mike Powell, fed off the energy of the sellout crowd and finished 3-4-5, led by 18-year old Jianan Wang, the reigning world junior champion, who jumped 26-10 (8.18m).
2012 Olympic champ Greg Rutherford of Great Britain added a world title to his resume, winning with a jump of 27-7.25 (8.41m).
No Americans made the finals of the 800 meters, as world record holder and reigning Olympic champ David Rudisha of Kenya (above/photo by Paul Merca) won in 1:45.84.
2011 world champion Jenny Simpson of Boulder, Colorado lost her shoe with two laps to go in the finals of the women’s 1500 and finished next to last in the 12-woman field in 4:16.28. Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project was seventh in 4:12.39. as world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia won in 4:08.09.
One of the biggest upsets in the meet happened in the men’s 400 hurdles, as Nicholas Bett of Kenya ran a personal best and world leading time of 47.79 to take the victory. The top American was veteran Kerron Clement in fourth in 48.18.
The women’s discus was won by Denia Caballero of Cuba with a toss of 227-3 (69.28m), while the top American was Whitney Ashley at 200-3 (61.05m) in ninth.