Greetings Athletic comrades and Track and field Junkies. There were some massive Takeaways from World Championships 2017. Someone opened the hatch, out came Jamaican 400 M runners, and ran they did. Congrats to Nathon Allen, Demish Gaye, and Steven Gayle.
Nathon Allen emerged as the class of the current Jamaican 400 M pool of athletes. Running 44.19 is an awesome start. Demish Gaye is in the room and conversation. 44.55 is respectable time for the 400 M. Both athletes have some work to do but they are capable. The way forward is clear. If both can reduce their times to be between 43.5 and 43.9 seconds, they will be in the discussion for medal in Olympics 2020. I think they will and that will change the narrative of the conspicuously absent Jamaicans in the 400 M finals in the Olympics. This is good stuff Track and Field fans. Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint are proud but they are also saying keep going, you have more in the tank, get ready for 2020.
Omar McLeod continues to impress. His performances have created renewed interest in the 110 M Hurdles. It is an event in which I felt the Jamaican Athlete should excel. Until Omar is beaten at the Olympics, he owns that event. He was the first from Jamaica to win the event on that stage but he knows there will be others. For now, let him enjoy the fame and fortune. I am 100 percent behind him and support his consideration of the 400 M Hurdles. However, I do want to caution him.
The 400 M Hurdles is just as challenging as the 400 M sprint and maybe more. I do not believe Omar is inclined to be a 400 M sprinter. Therefore, he may be competitive but not unbeatable. One may need more stamina to do the 400 M Hurdles at the Olympics than is required for the 400 M sprint. Running is one thing but running and jumping is another thing entirely.
People who may not share my opinion are spectators. Most of them have never run in a 400 M. The 400 M Hurdles at the Olympics level is for those who have experience competing in the 400 M but not fast enough on the flat to medal. Regardless, I am looking forward to some exciting performances from Omar.
In Track and Field competition, there is a difference between not winning and losing. The result of the Men 100 M finals at World Championships 2017 in London is best characterized as Bolt not winning. Those of us, who have participated or follow the Sport, know the difference between not winning and losing. Losing means you were trounced. Not winning means you were on the bubble but could not burst. The Legend tried after stumbling out of the blocks and never found the over-drive.
It is true that the Legend was slowing down or more importantly his Top End speed was not what it use to be but the same is true for Gatlin. Usain did not win because of two reasons. First, he forgot that start matters. Second, he did not remember Gatlin was in the race. Note I did not say he forgot, I said he did not remember.
Usain Bolt dug himself a hole of about three strides out of the blocks to Coleman and then he became fixated on catching him. As a result, he did not remember that Gatlin was in the race. Gatlin was never a thought and certainly not a focus. As they say in boxing, the punch that knocks the boxer out is the one he does not see coming. In the 100 M finals, you cannot forget about that competitor to your far right. That competitor could be the punch you did not see. Such was the case in that race. Gatlin benefited from being in Lane 8.
Twenty Meters (20 M) into the race the only person that mattered to Usain Bolt was Coleman. The Legend thought that if he had any chance of winning, Coleman was the man to beat. That was still the case Eighty Meters (80 M) into the race. Eighty Meters (80 M) into the race, Gatlin may have been of interest but certainly not of influence. Bolt never looked in the direction of Lane 8 because he had no time. Lane 8 or who was in it, was not a factor in the Legend’s mind. I do not believe Gatlin ever appeared in Usain’s peripheral vision. I think Gatlin realized and his victory is what is called, a late-run. Gatlin’s win, can be characterized as benefiting from Athletic indifference.
Gatlin won but he will not be competing in Japan in 2020. Neither will Coleman. 9.9 seconds will not medal in Japan in 2020. If Coleman is considering competing in Olympics 2020, he will have to get faster and develop a better Top End speed. Coleman will be vulnerable to existing and emerging talent like Sani Brown, Aska Cambridge, and Andre De Grasse. Coleman has zero chance of winning the 200 M on this stage. My pick for a 100 M medal in Japan in 2020 is still Aska Cambridge. He should seek out Glen Mills and upgrade his training.
Elaine Thompson stumbled out of the blocks and as such had a minor slip in her career. It does not appear to be something to be concerned about, unless it is ankle or shoe related. Jamaican sprinters have been complaining about the blocks at this World Championship almost to the point where perhaps there should be an investigation. I hope it is not any sinister conduct. However, it might be something for the coaches to monitor and if it continues to request examination and comparison of starting Blocks.
Having raised the ire, I expect exceptional performances from Elaine Thompson going forward and encourage her to psyche herself for a break out time of about 10.65 for the 100 M at the next high-level competition. I am concerned about her non-participation in the 200 M at this World Championship. I do not believe that I have heard a believable explanation to date. Elaine’s non-participation in the 200 M concerns me.
I am very close to the point of saying perhaps she needs a coaching change. She might also be experiencing burn out and could use a vacation. Not a vacation from staying in shape but away from the grind of competing. Those of us who have some experience with the sport will be paying close attention to Elaine, as we get closer to 2020, assuming there will be a Korean Peninsula.