Now that the dust has settled from the Olympic Track Trials, it is time for the recap, part 2!
My absolute favorite race of the whole trials was the Womens 5k. Having run this event on local roads several times, I can barely scrape by with a sub 23:xx pace, let alone the 15:xx that these ladies are posting. The Olympic standard required for anyone woman is 15:20. To start, Molly Huddle was favored to win and she stayed near the front for most of the race. The lead was exchanged several times until Julia Lucas decided to take control of this race and set a steaming pace with several laps to go. The rest of the racers let her lead the way as they kept steady a few paces behind. When the bell rang, Julie Culley and Molly Huddle really battled it out for first place as Julia Lucas began to run out of steam. That is until Kim Conley crept up from the middle of the pack, giving it everything she had. She leaned for the finish, beating out Julia Lucas, earning a time of 15:19:79 (the London standard by tenths of a second), and earning a spot on the Olympic team. I've watched the race highlights and it gives me goosebumps every time. I'm so beyond excited about the team of ladies we are sending to London in this event!
I guess I can't talk about the women's 5k without mentioning the mens 5k! After a riveting women's race, it was a hard event to follow. They didn't disappoint though. Only because of kind of a big deal, Prefontaine's meet record was broken! Galen Rupp (right) and Bernard Lagat (left--love that facial expression!) sped to the finish, placing 1st and 2nd in this event, respectively, securing their spot on the London team. Lopez Lomong earned the 3rd place spot.
The steeplechase is an event I didn't know much about prior to this year. Let me just say... before the Warrior Dash, there was the steeplechase. The Kenyan's are famous in this event and have won 9 of the last 11 gold medals (and the 2 they didn't win were in years when the Kenyan's boycotted the Olympics). The U.S. had a few favorites (Daniel Huling and Evan Jager), both from the Chicagoland area so I was instantly cheering for them. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the steeplechase it is an event where competitors must clear several barriers (aka hurdles that don't move) along the course, including one that has a water pit on the other end. This isn't an event for the everyday runner. These runners have to have grace and a certain level of athleticism. Evan Jager (green tank top) stayed near the middle/front of the pack for most of the race until he took a commanding lead towards the end of the race. He won by a large margin, despite the fact that this was only his 4th ever steeplechase race. I'm excited to see what he can do in London and maybe he can give the Kenyans a run for their money? One can hope, right?
Given the controversy in the womens 100m, I was really looking forward to seeing the 200m race. Given the millions of semi final and preliminary runs, by the time the final came around, I felt I had a close bond with all of the competitors. I was rooting for everyone to win, but only the top 3 would earn a spot to London! Allyson Felix blew the competition away finishing several steps in front of 2nd place. As soon as she finished, the announcers immediately stated that she is now the favorite in London. Go Allyson! Carmelita Jeter and Sonya Richards-Ross finished in 2nd and 3rd, respectively and will also represent the U.S. on the road to London. I couldn't find a photo of the finish, but I was able to find the video clip! Click here to watch this amazing event.
Having dismally dabbled in the high jump in high school, I have a significant amount of respect for this sport. It is hard and it requires a lot of grace and balance (a few things I lack). It appears the the women high jumpers gave the folks at Hayward Field a big sight to see. Chaunte Lowe (current American record holder), Brigetta Barrett, and Amy Acuff will be heading to London to represent Team USA. Watching these women fly over that bar is so inspiring.
What was your favorite part of the Olympic trials? Are you as pumped for London 2012 as I am???
To see my favorites in the first half, check out this post.
The source of all photos can be found here.
P.S. Have you entered my SpiBelt raffle? I've extended the deadline to Monday, July 16th!!