Keeping a running tally of team scores and standings for the Olympic track and field competition (just like at a real track meet) started off as a "just for fun" project. But after observing the daily movement among the national teams within the scoring chart, it has become quite a dynamic indicator of trends, team depth and momentum. Plus, it is interesting to see how reality plays out against the form charts.
More on that in the analysis below. For now, let's a have a look at the event finals completed on Monday, Day 10.
In somewhat of an anticlimactic finish, USA's American record-holder Jenn Suhr finally got her Olympic gold medal, defeating Cuba's Yarisley Silva at 15 feet, 6.5 inches, on fewer misses. The anticlimax was more related to two-time defending Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva failing to attain the heights of her former glory. She did win the bronze medal however, at 15'-5".
Two-time NCAA champion, 19-year-old Kirani James of Grenada wasn't bothered a bit by the absence of U.S. runners in the men's 400 meters. He hit the rare sub-44 zone (43.94 seconds) in winning gold. The Dominican Republic's Luguelin Santos, 18, took silver in 44.45. Trinidad's Lalonde Gordon got the bronze in 44.52.
Seems as though the kids are now running the men's 400 zoo.
In the women's 3000-meter steeplechase, Yuliya Zaripova (9:06.72) finally got some big points for Russia—as well as a nice gold medal. Habiba Ghribi, of Tunisia, made her country proud, picking up silver in 9:08.37.
Great Britain's Dai Greene silenced the home crowd a bit, mustering only a fourth-place finish in the men's 400 hurdles. Felix Sanchez of the Dominiocan Republic had an impressive run for gold in 47.63. Combined with Santos' silver in the open 400, that's 15 big points for tiny D.R.
American Michael Tinsley powered to a silver medal in 47.91. Javier Culson of Puerto Rico came third in 48.10.
Multiple-world champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus finally got her Olympic gold in the women's shot put, launching the iron ball 70 feet, one inch. Valerie Adams of New Zealand took silver.
So, how does the day's action reflect in the standings? Let's take a look.
|Men's Team||Women's Team||Overall Team|
| USA 55 || Russia 46 || USA 99|
| Great Britain 24 || USA 44 || Ethiopia 55|
| Kenya 22 || Ethiopia 38 || Kenya 52|
| China 19 || Kenya 30 || Great Britain 49|
| Jamaica 18 || Germany, Great Britain 25 || Russia 48|
| Ethiopia 17 || Jamaica 24 || Jamaica 42|
| Dominican Republic 15 || China 20 || China 39|
| Germany 11 || Ukraine 17 || Germany 37|
| Hungary, Belarus 8 || Belarus 8 || Ukraine 25|
Note: we're using an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system
Though there have been many individual highlights which have rightfully dominated the headlines, the general story of these Games, for me, has been the excellent showing from the British athletes. This is certainly reflected in Bleacher Report's track and field team standings (above) and in the overall medals count as well.
Where are the Russian men? If Great Britain is overacheiving in these Games, the Russians (especially the men) are underacheiving. However—speaking earlier of momentum—notice how the Russian women have overtaken the U.S. women in team standings? Perhaps the tide is turning a bit for them. Dare we even consider the women's race coming down to the final 4x400 relay? (I'm salivating over the thought.)
The Russian men have an excellent scoring opportunity in Tuesday's high jump final. That's a must-see event.
I'm also intrigued by the Ethiopian surge over the Kenyans. Ethiopia has been very opportunistic. Kenya needs a "Thanks! I needed that!" moment.
The U.S. men seem untouchable in spite of the great big zero in the 400.
And here's another shout-out to Rich Perelman for flipping the switch on this Olympic team scoring concept. Take a look at his fine analysis.
Four event finals are on the docket for Tuesday.
India is pleading for a medal from their entrant in the men's discus, Vikas Gowda, but the podium struggle will probably come down to Robert Harting of Germany, Gerd Kanter from Estonia, and Lithuania's Virgilijus Alekna.
As the men's high jump bar reaches the seven feet, seven inches level, it may take on the appearance of the old USA vs. USSR dual meet series as Jesse Williams, Jamie Nieto and Erik Kynard battle the Russians, Andrey Silnov and Ivan Ukhov.
Lots of exciting hurdles action as the women's 100-meter hurdles semifinals and finals dominate the track. By now you must know the storylines and undercurrents simmering for months in this event. To boil it all down, it's Australian Sally Pearson being triple-teamed by the Americans Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells and Lolo Jones.
Don't count out Turkey's Yanit Nevin or Brit Tiffany Porter for a podium spot. Let's have a clean, no-stumbles race, ladies.
The night's finale will be the men's 1,500 meters. It should be big points on the board for Kenya as Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat continue their fierce rivalry. With these two in the race, a world record is possible but it likely will become a slower tactical race.
Look for my article on Tuesday. I'll have a re-cap and updated team scores with analysis.
Enjoy the Games!