2013 World Track & Field Championships: Day 2 Results, Team Scores and Analysis
With eight events now in the books (six today) at the 2013 World Track and Field Championships in Moscow, a slight glimpse of the best-of-the-best in the sport is beginning to emerge.
And of course, any discussion of the sport's very best would be incomplete without mention of Jamaica's Usain Bolt.
Even the heavens seemed to agree today, releasing a flash of lightning just as Bolt crossed the finish line, claiming yet another gold medal in the men's 100-meter final.
In a finals field which included four Jamaicans, and running into a steady rain, Bolt overhauled the quick-starting American Justin Gatlin to redeem his embarrassing false-start disqualification in Daegu in 2011.
Jamaica went 1-3-4-5 in spite of the absence of compatriot and defending world champion Yohan Blake, out with an injury. Bolt won in 9.77 seconds, and Gatlin took silver in 9.85.
Nesta Carter claimed the bronze medal in 9.94.
While Bolt's time was far off his world record of 9.58, after the race he demonstrated a character quality which surely stamps him as one of the finest ambassadors in all of sport—he stayed around after the music had stopped and the seats were empty to give interviews.
Later this week, Bolt still has an opportunity to add to his gold treasury in the 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay.
Speaking of gold, Day 2 provided the USA with a nice jackpot. Ashton Eaton filled a void in his trophy case with his first world championship win in the decathlon, and Brittney Reese launched herself from a 12th-place qualifying slot to a victory in the women's long jump—albeit by a scant two centimeters.
Eaton "cruised" through the grueling second day of competition to compile a respectable score of 8,809. His teammate Gunnar Nixon dropped from second place in Day 1 to finish 13th overall with 8,312 points. Still, it was a personal best result for the young American, and we should see more of him in the future.
Germany's Michael Schrader was a model of consistency, staying right on Eaton's heels throughout the competition. He accumulated 8,670 points for silver. Rising Canadian star Damian Warner nailed the bronze medal with 8,512.
Reese got her winning jump (23.0 feet) on her second attempt. The mark was a far cry from the 21'6" semifinals effort that barely squeaked her into the finals. It was Reese's third gold medal in the World Championships and solidified her standing as royalty in the event.
Nigerian sprinter, Blessing Okagbare fell just short of Reese with a 22'11" jump and settled for silver. Ivana Spanovic of Serbia took bronze with a 22'4.5". We'll see more of Okagbare in the women's 100 and 200.
In the "foregone conclusion" file, Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba did not disappoint in the women's 10,000 meters. But it was a predictable finish only because her countrywoman Meseret Defar did not compete.
One of the sport's greatest rivalries did not materialize this year when it was decided that neither Dibaba or Defar would double (10k and 5k) at the Worlds (Defar will be the unquestioned favorite in the 5,000 meters later this week).
Nevertheless, Dibaba confirmed all the form charts, winning the 10,000 in 30 minutes, 43.35 seconds. Gladys Cherono of Kenya was second in 30:45.17, and Ethiopia's Belaynesh Oljira finished third in 30.46.98.
Americans Shalane Flanagan and Jordan Hasay (in her first international championships) finished eighth and 12th, respectively.
Sandra Perkovic of Croatia was another favorite who came through in the women's discus. Her winning throw of 223'1" was almost 2 meters farther than silver medalist Melina Robert-Michon of France, whose 217'6" heave was a national record.
Cuba's Yarelys Barrios took bronze with a 213'2" effort, and USA's Gia Lewis-Smallwood defied the charts with a 210'8" throw to finish fifth.
In the men's 20-kilometer race/walk, Aleksandr Ivanov gave the Russian home crowd a chance to test the decibel meter as he came home victorious in one hour, 20 minutes, 58 seconds. China's Ding Chen (1:21:09) and Spain's Miguel Angel Lopez (1:21:21) captured silver and bronze.
By the way, the Russian home crowd has already demonstrated they are capable of high-volume exuberance at the appropriate times.
Day 3 will be another busy day with the heptathlon beginning its two-day run and six more event finals on tap.
The men's pole vault should be an honest competition. I've seen reports that due to Luzhniki Stadium's unique design, the wind has not been a problem and the runway is in great shape.
New Zealand's Valerie Adams will be the featured attraction in the women's shot put, and look for a possible American sweep in the men's 110-meter hurdles.
We'll have the men's hammer and the women's 400-meter finals, and the always-exciting women's 100-meter dash as the curtain-closer.
Remember, I'm keeping score, using an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system for event finals. For now, I'm content to combine the men's and women's results into an overall score.
It's still early in the championships, and trends are just beginning to appear. With two distance races and the women's marathon already completed, the East Africans have predictably made their mark early. The Americans benefited greatly from two gold medals today, as did Jamaica and Ethiopia with their 1-3 finishes in the men's 100 and the women's 10k.
Considering the event finals scheduled for Day 3, I expect European nations to surge in the standings. And that men's hurdles final looks like more points coming for USA as well.
Here's how we stand after Day 2:
Be sure to bookmark our track and field homepage and check back tomorrow to get the results, scores and analysis from Day 3. Enjoy the competition.
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