At the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow, the Day 3 grand finale (the women's 100-meter dash final) was the epitome of domination—plain and simple.
In fact, so plain and simple, it was summed up perfectly in a tweet from longtime track aficionado Conway Hill:
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (SAFP) simply demolished the rest of the field, winning in a world-leading 10.71 seconds. The silver medal went to Ivory Coast's Murielle Ahoure, trailing far back with a still-respectable time of 10.93.
That's a 0.22 second gap—a literal eternity in a short sprint.
USA's Carmelita Jeter (10.94) and young English Gardner (10.97) finished third and fourth respectively.
Fraser-Pryce has beautifully set up a dramatic showdown with American Allyson Felix in the 200 later this week.
Russian hurdler Sergey Shubenkov broke up an American sweep in the men's 110-meter hurdles final, capturing bronze before a frenzied home crowd. David Oliver (13.0) and the resurgent Ryan Wilson (13.13) went 1-2 and Jason Richardson was just nipped by the Russian to finish fourth.
Olympic champion and world record-holder (12.80) Aries Merritt showed his late-season rust in finishing sixth (13.31). With four runners in the final, USA garnered 23 points in our exclusive scoring system (see below).
In the women's 400-meter final, four ladies crossed the finish line under the magical 50-second barrier. Great Britain's Christine Ohuruogu was declared the winner in a photo finish with Botswana sprinter Amantle Montsho in a national record 49.41. Hometown favorite Antonina Krivoshapka settled for bronze in 49.78.
American quarter-milers Natasha Hastings and Francena McCorory just didn't have it on this day, finishing fifth and sixth.
Germany went 1-3-5 in the men's pole vault, acing out the favorite, Renaud Lavillenie of France, who took a rare silver medal. Raphael Holzdeppe claimed gold on fewer misses with Lavillenie at 19 feet, four inches.
Bjorn Otto, Brad Walker (USA) and Malte Mohr took third, fourth and fifth at 19'-1.5" on count-back.
Germany scored big here with 18 points in our scoring system.
It was just another day's work for New Zealand's Valerie Adams in the women's shot put final. She has simply ruled the event for the last two years. Her winning toss was an adequate 68'-6". The silver medal went to Germany's Christina Schwanitz at 66'-11" and bronze went to China's Lijiao Gong, 65'-5".
Americans Michelle Carter and Tia Brooks ended up fourth and eighth.
The men's hammer final produced yet another world-leading effort as Poland's Pawel Fajdek uncoiled a huge 268'-11" toss. Krisztian Pars of Hungary (263'-5") and Czech thrower Lukas Melich (260'-4") rounded out the podium finishes.
A great second day of heptathlon competition is shaping up for tomorrow's conclusion. After four disciplines, Ukranian multi-eventer Ganna Melnichenko is leading with 3912 points.
But the next three athletes are within 27 points battling for podium spots. Dafne Schippers, of the Netherlands (3837), American Sharon Day (3836) and Canadian Brianne Theisen Eaton (Ashton's new wife) with 3810 points will contend for all the marbles.
Day 4 will bring seven event finals into the spotlight.
The toughest ladies on the planet bring the heptathlon to a dramatic conclusion, contesting their final three events throughout the day.
China should get a chance to showcase their athletes (and score big points) in the women's 20 kilometer race/walk.
In the women's pole vault final, the Russian home crowd just might provide the most potent performance enhancement legally available—but only for their darling, Yelena Isinbayeva. Has she got one more gold medal performance on her belt? Can the American, Jenn Suhr, or the Cuban, Yarisley Silva, spoil her moment? It's one event every track fan has been waiting for.
In one of the sport's most ancient competitions, the men's discus final is likely to become a gold medal duel between Germany's Robert Harting and Piotr Malachowski of Poland.
In the absence of Olympic champion and world record-holder David Rudisha, the men's 800-meter final could see two Americans on the podium—Duane Solomon and/or Nick Symmonds. But the youngster from Ethiopia, Mohammed Aman, may have something to say about who stands on the highest pedestal.
Milcha Chemos of Kenya is the favorite to win the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, but with compatriot Lidya Chepkurui and Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa in the mix, it looks like an all-East Africa struggle for the medals...again.
Kirani James (Grenada), LaShawn Merritt (USA) or... Take your pick. No matter how it turns out, the men's 400 final will be a thrilling Day 4 finale.
It's getting to the point now where breaking down our scoring into separate men's and women's columns will help us get a more detailed analysis of trends, team depth and the importance of those fourth- through eighth-place finishes.
So, here's the breakdown after Day 3:
MEN WOMEN TEAM
US - 51 US - 41 US - 92
Ger. - 27 Ken. - 22 Jam. - 42
Jam. - 24 Rus. - 20 Rus. - 40
Rus. - 20 Jam. - 18 Ger. - 39
Fra. - 16 Jpn. - 15 Ken. - 33
GBr. - 13 Eth. - 14 Eth. - 25
Ken. - 11 Chi. - 12 GBr. - 24
Eth. - 11 Ger. - 12 Jpn. - 24
Jpn. - 9 Gbr. - 11 Fra. - 23
Chi. - 7 Ita. - 10 Chi. - 19
(we're using an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring method)
It's still early in the week, but it looks like the USA is running away from the world in every category. I expect the Russians to close the gap—especially in the women's column as the week progresses.
Jamaica has some firepower in reserve for later as well. The East Africans (Kenya and Ethiopia) have the potential to score well, but as true rivals, they tend to cancel each other out.
Interesting week ahead.
Be sure to check back on Tuesday (bookmark our track and field homepage) for all the results, scores and developments from Day 4.
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