Stars sharpen up for Tokyo Olympics
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This week, in the final few days before the track and field events start at the Olympics, we bring you up to date with the few stories that are around in what is a quiet period for fairly obvious Olympic sized reasons.
Next week’s edition will have reviews of all the latest Olympic action and links to detailed previews of the big events. Check out our merch store if you’ve not already, share it with your friends and subscribe now by clicking the buttons below. Thanks for reading.
Centro wins the “Centro Mile”
This week saw the reigning Olympic 1500m champion, Matthew Centrowitz attempt to run the American record in the mile in a specially organised event, named after himself, the “Centro Mile”.
At the start of the season, many wrote him off completely, claiming that he was unlikely to even make the US Olympic Team. He managed to silence his critics by peaking at the right time, finishing second in US Olympic Trials behind Cole Hocker. Now, seemingly trying to emulate what the Olympic 1500m final will be like trying to keep up with the likes of Timothy Cheruiyot and Jakob Ingebrigsten, Centro had his sights on Alan Webb’s record of 3:46.91.
Running in front of a crowd cheering him on and a live stream audience of over 10,000 people, he went through 800 in 1:51.6, quicker than Webb’s record. But the pace quickly began to take its toll, however, and it was clear into his second lap that he was beginning to tire. With 600 to go, he was still ahead of Webb’s record by just under a second, but his pace was quite clearly going the wrong way. With a 55.2 final lap required, he was only able to produce a 57.7, which still isn’t too bad to finish in a new personal best of 3:49.26, the 5th fastest US mile ever.
After the race, he was quick to the point. “Tired man, I’m tired. I was definitely expecting a lot more. Happy to finally crack 3:50 for sure but I was looking for something quicker tonight for sure....I felt a little bit uncomfortable through 800 and it kind of showed for the last 600m.”
With a nod to our earlier point about this being all about Olympic prep, he added, “Everyone in the 1500m is expecting a fast pace in Tokyo and today was just good prep for that.”
Converting Centro’s 3:49,26 to the 1500m, it turns out a 3:32.43, a fast time but a time that is unlikely to scare many of his competitors with several athletes having ran faster this year including Cheruiyot, Ingebrigsten, Josh Kerr, Stewy McSweyn and even Jake Wightman in Monaco last year.
After a 1:51 opening 800m, the 3:49 clearly doesn’t represent his full fitness.
Outbreak of Dever Fever in the inaugural George Gandy Memorial Mile
It was a week of big mile events as the Loughborough men lined up at the BMC Grand Prix for the George Gandy Memorial Mile, in memory of the legendary coach from Loughborough University.
Patrick Dever, NCAA 10000m Champion and British 5000m Champion took a comfortable win in 3:58.63, not quite as fast as Centro, but still a significant way ahead of next competitor Tom Mortimer, who crossed the line in 4:02.24. It was a windy day.
Runners lead the way in the Olympic Triathlon
Okay so it’s triathlon and not technically athletics or track and field, but it’s got running in it so we’re including it anyway. This week saw the Olympic Triathlon take place in Tokyo and both races could not have been more different, from the start, the weather and the manner in which the race was won.
First, the fastest runner in the men’s field, on paper, British athlete Alex Yee ran a sub 30 minute 10k to take silver, which in the heat of Tokyo is a special feat. It wasn’t quite fast enough to hold off an incredible gutsy performance from Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, who’s outfit made him look like a marvel superhero. Tri Man! Blummenfelt has been in-form this season and closed with a 29:36 final 10k leg to take the win by around 15 seconds.
In the women’s event, Flora Duffy won the first ever gold medal for Bermuda. Georgia Taylor-Brown, another talented runner, took second. She had to use all her running experience and talent too after she was around 20 seconds behind the leading pack going into the run after completing the last 2.5k of the cycle leg with a flat tyre!
Running community unites behind Luis Grijalva
Luis Grijalva grew up in the USA, in fact he has lived in the USA since he was 1, ONE. However, his DACA status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). As a result, he is only permitted to leave the USA for humanitarian, educational, or employment reasons and so this temporarily ended his dreams of representing his native Guatemala.
He promised to be competitive in this year’s Olympics too, having run PBs of 3:35 and 13:15 for the 1500m and 5000m respectively.
Twitter and Instagram united in support immediately to get Luis to the games and, thankfully, right at the last minute, he was granted an exception by the US Government which will allow him to compete and return to the USA on completion. He will now compete as Guatemala’s only track athlete at the entire Games!
Drama at the Olympics on the eve of the start of Track and Field action
One day before track and field starts at the Olympics, the World pole vault champion, Sam Kendricks, is out of the Games due to testing positive for covid. The entire Australian team all self isolating in their rooms and 20 athletes including half the Nigerian team are barred from competing due to insufficient drug testing.
We’ll be releasing a video on our Olympic predictions ahead of the start of the Track and Field. Keep an eye on our website and Instagram for links on where and how to watch. In the meantime, head over to our website and have a read of Olympic predictions article, by clicking here.