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it's the bloody olympics
the great track thirst is finally being quenched
I was going to use a different curse word but it still feels too early for that. Did anyone else stay up until almost midnight watching *heats* of the women’s 100 meters and then wake up for the 5 a.m. CT rounds of the women’s 5K this morning?
After an extra year of waiting…
Ten or so days of sleep deprivation feels worth the cost of admission after finding out that Suni Lee won the women’s gymnastics all-around gold thanks to a New York Times push alert yesterday morning. When you already know the result, waiting 12 hours to watch the action in primetime really takes the sting out of the excitement. You really can’t beat live sports. That said, I have really enjoyed being an honorary member of the gymternet while waiting for track and field to start this week.
Men’s 10k final: Barega wins, first medals for Uganda
I postponed my morning run today to watch the men’s 10k final and it was worth it! Selemon Barega of Ethiopia ran the fastest final kilometer in Olympic history (2:25) to claim gold in 27:43.22, despite some impressive team tactics from Uganda, whose Stephen Kissa set a hard pace from the gun. He was reportedly instructed to run 2:40/km before dropping out and though his teammates Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo didn’t end up going with him, they were able to secure silver and bronze — the first-ever distance medals at the Olympic Games for Uganda. Cheptegei, a favorite in Tokyo despite poor form in 2021, said after the race that he had a tendon injury.
Grant Fisher had an incredibly gutsy race to finish as the top American in fifth place in 27:46.39, one spot ahead of Bowerman Track Club teammate Mo Ahmed of Canada, the 2019 world bronze medalist for 5k. That’s gotta leave the Phresh Fish pretty confident for the double! Fellow Americans and first-time Olympians Woody Kincaid and Joe Klecker finished in 15th and 16th place, respectively, in 28:11 and 28:14.
Shouts to BTC coach Jerry Schumacher for coaching a total of five guys in this field: Fisher, Ahmed, Kincaid, GB’s Marc Scott (14th, 28:09) and Thailand’s Kieran Tuntivate (23rd, 29:01). I hope they get a team picture with all the different countries’ uniforms.
Folks got a little hype last night over the first round of the women’s 100 meters. Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Côte d'Ivoire led qualifiers with a new African record of 10.78 (-0.3), the fastest time ever recorded in an Olympic prelim. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.82) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.84) cruised to heat wins as well, as a total of six women ran under 11 seconds. All three Americans advanced to the next round: Teahna Daniels (11.04), Jenna Prandini (11.11) and Javianne Oliver (11.15)
BTC had another nice showing in the women’s 5K prelims, as both Karissa Schweizer (14:51.34) and Elise Cranny (14:56.14) advanced to the final. Rachel Schneider was with the lead pack heading into the bell lap of heat 2, but couldn’t hang and was the second-fastest runner to miss the final, running 15:00.07 in the humid Tokyo conditions. Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands closed in 60.7 to win the first heat in an insane 14:47.89, as six women ran under 14:51. This was the first race of Hassan’s attempted distance triple in the 1,500m, 5k, 10k, although it is unlikely she actually completes all three events.
Benard Keter was the last time qualifier and lone American to advance to the men’s steeplechase final; he had to run an 8:17.31 personal best to do it. U.S. Olympic Trials champion Hillary Bor, a potential projected medal threat in this event, led his heat at the bell but got out-kicked and missed the time qualifier by two seconds in 8:19.80. Mason Ferlic finished 21st overall in 8:20.23.
All the Americans advanced as expected in the women’s 800m, but what caught my attention was how the women in Athing Mu’s heat seemed deferential to the 19-year-old. Fingers crossed that she can stay calm and execute to her abilities in her first Olympic Games because she has all the tools to earn gold in the final.
The men’s 400-meter hurdles also went to form, but notably, the two fastest men in world history are now seeded to face each other one round early in the semi-final: set your alarms now for 7:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, when we’ll get our first taste of Norway’s Karsten Warholm vs. USA’s Rai Benjamin.
The U.S. was disqualified from the mixed gender 4x400-meter relay, a new Olympic event that features two men and two women in any order. Team USA is protesting the result, as apparently an official told Lynna Irby to stand in the wrong spot for a handoff. She was informed of the DQ in her post-race interview on live television, which must have felt horrible. Hopefully, they are reinstated.
In other sporting news…
I postponed my morning run a second time by sticking around to watch the USWNT defeat the Netherlands in penalty kicks. What a game!!! If you’re into soccer, Theo Lloyd-Hughes is recapping all of the action for us over at The Striker Texas. Here’s his match report from today and here’s where you can find all of our USWNT coverage.
Caeleb Dressel (whose name is spelled with two E’s) had perhaps one of the greatest Olympic moments so far of these Games in winning his first individual Olympic medal and setting an Olympic record in the men’s 100-meter freestyle. He’s already one of the most decorated swimmers in the entire world but based on his reaction here, it’s like it’s his first time on this stage. (Okay, maybe second only to Ariarne Titmus’ coach’s reaction)
I’ll mostly be using this newsletter to share articles that I write for different publications over the next 10 days, so expect some takes, some links and lots of fun.
Here’s an interview I did with USWNT member Carli Lloyd (who, at 39 years old, is the oldest women’s soccer player ever for Team USA and incredibly, still alive!) announcing her new partnership with Secret deodorant for Self magazine.
I think there is still enough morning left to do both a morning run and a p.m. double, so off we go.