The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.
Yesterday, the Jamaican Observer wrote about Yohan Blake’s plans to double in the 100 and 200 at this year’s Olympics. While not surprising, it got me thinking about which decisions will have the most impact on the competition in London. After not including relays, or assumed doubles, such as Usain Bolt, Walter Dix, Carmelita Jeter, Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, etc. I narrowed it down to four:
Allyson Felix: 100/200, 200/400, 200, 400
Despite the articles and intimations to the contrary, attempting the 100 seems like a long shot for Felix. After all, if she were going to put another race on her schedule that comes before her favored 200, then it would be the 400, where she narrowly missed gold in 2011. If she does opt for the 100, her path out of the Olympic Trials got a little bit easier with the news that Marshevet Hooker will be taking the year off.
However, it seems very hard to believe Felix would put an extra race in her legs, both in Eugene and London trying to beat 100 meter specialists. The more realistic option is between the 200 and 400. She tried the double last year in Daegu and came up a bit short finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively, but even with the Olympic year resurgence of Sanya Richards-Ross and Christine Ohuruogu, the 400 is still not nearly as deep as the 200.
So why would she drop the 400, a race where was .03 seconds away from gold at the 2011 World Championships? The idea of racing Veronica Campbell-Brown and Carmelita Jeter fresh has to be tempting. As does winning gold in the 200 where she earned the silver medal at the last two Olympics.
Abubaker Kaki: 800 or 1500
As they overlap on the London program, this is most likely and either/or situation. Kaki was the silver medalist in the 800 last year, but the man he lost to, David Rudisha, seems unbeatable. His switch to the 1500 for the Olympics would make him the first to employ the ARAAC strategy (Avoid Rudisha At All Costs). Most don’t have the ability to pull off the ARAAC, but Kaki ran 3:31 last year and is already entered in a 1500 for the first Diamond League meet.
What would be the ripple effect of Kaki’s switch? Aside from Rudisha’s path getting easier, it would make Kaki a medal threat immediately in the 1500. Throw him, and his closing speed, in the mix with Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat and the chances of an American medal decrease significantly as well.
Kenenisa Bekele: 5,000, 10,000, 5,000/10,000, neither
We will definitely have more information about the form of the defending gold medalist after he returns to racing this weekend in Ireland. Bekele barely raced last year and dropped out of the 10,000 at the World Championships snapping his undefeated streak in that event in the process. His 2011 wasn’t all bad though as he returned in Brussels to run the fastest time in the world (26:43). Was that performance a sign to returned dominance or a final curtain call?
The answer should be much more obvious this year because he will have to show some positive results early in the season in order to get selected to the Olympic team. Bekele’s presence in either event would make it much more difficult for Mo Farah to win in front of his home crowd and it would also mean that a highly qualified Ethiopian will be on the sideline. In the 2011 World Championships, Ethiopia went 1st and 3rd in the 10,000 and 3rd and 5th in the 5,000 (they would have been 3rd and 4th had Imane Merga not been disqualified). The 5,000 and 10,000 are separated by several days making the double manageable.
Yohan Blake: 100, 200 or 100/200
Why would a reigning world champion in the 100 not race the glamour event at the Olympic Games? The answer is he probably still will, but maybe he should reconsider. Blake’s 100 meter title last year was a bit diminished by the absence of Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt, and was overshadowed by his own post-World Championship 19.26 200 meter time.
His best in the 100 meters is 9.82. Great, but does not put him in the rarefied air that his 200 does. If he skips the 100, he will be racing fresh against many that will be doubling back from the 100. When I floated this idea to Ato Boldon (at about 8:02 on the podcast) he politely told me I was completely wrong, so I am probably way off base. The prestige and potential earning power is far greater in the 100, but if Blake does not show the ability to go 9.7 or 9.6 early in the season, he should give the 200, and just the 200, a serious look.
The rest of The Morning Run
Aries Merritt and his hair are profiled by Yahoo.
The Boston Herald explains why the top Americans will be on the sidelines for this year’s Boston Marathon. Hint, the Olympics.
The IAAF preview of Boston.
Jesse Squire discusses the connection between Steve Prefontaine and dual meets.
Ken Goe’s links of yore.
More of the non-story that is the status of Delano Williams‘ citizenship.
A great analysis of Matt Centrowitz’s bronze medal race in Daegu.