Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pole Vault & 100m Showdowns Take Center Stage in Rome

Click here to read an interview with meet director Luigi D'Onofrio, who complains about the depletion of his long-distance events, "some of the best distance races of the year." The entire Ethiopian contingent has withdrawn from the Golden Gala meet. They were "diverted by their national federation because of the African Championships."

Here's a lengthy preview of the meet. It is an IAAF Golden League event with a million bucks at stake. Perhaps the premier event of the meet will be the Pole Vault showdown between Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, who is still vying for the jackpot along with three other athletes, and Jenn Stuczynski of the USA. Click here to read an article specific to that Pole Vault showdown.

Also featured will be a Caribbean 100m duel between 2nd cousins – Jamaican Asafa Powell and Bahamian Derrick Atkins. Powell, fresh off an injury, anchored a 4x100m victory for Team Jamaica in Lausanne Tuesday night then declared himself fit for the season.

An interesting – but ultimately meaningless – race will be the rematch between Sanya Richards and Team USA for the women's 400m Dash: DeeDee Trotter, Natasha Hastings, and Mary Wineberg. You might recall (see video below) that Trotter won the U.S. National race that determined the Team USA representatives for Osaka, while Hastings and Wineberg overtook a fading Richards for the final two spots. The 22 year-old sprinter will have to console herself by going for the $1,000,000.00 Golden League jackpot, for which she is still eligible, and by trouncing Team USA. If she wins tomorrow, should we again debate the seemingly imperfect selection process of the USATF, or should we simply resign ourselves to that reality (that there is no perfect selection process) and move on?

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