Friday, May 27, 2011

Diamond Dash: KD comes back in Rome

Photo courtesy
The mens 800 meter final at the 2008 Olympic Trials was probably the most exciting race I have seen in my life. Nick Symmonds of the Oregon Track Club (and D3 Willamette) stormed home in the last 150 for the win and Andrew Wheating, in the Oregon Duck uniform, finished very strong for second in front of the home crowd. The third and final Olympic spot was a duel between 8-time USA Champion Khadevis "KD" Robinson and former NCAA Indoor Mile Champ and Oregon Track Club athlete Christian Smith. At first glance it looked like KD had held off the diving Smith for the win, but when the Hayward Field Jumbotron showed the slow motion replay, the Oregon crowd went wild to realize that there was an Oregon-based sweep in the event.

KD went on to give a very classy interview with FloTrack and then went on to win the 2009 USA Indoor 800 and was runner up that year in outdoor before 2010 happened. 2010 seemed to be the beginning of the end for KD's long and fruitful career. He wasn't racing against Rudisha during his world record setting season, he was rabbiting him. This continued all season and it looked like KD would be relegated to this for the last year or two of his career. Nothing to be somber about, but still a somewhat sad decline to a great career.

On January 19, 2011 things changed. This was the day KD was hired to coach UNLV's middle, long distance and cross country team. With a steady paycheck and adequate facilities to train on, 2011 looks to be a renaissance for the 34 year old multiple time US Champ. His season started in Jamaica with a 1:46.25 win, followed by a 1:46.01 win of his heat at USATF High Performance meet at Occidental College. But none would compare to his win at the well attended (47,000+) Samsung Diamond League Golden Gala in Rome yesterday.

KD took a page out of Symmonds book and raced the first 500 meters in dead last before absolutely blowing away the field in the final 300 and flat out leaving everyone in their tracks in the last 100 to cross the line in first. It was great to see the legend rip an excellent field that included Olympic 1500 gold medalist Asbel Kiprop and 2007 World Champ Alfred Yego. Hopefully it is just a sign of what is to come from KD for the rest of this year. Well done Mr. Robinson.

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