Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diamond Dash: Third time's a charm for Shalane Flanagan at DN Galan?

Dominating at USA XC Champs (TrackAndFieldPhoto)
Shalane Flanagan has made two great runs at the American 5000m Record this season. The first was at "Distance Night in Eugene," running 14:49.68 and the second was a strong 14:45.20 in Paris. Will the third time be the charm for Flanagan in Stockholm? If she can continue taking 4 seconds off per race, she'll be well under Molly Huddle's record of 14:44.76. Flanagan flew under the radar last week running within 1 second of her PR in the 1500 at Monaco in 4:06.63, insinuating she will be ready to go for something in the 14:41 area come Friday afternoon. She'll have another excellent field to pull her along with one potential American threat (Jenny Simpson), OTC's Sally Kipyego, Vivian Cheruiyot, Mercy Cherono, Violet Kibiwot and many other capable of running in the 14:40's (as well as the recovering Lauren Fleshman). Full startlist is here.

Another exciting race in Stockholm is the Men's 400. While I usually stick to covering the 800 and up, I can't wait to see what LaShawn Merritt has in him in the 400. It's obvious at this point that I'm a Tar Heel homer, but I went to ECU for grad school, which is where Merritt ran for one year, so I've always cheered for him. Now I am no fan of drugs in Track & Field, but Merritt's case is a little odd. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. I hope he lives up to it and has been training hard, as he could help the US medal count in Daegu in two places (400 and 4x400). From the looks of the startlist, he could potentially be in a "B" heat. If not, he'll have his hands full with Jeremy Wariner, Chris Brown, Jonathan Borlee, Angelo Taylor, Tabarie Henry and Renny Quow.

Other races to watch are the Women's 800 (Uceny, Schmidt, Beckwith, Montano, Semenya), the Men's 1500 (Brown, Brannen, Leer, Manzano, Wheating, Torrence, Willis, Kiplagat, Kiprop, Riseley, Gregson) and of course the finale, the Men's 200, featuring (a recently slower) Usain Bolt.

Full meet info is located here. The event will be broadcast live on UniversalSports.com and later on Universal Sports (with the US team).

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