IAAF World Championships in Athletics: Oh, Stop Being Snooty and call it Track and Field

In one of my earliest posts here at Ladies…, I confessed my deep and abiding love for track and field.  (Also, holy crap — that was a year ago?)  Well, I have once again proven my track nerd bonafides by not only watching last weekend’s coverage of the World Championships in Berlin (such as it was, since I don’t get Versus and had to make do with the two hours a day NBC could tear away from the “Dew Tour”) but getting into a giddy text message exchange with my brother immediately after watching Usain Bolt’s smashing of his own 100m world record.  (My brother, by the way, believes Usain can break 9.4 before he retires.)

The mechanics minded among us might be interested in the biomechanical analysis of the men’s 100 final and semifinals.  If you are like me and more of a right brain than left brain person, Deadspin’s mashup of Bolt’s race with a Beatles tune might better help you grasp just how fast 9.58 seconds truly is.

Though I love to watch Bolt run, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the other runners in the 100m (or the 200m which Bolt also owns the world record in), particularly Tyson Gay, the World Champion in 2007 before Usain hit his peak.  Gay ran the race of his life, set a new U.S. record of 9.71 –and finished second.  As my brother also texted, “he’s one of the best runners in the world and he’ll probably never win another major race.”  Also squeezed out by the surplus of excellent 100m runners?  Usain Bolt’s rather attractive training partner, Daniel Bailey:

Daniel finished 4th in Sunday’s 100m final, but certainly caught my eye during the heats.  Let’s hope training with Bolt will improve his times enough to at least stand on the medal podium next time around.

In non-sprint news, American Kerron Clement won gold in the 400 m hurdles, which I mention because along with Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson and the adorkable Bershawn Jackson, they make a very enjoyable podium picture:

The biggest upset of the World Championships happened in the women’s pole vault, as Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva lost her first international championship (World Championships + Olympics) in six years and only her second competition all season, after failing to clear the bar on her first three attempts. You know how sometimes you do something really embarrassing in front of a big group of people and want to crawl into a hole and die?

Short of burying herself in the long jump pit, I guess this was the best she could do.

Of course the other big story coming out of the women’s side today concerns the 800 M gold medalist Caster Semenya, who has been accused (prior to actually winning the final) of not actually being a woman. This is a far more complicated story than I could cover in a hasty recap — Jezebel had a nice post about it yesterday (before the final was run) if you’re interested in why one’s gender isn’t as easy to prove as you might think.

For anyone interested in following the remaining days of the World Championships (including Bolt’s attempt to break another of his own records in the 200 M final on Friday) the official website is a great way to follow along live at work  — they even have a Twitter account.  Track geeks of the world unite!

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