We're just a bit less than 2 weeks out from the start of the Olympic track and field competition; and, I thought I would give you my predictions for the US medal chances for 800 Meters on up at the London oval. So, without any further ado - here we go.
800 Meters Men. Duane Solomon just ran a real fast time in Monaco; but, he seems to lack the experience necessary to get through the heats & semis and still be ready to get a medal in the finals. Nick Symmonds has the experience and is a big meet performer. But, I just don't see him quite getting over the hump. Best case scenario - 5th for Symmonds.
800 Meters Women. I think that this is about how well Alysia Montano can handle the heats and semi's. She's proving herself as a racer and has put down some fast times this year. I predict a bronze for Montano.
1500 Meters Men. With some of the performances that have been getting laid down this year, I just don't see our men being able to pull it off. Centrowitz and Monzano have proven themselves to be good big meet performers; and, I think that they'll make the final. One of them will likely make the top 5; but, I think that's it. Wheating seems to be a big question mark; but, I just don't think that he's on top of his game and don't expect him to get out of the semis.
1500 Meters Women. I think that all 3 of our women will make the final. But, only one of them will come home with hardware...............and, I predict Rowbury. Uceny and Simpson just don't seem to have the magic that they saw last year. And, Rowbury is the most experienced and smartest racer of the bunch. I think that she's finally ready to bring home a medal.
3000 Steeple Men. Ignorance will be bliss for Evan Jager. He's only run 5 steeples so far in his career. One of those was to convincingly win the Oly Trials. Another was this past week when he set a new AR in 8:06.81 - making him the 5th fastest time in the world this year. He seems to have positioned himself well; and, I think that he may be just naive enough to pull off a bronze behind the top 2 Kenyans.
300 Steeple Women. Although Emma Coburn has the 12th fastest time in the world this year, I just think that there is too much experience and speed in front of her. So, she should make the finals; but, probably no better than 8th or 9th.
5,000 Meters Men. Super interesting. We have Lagat, Rupp and Lomong. Lagat is smart, fast and experienced. He'll definately make the finals. Rupp is improving all the time with his speed and tactics. He too will make the final. Lomong - he has the speed and the desire. I think that we'll get all three to the final. That will be quite and accomplishment for the American team. I think that Lagat brings home hardware. I expect Rupp to be a bit too beat up from the 10,000 and the 5K heats to get a medal; but, top 6 is a possibility. Lomongs lack of experience at championship 5K's keeps him out of the top 10.
5,000 Meters Men. Unfortunately, I don't see any of our women making the final. They are solid runners; but, don't see them having the wheels to pull off the Q time for the final.
10,000 Meters Men. I think that all 3 of our guys will perform admirably - Rupp, Ritz and Tegenkamp. But, I think that only Rupp will be in the top 9. And, I think he will bring home a bronze. He's developing the tactical sense and the finishing speed necessary for a championship 10K. He's ready to go and I think he'll ride along with training mate Mo Farah to the medal stand.
10,000 Meters Women. My prediction is that only Hastings will be in the top 12. As in the 5K, I just don't think our women have the wheels this year to challenge for hardware.
Marathon Men. I love Meb and Abdi - but, championship marathoning has changed dramatically since Meb's silver in Athens. I think that Hall is the only one with the speed endurance to be in the hunt after 30K. But, I see him 5th at best. Still, a great run; but, just too much East African blood to overcome.
Marathon Women. One of our women will win a medal. It won't be Desi Davilla. She's a bit beat up and not having the training block necessary to be ready. And, I just don't think that Kara is back to 100% after the birth of Colt. Top 10 maybe; but, not medals. That leaves us with Shalane Flanagan. She has the endurance, track speed and race smarts to pull it off. And, if she really runs smart and puts it all on the line in the last 10K - gold is not unrealistic.
So, there you have it. Let me know what you think I have wrong and what I have right.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard