The Reuters global sports blog
Might the Diamond League be snake-bitten in its initial season? Injuries and other setbacks have taken away a chunk of glitter from the initiative, which was to bring new fans and interest to the sport.
Out for the season apparently are two of the circuit’s biggest names, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and Ethiopian distance king Kenenisa Bekele.
World record holder Isinbayeva decided to take a break from the sport after failing to medal at the world indoor championships.
Then came word on Thursday that Olympic and world champion Bekele had ruptured a calf muscle, sidelining the world record holder until at least August if not for the season.
When will the Diamond League have its first sprint showdown?
That’s a frequent question from athletics followers whose appetites have been whetted by the fast early times of Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt.
We know, according to a Diamond League announcement, all three are scheduled to run a 100 metres in the August 27 Brussels meeting, but you can bet your ever-shrinking euro that Bolt and Gay will race in the same stadium before then.
The amount of money athletes earn from the 14-meeting global series, and how it compares to last season, also will be scrutinized.
Except for a training run, new American distance find Chris Solinsky might not have become the first North American runner to break 27 minutes in the 10,000 metres.
“We were planning to run a steeple (3,000 metres steeplechase) actually … until after one of my tempo-runs when Jerry (Coach Jerry Schumacher) decided that we’d switch it to the 10,000,” Solinsky told a conference call.
British Olympic and Commonwealth Games 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu is escaping the cold weather of London for the next three weeks to work in Jamaica with Usain Bolt’s training group, the Racers Track Club.
“I have never been to Jamaica before and am very excited about the trip,” Ohuruogu said in a statement. “Jamaican athletics is very strong at the moment and I want to go and experience their passion and excitement first hand.”
Usain Bolt has long said that his first sporting love was cricket and earlier this year he caused a stir at Sabina Park in Jamaica when he turned up for the first test match against England. But, until Sunday, no-one knew if the fastest man in the world was any good with a bat or ball in his hand.
Bolt was invited to play in a charity tournament organised by West Indies opening batsman and fellow Jamaican Chris Gayle and according to some of the players I talked to had been talking a good game before putting his pads on.
British sprinter Dwain Chambers played the role of pantomime villain at the world championships, suffering some pretty half-hearted boos from some of the crowd unhappy at his doping past and his bid to overturn the British Olympic Association’s bylaw banning all convicted dopers from the Games.
Chambers, who served a two-year ban from 2003 and confessed to his “crime”, has also been absent from most of the big European meetings this year thanks to a decision of the cartel of organisers not to invite him.
Usain Bolt repeated his 100m record-breaking feats at the World Athletics Championsips in Berlin on Thursday, smashing the 200m time he set in Beijing 12 months ago to claim his second gold medal of the event.
The lightning quick Jamaican posted 19.19 seconds to take 11 hundredths of a second off the record, the exact same size bite he took out of the 100 on Sunday.
His feet are now worth millions but for one horrible, time-stopping moment back in 2005, Usain Bolt’s path to athletics immortality could have been very different.
Four years ago I covered the world championships for Reuters in Helsinki and was part of a group of journalists invited by sponsors to meet the then 18-year-old Bolt, an emerging but raw talent who had already had lofty expectations bestowed on him having become world 200 metres junior champion at 15.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt obliterated his own world record on Sunday as he won the men’s 100 metres final at the world athletics championships in an incredible, mind-boggling 9.58 seconds.
One year to the day from his world record breaking victory in the Olympic final in Beijing, Bolt blew away the field on the blue track in Berlin. American Tyson Gay ran 9.71 to take silver, and Asafa Powell was third after running 9.84.