Lagat, Goucher and Flanagan Are Big Time in ’08 Olympic Track & Field Trials
One of America’s newest citizens, Kenyan-born Bernard Lagat, ran with a renewed passion at the recent 2008 Olympic Trials at the University of Oregon.
Lagat, who captured an historic double victory in the 5000 and 1500-meter events at last year’s World Championships, repeated the feat before the nation’s greatest track fans at Oregon’s onlyfans free trial newly-remodeled Hayward Field, which received a $12 million facelift in preparation for the Olympic Trials.
Just stepping on the legendary Hayward Field track brings back so many great memories of Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, the immortal “Pre” (Steve Prefontaine) and dozens of other American and world record holders who have left their footprints on the hallowed turf that once again ranks as the nation’s best track & field venue.
Lagat won the 5000 in 13:27.47 with Matt Tegenkamp second in 13:29.68 and Ian Dobson third in 13:29.76 to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China in August. Even though Lagat was a full 29+ seconds short of Bob Kennedy’s 12:58.21 American record, it was evident that it was his race to win.
The competition was much tougher in the 1500, where Lagat already owns the American record of 3:29.30. He took on Alan Webb, the American record-holder in the mile at 3:46.91, Lopez Lomong, Leonel Manzano, and Gabe Jennings, who was trying to make a comeback from success earlier in his career.
At one point in the race, Gabe Jennings did take the lead when he sensed the first quarter was too slow; he ultimately finished dead last in 3:47.92. Lagat was content to let the pace languish. Despite being shoved out of the way by Said Ahmed, who took the lead, Lagat ran his last quarter in 54.9 to win. No one could match his speed when it counted (that includes Alan Webb).
Webb, who many felt would win the 1500, ended up 5th in 3:41.62, a scant 62 hundreds-of-a-second behind 3rd place finisher Lopez Lomong in 3:41.00. Leonel Manzano was runner-up in 3:40.90.
In a possible trend that masks the ineptness of American-born middle distance runners on the world scene, all three American qualifiers for the 1500 at the Olympic Games were born in different lands (Lagat in Kenya, Manzano in Mexico and Lomong in the Sudan) but are now citizens of the United States and will represent America in Beijing.
Alan Webb, our best American-born hope in the 1500, spent most of his season avoiding competition while training for the trials. Somehow, Webb and his coach neglected to recognize that you cannot beat-or intimidate-your competition by not showing up for meets.
Webb will be watching the 1500 in Beijing because he did not qualify to compete in the big show. Webb is a lot of things, and inconsistent is one of them. Reminds me of Gabe Jennings.