World rankings for track and field...
(Tim: this just in from our American African correspondent, David Wegener.)
Well the World Rankings are out in Track and Field. Here is a summary:
The man of the year was David Rudisha, a young 21-year old Kenyan. He set two world records this year in the 800-meter run, almost breaking the 1:41 barrier. That means he runs four consecutive 200s in 25.2 seconds. Amazing. Nice that there's no hint of any scandal attached to his name. No amazing improvements from 2009, no bulging muscles, no yellow eyes, etc.
Not so with the top American, David Oliver. He runs the 110-meter high hurdles. His thigh muscles are so big, they're hard to believe. He set an American record in his event but was just shy of the world record. He went undefeated.
Usain Bolt was injured this year so Americans took the top rankings in the 100- and 200-meter runs. Still Bolt's Facebook page records 950,000 hits per day. His coach says the best of Bolt is yet to come.
Jeremy Wariner was back on top of the 400-meter run. The Bejing Olympic champion, LaShawn Merritt, is still serving a drug disqualification. He admited he took something he shouldn't have taken but maintains it was not to help his performance on the track.
Africans continue to dominate the distance races...
The Russians are again on top of the high jump, ranking 1,3,4,6.
There is a new emerging star in the triple jump: Teddy Tamgho. He is from France and broke 59 feet this year. That is pretty rare. The world record holder is still Jonathan Edwards, the English star who is now retired. Edwards was the son of an Anglican clergyman, known while he competed for his Evangelical faith and for his refusal to compete on Sunday (at least for part of his career). Alas, now that he is retired, he is apparently unsure if God exists.
Christian Cantwell ranked number one in the shot put with a best of over 73 feet. He is a massive man, standing 6'4" and weighing 340 lbs. Would love to believe he is clean.
Down year for the decathlon. A Frenchman ranked number one. No world championships this year and no Olympics. Americans have the potential to go 1-2-3 in the next Olympics in the decathlon.
Allison Felix ranked number one in the 200-meter run and the 400-meter run. That's a rare feat. Sanya Richards took the year off to get married. Allison's father teaches in MacArthur's seminary. It warmed my fatherly heart to read a comment in Track & Field News a few years ago that he wished his daughter would clean up her room.
African women claimed 31 of the top 50 places in the 1500, 3000 steeplechase, 5000, 10,000 and the marathon. Pretty evenly divided between Ethiopians and Kenyans.
The leading female high hurdler is heavily muscled. Doesn't smell good. She is from Canada. Never heard of her before this year.
The top female marathon runners are scary slight. The heaviest one in the top ten weighs 110 lbs. Three of the top ten weigh under 90 lbs.
Blanka Vlasic, the high jumper from Croatia, was named the top female athlete. She is known for being tall (over 6'3"), slender and attractive. She also is known for her victory dances and sometimes jumps with flowers in her hair.
Yalena Isinbaeva had a rare off year in the pole vault. She vaulted a few times indoors, didn't do so well and then took the year off. A Brazilian took top honors in her place.