Tyson Gay Wins 2010 Diamond League Crown & Caster Semenya Returns

August 28, 2010

On a cold, wet track in Brussels, Belgium, American Tyson Gay overcame a poor start and less-than-ideal sprinting conditions to win the Men's 100m and capture the inaugural 2010 Diamond League title in the season's final meet.

After a slipped starting block caused officials to redo the start of the race, Gay came out poorly out of the blocks and found himself trailing Jamaican Nesta Carter early. Carter continued to press his advantage, establishing a solid lead over Gay at the 50 meter mark.

Gay however, maintained his cool, powering home and eventually passing Carter in the last 25 meters. He would finish in a time of 9.79 seconds - an outstanding result given the meet conditions. It was Gay's second sub-9.8 time of the season.

Carter would finish second with a personal-best mark of 9.85. Jamaican Yohan Blake continued his breakthrough season, finishing third with an excellent time of 9.91 seconds.

Lopes-Schliep Takes Diamond League Title in Women's 100m Hurdles

Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep continued her winning ways in 2010 by dominating the Women's 100m hurdles and earning the Diamond League title.

Lopes-Schliep trailed Australia's Sally Pearson early after the first hurdle, but then began to pull away from both Pearson and the rest of the field as she accelerated over the remaining hurdles.

Lopes-Schliep would finish first in a time of 12.54 seconds, her fourth straight win. Pearson would come in second at 12.64 seconds.

Lolo Jones' late-season slump continued, as she was a non-factor throughout the race. The American star suffered her fifth consecutive loss.

Batman Does It Again in the Men's 400m Hurdles

Has anyone had a more consistent 2010 than Bershawn Jackson? The American won his fourth straight 400m hurdles on Friday, finishing in a solid time of 47.85 seconds.

Jackson found himself trailing early in the race to fellow American Angelo Taylor, as Taylor got off to a fast start in the first 200 meters.

Similar to so many other races this season however, Taylor began to fade during the last 150 meters, as his stride pattern fell apart and he chopped his steps while struggling to get over the final few hurdles. He would finish sixth.

Jackson meanwhile, saved his best for the final 100 meters and eventually pulled away from the field with a dominant effort. David Greene finished a distant second in a time of 48.26 seconds.

In addition to the win, Jackson also captured the Diamond League season trophy and the $40,000.00 prize that goes to each winner.

Allyson Felix Wins Women's 200m

Despite running a rather ordinary time of 22.61 seconds, Allyson Felix cruised to yet another victory in the Women's 200m. In addition to the win, Felix also earned a Diamond League title in the event.

Final Thoughts on the 2010 Season and the Return of Caster Semenya

With the first Diamond League season now completed, it is time to now reflect on some of the events of the past few months. Here are our final thoughts:

2010 Track and Field Athlete of the Year: David Oliver

Nobody was more dominant this season than American 110m hurdler David Oliver. Certainly, there were several athletes who put together impressive win streaks, but Oliver combined those victories with consistent quality times.

Oliver ran several sub-13 times, and set a new American record this season in the event. More importantly, he never ran his perfect race, and thus, appears capable of running even faster in the future. We look forward to another excellent year from Oliver in 2011, with hopefully a showdown against star Dayron Robles.

2010 Most Improved Track and Field Athlete: Yohan Blake

This season Blake transitioned away from being a mere bright prospect to a true budding star. Against the biggest names in the sport, the young Jamaican sprinter put up several sub-10 times in the Men's 100m. He proved that he not only has talent, but also is a consistent performer.

Tyson Gay Mounts Challenge to Bolt

After Usain Bolt's record-setting performances changed the game the past two years, the sport was eager to see whether anybody could mount a challenge to the World's Fastest Man.

Well, Tyson Gay certainly did his best in 2010, defeating an out-of-form Bolt in a head-to-head matchup this season.

Later, to prove that effort was no fluke, Gay then impressively ran two sub-9.8 races in poor weather and headwinds, demonstrating that even a healthy Bolt will need to be on his game when they meet up again in 2011.

Caster Semenya Returns

Now that the IAAF's gender tests have verified that Caster Semenya is indeed a woman, the South African star made her return to the sport by finishing third in the Women's 800m on Friday.

Semenya clearly was not race sharp, and had to make a late kick in the final lap just to finish third. However, that finish should not cause one to think that she did not win something on the track Friday.

Semenya is only a teenager, and at such an early and sensitive stage of her adolescence, she has been forced to justify her very physical appearance to the sport's governing bodies. Her looks have been questioned in the international press unlike any other athlete in recent memory, and yet, she has handled the entire situation with the class and dignity of a champion.

When Semenya dominated her competitors in the 2009 Berlin World Championships, several cried out that her facial features and muscular build resembled that of a male. In fact, they actually made the accusation that Semenya was a male, and whined aloud that she held an unfair advantage in the event.

At what should have been a joyous occasion in her athletic career, Semenya instead had to defend her very identity as a person to the media. And if that was not embarrassing enough, one can just imagine the kind of back-stabbing cackling she must have overheard in the locker room.

Typically, as it is with cowards the world over, nobody seemed to be offended on Friday, when Semenya performed poorly and finished third. Still, her opponents' mind games and tactics are to a certain extent forgivable, as sports are abundant with trash-talk and other techniques designed to gain a competitive edge.

What is less tolerable has been the reaction of the mainstream press.

Semenya was stigmatized almost like a drug cheat, an incredibly unfair circumstance considering that her genetics were at issue, not her behavior and conduct.

At the time of the IAAF's investigation, the media delved into the controversy with the kind of half-hearted investigation of a college slacker. Other than covering the nature of the dispute and obtaining a few cursory comments from the various parties, there generally was no real attempt to find out why such a controversy erupted.

Had they done so, they would have discovered that there was a racist element to the charges.

Sure Semenya was muscular, but so are some of the powerful women who compete in the various field events. However, nobody seemed to question those athletes about their gender.

What really seemed to be the problem then, was her allegedly "boyish" facial features.

Semenya did not straighten her hair in a Western European manner, nor did she try to make her appearance more "feminine" by prominently wearing makeup. As such, the media simply goose-stepped along to the status quo Western ideals of female beauty, never once stopping to ask whether her competitors - the same people she had handily defeated - had an ulterior motive for their accusations.

In the end, Semenya was found in the right, but has justice really been done in her case? Not only did she miss out on much of the 2010 season, but the entire controversy must have taken a toll on her personally.

Now that she is back, we look forward to seeing this courageous young champion once again display her dominant form in 2011. We also look forward to seeing her petrified competitors face her again without their cop-out excuse of a so-called "advantage."

By Michael Elliott
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

1 comment:

  1. Caster got heart, that's for real


We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...