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Subject: "Ethiopian Olympic Trials are wild and they're on YouTube" Previous topic | Next topic
Walleye
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Tue Jun-08-21 08:46 PM

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"Ethiopian Olympic Trials are wild and they're on YouTube"


          

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1w9p9J5gCo

They're doing it in Hengelo, a limited slate of distance events and people running incredibly fast.

First event is the steeple, notable for the weirdly small field. The purpose of trials isn't necessarily to mimic Olympic race conditions, and the Ethiopians obviously seem to have privileged running fast (seems reasonable to trust their judgement on the topic) above other considerations. But it kind of feels worth it to make sure that the steeplers who make your team can race in a crowd, since something ridiculous often seems to happen in steeple finals (was it Beatrice Kipkoech who just skipped the water barrier at WC?) and some skill at avoiding those seems reasonable to test for. The only Ethiopian steepler I'm familiar with is Getnet Wale, but apparently he's running the 5000.

It's cliche to complain about steeplers not being good hurdlers, but it seems so silly to not practice it more and gain that advantage. Emma Coburn isn't nearly as fast as some of her peers in flat 3-5K races, but she routinely puts distance on them in the steeple. Maybe because most people don't expect to end up steeplers or would prefer not to be? Seems like a pretty easy thing to just embrace, but I guess I don't know what it feels like to be able to run a 5,000m under 13:00 and not have a shot of making an Olympic team. That would suck.

Anyhow, the timers can't get on the same page as the livestreamers and announcers, so they're not sure if the results are, uh, true. Some guy named Takele won, and he ran 8:09 which is very, very fast and basically couldn't hurdle at all. Looks like the results are real. Oh, and Lamecha Girma was a scratch. I've heard of him too. Love watching the steeplechase. Watching people at absolute almost peak of their field treat a task as beneath them, but still excel at it in this casually sublime way. Lovable goofballs.

Next up is the women's steeple. I do not know any of these women, except maybe the Dutch runner who I guess gets a spot because the meet's in her neighborhood. Anyhow, her name looked familiar. Not everybody at the meet is Ethiopian, in any event. Which makes sense. It's a small meet in nice weather with amazing fields. Francine Nyonsaba from Burundi ran in the 5,000m which is really interesting because, like Caster Semenya, she was pushed out of her preferred event by IAAF standards on testosterone in intersex athletes (400-1500, I think) but unlike Semenya, seems to have found an event that she can still compete at a high level in. Shame about that. The 800m looks really interesting this year, but it's less interesting without Semenya, Niyonsaba, and Wambui.

A few more competitors in this lead pack seem to have actually practiced going over a barrier once or twice. Love to see it. On the other hand, not a lot of practicing to be done for the final two water jumps and my hips hurt just watching them. And I shouldn't have spoken so soon on hurdles since all three of the lead pack had to step up on the same barrier.

Winner was 9:13, which is pretty good - but would sit behind Coburn and Frerichs, right? I'm not going to look that up. Weird that Americans might, as a group, have an advantage on Ethiopia in a distance event, but it's a good group of Americans and Ethiopia's large scale attention to the event is pretty new.

Oh shit, it's the 800m! Love the 800. Don't know anybody in heat one. This one is a surprisingly large field, and slightly more international than the steeple. Love the confidence of Ephram Mekkonen, who wore the Ethiopia vest (ugh, sorry) like that wasn't what everybody was there for. Rabbit through in 51. Winner in 1:46, front of a big pack. That's outside the olympic qualifier. Damn.

Women's heat one has a woman from Benin. Two of the runners on my team are from Benin. PR's listed aren't anything too extraordinary, but it's a strong field all the way through. Rabbit through 450 in about 1:06-7. The winner has looked like she's rigging for about 150 meters now and everybody's starting to realize that she's somehow not slowing down. Holy shit, she ran 1:56.67. What an amazing performance by Werkwuha Getachew who apparently hadn't broken 2:00 before so I'm going to give myself a pass for never hearing of her. Man, she looked terrible for a really long time in that race and it didn't phase her at all. That's an absolutely noteworthy time. Not the same thing as racing your way through the heats, but it's still a 1:56.

1500 now. Tefera's in it. I feel like I've only seen him run poorly. It's why he's always Guy-who's-not-as-good-as-Kejelcha in my mind, even though it's not really clear that's true. Bell lap at 2:35. So it's fast. Tefera rigging hard down the stretch. Maybe I jinxed him. Lemi wins in 3:32ish. Tefera held on for third, which gets him on the team. All under the 3:34 olympic qualifier.

This is really moving along now, onto the women's 1500m. I missed the names because I was getting some leftover paella out of the fridge. I made it yesterday and it's delicious. Oh! It's Lemlem Hailu. She's bonkers good. And apparently Tsegey is in the 5000m. Makes sense to maximize the chances for gold, but I'd love to see Hailu and Tsegey in the 1500m Olympic finals. I think Tsegey's kick in her fast 3000m this winter caused the most visible "holy shit" body language in her competition that I've ever seen. And Hailu's kind of a giant killer. That'd be a great matchup in a big meet.

Now men's 5000m. I'm probably too old to watch this all the way through the 10,000m, though I already know what's going to happen in the women's 10,000. Poor Sifan Hassan. Great for us in the Olympic 10,000 final though. This announcer actually said "some of these men have absolute blowtorch finishing speed." God, we have such dogshit track broadcasters in the US.

Anyhow, Muktar Edris is in this. Love that dude. His WC 5000 gold a couple years ago was such an incredibly fun race. I can't tell if the two guys up front are:

a)both rabbits, except taking turns
b)one rabbit and one not
c)competitors who intend to finish but still tasked with pushing the pace
d)guys who don't have the olympic standard and need to both run fast AND finish top three

They're basically trading lead every 600m, but the guy who runs for Nike just cutoff the guy who runs for adidas so I'm gonna guess they're not rabbits. Speaking of sponsors, why has adidas leaned so hard into the leopard print thing? It's not that it looks bad, though sometimes it looks bad. But it's kind of, uh, incongruous? I don't know.

There's so much contact for guys going sub-13:00 pace and now just 100m from the end. Just stop jostling. Nobody wants it. Edris drifting off the back. That's a bummer. He finished fifth in 13:04. I'm kind of sad about that.

Wale, the steepler, wins in 12:53-4. I guess that his former steeple colleagues can keep the dream alive. All they've got to do is outkick a half dozen of the best distance runners in the world off of a sub-13:00 pace. Easy easy.

Tsegey in this loaded 5000m race. Gonna watch this and save the 10,000s for tomorrow. THe announcers said they're through in 13:50 pace, which is hilarious: "There may be casualties from this - of course there will also be glory for somebody" Please get this guy on my TV more often. Now he's saying that the Ethiopian federation doesn't use this as a strict trial selection like the US does. These races aren't binding, but it sounds like they're an overwhelming priority in the decision.

Tsegey's in front. She's still racing for adidas but she's wearing the Nike Dragonfly. I'd read somewhere that adidas might be debuting a carbon fiber racing shoe like Nike and New Balance soon, but if Tsegey's not wearing it then I doubt it's on anybody. She's got the most easygoing gait. Feels weird to say "delicate" but that. She's been grinding everybody else into submission since about 3800m and is starting to lap people.

Ooo.Spoke too soon, pack starting to reel her in a bit. I wonder if they're gonna get around her, because she's caught but not giving in yet, which is ... not often how these kind of races tend to turn out. Announcer is talking like she's done, but she's basically just rejoined the lead pack from 1000m ago. Now they're setting up for the bell at about 13:10 and she's still hanging right in the middle of this three person pack. Now she's getting around them at about 170, pulling away from Taye finally for good in the homestretch. 14:13 for a world leader.

Announcer is super concerned with Tsegey after the race, talking about her coach trying to lift her off the track "leave her alone, mate. she's shredded." Seems like she can take care of herself, and convinced her coach to help her get her shoes off. Compromises.

Alright, this 10,000 is gonna be amazing. But I'm old and scheduled for a full day of remote professional development tomorrow so I can watch it then.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
You mind putting this in the track and field thread?
Jun 08th 2021
1
It's a different, discrete event
Jun 09th 2021
2
Berega and Kejelcha in the 10,000m
Jun 09th 2021
3
It's Gidey (women's 10,000m)
Jun 09th 2021
4

allStah
Member since Jun 21st 2014
5249 posts
Tue Jun-08-21 09:03 PM

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1. "You mind putting this in the track and field thread?"
In response to Reply # 0


          

so that we don’t have several one off running threads

That we can all follow.

HIS NAME IS MASON MOUNT
Bulls | Bears | White Sox | Yankees | Notre Dame | Illinois | Chelsea | Real Madrid

  

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Walleye
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15155 posts
Wed Jun-09-21 05:07 AM

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2. "It's a different, discrete event"
In response to Reply # 1


          

So I'm going to leave it here. If our moderator overlords don't want it, then fine.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Walleye
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15155 posts
Wed Jun-09-21 08:29 AM

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3. "Berega and Kejelcha in the 10,000m"
In response to Reply # 0


          

This was a weird one. Lots of what honestly looked like arguing about who was gonna take the lead. After their incredibly weird mid-race "fight" a couple years ago, I've continued assuming that Barega and Kejelcha don't really like each other. But they stayed safely in the lead pack from about mid-point onward, along with some other runners who'd occasionally draw their ire by failing to run ... whatever it is Barega and Kejelcha wanted, pacewise. Funniest part was Tadese Worku, who was apparently trying to shape up for world juniors but who found himself with the big boys pretty far into the race just throwing up his hands like "dude, I'm basically a kid" when Kejelcha tried to scold him for not pushing the pace from the front.

Anyhow, it was a Kejelcha and Barega kick and Barega won. The rest of the world, including the US, has made some pretty big strides lately at 5000m and above, but there's still only two countries where people can screw around and bicker with each other while they're racing and still cruise under 27:00. Curious to see how much these selections hold. It really feels like they're trying to build a TEAM by diversifying their chances for gold in different events, but I wouldn't be shocked to see either Kejelcha or Barega end up in the 5,000m or doubling for the very boring reason that they're both extremely good at everything 1500m and above.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Walleye
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Wed Jun-09-21 09:54 AM

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4. "It's Gidey (women's 10,000m)"
In response to Reply # 0


          

Pretty clear WR attempt, with the wavelight set to just a bit slower than Hassan's pace in order to set up a fast second half.l Pacemaker took them through about two miles (9:30ish) and Gidey has taken over. She's just as smooth as Tsegey, but without the almost supernatural lightness to her gait. Plus the top-bun is really distinctive, which will help in bigger fields.

Came through 5,000m in a bonkers 14:43, dropping her only competition, a longer (marathon and half) runner whose name I forgot. Announcer is musing on the utility of the wavelight pacer, which is really nice to hear. She seems to vary her pace at will, moving from the front to the back of the WR blue pacelights based on what appears to be her preference and not fatigue or conditions. She's pushed ahead of them a couple times too. I don't know. It's sort of annoying how much the shoes and the wavelight have become a big narrative in the 2021 season. It's not like there's nothing I would view as too much assistance, but spikes with a carbon plate and an automated pacer just don't make the cut as "too much" assistance for me. Hell, I watched a video of Sydney Maree's 1500m AR and the rabbit stayed on for 1200m. That's a TON of pacing help, and you can't draft off a wavelight. Didn't make Maree's run less impressive.

Looks like Niyonsaba tried hitching a ride on Gidey's pace after getting lapped and then got dropped again within a lap. I hope this move up gets you into Tokyo, Francine Niyonsaba, but that's a tough move to make work.

Jos Hermens there screaming at lapped runners to go wide so she can stay in lane one. Everybody appreciates an active agent. 27:58 at the bell.

29:02. That was really fun to watch. Closed in 14:18 or so, which is absolutely bananas. Great week in Hengelo, two 10,000m world records in forty eight hours. Goodness, this was fun to watch.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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