There are obvious lessons to be drawn from any day by an observant person, such as “some people can throw things farther than others” and “be careful when driving a Segway and operating a steady-cam at the same time”.
Some lessons require a bit more explanation. Here are a few things we learned on Thursday at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015:
The men’s triple jump world record’s days are numbered
Christian Taylor came through with a sixth-round leap of 18.21m in the men’s triple jump final, just eight centimeters shy of Jonathan Edwards’ 20-year-old world record. (Edwards, on Twitter: “You gave me a scare!”) Taylor may have left a few of those centimeters on the take-off board. It’s hard to predict when a championship athlete like Taylor will put together another series like tonight, but as long as Taylor maintains a rivalry with Pedro Pablo Pichardo – second tonight with 17.73m – every time the pair meets could be a potential record scenario.
Pichardo’s mark would have won many World Championships, but for Pichardo, it might even have been an under-performance; the young Cuban is the fourth-longest triple jumper ever.
Taylor’s victory made the triple jump a relatively bright spot in an otherwise disappointing championship for the USA; had Nelson Evora not come through with a 17.52m leap in the sixth round, Omar Craddock might have taken bronze with his 17.37m mark.
It’s possible to set a championship record and be disappointed
Anita Wlodarczyk has the women’s hammer world record of 81.08m from earlier this month, and as her first four throws got progressively longer – she surpassed 80 meters, territory only she has ever reached, on her third throw, and got to 80.85m on her fourth – it was clear she was hoping to get beyond that tonight.
After a 79.31m mark in the fifth round and another lesser throw in the sixth which she then deliberately fouled, Wlodarczyk seemed less than elated with her dominant victory. (Second-place Zhang Wenxiu threw 76.33m.)
Or perhaps Wlodarczyk really was happy but was just remembering her first global title, in Berlin, where she badly injured her ankle when celebrating.
Usain Bolt is really a 200m runner
Bolt looked hard-pressed winning the 100m by .01 on Sunday. But since before the championships started, Bolt has been clear that the 200m is his favorite event, the one that matters to him, and the one he finds easiest.
Sure enough, after making the 100m look hard, he made the 200m look easy, sailing away from Justin Gatlin to take the victory from 19.55 to 19.74. Bolt’s streak in the 200m is now six global titles starting in 2008.
Most interesting was the bronze medal, a South African record of 19.87 from Anaso Jobodwana. He was just .002 ahead of Panama’s Alonso Edward, but his steady improvement suggests more interesting things to come for the young South African. Plus, we enjoy typing “Jobodwana”.
Don’t try to match Allyson Felix’s opening pace
Allyson Felix tore out of the starting blocks for the women’s 400m as though she only had one bend to run. Old habits die hard after all.
Christine Ohuruogu, who had looked impressive throughout the rounds, tried to match that speed and – unusually for her – found herself struggling in the second half. Felix arrived on the final straight with daylight between her and the field and only expanded her lead to the line.
Like Farah in the distance races, it’s hard to see a way Felix could have been beaten tonight. The gap between Felix and Shaunae Miller in second place – 49.26 to 49.67 – was the biggest gap between two runners in the final.