Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
With the World Championships taking place in Beijing over the past few days, there has been no shortage of drama, heroics and nail-biting tension both in and out of competition. So it only seems fitting that this week I bring you a roundup of some of the stories hitting the headlines this week.
After weeks dogged by speculation about his coach, Mo Farah arrived in Beijing ready to defend his 5000m and 10,000m titles. He was the favourite going into the 10,000m, but still expected his rivals to do everything that they could to challenge him. It was certainly not an easy race, but he was once more victorious. I enjoyed the race and am looking forward to seeing him run again in the 5000m, but what I found more interesting was some of the post-race coverage in which Farah highlighted some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and his response when it comes to being labelled as one of the “greatest” athletes.
I was thrilled to see my great favourite back in heptathlon competition and leading the field. Even more amazing is her return to top form just 13 months after having a child. It takes a phenomenal amount of commitment to be at the top of your game in any sport, and I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that must be when juggling training commitments with a hands-on parenting role, yet Ennis-Hil has shown once more that anything is possible. With that in mind, I found this piece in The Telegraph an interesting read, highlighting the challenges she, and other new mums, might face in returning to work.
Completing the gold medal-winning Olympic trio from Super Saturday, Greg Rutherford was also successful in his bid for another title to complete his impressive collection and add his name to a rather illustrious list within British Athletics. But what brings Rutherford to my attention is his tendency to wear his heart on his sleeve and speak out about aspects of the sport he feels strongly about. Last week, he was unhappy with the new Team GB kit; this week he claimed to have been ostracised for his outspoken views. And never one to keep quiet, he also involved himself in the debate surrounding Katerina Johnson-Thompson’s competition-ending performance in the heptathlon long jump. He may court controversy, but there’s still something admirable about someone who isn’t afraid to speak their mind.
- Rutherford Labels Himself ‘Black Sheep’ of British Athletics, Before Jumping into Johnson-Thompson Row
Bolt v Gatlin
Undoubtedly one of the biggest stories around was the expected “showdown” between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin. In a Championships haunted by allegations of doping, many felt that a Bolt victory would “save” the sport and much was made of Gatlin’s chequered past.
But Bolt’s narrow victory in the 100m didn’t come without some fallout. BBC commentators found themselves under fire from the Gatlin camp, who claimed an unfair bias in their coverage of the event. Particular exception was taken to some of the commentary and post-race discussion. Both sides of the argument are set out nicely in the video which accompanies this article:
Unfortunately, the issue of doping has in some way affected almost every athlete mentioned in this post: Mo Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar, has been under scrutiny for several weeks following allegations made against him, yet he remains confident his name will be cleared; Jessica Ennis-Hill is frustrated that her silver medal from the World Championships in 2011 will not be upgraded to gold, despite the winner subsequently failing a drug test; and of course the “good v evil” clash between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin was, for many, a pivotal moment in the ongoing saga. But sadly there was more to come when it emerged that two Kenyan athletes had failed drug tests, this coming just days after it was alleged that some Kenyan athletes had advance warning of tests, a worrying claim amid all the recent turmoil. I found this article by Sean Ingle in The Guardian particularly useful in setting out the Kenyan issue:
And did you see…?
US runner Molly Huddle learning the hard way that you should always race THROUGH the line, rather than celebrating early:
- Molly Huddle Loses Out On 10,000m Bronze at Worl Championships After Celebrating Too Early in Beijing
Champion hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek losing his gold medal on his way home from celebrating his success:
And sprinter Usain Bolt finally being tamed…by a segway!
I wonder what’s left in store for the last day or so of the Championships?
The Running Princess