The 100 meters and the marathon are as different as night and day. But what they do have in common are that they both will have very strong fields at this Olympic games. The 100 meter finals will be this afternoon at 3:55 (CST) and should be shown on NBC but if they are not, you can watch on NBCOlympics.com. The marathon will begin at 5:00 AM (CST) Sunday on NBC.
100 Meter Final Preview
As of right now, we do not know who will be in the final. The semi-final round will only be run about two hours before the final. Barring incident, there looks to be a battle brewing between the American’s and the Jamaica’s. Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads her team as the returning gold medalist. She set a new Jamaican record and 2012 world best of 10.70 at her Olympic Trials in June. There is a still a bit of a question about her fitness since she finished last at the recent London Grand Prix. The rest of Jamaican team is very strong with Veronica Campbell-Brown and Kerron Stewart.
The US team will be led by Carmelita Jeter who is the second fastest woman of all time and gold medalist in Daegu. She also ran a 10.70 last summer and has a season’s best of 10.81. Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison having set personal record times of 10.92 and 10.96 have had a strong season so far. Other contenders include Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Blessing Okagbare.
The 2012 Olympic women’s marathon field can be considered the best women’s marathon field assembled. The race has seven women who have gone sub 2:20. Six of those times have been run since the fall of 2011. This race will be scary fast. So out of this six who has a chance to medal? Could be we see an American woman on the medal stand?
Kenya’s Mary Keitany heads to London as the one to beat. She set an African record at the London Marathon in a time of 2:18.37. She ran the second half of the race in 67:44. What might derail her run for gold is poor pacing which is what happened in New York last fall. Keitany’s teammate, Edna Kiplagat , is also a potential winner. She won the World Championships last year and improved her PR to 2:19:50 to finish second at this year’s London Marathon. Another favorite is Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova posted the second-fastest time in history with her 2:18:20 victory in Chicago. She had won four of her last five marathons and her only lost was to Keitany. The rest of the sub six 2:20 milers are part of a young team from Ethiopia. Tiki Gelana set a national record of 2:18:58 to win in Rotterdam earlier this year, while Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31) and Mare Dibaba (2:19:52) finished first and third respectively at the Dubai Marathon in January.
So what about the US runners? Many had very high hopes for Desiree Davila but she has been injured so it would be a surprise if makes top ten or even finishes. The race will either have to be slow or Kara Goucher will have to have a major PR to be in the top five with her PR of 2:24.52. Though I would not count Kara Goucher out, she has run very well at major marathons. Shalane Flanagan is likely the US’s best hope and perhaps the dark horse to make the medal stand. She has only run two marathons in her career. She won the US trials. She was second in the 2010 New York marathon where she beat Keitany. Flanagan has also had success on the world stage taking bronze at the last Olympic Games in the 10,000 meters and bronze at the World Cross Country Championships in 2011. Flanagan could rise to the occuasional and have a great run for a medal.