OLYMPIC WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS will begin to show as the action on the track comes to an end. Will they be made all the more severe by a final event World Record?
Jamaica revised the 4x100m record in 2008 and last year, both times without the USA team pushing them to the line. In the heats, the USA broke a 20-year-old national record and they are yet to introduce Tyson Gay or Ryan Bailey. The Jamaican quartet were only one-hundredth of a second slower and have the fastest man of all time to roll out for the final.
A world record breaking feat would not be more dramatic than the women’s achievement last night, where the USA absolutely smashed the tainted 1985 record set by East Germany. As a race it will be far more thrilling.
The most anticipated track event tonight does not belong to the speed merchants. Unlike last Saturday night, when the British had a golden trio to cheer for, all hopes are pinned on Mo Farah this time around. The women’s 4x400m team are unlikely to break the recent dominance of Jamaica, Russia and USA in this event (although Ukraine might), while the British men’s 4x100m team continued their poor relay record and take no part in tonight’s final.
I remember being in the stadium in Barcelona in 2010 when Mo Farah followed up his 10,000m gold with a win in the 5000m to make it a European double. It was a phenomenal achievement, but now the British athlete can compete on much higher plane.
Recent history reveals that it is the most difficult of doubles – Dibaba found it a step too far last night, as did Farah himself last year. Kenenise Bekele achieved legendary status when he doubled up successfully in Beijing and in the World Championships the following year.
No doubt this is the kind of success that Farah craves to emulate. The young Ethiopian athletes Gebremeskel and Gebrhiwet will make life tough for Farah; they kept Bikele out of the team running incredibly fast times in Paris earlier this season. Fast-finishing Bernard Lagat can also threaten for gold off a slow pace. I have my fingers crossed that we see a return of the “Mobot” tonight but I would bet against it.