AFTER 63 YEARS, AMERICA REACHES GOLD STANDARD
IN THE HAMMER THROW EVENT
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
DOHA, QATAR - It's been a 63-year-wait.
Remember 1956? Or might have read about it/heard about it/been told about it?
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was in the White House. Anthony Eden resided at 10 Downing Street, Congress passed the minimum wage act - and it was exactly one dollar an hour. An Oldsmobile "88" luxury sedan went for just under three thousand bucks, Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" topped the charts.
And, in the wake of the Hungarian Uprising, and the Suez Canal Crisis, the Olympic Games raged on in Melbourne, Australia.
These were the first Games ever held in the Southern Hemisphere and the Games held furthest into the calendar year - late November and early December.
The USA men's track and field team gave an amazing performance at Melbourne, running and jumping and throwing its way to a 15-gold medal performance, and one of those was Harold Connolly's victory in the hammer throw.
With 15 golds, that left just nine for all the rest of the world, an amazing factoid - but true.
Connolly's hammer win had been the first by an American since Fred Tootell in 1924.
And it has not been repeated since.
In all the years since Bostonian Connolly's win, just one American has even won a hammer medal at the Olympics. That was Lance Deal's silver in 1996.
The IAAF World Championships were first staged in Helsinki in 1983 and are now running their 17th edition here in Doha 36 years later.
The men's hammer throw, of course, has been on the Worlds program since the Helsinki beginning but no American has even come close to a medal. Ken Flax (seventh in 1991) and Deal (fifth in 1995) are the only Americans to even have made the top eight at Worlds all these years.
The women's hammer throw has been on the Worlds program since 1999 and no Americans had even come close to a medal from '99 to 2017, Anna Mahon (seventh in 2003), Jessica Cosby (seventh in 2009) and Jeneva McCall and Amanda Bingson (7-8 in 2013) have been the lone Americans to reach the top eight,
So we write all this as a prelude to DeAnna Price's magnificent, historic, wholly cheering win Sunday at Khalifa International Stadium,
The Missourian took the lead with a 76.87-meter throw in the first round, reached her eventual winning distance of 77.54 in round three, and had three more solid throws, 74.56, 73.77 and 75.68, to wrap up her great day. Poland's Joanna Fiodorow was happy with her 76.35 silver and China's Zheng Wang with her 74.76 bronze.
But DeAnna Price was incredibly overjoyed and brought to tears with her historic win.
She's a big woman, "strong and beautiful," as she puts, and downright proud of it.
Offered congratulations, she's often been known to express thanks with a big-league hug and a gentle lift off the ground.
It's the trademark that makes her a fan favorite everywhere.
Originally a softball player, she gave that up years ago "to give this track and field thing a go."
So just look at her now - "strong and beautiful", on top of the Worlds, and thus favored to win again at the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020.
Yes, 63 years later, she's first American hammer thrower, male or female, to rule the planet since Connolly in 1956,
Connolly, who did much to popularize the hammer throw event in the years following his Olympic win, passed away in tragic accident in 2010.
But to those who knew Harold, he was surely smiling down from "up there" as events unfolded at Khalifa International Stadium on Sunday, September 28, 2019.
NEPTUNE'S WILSON MAKES IT LOOK EASY
IN FIRST ROUND OF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 800
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
DOHA, QATAR - When does more mean less?
And less mean more?
Neptune's Ajee' Wilson answered both those questions in exactly 2:02.10 seconds Friday at Khalifa International Stadium.
Expanding not a single surplus ounce of unnecessary energy, the 10-time USA National Champion (at assorted distances)
coasted to a very easy win in her first-round race of the women's 800 meters, the event nearly all World Championships Form Chart pickers now pick her to win.
All such energy will be required from here on out. Specially so in the brutally hot and steamy Doha conditions.
Just eight out of the 24 Saturday semifinalists will advance into the Monday night finals.
This is Ms. Wilson's third trip to the Worlds - she placed fifth at Moscow in 2013 (one spot higher than her original placing after the ouster of a drug-suspendee), missed Beijing 2015, then ran third at London 2017.
So is this her time to run off with the gold medal?
Her legions of fans and admirers surely hope so.
But it definitely will not be easy.
Uganda\s Winnie Nanyondo (winner of her section in 2:00.36) impressed many, too. Likewise for old rival Natoya Goule of Jamaica (who ran 2:01.01.)
Two other Americans figure in all this, too.
Raevyn Rogers, Wilson's training partner in Philadelphia, advanced easily in 2:02.01. Moving up, too, was American Ce'Aira Brown (2:01.14.)
But already out are Britain's Lynsey Sharp and fourth American Hanna Green.
Never in it, of course, was two-time Olympic champion and 2011 and 2017 World Champion Caster Semenya of South Africa, as her XY chromosone status continues to keep her on the
All in all, Friday was a darn good day for Team USA, which suffered no major casualties. Favored Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin easily advanced in the men's 100, Jeff Henderson and Steffin McCarter in the long jump, Christian Taylor, Will Claye and Donald Scott in the triple jump, Paul Chelimo and Hassan Mead in the 5,000 meters, and Rai Benjamin, TJ Holmes and Amere Lattin in the 400 hurdles.
On the USA women's side, too.,defending champion Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs advanced in the 3000 steeplechase, Vashti Cunningham and Tynita Butts in the high jump, Sandi Morris, Jenn Suhr and Katie Nageotte in the pole vault, and DeAnna Price and Gwen Berry in the hammer throw.
One day down, nine to go.
Stay tuned, fans, for some major excitement, just ahead.
MANY CHEERS FOR MS. AMINA SMITH, OUR ILLUSTRIOUS SHORE AC TEAMMATE,
WHO PLACED FIFTH TODAY (and second for USA) IN THE BIG "THE MATCH"
USA VS EUROPE IN MINSK, BELARUS/////
AMINA HAD A JUMP OF 1.90 METERS (6-2 3/4) WHICH EQUALED HER SEASON BEST.
EARLIER. AMINA HAD EXCELLED IN OTHER EUROPEAN MEETS///
ALL BEST WISHES FROM ELLIOTT DENMAN AND SHORE AC TEAMMATES !!!
EUROPEAN ATHLETICSFINAL - TUE, SEP 10 13:10FINAL RESULTS
RANKBIBATHLETEMARKTEAM POINTS1235 2.02NU23R9+
5335 AMINA SMITH1.90SB4+