Eugene on world record watch
As the World Athletics Championships opens today, there’s an expectation of world records in the women’s 100 and 200 metres. Elaine Thompson Herah drew the records by Florence Griffith-Joyner – 10.49 and 21.34 seconds set in 1988 – to within...
As the World Athletics Championships opens today, there’s an expectation of world records in the women’s 100 and 200 metres. Elaine Thompson Herah drew the records by Florence Griffith-Joyner – 10.49 and 21.34 seconds set in 1988 – to within touching distance last year. With compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Shericka Jackson in prime form, sprint fans can hardly wait.
However, those aren’t the only events in which world records could fall in Eugene, the United States host city of the championships. Yulimar Rojas and Sydney McLaughlin won Olympic gold last year in Tokyo, Japan with world records, and they both have already been super in 2022. Rojas, the lanky Venezuelan, defended her World Indoor title with history’s longest triple jump, indoors or out, spanning 15.74 metres. McLaughlin shaved 0.05 seconds off her Tokyo 400-metre hurdles winner at the United States Trials in Eugene – 51.41. If reigning champion Dalilah Muhammad is fit, grab your stopwatch.
The mixed 4x400m relay became a World Championships event in 2019 and the world record set then by the USA at 3 minutes 09.34 seconds is probably soft. Poland won the Olympic gold with the second-fastest time ever - 3.09.87 seconds. The contest between these mighty relay nations might lower the world record.
In the field, Olympic champion Ryan Crouser is the shot putter supreme with the world record, 23.37 metres, and seven of the world’s best 10 throws ever. Five of those came in Eugene, where Crouser has been competing since he was a boy. He lost the 2019 World title to American teammate Joe Kovacs in a battle that relegated this year’s World Indoor winner Darlan Romani of Brazil to fourth place, despite an incredible mark of 22.53 metres. Crouser lost to the Brazilian at the World Indoors but, in his home circle, he isn’t likely to be so charitable.
America born and raised Swede Armand Duplantis closed off the World Indoors with an ‘absolute’ world record of 6.20 metres. That’s four centimetres above his outdoor best.
Jamaica missed a real run at the women’s 4x100m record, 40.82 seconds, last year, because the COVID-19 pandemic scotched relay practice. With Jamaica currently in camp in Eugene, that barrier to speed has been removed.
Nevertheless, most eyes will be on the women’s 100m and 1997 World 200 champion Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago thinks the record could go.
“I think they’re both certainly capable,” he told British journal Athletics Weekly earlier this year. “I’d give Elaine a better chance just because of her form. She is so much better at 200 metres than so many others. I also don’t think you can look at her 10.54 at Hayward Field last year, considering she was kind of fatigued after coming off three gold medals in Tokyo, and not thinking there’s another five hundredths of a second somewhere to tie the 10.49,” he added.
With Jackson now at 21.55 seconds, the 200m record might be in range too.