Because everyone on Letsrun.com is an idiot.
Here are results from the finals:
1 Bernard Lagat Nike 3:40.37
2 Leonel Manzano Nike 3:40.90
3 Lopez Lomong Nike 3:41.00
4 William Leer Oregon TC Elite 3:41.54
5 Alan Webb Nike 3:41.62
6 Jon Rankin Nike 3:41.75
7 Said Ahmed Nike 3:42.20
8 Andrew McClary Arkansas 3:42.40
9 Rob Myers Reebok 3:42.62
10 Christopher Lukezic Reebok 3:43.26
11 Steve Sherer unattached 3:43.41
12 Gabriel Jennings Saucony 3:47.92
We're sending the first three.
Holy shit - Alan Webb didn't make the team!
Let's be honest, are you surprised? You didn't want it to happen but you saw it coming. Whether or not Webb would make it was such a big question only because he's so inconsistent. Some say he can't run big races, in Europe or World Championships. Not true. Lets look at 2007:
- USA Outdoor 1,500m champion (3:34.82MR)
- 8th at World Outdoors (3:35.69)
- USA Indoor Mile champ (4:01.07)
- 1st in mile at Brasschaa (3:46.91AR, WL)
- 1st in 1,500m at Paris (3:30.54PR, WL)
- 1st in 800m at Heusden-Zolder (1:43.84PR)
- 1st in 800m at Malmo (1:45.80)
- 1st at Reebok Boston Indoor Games (3:55.18, Indoor PR)
- 1st at New Balance Indoor Games (3:56.70)
- 1st in mile at Drake Relays (3:51.71)
- 1st in mile at Reebox Grand Prix (3:52.94)
- 9th in 2-mile at Nike Prefontaine Classic (8:23.97PR)
- Ranked #8 in U.S. at 800m
- Ranked #6 in world, #2 U.S. at 1,500m/mile by T&FN
- Bests of 1:43.84, 3:30.54, 3:46.91
Holy shit. But now let's look at 2008:
- 5th at Olympic Trials (3:41.62)
- 7th at Nike Prefontaine Classic (3:55.47)
- DNF at Carlsbad 5,000m
- 16th at USATF 8k Champs
Don't get me wrong, I like Webb. I was in high school and just starting to run when he broke 4:00 in the mile for the first time and he inspired me (though my breaking 5:00 in the mile that spring garnered considerably less media attention). I think he's one of the most talented milers in the world. It hurts to go back and read articles about how last Olympics were just a warmup to Beijing glory. Personally, I hinged my hopes for him on his win at the 2004 trials in the 1,500m where he put in a HUGE field-crushing move from 600m to go. One of the top 5 track races I've watched. Sadly, he was not to repeat that performance.
Watching him run it seems that the years haven't made him any the wiser. At one point he was at the back of the pack. This is a guy who I'm sure was training for the finals of the Olympics and who has the AR in the mile. This isn't the 10k - you get to the front half of the race in the first 30m and stay there. That's why he had to run in lane 3 in the 2nd half of the race. Did you see all that pushing? Protect your space and get where you need to be - that's how you run an international caliber 1,500m.
Still I feel for the guy. Runners of his caliber live their lives in 2 year chunks. World Championships, Olympics. Not making it out the trials stings. A lot. I still love you Webb.
OK, let's talk about Gabe Jennings. The creepy looking dude who lead most of the first half of the race. Most people love or hate him but I have to confess I'm somewhere in the middle. I like that he's counter-culture and out-spoken but I find him a touch pretentious and predictably attracted to extremism. Actually, I think he's a less interesting version of the Anthony Famiglietti but more on that when I cover the steeplechase results.
Jennings went out HARD, looked like he was running hard by 600m and comparatively jogged across the line in last place. But hey, he didn't have the A standard (3:39.00) and he chased it. No one else wanted to work it early and he stepped up BIG in the first half of the race. Lets face it, at the trials you either make the team or you don't. Forth through last place all stay home. At the end of the day you have to be happy with your effort and he put it all out there.
Leonel Manzano is hands down my favorite new runner. His win at NCAA's in the 1,500m was one of the top 5 track races I've ever watched. He lead from the gun and then blew the field away in the last 100m. But watching this race I have to say I like the way he races even when he's not dominating the field. He gets on the front (Webb) but measures his effort and doesn't start what he can't finish (Jennings).
It was nice to see Rob Myers formerly of Ohio State representing the BigTen conference. He's another runner I like, runs consistently and places well at big American races.
Lopez Lomong does not like it when people run in front of him and muscled his way to the front a few times. To be perfectly honest I have no idea who Lopez Lomong is. I'm sure he's probably been hot on the scene for a while but I've fallen out of the loop since mensracing.com decided to only post interviews and not T&F news (hence I hardly check it at all anymore). Don't even get me started on how letsrun.com looks like it was designed by the craigslist team with an hangover. What the hell is CSS?
This cartoon pretty much summarize how I feel about the people who write on the letsrun.com message boards:
Lastly, let's talk about Lagat. Clearly the strongest runner on the American side in both the 1,500m and 5k (he won both). At the Olympics he's going to have to run 6 races to get both medals. That's a lot. In 2004 when Hicham el Guerrouj won it was the first time in 30+ years both the 5k and 1,500m gold went to one person . But Lagat is one of the few people who can claim to have beaten the (retired) king of the mile. Heir apparent? It'll be fun to watch!