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July 27, 2017

My 2017 World Championships Wish List

One of the many awful things about getting older is the lack of opportunities you get to make wishes. Sure, you have your birthday cake every year, but birthday wishes get progressively more sad the older you get, so that doesn’t really even count.

What else? It’s not kosher for adults to throw loose change into fountains. Christmas wish lists stopped being a thing after your parents killed Santa Claus, and if it’s dark outside I’m probably getting ready for bed, not outside looking for shooting stars.

So in order to imbue my sad adult life with a bit of whimsy, I’m firing my ol’ wish making machine up again because World Championships start next week. For track fans that’s basically Christmas in August. And what do you do on Christmas? You make a gosh darn wish list. 

MY 2017 LONDON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS WISH LIST

Usain Bolt Runs 10 seconds, still wins gold

Usain Bolt doesn’t run slow in championship races. The two times he’s set the world record in the 100m were the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 Berlin World Championships. In every other year with a championships (2011,2012, 2013, 2015, 2016) his season’s bests were set in the final of the respective race.

I’m not saying that because it’s a groundbreaking stat (it absolutely is not), but mostly to set up my big World Championships wish for Bolt: I’d like him to run very slow, and still win the gold medal.

In my small, child-like brain, Bolt winning an some absurdly pedestrian time like 10.85 means he truly is the fastest man ever. Even in a race where he runs a time his competitors were probably running when they were 16 means he’s untouchable. On the slowest day, he’s still faster than anyone else in the world. That makes sense, right?

Whatever. These are wishes. They don’t have to make sense.

Evan Jager goes sub-8 minutes

Since the inaugural World Championships in 1983, no steeplechaser has ever dipped under the eight minute barrier. That’s why this World Championships my wish is for American Record holder, 2017 world leader, and 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Evan Jager, to be the first man to do so.

And if he does that, history shows that he’ll win gold, too (Sidenote: this wish is the equivalent of wishing for more wishes, because my 2nd secret wish was for Jager to win gold, but why waste wishes when one wish implies the other?)

If not, then he really got screwed.

3000m Steeplechase Winning times at World Championships & Olympics

2016: 8:03.28

2015: 8:11.28

2013: 8:06.01

2012: 8:18.56

2011: 8:14.85

2009: 8:00.43

2008: 8:10.34

2007 8:13.82

2005: 8:13.31

2003: 8:04.39

2001: 8:11.76

1997: 8:05.84

1995: 8:04.16

1993: 8:06.36

1991: 8:12.59

1987: 8:08.57

1983: 8:15.06

Ajee Wilson wins a gold

Before Brenda Martinez did it in 2013, no American woman had ever medaled in the 800m at the World Championships. With her 1:55.61 in Monaco, Wilson is the new American Record holder, the world number three, and safely in the conversation for a medal, with a few formidable women she’d have to run down to steal gold. It’ll be a tough road, but if she does it it’s going to be one hell of a race.

Also, I’m kind of wishing that in any post race interview she gives she’ll have to address the tainted beef situation. Not because I’m skeptical (I’m positive you could contract a number of things from bad beef, let alone test positive for a banned substance), but because it’s interesting.

Emma Coburn wins a gold

What’s the opposite of a fun fact?: The steeplechase has only been a women’s event in the World Championships since 2005.

Emma Coburn has been good for nearly as long as this has been contested on the world championship stage, and has made a steady progression in her finishes each time. Since this is a wish, nothing about it needs to be logical or even semi-logical, but looking at her championship resume, I’d say that Coburn getting gold is a definite possibility.

Would you like to know why? Yes? Well, put on your tinfoil hats, because we’re going for a ride.

2011 Daegu World Championships 10th
2012 London Olympics 8th
2015 Beijing World Championships 5th
2016 Rio Olympic Games 3rd

Did you catch the trend? In each of her subsequent appearances in either the Olympics or World Championships, she improves by five places. She doesn’t even have to improve five places from Beijing to London, only four!

Now, I’m no scientist, but whether or not my wish is granted, I’d say the running gods give her a gold medal.

A sub 43 for Wayde Van Niekerk

Two things:

  1. Leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic final, Van Niekerk failed to clock a sub-44 for the season. This year going into the London World Championships he’s already done it twice.
  2. Here’s a quick look at his 400m progression.

2013: 45.09
2014: 44.38
2015: 43.48
2016: 43.06

What does all of this mean? That my boy is ready to run a 42.55  and grant me my beautiful wish.

On second thought, it doesn’t even need to be Niekerk. I wish that anyone runs sub-43. Fred Kerley? I wouldn’t even mind if LaShawn Merritt did it.

Tori Bowie pulls off the double

Shelly-Ann Frasier-Pryce did it in 2015. Katrin Krabbe of Germany did it in 1991(later she was slapped with a doping suspension). And Silke Gladisch of East Germany did it in 1987 (and was later implicated in a doping scandal with fellow teammate Krabbe).

So it’s a short, rather embattled list. And though Americans have had plenty of success in the short sprints on the world stage(Gail Devers, Gwen Torrence, Marion Jones, Torri Edwards, Inger Miller, Lauryn Miller, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter), none of them have been able to complete a historic double.

Bowie is currently ranked no. 1 in the world in the 200m and just no. 7 in the 100m. But that’s nothing a bit of wishful thinking can’t take care of.

Robby Andrews and/or Johnny Gregorek wins something

I won’t research any stupid facts about these two. The only thing I’ll offer is this: give these guys medals. Our readers love them dearly.

Hero The Hedgehog makes itself into a meme

Nothing specific here. Hero could accidentally ride a Segway into a long jump pit. Attempt to hug an angry athlete and get punched in the face. Take a tumble down a flight of stairs. I don’t really mind, but if we’re going to have to continue putting up with mascots at major track events, they better start providing some entertainment value, or at least bring a t-shirt gun.

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