The Kenyan megastar torched the track at the adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island, winning the 800 meters in 1:41.78, the fastest time ever recorded in the United States and the ninth-best mark of all-time. Still, Rudisha believes he has more in the tank.
“It’s a good start and I hope by London I’ll be on top of my shape,” Rudisha said after he demolished the field in his U.S. debut.
Rudisha already owns the two fastest performances in history. He set the world record at 1:41.01 in 2010, two weeks after posting a 1:41.11 mark. Saturday, he stuck right on the rabbit and was never challenged. His countryman Alfred Kirwa Yego finished second in 1:44.49.
“It was a good race,” Rudisha said. “I came here expecting to run a fast race and I was feeling good so I decided to push it a little bit. I was aiming for 1:42, so the 1:41 is fantastic.”
Rudisha certainly stole the show at Icahn Stadium but the heavily Caribbean crowd relished the chance to see Jamaica’s Yohan Blake in the men’s 100 meters and he did not disappoint. Blake recovered from a shaky start to edge out Trinidad and Tobago’s Keston Bledman.
Blake clocked 9.90 with Bledman second in 9.93. American Michael Rodgers was third in 9.99. Blake said he was unaffected by the competition at the start line, even knowing that his training mate, Usain Bolt, posted 9.79 at the Bislett Games in Oslo a day before.
“I’m ‘The Beast’ so you know, I don’t really thinking about nothing,” he said to the crowd. “I just think about [beating] people.”
Tyson Gay gave him, and the rest of the world, something to ponder though. In his first race in nearly a year and after two surgeries, Gay won the ‘B’ section earlier in the day in 10.00.
“It feels good to be back out here,” Gay said. “I think my agent tricked me saying he was putting me in a low key heat. But then I get out here and see all the cameras. I was pretty nervous.”
Gay said he felt “no pain” in the race and has no plans to attempt a 100/200 double at the Olympic Trials. He intends to focus on the 100.
“I would like to get one more race in before the Trials. I have time to get better. I wanted to push through the finish. If I can’t get in a race I will probably try to mimic a race in practice. I’m satisfied with the time.”
The men’s 110 hurdles expected to bring fireworks but much of the excitement happened at the starting line instead of the finish after Aries Merritt was called for back-to-back false starts. He was initially allowed stay in the field under protest after the first call back.
“The starter said my penalty was movement,” Merritt said. “Running under protest is good if you didn’t move. Clearly I didn’t move. It’s part of the sport. He said my foot was rattling in the block. You can’t run under protest twice. I’m not worried about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t run here. I was ready to come out and run a season best. Now I will have to go and get ready for Trials.”
Bernard Lagat used his trademark finishing kick to win the 1500 in 3:34.63. Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce unloaded a 10.92 performance to win the women’s 100. Sanya Richard-Ross set a world-leading mark in the women’s 200 meters in 22.05, increasing her chances of attempting a 200/400 double at the Olympic Trials.
“I’m really thinking about it,” she said. “I feel great this season. Healthy again. My training is right on track. We’ll see.”
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba made a triumphant return to the women’s 5,000, winning in 14:50.80. Her compatriot, Fantu Magiso, celebrating her 20th birthday, handled the women’s 800 meters in 1:57.48, breaking Ethiopia’s national record at setting the meet record. New Jersey high school star Ajee Wilson finished seventh in the race in a lifetime best 2:02.61. Amy Weissenbach, a high school star from California, was eighth in 2:04.03, a season-best.