BERLIN -- On a night when Jamaica's women's speedsters confirmed the country's sprinting preeminence at the world championships in Berlin, the top female athlete in track and field was a stunning disappointment.
The Jamaican women made it a two-person race soon after the gun went off, leaving
The performance put to rest some of the controversy that surrounded the team over the past month. Last month, five Jamaican runners were implicated in a drug scandal. One of them,
Then last week, six athletes, including Fraser, were dropped from the team for refusing to attend a camp. The head of the Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association Howard Aries had pulled their names from the official team list. IAAF President
To make matters worse, Fraser was feeling the lingering effects of appendix surgery she underwent in April, a pain that she said flared up before Monday's final.
Perhaps the biggest challenge came from her own countryman and from trying to match the majestic performance turned in by Bolt on Sunday. "I sent a text to my friend [before her race] saying 'this boy's not human,'" she said. "I knew I had to represent for the ladies and say, 'okay, it's my time.'"
And as we stand in 2009, it is clearly time to consider the rivalry between U.S. and Jamaican sprinting a one-sided affair. "Jamaica's taking track and field to a new and higher level," said Stewart.
Isinbayeva's failure was a stunner, in no small part because of her precarious tactics. By the time she attempted a height, at 4.75 meters, six of the 12 finalists had already been eliminated and all 11 of the other finalists had missed at least once. Yet Isinbayeva never really got close. She missed once at 4.75, then failed twice at 4.80. Rogowska, the only vaulter to clear 4.75, was the champion.
Before her final attempt, Isinbayeva stood by a railing at the end of the track, yelling into the stands as her coach,
Johnson's presumptions certainly had merit. Including Olympics, world indoor and outdoor championships and European indoor and outdoor championships, Isinbayeva was a perfect 10-0 dating back to 2004. She had set the last 16 world outdoor record and 12 world indoor records in the event. She set the standing mark of 5.05 meters in winning the Beijing Olympics last summer.
"Everything was prepared for victory," Isinbayeva said afterwards. "I just can't explain what happened. I just believe it's density, that sports sometimes. Maybe it was time for me to lose. Maybe God is trying tell me something with this defeat, so I have to recognize that."
After the competition, Isinbayeva moped as she walked off the track and didn't acknowledge the medalists. The gesture wasn't lost on Johnson. "I learned from [former U.S. champ]