|Lost in the headlines surrounding one of the greatest 1500|
After spending 10 days lodged in Eugene, Oregon at the recent World Athletics Track and Field Championships, I am now in possession of a dazzling disarray of milliseconds and memories from one of the greatest athletic competitions in history. It was the kind of far-reaching event that both demands yet defies one's summation.
To attempt to name a best performance of the meet is a fool's errand, of course. Record breaking performances by Noah Lyles, Sydney McLaughlin and Tobi Amusan top most such lists. Instead, I choose here to highlight what persists thru the filter of my own definition of 'awe-inspiring'.
On Day 5 of these Championships, set in the evening gloam, the world was treated to a scintillating stretch duel in the men's 1500m final. Great Britain's Jake Wightman shocked Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen to grab the gold in a spectacular time of 3:29.23, the fastest time ever run on U.S. soil.
Closing fast in 4th place, but narrowly missing the podium, was Mario Garcia Romo, a 23 year-old college runner from the University of Mississippi and representing Spain. With 200 meters to go, Romo ran 27.9 for the last 200m and 13.70 seconds for the last 100m to move from 7th place to 4th, just missing the podium by three hundredths of a second to countryman Mohamed Katir. Garcia Romo's final 200m split was identical to that clocked by the hard charging winner, Wightman.
Converting to a spectacular 3:46.8 mile, Garcia Romo's final clocking of 3:30.20 was the fastest 1500 meters ever run by a collegiate runner and would have won every Olympic Games since the modern Games began, except for the 2021 Games in Tokyo.
Thru the eyes of this old miler.... I saw nothing quite like it all week.