The first weekend of competition for the 2012 Olympic Trials in Track & Field lived up to my excitement for it by delivering solid performances by vets and newcomers, and even a World Record in the Decathlon (salute Ashton Eaton, get that Wheaties Box pic). Here are a few of my Class Notes followed by my Head of the Class predictions for tonight's first night of Finals at the Swimming Trials in Omaha
FloJo Performance of the Meet: Carmelita Jeter looked easy through the heats and handled the final of the 100m with no problem, and did it with FloJo like swagger. I can see her face time growing as the Olympics approaches.
On A Mission: The winners of the women's and men's 400m, Sanya Richards-Ross and LaShawn Merrit, appear to be on a mission to be at the top of the podium in London. For Merritt it will be a repeat performance. For Richards-Ross, a Gold medal would be redemptive after she lead the 400m final in Beijing most of the way before fading to third.
50-Cent Performance of the Meet: Bryshon Nellum was a HS track superstar here in SoCal before injuries and gun shot wounds threatened to end his career. His third place finish in the 400m was inspiring. It is an event that America is always strong in, and he did his best time when it counted. Salute.
Up Off the Mat: Tyson Gay got in good enough shape after hip surgery to run 9.86s and take 2nd to Justin Gatlin in the 100m to make the team. Lolo Jones took third in the 100m hurdles at 12.86s against a strong field to earn a chance to earn the Gold medal that eluded her after she hit the final hurdle in the final of the 2008 race.
All Gone Fishin Team: Some of my Olympic favorites didn't get their tickets punched this time around, but they do earn a tip of the cap for lacing them up again.
Jeremy Wariner (400m)
Lauryn Williams (100m)
Joanna Hayes (100m hurdles)
SWIMMING: (lots of chalk picks tonight. You can't fake the funk in the 400s)
Men's 400IM: Phelps wins to show folks he's back and that he's still got the juice. Lochte 2nd.
Women'ts 400IM: Biesel 1st, Levernz 2nd
Men's 400fr: Vanderkay 1st, Houchin 2nd