Halfway through the Worlds: Americans batting .148 in Daegu vs. Eugene

LOS ANGELES, Sep. 1, 2011 – Baseball’s infamous “Mendoza line” is a designation of futility reserved for players with batting averages of .200 or below. So what about the American team at the 2011 World Track & Field Championships?

How about .148.

That’s the combined average of the men’s and women’s teams in events concluded through the first half of the Championships in Daegu, South Korea in comparison with the qualifying marks of the same performers at the U.S. Nationals held in Eugene, Oregon in June:

• Men: 28 performances, of which 2 were better in Daegu than in Eugene; that’s a .071 “batting average.”

• Women: 26 performances, of which 6 were better in Daegu than in Eugene, much better than the men, but still just a .230 average.

Add them together and the total is 8-for-54, or .148. The event-by-event details so far, with all Daegu placings indicated:


100 meters: 0-for-3
(finals wind readings: +1.3 in Eugene vs. -1.4 in Daegu)
NO: Walter Dix: 9.94 in Eugene vs. 10.08 in Daegu (silver medalist)
NO: Justin Gatlin: 9.95 vs. 10.23 (=13th in semifinals; wind: -0.8)
NO: Trell Kimmons: 10.04 vs. 10.21 (=11 in semifinals; wind: -1.0)

Mike Rodgers, third in Eugene in 9.99, was disqualified for a drug positive prior to the World Championships and did not run in Daegu.

400 meters: 0-for-3
NO: Tony McQuay: 44.68 vs. 46.76 (27th in heats)
NO: Greg Nixon: 44.98 vs. 45.51 (9th in semifinals)
NO: Jamaal Torrence: 45.11 vs. 45.73 (14th in semifinals)

LaShawn Merritt, the defending world champ, had a bye into Daegu and ran 44.63 for the silver medal.

800 meters: 0-for-3
NO: Nick Symmonds: 1:44.17 vs. 1:45.12 (5th)
NO: Khadevis Robinson: 1:44.49 vs. 1:45.27 (8th in semifinals)
NO: Charles Jock: 1:44.67 vs. 1:47.95 (27th in heats)

3000 m Steeplechase: 0-for-3
NO: Billy Nelson: 8:28.46 vs. 8:51.20 (33rd in heats)
NO: Dan Huling: 8:29.27 vs. 8:34.70 (24th in heats)
NO: Ben Bruce: 8:37.22 vs. 8:39.96 (30th in heats)

10,000 meters: 1-for-3
YES: Galen Rupp: 28:38.17 vs. 27:26.84 (7th)
NO: Matt Tegenkamp: 28:39.97 vs. 28:41.62 (10th)
NO: Scott Bauhs: 28:40.51 vs. 29:03.92 (14th)

110 meter Hurdles: 0-for-3
(finals wind readings: +1.4 in Eugene vs. -1.1 in Daegu)
NO: Aries Merritt: 13.12 vs. 13.67 (tied for 5th)
NO: David Oliver: 13.04 vs. 13.44 (4th)
NO: Jason Richardson: 13.15 vs. 13.21 (gold medalist)

Pole Vault: 1-for-3
NO: Derek Miles: 18-6 3/4 (5.66 m) vs. 18-6 1/2 (5.65 m) (13th)
YES: Jeremy Scott: 18-4 1/2 (5.60 m) vs. 18-6 1/2 (5.65 m) (tied for 9th)
NO: Mark Hollis: 18-2 (5.54 m) vs. 17-6 1/2 (5.35 m) (tied for 22nd)

Discus: 0-for-3
NO: Jarred Rome: 209-11 (63.99 m) vs. 204-1 (62.22 m) (14th in qualifying)
NO: Jason Young: 209-4 (63.81 m) vs. 207-4 (63.20 m) (10th)
NO: Lance Brooks: 208-1 (63.42) vs. 200-4 (61.07 m) (24th in qualifying)

Hammer: 0-for-2
NO: Kibwe Johnson: 263-6 (80.31 m) vs. 246-4 (75.06 m) (14th in qualifying)
NO: Mike Mai: 245-0 (74.69 m) vs. 229-6 (69.96 m) (27th in qualifying)

Decathlon: 0-for-2
NO: Ashton Eaton: 8,729 vs. 8,505 (silver medalist)
NO: Ryan Harlan: 8,011 vs. 6,761 (22nd)

Defending champ Trey Hardee did not have to compete in Eugene, but won with 8,607; Bryan Clay was injured and did not go to Daegu.


100 meters: 0-for-3
(finals wind readings: +2.7 in Eugene vs. -1.4 in Daegu)
NO: Carmelita Jeter: 10.74w in Eugene vs. 10.90 in Daegu (gold medalist)
NO: Marshevet Myers: 10.83w vs. 11.33 (8th)
NO: Miki Barber: 10.96w vs. 11.40 (27th in heats)

400 meters: 2-for-3
YES: Allyson Felix: 50.40 vs. 49.59 (silver medalist)
YES: Francena McCorory: 50.49 vs. 50.45 (4th)
NO: Jessica Beard: 51.06 vs. 51.27 (11th in qualifying)

Defending world champ Sanya Richards-Ross ran the 200 meters in Eugene, then ran 51.32 for seventh in the final in Daegu.

3000 m Steeplechase: 1-for-3
NO: Emma Coburn: 9:44.11 vs. 9:51.40 (13th)
YES: Bridget Franek: 9:44.90 vs. 9:43.09 (17th in heats)
NO: Stephanie Garcia: 9:51.57 vs. 9:53.47 (21st in heats)

10,000 meters: 0-for-3
NO: Shalane Flanagan: 30:59.97 vs. 31:25.57 (7th)
NO: Jen Rhines: 31:30.37 vs. 31:47.59 (9th)
NO: Kara Goucher: 31:16.65 vs. 32:29.58 (13th)

Pole Vault: 1-for-3
NO: Kylie Hutson: 15-3 (4.65 m) vs. 14-9 (4.50 m) (15th in qualifying)
YES: Jenn Suhr: 15-1 (4.60 m) vs. 15-5 (4.70 m) (4th)
NO: Lacy Janson: 14-9 (4.50 m) vs. 14-5 1/4 (4.40 m) (20th in qualifying)

Long Jump: 0-for-3
NO: Brittney Reese: 23-7 1/4 (7.19 m) vs. 22-4 1/2 (6.82 m) (gold medalist)
NO: Janay DeLoach: 22-10 1/2 (6.97 m) vs. 21-6 1/4 (6.56 m) (6th)
NO: Funmi Jimoh: 6.88 m (22-7) vs. no mark in qualifying

Shot Put: 1-for-3
YES: Jillian Camarena-Williams: 65-1 1/2 (19.85 m) vs. 65-8 1/4 (20.02 m) (bronze medalist)
NO: Michelle Carter: 65-2 (19.86 m) vs. 61-6 3/4 (18.76 m) (9th)
NO: Sarah Stevens-Walker: 59-5 1/2 (18.12 m) vs. 56-5 1/4 (17.20 m) (21st)

Discus: 1-for-3
YES: Stephanie Brown Trafton: 207-10 (63.35 m) vs. 209-5 (63.85 m) (5th)
NO: Aretha Thurmond: 206-3 (62.87 m) vs. 196-5 (59.88 m) (13th in qualifying)
NO: Gina Lewis-Smallwood: 198-7 (60.53 m) vs. 195-2 (59.49 m) (15th in qualifying)

Heptathlon: 0-for-2
NO: Hyleas Fountain 5861 vs. 5611 (25th; dnf in 800 m)
NO: Sharon Day 6058 vs. 6043 (18th)

So the total is eight performances with better marks at the World Championships than the U.S. Nationals out of 54 opportunities through the first half of the 2011 Worlds. We’ll hold off any further commentary until all of the competitions have been completed.

(You can stay current with Rich’s technology, sports and Olympic commentaries by following him at www.twitter.com/RichPerelman.)


  1. Rich,

    I love what you have to say. US track is sick and the doctors in charge of fixing it are killing it. If Usain Bolt had grown up in the U.S. he would have been a football player or a basketball player. No one would have seen how fast he is. The major sports are killing track because the coaches don’t let the kids run track in the spring.

  2. But one needs to consider that performances in general have been slower in Daegu, so one needs to compare the times of several other nations and see how that .148 stacks up. If everyone else is batting .130, then .148 doesn’t look so bad.

  3. Was this written prior to the gold trifecta? Demus, Williams and Simpson overcame recent history to come through big time. It ain’t over till it’s over. Our veterans (Demus, Williams) have profited from their past world level experience, and our younguns are gaining experience.
    There is always an X factor in high pressure situations. Learning to deal with the unexpected ultimately makes the difference.

  4. This is ridiculous. The conditions in Eugene and Daegu are radically different. It’s about winning events and medals in the conditions that everyone shares. Especially in running events from 800 and longer, the times do not reflect the success of the US athletes, because they alone do not control the pace of the races. Medals and places are what count.

  5. There are weather factors like temp. humidity, pressure, head winds, pollen counts. Also some tracks are “faster” than others. Batting in Boston is not the same has batting in Denver.
    Runners are going for place, not for time. Example: Simpson went from a 4:05.66 to a 4:05.40, not much of a gain,but it was enough to take home a Gold.

  6. I understand your point but please get your facts correct. You have NO: Emma Coburn: 9:44.11 vs. 9:51.40 (13th),
    when in fact she ran , Emma Coburn USA 9:38.42 Q in the heats. That makes her a YES. Please make sure you have all your facts before you start with the statistics. Thank you.

  7. This is just faulty thinking all the way around. Thank you for giving me a poorly thought out conclusion so I can demonstrate inept reasoning in my classroom next week.

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