Perusing the start lists for the first round of this event, and noting the process of advancement (top 6 in each heat Q, plus next 6 fastest times q), and then perusing the 2012 times listed for each athlete...I note, regarding USA entrants:
Manzano is 9th best 2012 "seed time" in his heat; Wheating 10th; Centrowitz 9th.
I know that 2012 SB performances aren't destiny, etc., etc. , but ... looking at all the entrants' 2012 times made me wonder how many of the USA's group will even advance to the semifinal, much less the final. All these guys are capable, but I wonder. I would not be surprised if Wheating does not advance, given his long layoff since last year, his lack of racing this year, injuries, and the fact that he doesn't have all that much international experience in general, relative to others. As for Manzano, I know he's on the formchart, but even with his experience, I don't know. His inconsistency makes me wonder. Centrowitz is of course also young in his int'l career, but his 800m PB last week and my very unscientific sense of his race-smarts gives me more confidence in his advancement. (And as usual, I expect to be wrong on much of this...)
This kid, and I mean kid (not a 25 yr old Kenyan or Ethiopian "junior") Hamza Driouch looks like the real thing. He's probably a year or two away from taking over the event, but from what I've seen so far, he comes off as a literally can't miss top dog. Wish he'd have been born a couple of years earlier. Maybe it's just me, but for some reason he reminds me of Ryun and El G - like a combination of both of them. I think it's the arm swing at certain angles has me thinking of JR and his smoothness brining back memories of El G.
All that said, looks like it's Kiprop's race to lose, and I wouldn't be surprised if Willis medals again - he had a very strong finish a few weeks back when running his fastest race of the year. He had a lot in the tank. Yeah yeah, Kiplagat has all that potential. But I don't think Kiprop has near lived up to his own potential yet.
If any American is going to snake through and surprise it'll be Centro. Last year I thought it was a waste with him in the worlds. Nope. Had to eat my words. Very savvy runner. Very aware of his surroundings.
madd marine -- agree w your perception of Driouch -- who knows how he will do here, but he seems to have great potential, and also reminds me of Ryun & El G in the way he runs. Also agree w your assessment of Kiprop & Centrowitz. Will be interesting to see how it actually plays out. If I could have it by my preferences (not predictions), it would be Kiprop, Willis, Centrowitz.
Now, watch...with no confidence in Mazano justifyably because of his inconsistency...he'll sneek in there with a great kick and surprize...in top 6 somewhere.Centro is not in top shape like last year but I suspect he'll still get in the final and maybe (hopefully) surprize again.
Didn't expect Wheating to get through given his foot problems. But, when you start out in good position, fight to keep it, don't drop to near last place and expect to blast it. Too many fast guys. Why don't these guys ever seem to learn.