This meet could be historic. Brianne Theisen-Eaton will be the favorite for heptathlon gold, as will Ashton Eaton for the decathlon title. Husband and wife teams are a rarity at the top of the victory stand.
The heptathlon will be closely contested among Theisen-Eaton, and a pair of Brits: Katrina Johnson-Thompson (KJT), who won at Götzis last year and ’12 Olympic champ Jess Ennis-Hill, who became a mother last year and who is rounding back into shape.
Theisen-Eaton’s early season 6808 win at Götzis and her open marks in the past two months (including a 13.02 hurdles) stamps her as a slight favorite. (I’m aware I’m backing all English-speaking medalists, probably reflecting my bias). If Ashton and Brianne pull this off they should canonize their coach, Harry Marra. If there is a better coach on the planet, I don’t know of him/her.
Close but not close enough will be Nadine Broersen, German Carolyn Schaeffer, and a pair of Americans, Sharon-Day-Monroe and Barbara Nwaba.
100m hurdles: The best event… Ennis-Hill to win, Thiesen-Eaton close, around13 seconds flat. The remainder of the field are still coming off the 10th hurdle.
High Jump: Ennis-Hill could put lots of pressure on here, but Thiesen-Eaton has been very consistent at 1.83-1.86m range. Nafissatou Thiam is capable of 1.97m at her best, but KJT to win at 1.90m
Shot Put: This won’t be crucial.
200m: With Daphne Schippers, abdicating to the sprints, KJT and Thiesen-Eaton will battle it out.
Long Jump: A pivotal event… a big leap from any of the top three will put the pressure on. Expect marks in the 6.40m to 6.60m range.
Javelin: Broersen wins big. KJT drops here and Ennis-Hill and Thiesen-Eaton both spear 45.00m so it’ll still be close. Interestingly, the pair of Americans could have big marks: Day-Monroe , a four-time USA champ, and Nwaba, the new USA champs, can both toss 47m.
800m: If it comes down to the 800m, Ennis-Hill has the better PR (2:07) but Theisen-Eaton has the conditioning. This race could be a classic.
Frank’s predicted top three
1. Theisen-Eaton, CAN
2. Ennis-Hill, GBR
3. Johnson-Thompson, GBR