Saturday, January 26, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Molly Beckwith

Molly Beckwith is this week's Track Beauty!

The United States is not just the world's last remaining superpower, it is also the world's foremost athletics nation. A strong testament to this lofty standing is the American resurgence in middle- and long-distance running - events that have been dominated for so long by East and Northern Africans and the occasional Russian talent. 

Photo from Molly Beckwith's Website
The United States is bristling with middle distance talent. Case in point is Molly Beckwith.

The 25-year old Beckwith is an American middle distance runner. She dabbled in both football (soccer) and athletics in her high school days, before focusing on track career in college.[1] Beckwith attended Indiana University and competed in the tough U.S. NCAA circuit from 2005 to 2009.[2]

Molly has a personal best of 1:59.12 in the 800m, which she set in Italy back in 2011.[3] She was perched in the 23rd place at the 2012 outdoor 800m rankings, thanks to a classy sub-2:00 clocking she set in New York City last June 2012. [4]

  1. "Molly Beckwith." Retrieved 2-4-2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. "Molly Beckwith." Retrieved 2-4-2013.
  4. Ibid.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Brianne Theisen

Brianne Theisen is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from Pac12 SportsWatch
Theisen is a world-class heptathlete, having had stints at the World Championships and the Olympic Games. As a 16-year old, she made competed at the 2005 World Youth Championships, finishing in 17th place in an event won by future World Champion Tatiana Chernova Татьяна Сергеевна Чернова.[1] Brianne also wound up in the same ranking spot a year later at the World Junior Championships in Beijing.[2]

The Canadian attended the University of Oregon for college, where she distinguished herself in tough NCAA competition. Theisen has won three NCAA titles apiece in Indoor and Outdoor events in her collegiate career, with a 4x400m relay gold in 2010 as icing on the cake.[3]

Brianne went above the 6,000-point barrier for the first time in 2009.[4] She made her major championship debut at the Berlin World Championships that same year. In 2012, Theisen's points tally leapfrogged from 6094  in 2011 to an impressive 6440, thanks to new personal bests in four events.[5] [6] Her indoor campaign was even more fruitful, as she broke the 30-year Canadian national record in the pentathlon (4555 points).

Theisen scored 6383 points in her Olympic debut and finished in a respectable 11th place.

  1. "Brianne Theisen." Retrieved 1-23-2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. "Athlete profile for Brianne Theisen." Retrieved 1-23-2013.
  5. "Brianne Theisen." 
  6. "Athlete profile for Brianne Theisen."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Élodie Ouédraogo

Élodie Ouédraogo is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo from
Ouédraogo is a Belgian athlete who competes in both the sprints and the intermediate hurdles. The high point in her career came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she won the 4x100m silver together with Belgian sprinting great Kim Gevaert, Olivia Borleé, and Hanna Marien. The quartet stopped the clock at a new Belgian record of 42.54s.[1] Élodie was also part of the Belgian squad tha won bronze at the Osaka World Championships.

Ouédraogo has personal bests of 11.40s, 23.11s, and 55.29s in the 100m, 200m, and 400m hurdles, respectively.[2]

Élodie originally represented Burkina Faso, her parents' country of birth.[3] As a young sprint hurdler, she competed for the African nation at the 2000 World Junior Championships, but switched allegiance to her country of birth that same year.[4]

Her IAAF biography is a portrait of athletic versatiltity. As a youngster, she competed primarily in the 100m hurdles and the 100m dash, with occasional forays in the long jump. She made her major championship debut at the Osaka World Championships in the 400m hurdles.[5] Since then, Élodie had reached the World Championship semifinals twice (Berlin and Daegu) in an event she had specialized in relatively late. She placed sixth at the 2012 European Championships. A month later, the Belgian made it as far as the semis in the London Olympic Games.

  1. "Élodie Ouédraogo." Retrieved 1-17-2013.
  2. "Athlete profile for Élodie Ouédraogo." Retrieved 1-17-2013
  3. "Élodie Ouédraogo."
  4. Ibid.
  5. "Athlete profile for Élodie Ouédraogo."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Track Beauty of the Week: Zuzana Hejnová

Zuzana Hejnová is this week's Track Beauty!

Photo by Miaow Miaow/Wikimedia
The Czech 400m hurdles specialist has made significant impact in her event the past two years. Coming into the 2011 season, Zuzana had a personal best of 54.13s and a fourth-place finish at the 2010 Barcelona European Championships to her credit. [1] Towards the end of the year, the Czech had lowered her personal record by almost 1 second to 53.29s.[2] More importantly, she gained valuable experience as she crossed the line in a competitive 7th place at the Daegu World Championships.

Zuzana ran the race of her life at the London Olympic Games, as she grabbed the bronze medal (53.38s) behind Natalya Antyukh Наталь Антюх (52.70s) and Lashina Demus (52.77s).[3]

A quick glance at Hejnová's IAAF curriculum vitae indicates that she is a born hurdler. Zuzana has been competing at the highest level of the intermediate hurdles since her debut at the 2002 World Junior Championships.[4] Despite being only 15-years at that time, Hejnová wound up in an impressive fifth place in the final (58.42s).[5] A year later, she bagged the World Youth title in 57.54s.[6]

  1. "Zuzana Hejnova." Retrieved 1-10-2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. "Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics - Women's 400m Hurdles." Retrieved 1-10-2013. 
  4. "Zuzana Hejnova."
  5. Ibid 
  6. Ibid