Aug. 15, 2010
LONDON, England - Four athletes with Washington ties competed this weekend at the Aviva London Grand Prix, part of the Diamond League series of track meets which features the top level of competition in the world.
The biggest news to come out of London was the return to action of Husky alumna Brad Walker, the American record-holder in the pole vault. Walker was injured in a meet over a year ago and was forced to miss the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. In his first outing, Walker cleared 18-feet, 1-inch on his third attempt to take fourth-place. It was a tough day for some of the world's best vaulters so any clearance was a good one for Walker. Steve Hooker, the reigning Olympic Champion, and Renaud Lavillenie, the Diamond League points leader, both no-heighted.
Three-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond continued her long European summer with a sixth-place finish in the discus. Thurmond, who ranks fourth in the Diamond League points race, tossed 191-6 on her final attempt.
Another former Dawg, Ingvill Makestad of Norway, placed seventh in a loaded women's 1,500-meter field. It was one of the few races not to turn in a great time, however, as Makestad ran 4:10.95 and the winner crossed in just 4:07.60. Makestad has run six seconds faster this season.
There was also a current Husky on the track, as freshman sprinter James Alaka suited up for his native Great Britain to run a leg of the 4x100-meter relay. Unfortunately, Alaka's team was unable to keep the baton off the track, and the foursome did not finish.