Given the high stakes and global visibility of the Olympic Games, it’s easy to think that the track and field season ends there. It doesn’t. The Diamond League resumed its 14-meet 2012 schedule on Friday, and right in the middle of it, trying to shake off the emotional pain of London, was Jenny Simpson.
Simpson, the 2011 IAAF World Champion, finished last in her semi-final of the 1500 meters at the Games, fading badly on the last lap and failing to advance to the final. Even in the moments immediately afterward, she took complete ownership of the result. “I’m not sick, I’m not hurt, and I’m not out of shape. I just had a shameful performance tonight. I’m so sorry for all the people who have supported me. I have no excuses,” she told the media.
On Friday at DN Galan meeting in Stockholm, Simpson ran a season’s best 4:04.71 in the 1500 meters, good enough for fifth place.
“I’m just trying to do my best to rest up and race these last few races and kind of regain some of my personal dignity for myself,” she said afterward during an upbeat video interview. “Hindsight is always 20/20. I think I handled the pressure [coming into the Olympics] well. I think I just worked too hard.”
Assessing her Stockholm race, Simpson beamed. “I was really happy,” she said. “I was kind of buried and I still made up a lot of ground in the end. And that’s the Jenny everybody knows.”
Among the other athletes quickly following up their Olympic races was Evan Jager, who in his first year of competing at the 3000-meter steeplechase finished sixth in London in 8:23.27 just weeks after setting an American record at the distance. In Stockholm, Jager ran the flat 3000 meters in a personal best 7:35.16, and hopes to chase a 1500-meter personal best before the season is over.
“It would be just an absolutely incredible dream of a season if I could do that,” he said in this video interview.
The Diamond League continues on Thursday at the Athletissima meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Simpson is expected to meet fellow U.S. Olympians Shannon Rowbury and Kim Conley at 3000 meters and Olympic finalist Donn Cabral is on the start list for the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the 1500 meters, Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano headlines a group of Americans that includes 2011 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz and 10,000-meter Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp. For the full start lists, click here.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg