Tag Archives: Calvin Harrison

Marc Raquil’s World Championship 400m Dash Bronze

Marc Raquil’s surprise 400m dash bronze at the 2003 Paris World Championships is a certified classic. The 1.91m-tall Frenchman started slowly. Running on lane five, the athlete on Raquil’s left zoomed abreast of the hometown athlete by the 150m mark, making up for the stagger. Coming into the final bend, Raquil was the obvious last placer.

The distance between Raquil and the rest of the quarter-milers were so distinct that the runner on 1st lane even caught up with the Frenchman, midway into the last bend. At the home straight, Raquil was in clear eighth place, with the three Americans leading the way into the tape.

But lo and behold, Raquil stormed through the final 60m, gradually overtaking everyone in his path. It was a dramatic finish, as the tall Frenchman nipped Calvin Harrison, compatriot Leslie Djhone and Michael Blackwood at the last eight meters of the race.

Jerome Young of the United States , caught doping four years earlier, went on to win the World Title with a 44.50s clocking. Another American, Tyree Washington won silver (44.77s). And then there’s France’s Marc Raquil (44.79s), snatching the gold from Blackwood by one-hundredths of a second.

Raquil’s last ditch burst to the tape sent the French fans into a frenzy. The animated TV announcer broke into a wild scream as a Frenchman went against all odds to win a golden bronze.

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“The Borlées: En Route to Olympic History” by Joboy Quintos

When the words “siblings” and “athletics” come together, the first name that pop  into my head are the Kallur twins. Susanna Kallur, in recent years, had distinguished herself in the women’s sprint hurdles, breaking the 60m hurdles world record and topping the 2006 Goteborg European Championships. Her twin sister Jenny, older by four minutes, has been a fixture in the athletics circuits, but hasn’t reached the same level of success as Sanna.

Read: Track Beauties of the Week: Susanna and Jenny Kallur

The Harrison twins used to be the finest example of sibling excellence, winning the 4x400m relay gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games – teaming up with Michael Johnson and the late Antonio Pettigrew. Alvin and Calvin were the first ever siblings – identical twins at that! – to ever win an Olympic track & field gold whilst part of the same relay team.

   

Kevin, Olivia, and Jonathan. (Photos from Erik van Leeuwen)

Belgium’s Borlee sibings threaten to usurp the aforesaid families. Trained by their father, Jacques, the Borlees are the most illustrious athletics family actively competing to today. Elder sister Olivia, a 200m specialist, already has an Olympic 4x100m relay silver to her name. The Belgian team finished 0.23s behind Russia in Beijing 2008.

Identical twins Kevin and Jonathan are en route to becoming fine quarter milers, with both brothers qualifying for the 2010 Euro Championships 400m final. In the 4x400m relay, the Borlee twins comprised half of the formidable Belgian team that won silver at the 2010 Doha World Indoor Champs and bronze at the Barcelona Euro Championships.

The future for Kevin (PB 44.88s) and Jonathan (PB 44.718s) looks promising. If the brothers can shed precious hundredths of a second off their respective bests, they could mount a decent challenge to the American hegemony in the 400m dash. If Olivia and the other female Belgian sprinters somehow reprise their fabulous bridesmaid finish at the London Olympics, with Kim Gevaert long since retired, the prospects for a three sibling Olympic romp becomes ever so bright.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but in my constant readings of Olympic (as well as World Championships) track & field history, three siblings each coming home with a medal is an unheard of fact.

Article by Joboy Quintos

Additional Links:

Video: 2010 World Indoor Championships 4x400m Relay

Video: 2008 Beijing Olympics 4x100m Relay

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