Helsinki, FinlandAs a freshly minted member of the sub 1:45 club last year, Canadian Gary Reed fought his way into the Olympic semi-finals. This year, after notching several key wins, the 23-year-old from British Columbia is aiming to go much further in Helsinki.
Reed has been as consistent as anyone this year in his event. He’s notched four wins in seven races this season, including an early-season 1:44.82 win at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene in late May over Olympic Champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy, a victory he characterized as “very important.”
“It gave me a lot of confidence throughout the season to know that I can run with these guys. You always know what you’re capable of doing, but until you rally do it, it doesn’t mean much.”
In the opening round here, Reed advanced easily after a smart first round effort, clocking 1:47.23 to finish just a step behind Spaniard Antonio Manuel Reina.
“I had to go out and be aggressive,” he said. “At this level, if you make one mistake it’s over. So I just got out and tried to get in the lead. I knew there would be guys fighting for the spots.”
In his last outing, where he was fourth in Oslo’s Bislett Games, Reed again lowered his national record with a 1:44.54 performance, another step towards the event’s upper echelon.
“I can run with these guys,” he said, exuded a controlled confidence. “I’ve proved that throughout the circuit this year. I’m not afraid of anyone in the track & field world.”
Only one Canadian has ever reached a World Championship final in the 800, Freddie Williams, who finished sixth in Stuttgart in 1993. But Reed isn’t thinking that far ahead yet. He’s barely started to think about the semi-finals.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a real big test, he said. “The semi-finals in this thing are nuts. You never know what you got to do. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day.”
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF