Canadian Melissa Bishop defeats a stacked field in final race before Rio

Canadian Melissa Bishop won her final race before the Rio Olympics on Friday with a sub-2:00 performance at the TrackTown Summer Series.

July 30th, 2016 by | Posted in Rio 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brenda, Melissa, and Shannon all run under 2 minutes in the women's 800m. As a result, #TeamSanFran takes the lead!

A photo posted by TrackTown USA (@tracktownusa) on

Canadian 800m record holder Melissa Bishop is showing she’s as fast as ever by winning her final race before the Olympics. The 27-year-old won the TrackTown Summer Series 800m in Eugene, Ore. on Friday night in 1:59.74 over Americans Brenda Martinez and Shannon Rowbury. All three are Olympic-bound next week as the opening ceremony in Rio is set for Aug. 5.

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Friday’s 1:59.74 clocking was the seventh time in 2016 that she has broken the 2:00 barrier in the 800m. Going sub-2:00 is world class.

Bishop, a Nike athlete, was running for Team San Francisco during the event. The meet’s setup was unique as athletes were drafted to one of four teams, named after major American cities, and their placings contributed to an overall score. The teams, by name only and not association, included Portland, San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia.

Melissa Bishop

The unique style of track competition was held to help grow the sport’s popularity. Kids received free admission to the event, which had a total purse of more than US$225,000 for athletes.

The second- and third-place finishers in the women’s 800m, Martinez and Rowbury, were the first athletes selected to their teams when the draft took place on June 25.

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Bishop’s win comes two weeks after she lowered her own Canadian record to 1:57.43 in the women’s 800m in Edmonton. She is the national champion in the event and won a silver medal at the world championships in 2015. Last summer’s success also included winning a gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Hayward Field in Eugene is considered TrackTown USA because of its rich history in running and legacy of hosting the U.S. track and field championships. The summer series was televised live on ESPN on Friday night.

Looking ahead to the Olympics, the women’s 800m rounds begin on Aug. 17 with the finals (third round) on Aug. 20. Bishop will be in tough with strong competition including South Africa’s Caster Semenya and Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba. Both Africans have run more than a second faster than Bishop though the Canadian is ranked third in the world ahead of Rio.

Summer Series Results

1. Melissa Bishop San Francisco 1:59.74
2. Brenda Martinez Philadelphia 1:59.82
3. Shannon Rowbury San Francisco 1:59.97
4. McKayla Fricker San Francisco 2:01.86
5. Kendra Chambers New York 2:02.79
6. Phoebe Wright Portland 2:03.74
7. Jessica Smith New York 2:03.82