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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adidas Track Classic

My thoughts on the Adidas Track Classic and its telecast...

Los Angeles has proven multiple times that it cannot support an NFL team or a major marathon. I think it's time to conclude the same is true of a professional track and field meet.

The meet seemed to be a comedy of errors. Not a single sprint or hurdle race could get off without a false start. The 8th hurdle in the men's 400 race was misplaced. Larry Rawson was even more atrocious than usual, mistaking Nate Brannen for Chris Lukezic (you know, all those white people look alike). The pole vault runup was in too poor of shape to allow Jen Stuczynski any real chance at a PR/AR.

Nobody on the other side of the TV screen from us seems to know or care what viewers want to see. While they did do a decent job of using field events to fill up down time between running events, two of those field events (men's discus and women's triple jump) were totally ignored, and the other two were shot using amateurish camera angles. The women's 800 was run before the broadcast started, and could easily have filled three minutes of air time, but of course they didn't use it at all. It's like they finish every meet saying "Thank God that's over" instead of "What could we do better?"

In the men's 100, I said it was a toss-up between Patton and Bailey. They were first and second. Of course, I picked the wrong one.

In the men's 200, I thought Spearmon might pose a challenge for Merritt, but Spearmon dropped out and Merritt flattened the field. At this point I don't think Jeremy Wariner has any realistic chance of beating Merritt without going back to Clyde Hart -- and apparently he doesn't either.

In the men's 400, 1500, 5k, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles and long jump I picked the right winners, and anyone in the VISA Pick & Win game who didn't just isn't paying attention.

In the women's 400 meters, I picked against the grain, going with Novlene Williams over favorite Natasha Hastings. Wrong choice.

In the women's 800, I picked Kenia Sinclair, and then she dropped out in favor of the 1500. In her absence I went with USATF indoor champ Katie Waits and got burned (she was fourth). In the 1500, my instinct was to pick Sinclair, but I thought "no, she's not a miler" and took Mestawot Tadesse instead. Dumb. Sinclair won it.

In the women's 5000, I didn't really think Shalane Flanagan was going to win, but I thought she'd be dependable for second at worst. And boy, was I wrong. She had a horrible day. Lesson learned: in a US invitational race of 3k or longer, never pick against the Ethiopian. If they show up at the start line they're always ready to run.

In the women's 100 hurdles, I had picked Priscilla Lopes-Schliep but she dropped out. After that I wasn't sure who to take. I went with Vonette Dixon...bad, bad idea.

In the men's discus and women's triple jump, I correctly identified the duels that occurred but picked the wrong one to win. In the women's 100, 200, pole vault and steeplechase I picked the obvious winners.

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