The oldest track & field blog on the internet
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
From October 2008 until two weeks ago, I was working for Trackshark. As you know, Trackshark shut down a few weeks ago due to the company that owned the site, Wassmerman Media Group, pulling all of its funding, as well as laying off head honcho Tom Borish and myself. While I was incredibly disappointed in what transpired, the loss of Trackshark opened up a gaping hole in the coverage the sport receives.So if I read this right, the problem is not a lack of content, but a lack of centralization. Is Scott looking for something like Google News for track & field? If so, that's doable. Not easily--Google is a massive and amazing company--but if it could be done, it would be every track fan's home page.
We have some great media sources in our sport. Dyestat and MileSplit do an excellent job at covering the high school realm. FloTrack and LetsRun do a great job at covering the distance running side of things. There are many other websites that do the best job they can, but there is now no place for sprinters, jumpers, throwers and hurdlers to be covered at the collegiate and professional ranks. That's what Trackshark did and now it's gone.
I've heard rumblings around the sport for the past two weeks of potential new sites being developed, but I doubt any of them actually happen.
Our sport needs an ESPN. One centralized news source that covers all sides of the sport. In a perfect world sites like LetsRun and FloTrack would merge, creating one supersite that would be all the sport needed, but that's not going to happen. A constant stream of information is needed on all the different track and field events, in all different forms (video, audio, text), 24/7/365. That's what our sport needs, more than anything, because no one else cares enough to do it.
I've shared ideas on this blog for the past many months, but none has ever been more important to me than this one. EVERY other sport that has any type of hold in this country has a website that covers all sides of it.
I imagine a central page with headlines linking to articles, organized by subject (much like Google News), with sidebars for schedules/results, stats lists, etc. It could be personalized for your locality and/or personal interests. You could limit high school news to your state, collegiate news to a certain conference or region, pro coverage to certain events, and so on.
I'm not the person to do this -- I have too many other things. But I have a dream.
You know Twitter, the train-of-thought status message broadcast tool that is fascinating or pointless, (or both). Either way, it's a stream of information, buyer beware. Think of Twackle this way: Where a serious Twitter user might utilize the desktop application TweetDeck to keep an easier, more efficient track of replies and follower updates, Twackle serves the same purpose for a sports fan. It filters the insurmountable amounts of not just general tweets, but of sports-related tweets from fan, leagues, sports, team or athletes and aggregates them into more easily digestible categories via feeds.Yes, they have a track & field aggregator!
Users can also tweet and respond to other users via Twackle, and they'll see their updates go straight to their Twitter account.
"You have this broad range of sports content (on Twitter)," says Octagon Digital CEO Jim DeLorenzo. "One, we wanted to help people be able to find it. And two, once they found it, help them manage it in a better way."
Hegley looks at a number of issues, but the first and most important (at least from USATF's perspective) is getting some portion of the millions of amateur distance runners to join USATF. Hegley suggests various ways to entice us who pound the pavement, but I think Logan & co. need to look at it from a different perspective.
To better answer the question "Why should I, a road racer, join USATF?", we need to answer the question "Why should I join RRCA?" I'd bet the majority of the RRCA's 180,000+ members don't even realize they're in the organization. People join a local road runners club, and in turn they become RRCA members. Triathletes join USA Triathlon in the same way.
The reasons people join their local clubs are many and various and depend on the club. My motivations are simple: there are a small number of dirt-cheap members-only races; a winter 25k, a fall 15-mile trail race, some 5ks and 10ks, all of which cost less than $5. Others like the social aspect, while some clubs offer group training and coaching, and so on. But the point is that the national membership comes through local clubs.
So if USATF wants to get some of the road running action, it needs to make it worthwhile for road runners clubs to join USATF. As it is, the costs are fairly low for a club to become USATF-affiliated (about $30 last I checked). But the club members still have to pony up their own USATF membership dues, and that's the sticking point. If USATF offered group rates run through clubs, then we might see some significant movement.
But besides reducing the financial pain, USATF needs to create incentive for clubs and their members to join. Imagine your club's board meeting: you bring up the topic of affiliating the club with USATF, and the board replies with "Why? What will it do for us?" As it is, there isn't any point unless you wish to compete at a national club championships, which 99% of road runners are far too slow for. Clubs are affiliated with RRCA for a number of reasons, mostly financial (i.e. insurance) and organizational. So USATF has to come up with something that RRCA doesn't do.
Road running is based around two ideas: mass participation and mass competition. USATF is not, except at the age-group level. But road running is generally for adults. If USATF could come up with some sort of competition between clubs at the association level that not only rewarded racing fast but mass participation as well, then there would be significant reason for many clubs to get on the USATF bandwagon. It would be a lot of work to fall on a volunteer's shoulders. But in this day and age the calculations might not be as difficult as you think.
Imagine the biggest/best/most interesting road races in your association's area are formed into a series in which clubs earn points for winning awards (overall and age-group), number of athletes participating, and distance traveled to compete. At the end of the season, the team with the most points is the association champion. The idea is that ordinary runners would be rewarded for traveling to races with their friends, and while running well is good you'll still help your team by just finishing. This is the kind of mixture of competition, participation and socialization that people run for in the first place.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I've got it ready to go for the men (the women will take some more work). So a quick update through the end of the indoor season...
Dwain Chambers, GBR, 113
Jacoby Ford, USA, 62
Mark Jelks, USA, 49
Ivory Williams, USA, 21
Trey Harts, USA, 19
Mike Rodgers, USA, 18
Johan Wissman, SWE, 28
Greg Nixon, USA, 27
Tyler Christopher, CAN, 21
Ismail Ahmed Ismail, SUD, 80
Yuriy Borzakovskiy, RUS, 61
Wilfred Bungei, KEN, 56
1500 meters / Mile
Haron Keitany, KEN, 107
Bernard Lagat, USA, 96
Mehdi Baala, FRA, 83
Abreham Cherkos, ETH, 154
Paul Kipsiele Koech, KEN, 148
Mo Farah, GBR, 132
Sammy Kitawara, KEN, 116
Abreham Cherkos, KEN, 104
Wilson Kipsang, KEN, 102
Terrence Trammell, USA, 79
Shamar Sands, BAH, 61
Dexter Faulk, USA, 55
Road Racing (off-track races from 10 to 30 km)
Deriba Merga, ETH, 201
Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, KEN, 194
Wilson Chebet, KEN, 163
Tsegay Kebede, ETH, 128
Haile Gebrselassie, ETH, 108
Samuel Muturi Mugo, KEN, 54
Valeriy Borchin, RUS, 126
Jared Talent, AUS, 111
Aleksandr Yargunkin, RUS, 84
Francisco Javier Fernández, ESP, 112
Trond Nymark, NOR, 108
Jesús Sánchez, MEX, 72
Ivan Ukhov, RUS, 172
Jesse Williams, USA, 86
Andra Manson, USA, 49
Steve Hooker, AUS, 184
Pavel Gerasimov, RUS, 52
Renaud Lavillenie, FRA, 43
Sebastian Bayer, GER, 64
Marcin Starzak, POL, 22
Mitchell Watt, AUS, 22
Teddy Tamgho, FRA, 66
Fabrizio Donato, ITA, 51
Arnie David Girat, CUB, 38
Christian Cantwell, USA, 47
Tomas Majewski, POL, 31
Adam Nelson, USA, 21
Mikk Pahapill, EST, 114
Ashton Eaton, USA, 90
Oleksiy Kasyanov, UKR, 78
Deriba Merga, Road, 201
Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, Road, 194
Steve Hooker, PV, 184
Ivan Ukhov, HJ, 172
Wilson Chebet, Road, 163
Abreham Cherkos, 3k-5k, 154
Paul Kipsiele Koech, 3k-5k, 148
Tsegay Kebede, Marathon, 128
Valeriy Borchin, 20kW, 126
Sammy Kitawara, 5k-10k, 116
Road warriors are high on the overall list because their season started earlier than that of track & field--and it ends sooner, too. So don't expect them to stay atop the heap beyond about June.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Like the pheonix, Tom will rise again from his ashes. He's the best the USA has to offer in terms of covering our sport.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Also in that training group were Olympians Erin Donohue and Shannon Rowbury, and Donohue left that group as well. The initial report of the break-up said Donohue split because Cook didn't think she could ever break 4:00 in the 1500. Now Joe Battaglia has given us a deeper look at what transpired with her.
Donohue says her problems with Cook stemmed from a perceived lack of confidence in her abilities. She said she first sensed a waning in that belief late last spring in the form of his verbiage during interviews, which continued even after Donohue qualified for the Games with a runner-up finish to Rowbury in the 1,500m at the U.S. Olympic Trials.Cook described her as "waddling around the Nike campus 10 pounds overweight" before she started training with him. He's got a reputation as a bit of a dick, and that line only reinforces it. If you read between the lines, he's also got a bit of a paternalistic attitude towards these adult professionals. But this is the real heart of the matter:
“He said I was lucky to make the Olympic Team,” Donohue said. “That was kind of annoying to hear, but I was just so busy focusing and getting ready for the Olympics. Obviously, I wasn’t going to say anything or make any kind of move at that time.”
An avid student of running, Donohue spent time combing through coaching manuals and accessing information online that she felt could give her training an edge. Throughout the fall, she said she persistently made recommendations to Cook about training changes she wanted to try but never heard back from him.There's a loooong thread on this over at Let's Argue. I haven't tried to read the whole thing; it starts off with somebody obviously posting the same thoughts defending Cook under different names. What I'm taking away from this is totally different from what anyone appears to have posted, which is strange for a place that reveres Arthur Lydiard.
Cook would be the first person to tell you that he is a control freak, particularly when it comes to the training program he has devised for his athletes. When Donohue continually chimed in with alterations to what Cook had outlined for her, it did not sit well with the coach.
“When you go to the dentist, you’re not going to tell the guy how to do a root canal. You open your mouth and let the guy dig,” Cook said. “If I’m going to listen to someone tell me how to coach, I don’t need to listen to her. There are a lot of guys out there that I talk to. I don’t see any stripes on her shoulders. I think she’s a good kid. I think she’s an overachiever. I think she’s a great competitor. I think she’s a nice person. I think she’s very intelligent. But the worst thing that happened to her was the internet. Frankly, I don’t want to coach somebody that is constantly uncertain.”
Lydiard repeatedly said that if a coach couldn't explain why the athlete was doing a certain workout, maybe the athlete should get a different coach. He was very much against authoritarianism in coaching athletes and saw it as one of the things that held US runners back on the world stage. To him, questions were a good thing.
On the flip side, it has been said that the athlete needs an unshatterable belief in his/her coach. But she needs the same unshatterable belief in herself as well, and it was clear she wasn't getting support in that area from Cook. And so the relationship unraveled.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
1. Ismail Ahmed Ismail, SUD, 97
2. Yuriy Borzakovskiy, RUS, 86
3. Wilfred Bungei, KEN, 84
4. Abraham Chepkirwok, UGA, 61
5. Boaz Kiplagat Lalang, KEN, 60
6. Haron Keitany, KEN, 58
7. Abubaker Kaki, SUD, 57
8. Mehdi Baala, FRA, 53
9. Belal Mansoor Ali, BRN, 46
10. Richard Kiplagat, KEN, 35
14. Khadevis Robinson, USA, 24
28. Andrew Wheating, USA/Oregon, 8
Borza moved from fourth last week to second this week on the strength of his European Championships win.
1500 meters / Mile
1. Haron Keitany, KEN, 117
2. Bernard Lagat, USA, 108
3. Mehdi Baala, FRA, 98
4. Augustine Choge, KEN, 86
5. Belal Mansoor Ali, BRN, 78
6. Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, KEN, 72
7. Bouabdellah Tahri, FRA, 63
8. Mo Farah, GBR, 63
9. Mekonnen Gebremedhin, ETH, 59
10. Deresse Mekonnen, ETH, 54
14. German Fernandez, USA, 30
38. Dorian Unlrey, USA/Arkansas, 8
The standings are unchanged from last week. Oklahoma State frosh German Fernandez is skipping the NCAA Championships in favor of the World Cross Country Championships.
1. Mariya Savinova, RUS, 110
2. Oksana Zbrozhek, RUS, 103
3. Elisa Cusma Piccione, ITA, 62
4. Anna Alminova, RUS, 59
5. Tetiana Petlyuk, UKR, 46
6. Jennifer Meadows, GBR, 44
7. Marilyn Okoro, GBR, 34
8. Irina Maracheva, RUS, 33
9. Sylwia Ejdys, POL, 32
10. Yevgeniya Zolotova, RUS, 26
13. Katie Waits, USA, 10
The first three took the medals at last week's European Championships in the same order. No NCAA runners have score any points in the 800. US leader Waits and I occasionally cross paths while running at the local park.
1500 meters / Mile
1. Anna Alminova, RUS, 169
2. Oksana Zbrozhek, RUS, 63
3. Nuria Fernández, ESP, 60
4. Sally Kipyego, KEN, 43
5. Yevgeniya Zolotova, RUS, 42
6. Kara Goucher, USA, 40
7. Sylwia Ejdys, POL, 38
8. Sonja Roman, SLO, 34
9. Maryam Yusuf Jamal, BRN, 31
10. Natalya Evdokimova, RUS, 30
10. Natalia Rodríguez, ESP, 30
10. Zakia Mrisho Mohamed, TAN, 30
Alminova confirmed her top status with a dominating win at the European Championships. Rodríguez entered the top ten on the strength of her silver medal at the same meet. Jenny Barringer is skipping this event at the NCAA meet in favor of the 3000, while Kipyego will run the mile and the 5000.
RW Daily catches up with the headlines, including Roby Myers' road mile win in New Zealand.
PreRace Jitters' radio show previews the NCAA Indoor Championships with Texas A&M coach Pat Henry.
Haile Gebrselassie will assault the world record for the 1-hour run in Hengelo on June 1.
Joe Battaglia at Universal Sports wonders if recent USATF changes are for the better.
The IAAF will have its fantasy league running again in 2009.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
It's Tuesday, which is Sprint Day here.
1. Dwain Chambers, GBR, 112
2. Terrence Trammell, USA, 66
3. Mark Jelks, USA, 46
4. Simeon Williamson, GBR, 41
5. Fabio Cerutti, ITA, 34
6. Michael Rodgers, USA, 32
7. Ivory Williams, USA, 31
7. Jacoby Ford, USA/Clemson, 31
9. José Carlos Moreira, BRA, 23
10. D'Angelo Cherry, USA, 22
Chambers had a big weekend, moving to #3 on the all-time 60 meters list with his 6.42 Euro semifinal. He followed that up with 6.46 in the final. This is the best he has ever run in his life, even better than when mixed up with the BALCO crowd. Hmm...
Clemson's Jacoby Ford is the top-ranked athlete going into this weekend's NCAA championships. In the 200, Baylor's Trey Harts is tops.
1. Johan Wissman, SWE, 38
2. Claudio Licciardello, ITA, 31
3. Greg Nixon, USA, 29
4. Tyler Christopher, CAN, 25
5. Richard Buck, GBR, 23
7. Gil Roberts, USA/Texas Tech, 13
The Euro Championships were the deepest competition of the year, and Wissman won it in the year's fastest time.
1. Carmelita Jeter, USA, 63
2. Yevgeniya Polyakova, RUS, 52
3. Tahesia Harrigan, IVB, 51
3. Anna Geflikh, RUS, 51
5. Chandra Sturrup, BAH, 48
6. Murielle Ahoure, USA/Miami (Fl), 43
7. Bianca Knight, USA, 40
8. Me'Lisa Barber, USA, 39
8. Angela Williams, USA, 39
10. Tianna Madison, USA, 35
Geflikh was the favorite to win the Euros, but finished fourth. Polyakova's big win there pushed her all the way up to #2. Ahoure is the top sprinter going into the NCAAs, both in the 60 and the 200.
1. Antonina Krivoshapka, RUS, 145
2. Shalonda Solomon, USA, 34
3. Darya Safonova, RUS, 27
4. Nataliya Pyhyda, UKR, 20
5. Monica Hargrove, USA, 18
6. Jessica Beard, USA/Texas A&M, 17
Krivoshapka continued her complete dominance of the indoor season at the Euros. Pyhyda came out of nowhere to get second, with Safonova third. Beard is doubtlessly the class of this weekend's NCAA meet in this event.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Trackshark Fans and Members,
This is very difficult for me to type right now, but you deserve to know everything.
I was informed by the Wasserman Media Group on Friday, March 6 that our services are no longer needed at Trackshark. Many of us within the company have lost our jobs, including myself.
I sold Trackshark.com to the Wasserman Media Group in May 2008. It was a tough decision, but they can no longer support me nor the rest of the staff here at Trackshark.
There are several options available, including finding a new buyer, but in today's economy it appears very unlikely. There are sites out there that have been born with cash and some without. Trackshark was born in 2002 out of hard work, dedication and all of you who have supported it from day one.
I am working every hour of the day to keep that alive, which is why you haven't seen the front page updated since Friday, March 6.
Whether we're born into a new site or this continues to move forward as is, I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you. I can't even type all of the names since the list would be too long.
Either way, you should know that I am going to do my best to keep coverage of college track & field alive with our philosophy of coverage. If this site is shut down -- due to powers that I can not control -- next week, then you'll know the reason why.
Please email me at email@example.com for any questions, inquiries or if you just wish to keep in touch. I appreciate all of your efforts and communication through the years. Thank you for taking the time to read this and best of luck.
For the most part, I have been insulated from the national downturn -- things have been rough enough around Toledo for long enough that bad times aren't new here. This is the first "what are we going to do now?" news I've had since the economy fell off the cliff.
And just what are we going to do now? The best, most forward-thinking track & field website is on its deathbed. There are others of us out there who are passionate and determined, but our Fearless Leader is in trouble. I hope Tom can stay in the game somehow.
RW Daily catches up with the weekend headlines.
Trackshark has the top results from the NCAA's last-chance weekend.
Jelena Prokopcuka and Badu Worku won yesterday's Paris Half Marathon.
The IAAF is making noise about disciplinary action against Dwain Chambers for statements made in his autobiography, which would effectively end his career.
Doug Logan posted his response to the Project 30 Task Force report.
2000 Olympic champ Naoko Takahashi ran her final marathon yesterday in Nagoya.
this is a newly layed surface ( was the OG skating rink for '06 ) & i can only think there musta been some odd uneven parts on run-up & perhaps some very, very hard surface a little behind board ( a litle like explanation for kajsa's 2.08iwr a coupla years ago )
allowable hardness is 65%, but if that little area was 67% or 68% hardness, then you are talking
~ an 8.71*65/67 or 8.71*65/68 = 8.33 - 8.45 jump on usual hardness
Sunday, March 08, 2009
At the European Indoor Championships, he jumped 28'6¾" (8.71 meters). The only men who have jumped further (non wind- or altitude-aided) are Mike Powell, Carl Lewis, Larry Myricks and Irving Saladino. In terms of indoor jumps, it's #2 behind Lewis' 25-year-old world record.
YouTube has the video.
The weird thing is that until today he had not been a long jumper to pay any attention to. PRs of this size aren't unheard of; Bob Beamon had a famous big one, but he'd already stamped himself as the gold-medal favorite going into the '68 Olympics, and had the best wind, altitude, barometric pressure, humidity and latitude possible for his big jump. Bayer had an indoor jump at normal altitude (240 meters / 800 feet).
You simply cannot jump this far on a fluke. Maybe if you've got a hurricane at your back, but this was indoors. Very strange.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
1. Christian Cantwell, USA, 60
2. Adam Nelson, USA, 31
3. Tomas Majewski, POL, 28
4. Reese Hoffa, USA, 23
5. Dan Taylor, USA, 18
There has been so little shot-putting action this year that listing more than five is pointless. Cantwell is the only athlete with multiple major wins.
1. Valerie Vili NZL 64
2. Petra Lammert GER 20
2. Kristin Heaston USA 20
4. Denise Hinrichs GER 19
5. Anna Avdeyeva RUS 13
5. Anna Omarova RUS 13
Vili has three wins in three outings. Heaston has piled up points in three World Athletics Tour meets in Australia and New Zealand but will meet reality once the outdoor season comes to the northern hemisphere. Lammert earned her second ranking mostly through winnin the European Indoor title. Lurking in seventh place is Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who has competed just twice this year and without much distinction.
Thought I'd send along a write-up I did on the Smith and Carlos thing for an online subscription site we have at work -- normally I just herd a group of pastor/writers, run the weekly conference call, and compile, edit, and format their submissions for a weekly update... but since this coming Sunday's lectionary gospel text includes the bit where Jesus talks about his followers denying themselves and taking up their cross, it seemed like a natural illustration -- especially since even knowing all the hardship of the intervening years, they both felt so strongly that it was the right thing to do. So I put this in along with the usual stuff -- I included a lot of context because I thought it was important both to understand their motivations, and why so many might have felt threatened by the gesture.While you may think my personal religion IS track & field, I merely see it as being like Elvis -- it's everywhere and in everything. Track & field from the pulpit is just recognition from others of what I believe: that our sport is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Read on.
A Living Example of Cross-Bearing: Tommie Smith and John Carlos
The call to cross-bearing is a difficult one — those who feel compelled by their conscience and belief in a higher calling to take an unpopular stance can look forward to unpleasant and even life-changing consequences. This kind of faith-based “civil disobedience” has a long history in America, particularly in the field of race relations. From antebellum abolitionism to the civil rights movement, there have been untold numbers who have suffered personally by taking action that was meant to shock a complacent public into seeing injustice in its midst.
Return to Mexico City, a recent documentary airing on ESPN, revisited a notorious moment in this vein that from the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, involving sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos. It’s easy to forget with the distance of time what a turbulent year 1968 was, not just in America but throughout the world — in addition to Martin Luther King’s assassination, the ensuing riots in many inner cities, and mounting frustration over the inability of the civil rights movement to address economic inequality, there was continuing intense unrest over the Vietnam War, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, and the melee in Chicago during the Democratic convention. Internationally, 1968 also saw extended student riots in Paris and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. All of these events occurred in the six months prior to the first Olympics ever hosted by a developing, “Third World” country — and the first to take place in the new, satellite-driven media age where television beamed images around the world with unprecedented speed. Furthermore, that this extravaganza was overseen by an aging cadre with dictatorial powers, headed by IOC president Avery Brundage (a crusty old man who was fairly open about his racism and anti-Semitism), only served to escalate the tension.
In the months prior to the Olympics, there had been a movement encouraging prominent black American athletes to boycott the games. (The most prominent athlete to decline to participate was basketball star Lew Alcindor, soon to become known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.) Much of the impetus for this came from an organization called the Olympic Project for Human Rights, centered on the campus of San Jose State University in California. While San Jose sociology professor Harry Edwards served as the OPHR’s provocateur and public face, much of the actual behind-the-scenes work was done by athletes, including Tommie Smith and Lee Evans, who also happened to be two of the world’s top sprinters. As the Olympics approached, it became clear that while athletes in the major team sports could look forward to lucrative professional careers, it would be extremely self-destructive for most Olympic athletes to boycott the games and miss what they had been training years for (and lose the biggest stage any of them would ever have) — so it was decided there would be no boycott and that any form of protest would be left up to the individual athletes.
The American men’s track team assembled for the Mexico City games has been considered its greatest ever, and with astonishing winning displays from the likes of Bob Beamon (who smashed the long jump world record by more than 2 feet), Dick Fosbury (who completely redefined high jump technique), and Lee Evans amongst others, the reputation is well-deserved. Yet another amazing performance was turned in by Tommie Smith in the 200 meters, as he motored by San Jose State teammate John Carlos and Australian Peter Norman in the home stretch to set a new world record. However, that thrilling race is not what Smith and Carlos are remembered for. As they approached the winner’s stand afterwards to receive their medals, close observation revealed that they had discarded their racing spikes and were wearing simple black socks without any other footwear, as well as fairly large Olympic Project for Human Rights buttons pinned to the chests of their USA warm-up jackets. (Siver medalist Norman also sported an OPHR button that Smith and Carlos had given him.) As the American flag was slowly hoisted and the “Star-Spangled Banner” began to play over the stadium loudspeakers, the significance of Smith’s and Carlos’s attire soon became apparent — the men silently bowed their heads and each thrust one black-gloved fist high over their heads into the Mexican night.
The backlash over their action was swift — and predictable. Smith and Carlos became the center of a media feeding frenzy, and they were vilified by many back home who viewed their actions not as silent protest but as the menacing acts of militants who dishonored their country. (A young Chicago newspaper columnist referred to them as “black-skinned stormtroopers”; that writer was none other than current ESPN sportscaster Brent Musburger.) The IOC, furious at the protest, gave the United States team 24 hours to get Smith and Carlos out of the Olympic village — and the men soon returned home not to a rousing victory celebration, but as the sullen focus of a roiling controversy. While this was before today’s professional track circuit, any post-Olympic track careers the men may have had were also casualties of their action, as no one wanted to cross the IOC. (Less well known is that Peter Norman paid a price as well for his support of Smith and Carlos, as he was ostracized by Australian Olympic authorities.) In a word, for much of mainstream America Smith and Carlos were pariahs — and finding steady work even proved to be something of a challenge for a while.
The stress had a high human cost — nevertheless, they felt it was necessary to call attention to lingering inequality. Smith has said that: “The ridicule was great, but it went deeper than us personally. It went to our kids, our citizen brothers, and our parents. My mother died of a heart attack in 1970 as a result of pressure delivered to her from farmers who sent her manure and dead rats in the mail because of me. My brothers in high school were kicked off the football team, my brother in Oregon had his scholarship taken away. It was a fault that could have been avoided had I turned my back on the atrocities.” Carlos believes it that it led to his wife’s suicide in 1977, saying. “My family had to endure so much. They finally figured out they could pierce my armor by breaking up my family and they did that. But you cannot regret what you knew, to the very core of your person, was right” (http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1020-28.htm). Contrasting perspectives on the events of that day even led to a serious wedge being driven between Smith and Carlos for many years, as this July 2008 Los Angeles Times article details (http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/08/sports/sp-forty8).
Fortunately, there is something of a happy ending for Tommie Smith and John Carlos, many years later. San Jose State, their alma mater, has erected on its campus a statue honoring them and commemorating their Olympic protest, and last October they returned to the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City on the 40th anniversary of their medal-winning race, an event that led to a rapproachment between them. But when asked in the ESPN documentary if he would do it all over again, Carlos perhaps summed up best what it means to pick up and carry one’s cross. Mentioning that it’s “a heavy question,” knowing that it may have been the primary cause of his wife’s suicide, he says: “I’d do it again, knowing that it’s bigger than her life, or my life, or any one life.”
Several brief excerpts from Return to Mexico City can be viewed at the ESPN website:
For more information, see the following links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salute
Q: Do you think if someone told Bruce Jenner in 1976 that he'd spend his golden years trying to steer the misguided children of a lawyer who successfully defended O.J. Simpson from charges of killing his own wife, or that his son would introduce the world to the concept of a "bromance," he would have thrown his discus or javelin off to the side and taken the silver medal in the decathlon?SG: And you left out the fact that he now looks like a female librarian. I just don't think he would have believed you in 1976 -- he thought he was going to be a movie star and the biggest endorsement celeb in the world. It couldn't have turned out worse. It's impossible.
-- Ben S., Lexington, Mass.
Doug Logan has challenged Jamaica to a home-and-home series of sprint/hurdle-only dual meets this spring.
Doug Logan, the chief executive of USA Track and Field, delivered his idea by letter to Neville McCook of the Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association on Saturday. He proposed a minimeet be held in each country, pitting American and Jamaican runners in the men’s and women’s 100 meters, 200, 400, 400 hurdles, long jump and three sprint relays. They would also compete in the women’s 100 hurdles and the men’s 110 hurdles.
Logan’s proposed format would include two relay teams for each country in the two relays and three or four individuals per country in the other events. Scoring would be cumulative.
Read the details here: TV coverage would be a live 2-hour format for each meet.
No word yet on whether the challenge has been accepted.
Friday, March 06, 2009
RW Daily has the rundown on all the headlines, including Paula Radcliffe's broken toe.
The European Indoor Championships started this morning and run through Sunday.
Want to watch the Euros online? T&FN will help you out.
Did you know there is a USATF Combined Events national championship this weekend? Me neither. The entries are basically B-level stars, but they're still pretty good.
The IAAF is backing the tough new WADA random-testing regime.
Threadspotting: Old (and I do mean old) videos of British Championships. Very cool.
Every Friday I'll be updating my World Rankings in the hurdle events
1. Terrence Trammell, USA, 94
2. Shamar Sands, BAH, 89
3. Dexter Faulk, USA, 82
4. David Oliver, USA, 68
5. Gregory Sedoc, NED, 62
6. Evgeniy Borisov, RUS, 61
7. Ladji Doucouré, FRA, 46
8. Joel Brown, USA, 38
9. David Payne, USA, 35
10. Petr Svoboda, CZE, 23
Trammell is undefeated and running extremely well. Sands lost only once, to Faulk, who went on a tear at the end of the indoor season with five wins in six finals.
Borisov dq'd out of the European semifinals this morning, while Sedoc, Doucouré and Svoboda all qualified to the finals.
1. LoLo Jones, USA, 150
2. Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, CAN, 104
3. Danielle Carruthers, USA, 68
4. Anay Tejeda, CUB, 56
5. Eline Berings, BEL, 46
6. Josephine Onyia, ESP, 36
7. Sally McLellan, AUS, 25
7. Christina Vukicevic, NOR, 25
7. Tatyana Pavliy, RUS, 25
7. Anastasiya Soloveva, RUS, 25
7. Yuliya Kondakova, RUS, 25
7. Hyleas Fountain, USA, 25
Jones and Lopes-Schliep have yet to meet head-to-head in 2009.
Berings, Vukicevic, and Soloveva have qualified to the finals of the European Championships. Onyia was her usual self, running well in the heats and then bombing in the semis.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Every Thursday I'll update my World Rankings for the long distances. The 3000m-5000m rankings include outdoor 3k and 5k races, 5k and 4 mile road races, and indoor 3k races. The 5000m-10,000m rankings include outdoor 5k and 10k races, indoor 5k races, cross country, and road races ranging from 8k to 12k.
I'm still working on getting the women's rankings together, so they'll have to wait until next week.
Abreham Cherkos, ETH, 172
Paul Kipsiele Koech, KEN, 168
Shedrack Kibet Korir, KEN, 150
Bernard Lagat, USA, 101
Mo Farah, GBR, 100
Augustine Kiprono Choge, KEN, 84
Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, KEN, 76
Bekana Daba, ETH, 70
Bouabdellah Tahri, FRA, 66
Galen Rupp, USA, 56
Abreham Cherkos, KEN, 114
Paul Kipsiele Koech, KEN, 110
Sammy Kitawara , KEN, 102
Bekana Daba, ETH, 94
Mo Farah, GBR, 75
Galen Rupp, USA, 71
Silas Kipruto, KEN, 63
Moses Kipsoro, UGA, 61
Wilson Kipsang, KEN, 60
Daniel Kipchirchir Komen, KEN, 56
Cherkos has won two races and placed second to Lagat in another. Lagat ranks a bit lower as he's only a part-timer in the 3k. Koech won two races and placed second to Cherkos in another.
RW Daily updates the Boston Marathon, the NYRRC Distance Carnival, and efforts in Cleveland to get youngsters to run.
The first outdoor Grand Prix of the year, the World Athletics Tour Melbourne, took place this morning.
Usain Bolt will race at a brand new meet in Toronto on June 11. I think I'll get my rail tickets now!
Flotrack will be doing live on-site coverage of the NAIA Indoor Championships.
Just like the NBA! Two SWAC track & field teams were DQed for fighting in the stands at last week's conference meet.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
On Monday, the IAAF unveiled plans for a transformation of the Golden League, called the "Diamond League". It does away with the overall jackpot competition between athletes in separate events and expands the series to fifteen meets (from six) on three continents (from one). A season-long points ranking will be kept for each event, with the seasonal winners taking home 4-carat diamonds, and after 2010 the World Athletics Final will go away.
More notably, it takes away some of the independence of each meet promoter in favor of strengthening the series as a whole. The biggest stars will be signed to a series contract with minimum participation requirements, which (theoretically) will lessen if not eliminate meet-versus-meet appearance fee bidding wars. Each meet's slate of events will be determined by the IAAF and will include at least half of the 32 standard men's & women's events (meet promoters will be allowed to add up to three additional events of their choosing).
These changes address some of the problems inherent in the Golden League system. First off, the series was intermittent. Last year there were two meets in early June, then a six-week break before another two weeks, and another seven-week break before the final two meets. Continuity was not there.
Secondly, it gets more athletes attention (and paychecks). Some events, such as the women's pole vault and the men's mile, were part of the gold jackpot series almost every year, while others never were. The diversity of track & field is its strength.
Third, the series reflects the reality of which meets are the best. It will basically combine the Golden League and Super Grand Prix meets (which are often superior to the GL), plus adding two or three more. Moving the premier series to a more global format should get "emerging" markets more involved. It's no accident that meets included in the series are in the Middle East (Doha), China (Beijing), and the USA (Eugene and New York).
I was initially worried that fifteen meets would be too many for the top stars to compete with any regularity, but the glamour events (men's 100 and mile, women's pole vault) won't be held nearly as often as they used to be—maybe eleven times or less. If you have to run at least six meets, it will be hard to duck the competition, especially if you're targeting a late-summer peak.
By forcing each event to be held at least eight times, the ones that never used to get any attention, such as the women's shot, will have a chance to show what they can do. The best unknown rivalry in the world is Valerie Vili versus Nadezhda Ostapchuk; the Belarussian went halfway around the world to face off against the Kiwi last week, and they'll be happy to go toe-to-toe every time a paycheck is available.
Will the new circuit help track & field in the USA? It probably can't hurt. The new system will likely bring more big stars to our two stops on the tour. I figure the IAAF will sell the rights to the Diamond League as a package, and whoever wants the Eugene and New York meets will have to show the other thirteen. The only downside to this would be if NBC takes it and purges the foreign meets to Universal Sports—which, at this point, is not widely carried. One hopes the IAAF would be wise enough to take a bit less money in order to mandate coverage on a commonly available cable channel.
1. Ismail Ahmed Ismail, SUD 97
2. Wilfred Bungei, KEN 84
3. Yuriy Borzakovskiy, RUS 67
4. Abraham Chepkirwok, UGA 61
5. Boaz Kiplagat Lalang, KEN 60
6. Haron Keitany, KEN 58
7. Abubaker Kaki, SUD 57
8. Mehdi Baala, FRA 53
9. Belal Mansoor Ali, BRN 46
10. Richard Kiplagat, KEN 35
1500 meters / Mile
1. Haron Keitany, KEN 117
2. Mehdi Baala, FRA 98
3. Belal Mansoor Ali, BRN 78
4. Mekonnen Gebremedhin, ETH 59
5. Bernard Lagat, USA 56
6. Deresse Mekonnen, ETH 54
7. Wolfram Muller, GER 37
8. Nick Willis, NZL 33
9. Augustine Choge, KEN 32
10. German Fernandez, USA 30
1. Oksana Zbrozhek, RUS 76
2. Mariya Savinova, RUS 75
3. Anna Alminova, RUS 59
4. Elisa Cusma Piccione, ITA 39
5. Tetiana Petlyuk, UKR 36
6. Irina Maracheva, RUS 33
7. Sylwia Ejdys, POL 32
8. Marilyn Okoro, GBR 30
9. Yevgeniya Zolotova, RUS 26
10. Jennifer Meadows, GBR 24
The vagaries of the system make this come out weird. Alminova beat the top two in their lone meeting, and Savinova likewise beat Zbrozhek twice. This should sort itself out by mid-season if not earlier.
1500 meters / Mile
1. Anna Alminova, RUS 127
2. Oksana Zbrozhek, RUS 58
3. Sylwia Ejdys, POL 38
4. Yevgeniya Zolotova, RUS 35
5. Nuria Fernández, ESP 34
6. Maryam Yusuf Jamal, BRN 31
7. Sally Kipyego, KEN 30
8. Jenny Barringer, USA 27
9. Natalya Evdokimova, RUS 26
10. Sonja Roman, SLO 25
Another early-season anomaly is present with Kipyego ahead of Barringer, who decisively beat her rival at last week's Big XII Championships. Barringer will move ahead just as soon as she runs another mile race.
The IAAF previews this weekend's European Indoor Championships.
Lashawn Merritt, Shawn Crawford and Angelo Taylor modeled clothes on BET's "Rip the Runway Hip Hop Fashion Show."
The Chicago 2016 bid committee named the former national treasurer of Obama's presidential campaign to its board of directors.
Let's Run's "The Week That Was" analyzes the last seven days.
Threadspotting: who is going to win at this weekend's Euro Championships?
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
During the indoor campaign, the 200 isn't held regularly enough to merit mention and so I'm leaving it out.
1. Dwain Chambers, GBR 50
1. Terrence Trammell, USA 50
3. Mark Jelks, USA 46
4. Michael Rodgers, USA 32
5. Ivory Williams, USA 31
5. Jacoby Ford, USA 31
7. Simeon Williamson, GBR 28
8. José Carlos Moreira, BRA 23
9. D'Angelo Cherry USA, 22
9. Kendall Stevens, USA 22
9. Fabio Cerutti, ITA 22
You may remember Stevens as a D-II star who got caught up in a murder case three years ago.
1. Greg Nixon, USA 29
2. Tyler Christopher, CAN 25
3. Richard Buck, GBR 19
3. Jamaal Torrance, USA 19
5. Claudio Licciardello, ITA 16
6. Leslie Djhone, FRA 13
6. Gil Roberts, USA 13
6. Johan Wissman, SWE 13
9. David Gillick, IRE 12
9. Maksim Dyldin, RUS 12
9. Sean Wroe, AUS 12
1. Carmelita Jeter, USA 63
2. Tahesia Harrigan, IVB 51
3. Chandra Sturrup, BAH 48
4. Anna Geflikh, RUS 43
5. Bianca Knight, USA 40
6. Me'Lisa Barber, USA 39
6. Angela Williams, USA 39
8. Tianna Madison, USA 35
9. Yevgeniya Polyakova, RUS 29
9. Shalonda Solomon, USA 29
Jeter started the season slow (4th at Millrose) but finished strong, with three straight wins.
1. Antonina Krivoshapka RUS 104
2. Shalonda Solomon USA 34
3. Monica Hargrove USA 18
4. Jessica Beard USA 17
5. Yulia Gushchina RUS 15
6. Darya Safonova RUS 13
6. Nina Gilbert USA 13
6. Dominique Darden USA 13
9. Aliann Pompey GUY 12
10. Tatyana Veshkurova RUS 9
Krivoshapka was the biggest find of the indoor season as of yet.
The IAAF previews Thursday's Grand Prix meet in Melbourne, Australia.
A row has erupted over Dwain Chambers' allegations that his one-time manager John Regis knew about his drugs programme. (You have to spell things that way when linking to British news.) Chambers' biography is beign serialised in the British press: part 1 and part 2 have been released so far.
Eugene's reputation as "Track Town USA" is taken so seriously, they have bi-weekly town hall style meetings on maintaining and improving that status.
The USOC is re-examining its already reduced budget in light of the tough times.
Usain Bolt will run his first 100 of the season in Kingston on March 14--a date known to U.S. math teachers as "pi day".
Monday, March 02, 2009
Runner's World Daily News gets the rundown on all the weekend action – USATF indoor, conference meets, and major road action.
The IAAF revealed plans to replace the Golden League with a new 12-meet Diamond League. Personally, I'd prefer a Plutonium League. The major change: stars will be signed to a series contract and required to compete a minimum number of times, and all events will have equal chance at the overall jackpots. Two of the twelve meets will be in the USA!
The Chicago Marathon's major sponsor, Bank of America, appears to be staying on board, even as the bank inches towards nationalization.
WADA Prez John Fahey called on Spanish courts to release evidence related to its doping investigation known as Operation Puerto. We don't know if distance runners are involved but it's quite possible.
Usain Bolt ran two relay legs over the weekend in Jamaica.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
How fast is this?
The mile is apparently a new Collegiate Indoor Record. The old record was 3:55.0 (hand-timed) by Tony Waldrop back in 1974; the geniuses are arguing over whether this represents a new record or not, and some say the old record still stands because it was run on a 160y wood track, or because hand timing adds 0.14 seconds on the vernal equinox, or some other similarly spacy thoughts. Don Paige ran 3:54.22 on an oversize track, so it all comes down to how you define "record", and the final arbiters for collegiate records are the geezers at T&FN.
3:55.02 also puts Fernandez at #11 on the comprehensive (i.e., indoor-outdoor) collegiate list, the first addition to the top dozen in eight years and only the second since 1984. So this is very fast for a collegiate miler of any age under any circumstances. And Fernandez's long term plans apparently call for racing much further than the mile.
The 3k wasn't so impressive a time, but he ran with the pack for 2k and ran the last in 2:30.62--a pace that, for the whole distance, would have broken the collegiate record by nearly seven seconds, and the outdoor US junior record by sixteen seconds. As it is, 7:57.71 stands #3 on the indoor/outdoor junior list, trailing only Jim Ryun and Galen Rupp and just ahead of Gerry Lindgren.
Fast. Very fast. No one pushing him. Not gearing his winter season towards track racing. Lost early training time to achilles injury. This guy is good.
I'm not at liberty to disclose their identities or the name of the project, but basically we were beta-testing a "new media" idea. We were (attempting) to live-blog the meet, using live results and live video recaps after each event. Internet connectivity issues kept us from making it work the way we wanted, but the two gentlemen learned the ropes of how to make it happen. I was the on-camera "talent" (and in the TV biz I hear "talent" translates to "idiots who don't know how anything works", which fits here).
These two gentlemen are not a fly-by-night operation. They have worked at the highest levels of sports coverage. The fact that they are investing significant time and money into their project gives me hope as I watch the same old crap on ESPN's coverage of the USATF Indoor Championships.
As for me, I'm looking to use the video we shot as a demo tape to send to my local cable company's amateur sports channel; their high school track & field announcers are atrocious and I know I can give the sport what it deserves. My partners are not based in the middle of the country, and I have no interest in moving elsewhere just to work their project...but I'll travel.
Political pundits have finally figured out that President Obama has a huge amount of "running room" open in front of him, meaning that in a time of great crisis there is opportunity to put into place a new vision of the nation and its government. Track & field has been in trouble in this country for a long time, but at this point the crisis is deeper than it has ever been before. With a new leader in place and a new vision being laid out by him, I hope USATF can chart out a new course. But it will be far more difficult for Logan than for Obama.
|Mon, Mar 2||1-1:30 AM, Nickelodeon|| The Cosby Show:Back to the Track, Jack|
Cliff gets involved in master's track. Guest stars include Josh Culbreath.
|Mon, Mar 2||4-4:30 AM, Nick 2||The Cosby Show:Back to the Track, Jack|
|Mon, Mar 2||4-5 AM , National Geographic||Man-Made: Beijing Olympic Stadium|
|Mon, Mar 2||6:45-8:30 AM, Showtime Extreme|| Running the Sahara|
Three men attempt the seemingly impossible - traversing the vast Sahara Desert by jogging - in order to promote a charity that strives to provide clean drinking water to impoverished areas of Africa in this inspiring documentary.
|Mon, Mar 2||8-10 AM , ESPNU||USATF Indoor Championships replay|
|Mon, Mar 2||11 AM-1 PM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
An updated version of the official film of the '84 Games.
|Mon, Mar 2||1-2 PM, Sports Time Ohio|| Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin|
The first-ever film in Bud Greenspan's Olympiad series
|Tue, Mar 3||5:35-7:20 AM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
|Thu, Mar 5||7:30-9:15 AM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Thu, Mar 5||9:15-11 AM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
|Tue, Mar 3||4:30-6:15 PM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
|Thu, Mar 5||5:30-7:15 PM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Sat, Mar 7||4-6 PM, Big Ten Network||Big Ten Indoor Championships|
|Sun, Mar 8||10-11 PM, ESPN Classic|| E:60|
This rerun includes a profile of Sudanese-American runner Macharia Yuot.
|Sun, Mar 8||4-6 PM , Fox College Sports Atlantic||SEC Indoor Championships|
|Mon, Mar 9||Noon-2 PM , Fox College Sports Atlantic||SEC Indoor Championships replay|
|Tue, Mar 10||3:30-4:30 AM , HDNet|| Art Mann Presents:The Red Dress Beer Run|
A look at the Bay to Breakers 12k. Not for the easily offended.
|Tue, Mar 10||8:45-10:30 AM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Tue, Mar 10||6:30-8:15 PM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Wed, Mar 11||4:35-6:30 AM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Wed, Mar 11||7:15-9 AM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
|Wed, Mar 11||2:30-4:15 PM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
|Wed, Mar 11||11:45 PM-1:30 AM, Showtime Family||1984 L.A. Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers|
|Sat, Mar 14||8-9:45 AM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Sat, Mar 14||4-4:30 PM, ESPN Classic||SportsCentury: Florence Griffith-Joyner|
|Sun, Mar 15||3-5 AM, Showtime Extreme||Running the Sahara|
|Tue, Mar 24||Noon-2 PM , Fox College Sports Atlantic||SEC Indoor Championships replay|
|Thu, Mar 26||10 AM – noon , Fox College Sports Atlantic||SEC Indoor Championships replay|
|Fri, Mar 27||Midnight-2 AM , Fox College Sports Atlantic||SEC Indoor Championships replay|
|Mon, Mar 30||3:30-5:30 AM , Fox College Sports Atlantic||SEC Indoor Championships replay|
|Sun, Apr 5||4:00 AM , Universal Sports||Rotterdam Marathon|
|Mon, Apr 20||9:00 AM , Universal Sports||Boston Marathon|
|Sat, Apr 25||3-5 PM , ESPN2||Penn Relays|
|Sun, Apr 26||4:00 AM , Universal Sports||London Marathon|
|Sun, Apr 26||4-5:30 PM , ESPN2||Drake Relays|
|Sat, May 30||4:30-6 PM , NBC||Reebok Grand Prix|
|Sun, June 7||2-4 PM , NBC||Prefontaine Classic|
|Fri, June 26||8-10 PM , ESPN2||USATF Outdoor Championships|
|Sat, June 27||6-8 PM , ESPN2||USATF Outdoor Championships|
|Sun, June 28||4-6 PM , NBC||USATF Outdoor Championships|