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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Evening Decathlete

What did we learn this week?

Usain Bolt is our Tiger Woods. Not in that he's just engaged in a protracted PR nightmare, but in that the fortunes of our sport rise and fall with him. Note the hysteria surrounding his announced entry into the Penn Relays. Meet director Dave Johnson considers this the biggest thing to hit the Relays since 1929.

Oregon is powerhouse. Well, we knew that. But they dismantled Texas A&M with ridiculous ease at the Pepsi Team Challenge. There's a bit of a home advantage in track, so the meet results should be taken with a grain of salt. Then again, they'll have it for the NCAA Championships too. Florida still appears the team to beat on the men's side, but the Duck women look like a lock and their men are the most likely to give the Gators a push.

The London Marathon has important friends. A recent investigative journalism piece by a BBC television news show has found that far too much of the money the race takes in for charities gets spent on salaries and other costs, as the race pays its top-earning employee more than twice as much as the leaders of the charities it benefits. The race responded by having Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications director, criticize the program for attacking such a popular charitable organization...but curiously not attacking the facts that were presented.

Marathoning is increasingly a speedy affair. This morning's Rotterdam Marathon was won in 2:04:48 by Patrick Makau, a guy who basically gave up on the 10k because his 27:27 PR isn't going to make an Kenyan national teams. It should come as no surprise that he ran so fast -- he's #2 on the all-time half marathon list -- but this was a B-level race.

Yelena Isinbayeva is taking an indefinite vacation. After two straight bombs at major championships, she took some time off. Four weeks ago she hinted she might, but between then and now she was announced as a confirmed entry to several big invitationals. Now she's backing out. pjm commented on my post that she's probably got a case of the yips and needs to get her head together. She's certainly losing a large amount of money by doing this.

Paula Radcliffe is also going to be out of action for a while. She's pregnant with baby #2. Whether or not this is a good thing for her all-out assault on the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics remains to be seen.

1 comment:

pjm said...

Very well-built rejoinder to the London Marathon piece by former Athletics Weekly editor Steven Downes at - summary seems to be along the lines of "We knew all that twenty years ago, what do you have that's new?"