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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Evening Decathlete

What did we learn this week?

Usain Bolt is our golden ticket. His 100 race in Korea on Wednesday made SportsCenter. Track doesn't get on SportsCenter. In the tiny, remote portion of SportsCenters that have ever shown track, it was the height of the season leading into an Olympics. Obviously, Wednesday's race does not fit that description. SportsCenter, of course, used to be informative and entertaining, but now it breaks down thus...
funny graphs and charts

Jeremy Wariner isn't going to be on SportsCenter ever again. I think he was sometime in the 2004-2006 era, and just once. He won today in Shanghai, but in a pedestrian time (or at least pedestrian for him). While he still could come out on top of the 400 this year, I think his days of being a superstar are over.

Ditto for Pamela Jelimo. The wunderkind of two years ago ran eighth in today's Diamond League meet. Whatever magic she had that year hasn't resurfaced since.

The universe is orderly. The steeplechase in Shanghai today saw Kenyans go 1-2-3. So what's notable about that? It was the women's steeplechase, an event that hasn't yet seen the same Kenyan hegemony as the men's steeplechase. Today might be an indication that it will.

Cory Martin probably isn't messing around with the hammer throw anymore. A few weeks ago I identified Martin as one of the few hammer throwers we have with any real chance at a 2o12 Olympic medal, but it was unlikely since he splits time with the shot put. Well, probably not now. Martin competed in an all-throwers meet yesterday at Arizona's Drachman Stadium and unleashed a world leader. He made the US team for the 2010 World Indoor Championships and now has stamped himself as a challenger to Christian Cantwell--and a possible 2012 shot put medalist. Sixteen-pound ball yes, on the end of a 4-foot wire no.

How's that new coach coming along? After the World Indoor Championships, Valerie Vili's first loss since September 2007, the Kiwi shot putter fired her lifelong coach. Today was Vili's worst outing in recent memory, and fouled on three of her six attempts. To be fair, adjustments often require one step back before two steps forward, so judgment time is August, not now. But it's hardly encouraging.

Things are changing. Two major PED-related stories in the sports press this week, and neither had the slightest connection to track.

Colorado could be the Penn State of the Pac-10. So says the Bleacher Report. But there's a difference from our perspective: Penn State didn't change the Big Ten's status as a second-rate track conference, but Colorado would make the Pac-10 cross country championships absolute murder, a must-watch event.

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