July 2007 Archives

Mike Long Memorial

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On the warm afternoon of July 27, 2007, many of Mike's long friends and family gathered at Mission Point Park to pay their respects, and to have a little party. The weather was clear, the sun was bright, and the gathering, estimated at over 150,
gathered to pay respects to a man who has touched so many of us.

At the Herculis Meet in Monaco, on Wednesday, July 25, 2007, athletes got closer and closer to Osaka, Japan. Athletes such as La Shawn Merritt, Matt Tegenkamp, Terrance Trammell and Jen Rhines showed that the care and development of a peak to the worlds is key!

As your writer has been travelling, he has been struck at the bad days that baseball, the Tour de France and professional basketball are all going through, for various reasons. The Tour de France, which has truly tightened its drug testing is damned if it does,
damned if it doesn't. You know one thing, the powers that be in track and field are sure happy it is not them on the front pages!

It has been a long, strange ride for Alan Webb. In the winter of 2001, Alan went sub four indoors, then at Pre, he went 3:53.43 and became a historical fact-Webb was the prep who surpassed Jim Ryun. After a year of college, Alan Webb went pro. The bidding, from adidas, Reebok and Nike, was momentous-Webb ended up with a reportedly $250k a year for 8 years plus performance bonuses! By 2002-2003, all the "experts" were giving Webb grief for going pro, and Alan did not make the USATF final in 2002. But Alan has grown up. He has run 13:10 and 27:34 for the 5k and 10k. This season, he has been on a role and looks poised to medal in Osaka!

While the win in Paris showed Webb's new gear at the finish, and his ability, his focus on competing well, the American record for the mile is iconic. What has struck me, in reading Walt Murphy's review of Webb's mile, is the class involved, with Alan Webb, with Ray Flynn searching for the record environs and for Steve Scott, the man who held the record for these past 25 years.

Be Like Mike Long

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Mike Long, the long time elite athlete coordinator for the Elite Racing,
was found dead at his home on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at the age
of 65. Mike, a former stockbroker, who discoved running an ran a
nice 2:54 marathon, loved the sport, loved the athletes-especially
his friends from East Africa, and made the sport a better place, In
the end, he was loved, and he will be missed.

Chris Solinsky, the recent UW Madison graduate, is a man on a mission. He has an agent (Tom Radcliffe at Kimbia), he has a footwear sponsor ( Nike) and he has two personal bests so far as he traverses Europe. His recent personal best, at 3,000 meters, moved him to 8th on the all time list.

Remarkable meet for such difficult conditions. With the average temperature of 50 and the weather rainy as well, this was more like a winter's day as opposed to a summer athletics meeting! Which athletes showed their stuff in such trying conditions?

The AT&T Outdoor Championships may have been one of the most exciting events in years, with the quality of competition, the vagaries of weather and the surprises during the rounds, this meet is like an Opera. The high points and low points, the surprises and the heroics, make track & field meets, especially this one, something to view. Here is what I wrote for our local regional publications to give an overview of the meet. See what you think.

The world championships are the the height of our sport. Athletes who make the qualifications standards are the best in their discipline in the world. Athletes who make it through the heats to the semi-finals are to be commended and honored. An athlete who makes the final at the World Championships should be considered a threat for a medal (with the clear exception of the 10,000 and the marathon). So, what does it take to win a world championship medal? As it requires a much different skill set than merely running fast, jumping or throwing far....

This interview was done vie email over June 21-21, 2007, days before she made the team for Osaka. The conditions in Indy were, to say the least, inclement, however, Stuczysnki perseverred, and made the team. The questions were prepared by me, Larry Eder for Jenn and Rick, after her second American record on June 2, 2007. She is a remarkable athlete, and she seems destined for great heights. The relationship between coach and athlete is very focused and is producing results, as the adidas track classic, Reebok GP and AT&T Outdoor showed.

The Golden League has had a see saw relationship with US television. Some years, it is one, some years, it is off. This year, Versus, formerly the Outdoor Life Network, has done a fabulous coup and is running the Golden League series, hosted by Tim Hutichings and Tim Story. This commentator found them perfect, but a question persists, why no publicity from USATF, the governing body of the sport in the United
States?

July 6, 2007-At the prestigious Gaz de France meeting, the second stop of the Golden League Series, Alan Webb of the U.S. took the deepest 1,500 meters of the season so far, with his excellent 3:30.55 win over France's Mehdi Baala, as Baala and Webb traded leads down the final stretch in front of 70,000 screaming Frenchman!

The Golden League is the six major meets in Europe: Oslo, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Brussels and Stuttgart. The deal is, if you win all six of your events, you get one million dollars! The idea is to promote the highest level of competition. Does it? This writer suggests that competition has been an afterthought, but with the Worlds this year, and the level of the sport, the Golden League should have some great competitons this summer.

Coach John Chaplin once said that as a head coach for the U.S. track team, the most important thing you can do it to make sure the relay teams get their batons around the track. In honor of that thoughtful quote, this blog is about our challenges as a country in the 4 x 400 meters and 4 x 100 meters relay departments.

Alan Webb grows up

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Alan Webb surprised more than a few people with his two wins over Bernard Lagat this early summer, the first in the Reebok NY Games and secondly, at the AT&T Outdoor championships! Just what is going on? In this column, your writer proposes that Alan Webb is becoming the best miler in America!

Haile's Hour Run

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Haile Gebrselassie set new world records at 20k and the hour run last week in Ostrava, breaking the world record of Arturro Barrios from sixteen years ago! What is the signifigance of this record? Alot, if you read this commentary.

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