June 2008 Archives

This evening is packed! We have the 5,000 men's final, the final event of the decathlon, the 1,500 meters, 400 meter rounds deux, and myriad other stuff that I have forgotten, but will remember shortly. Oh, women's steeplechase rounds and women's 5,000 meter rounds tonight, a long night at the office!
Here we go, sports fans, more athletics' propaganda that you can worship! So, open a beverage of your choice ( cold, please not any of this lukewarm mush), perhaps some veggie dip, and enjoy!

This is the second day of the decathlon competition. The rest of the meet will not start until 7 pm. I am on the track, but the head is falling back, the eyes are rolling and this writer needs a nap. So, in the spirit of old heavy lids himself, Robert Mitchum, I will do a quick update, then head for some rest....

The same day Dwight Chambers' case is being heard in London, he is beat in a 100 meter sprint in Sofia, Bulgaria. Chambers has a suit to force the British Olympic Committee to force Uk athletics to allow Chambers to attempt to qualify for the Beijing Games. UK athletics has made it known that they, in no way will tolerate drug positives on their respective teams, much less an Olympic Games.

In an unofficial survey over the past four days, it is my belief that Eugene 2008 is setting the standard by which all trials and nationals should be judged. The treatment and placement of the Media, from the tent, to the meals, to the information is outstanding. The festival atmosphere is being enjoyed by young and old alike, and the quality of the presentation has never been reached before, in the twenty eight years I have attended nationals or Olympic Trials.

The truth is, track & field should be celebrated like this. Families are here, young track fans, old track fans, in betweeners. Geeks to casual fans. I walk everywhere in town, or grab a taxi and that has been no problem.

Looking forward to a great Day 4!

The Running Network's Larry Eder and Paul McMullen recap Tyson Gay and the men's 100 final, Derek Miles & the men's pole vault final, and Tiffany Ross-Williams' win in the women's 400m hurdles.

The level of competition at these Olympic Trials is outstanding! The women's 400 meter hurdles was a tremendous race, as was the men's 100 meters. In this second part of our day three update, yours truly will cover the mens' 400 meter hurdles, round 1 of the mens 400 meters, the decathlon, and some deep thoughts on the 5,000 meter final that is upcoming.

The Running Network's Larry Eder and Paul McMullen recap preliminary rounds of the men's 100 & Tyson Gay's American record, women's 800, and the finals of the women's 100 and the men's shot put. They also preview men's 100, and the women's 800. See Part 2 preview of the men's 5000m run.

The agony and the ecstacy of Tyson Gay took 48 hours. In that time, we saw Tyson Gay make an error that nearly cost him his chance to win the 100 meters. We then saw a relieved Tyson Gay blast out of the blocks and while he finished in first and set an American record of 9.77, it was really, in retrospect, what he DID NOT do!

The Olympic Trials is a rarefied cultural experience. There are over 700 athletes battling for three spots in their discipline. There are moments of great humor, great pathos, great celebration and great tragedy. There are also records. As of the beginning of the decathlon on Sunday, June 29, here are the records broken so far:

The third day of the Olympic Trials in the US is hot and humid-so it must be time for the men's hundred meters. So, dear readers, there are two ways this race can go: Tyson breaks the world record, running 9.71, or Tyson runs to win, running a legal 9.76, but either way, this will be fast. Dix, Demps, are tough, but my medalists are Tyson Gay, Darvis Doc Patton and numero bronzo is Wallace Spearmon. Walter Dix is fine, but he has to get through some very tough company.

Now, I might eat my words, but high schooler Demps should probably break 10.00 today.....

Now, some Eugene News. It seems the local constabulary in Eugene have a noise abatement deal where the cult band, Mr. Green and the Men from Modesto, was closed down in their second song at the Villard Street Pub, an infamous watering hole off said University campus. A fine of $300 was charged to the band after a rather spirited version of Taking Sally through the Alley, I believe.

Now, sportsfans, there will be some very unhappy campers in Eugene on the fourth of July if the noise abatement rule--after 10 pm the noise level has to be below 80 decibels--which is the level of a baby screaming on a small, regional United flight. This, I find is quite disturbing. My home in Fort Atkinson, with the band Disturbed blairing in the kitchen and Alice Cooper in my office, would never stand a chance in Eugene. Sound fascism, do you agree?

But, you got to love this country! Where else but the Trials would you find a line for our second placer in the shot, the immense one, Christian Cantwell, as he signs autographs?

The men's shot put competition was one of the best events of the Trials, so far, with the emotional one (Adam Nelson), versus the Huge one (Christian Cantwell) versus the formerly Masked one ( Reese Hoffa).

Well, your fearless writer picked two of the three: Muna Lee to win and Lauryn Williams ( I put her in second). Read on dear readers, alot to say on this one!

Tyson Gay, making up for his faux pax in the first round, where he barely made the second round in the 100 meters, blasted a new American record with his 9.77 for 100 meters!

Gay got out of the blocks perfectly, and moved away from the entire field, shutting down at 90 meters, but this time as he jogged across the line, he had some serious room! His 9.77 run shows that this man, when ready and peaked, will run better than the WR! Gay broke Maurice Greene's AR from 1999 in Athens of 9.79, the Olympic Trials of 9.91 from 2004 set by Greene and the Hayward record of 9.88, set by 2004 Olympic 200 meter gold medalist Shawn Crawford, set in 2004.

In second was high schooler Jeff Demps, who broke four records today. His 10.12 in the first round broke the Florida record of one Houston McTear set way back in 1976! Now, his 10.01 breaks the American Junior Record of Walter Dix of 10.06 from 2005, and the World Junior record of 10.08, set by Darrel Brown from Trinidad and Tobago from 2003. And Jeff Demps final record of the day was the national high school record of 10.08 set by J-Mee Samuel from 2005! A busy day for such a young sprinter!

Saturday, June 28, 2008 was abuzz with the women's 10,000 from Friday night. Saturday will have some great events-the men's shot put and the women's 100 m. The day is very, very hot, with some hot competitions.... a hot day in Tracktown USA, 92 degrees at 3:15 P.M.

Deep thoughts on Day 1...

| 0 Comments

And if you have not gotten enough on Day one, an absolutely thrilling start to the 2008 Olympic Trials, please check out our daily RN TV program, featuring Paul McMullen and myself. We're not Katie Couric & Bryant Gumbel, but we are okay....

The U.S. Olympic Trials were again stunning in day 2. After Tyson Gay misjudges a finish line, he sets an AR coasting ten meters in a 100 meters in 9.77! Usain Bolt, racing in Jamacia, takes Powell, 9.85 to 9.97!

More on the women's 100 meters and men's shot to come!

In this report, we see that the 100 meter final for women could be the hardest single event to make during this entire U.S. Olympic Trials. Talk about starting with the good stuff! The weather is clear, about 70 degrees, and the stadium has about 20,000 track fans..and the night ended with the first final of this Olympic Trials and the event could not have played out more exciting if it was a movie. The women's 10,000 meters put Eugene 2008 on in a good place for fans. The achievements were extraordinary, well...Olympian

The first day of the trials has been a glorious start to the best ten days of track and field in our country. Every four years, the track faithful journey to whatever temple of the of the sport is chosen by USATF to worship their favorite sport. Every four years, there are moments of great passion and great excitement. There are also moments of great sorrow as an athlete one might expect does not fare well.

A famous memoir of the 1980 Trials was written by the late Ken Kesey. Titled, The Summer of their Discontent, and first appearing in the cult running magazine, Running, Kesey used several real and not so real characters to explain an Olympic Trials, naming a team that could not go to Moscow. It was bittersweet, it was happy, it was sad, it was, extremely well written, very Kesey. Twenty two years later, I reprinted the story, thanks to Mrs. Kesey, in Athletes Only and sent it to 150,000 high schools athletes. About ten of the schools sent it back, due the scene where a former steeplechaser, watching the meet, chomping down on whole grain bread, psychedelic mushrooms, sprouts and some organic cheese. Through Kesey's former teammates tears' we understood the irony of the meet..it was good, it was sad...

The 1980 Trials were my first to come and worship. I remember seeing the tremendous battle between Ron Addison and John Gregorek in the men's steeplechase, after a heroic lead by MIke Roche, who was overcome by Doug Brown, and then Brown was caught by Henry Marsh who set an American record. Marsh's 8;15, and Brown's 8:18 were world class marks, and they would not race the best that year, Bronislaw Malinowski of Poland or Filbert Bayi of Tanzania. It was a great moment, it was a sad moment...

I got into Hayward Field early to walk around as the final steps were being done in the preparations for Day 1. I watched the heptathlon high jump with Karin Smith, the great American javelin thrower. Karin had agreed to do an interview with me and she had her answers. Karin was a member of the ill fated 1980 Olympic team, which Eugene 2008 was celebrating on this first day of the Olympic Trials in 2008.

I spoke to Karin Smith, former American record holder in the javelin and Lynn Anderson, the former American record holder in the discus about their 1980 experiences and how it affected their lives. Both were athletes who gave it their all while they competed, and while their coaching experiences are quite different, they have found a way to translate their experiences as athletes to another generation.

So much for pontificating!

The trip to Eugene, Oregon from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin was a bit of an odyssey. For the past several weeks, as many know, the Midwest has been in the midst of a so called five hundred year flood. All I can say is that it was too much water. Water in my basement, several feet in my backyard, and water and mud everywhere else. But, I am the lucky one, because it is a mess to cleanup, but my home is safe.

The trip to Eugene, which started on Wednesday afternoon just shows how much trouble US airlines are in. Sitting in Denver for several hours, we were told that the originally planned plane for us, fitting 80, was canceled due to mechanical difficulties..

The wait is over!

Gatlin Agonistes, by Larry Eder

| 0 Comments

Here is the news bit that got me off on my newest rant:

No Gatlin at Trials (so far)

PENSACOLA (USA): Sprinter Justin Gatlin will be not allowed to compete at US Olympic Trials starting this weekend. As Pensacola News Journal informs, he got support but no relief Tuesday from a federal judge who rescinded his order allowing the defending 100-meter champion to compete in this weekend's Olympic track and field trials. Judge Lacey Collier said that while he believed Gatlin, a graduate of Woodham High School in Pensacola, "is being wronged," he lacked jurisdiction over the U.S. Olympic Committee to determine who is eligible for the trials. The former world 100- and 200-meter champion's only recourse appears to be with the Swiss Federal Court, Collier wrote in his seven-page order. Because the Swiss based CAS made the final ruling on him two weeks ago and IAAF confirmed his ban until July 24, 2010. But per latest informations, Gatlin's lawyer said his client will go to the federal circuit court in Atlanta on Wednesday to attempt to have the latest ruling against him overturned.

Poster of Jenn Stuczynski

The last month before an Olympics, World Champs is when the athletes literally come out of the rafters. Yeimar Lopez, the young Cuban who ran 1:43.07 in Jerez, Spain yesterday, is an example! Cuba has a long history of superb 800 meters runners on the men and womens's sides, proving once again, that a pair of Chuck Taylors, a heart of gold, a dirt track, and old Soviet block style coaching ( systematic intervals, core training) plus a little Marxist love, can go a long, long way.....Remember dear readers, that Mr. Juantorena ran his first 400 meters, under 52 seconds in a pair of Chuck Taylors.....don't diss my first training shoes.

Besides the regular meet schedule, which we will put on the next update, the meaning of life will be finally given to the folks who join the fun at the Villard Street Pub, about 534 yards from the lovely Hayward Field.

The right Reverend Mr. Green and the Church of What is Happening Now will be attending the festivities. It is not, dear and gentle readers, merely a rumor! As many know, Mr. Green is the man who first ran the 100 meters in 9.6 seconds, while catching a 315 foot javelin throw. We had pictures of this, but they were confiscated due to some legislation tied into the Patriot Act. Sorry, kids.

The PCS/Villard Street Pub and its surrounding area was able to bring in sponsors adidas, Saucony, PCS Sportswear, American Track & Field, and nearly two dozen of the finest micro brews and Oregon wineries! Add good food, great friends and lots of bragging by George Malley and Toby Cook about track & field and you have nine days of nirvana. The level of exaggeration should hit a fever pitch during the off days, when a) Kentucky Fried Chicken runs out of gravy, b) Toby's Ipod crashes, leaving him no more songs by the Drive By Truckers, Drag the River or Rufus Wainwright or c) George Malley provides some insights into training in the seventies.

First of all, for track geeks, this is the best track meet in the world. Face it, more US athletes will not make the US team that could take medals than just about any other of the 209 or so national teams who will be visiting Beijing in about six weeks!

Besides good food, good friends, track talk, music, dancing and coaching clinics, there will be give aways. Shooting Star Media Inc. will be giving away issues of American Track & Field, Athletes Only, and Coaching Athletics. We will also have posters of Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix and Jeremy Wariner, Jenn Stuczynski, Yelena Isinbaeyeva and Veronica Campbell. For you road running folks, we will also have samples of the 26 regional running magazines from the Running Network at the Running Network Pavilion. (We also have 1000 HIstory of Olympic Track & Field books for the asking, so ask!).

For the true geeks, Track & Field News will have a special Trials issue. And for the true, true geeks, there will be two Hall of Fame panels, which will include Bob Schul, among others!

But my Major Domo reason for going to the festivities, day in and day out, is that Mr. Green, the man who discovered Jimi Hendrix, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, the man who brought the summer of love to track & field, and the man who I blame for starting my son on his insatiable need for heavy metal (at the tender age of six, Adam
fell asleep in my arms at the 1992 Aggies Party in New Orleans, the music was loud, and the party was huge) , will be singing, jamming and playing. Next to seeing Mr. Green and the rumoured Men from Modesto, I can not think of how I, speaking only for myself, would want to spend an evening in Eugene, Oregon!

So, for your reading pleasure, here is the link for the PCS Villard Street Pub ( special thanks to Bob Jensen, impressario of Villard Street Pub and the man who bought into Reverend Harms vision thing on this whole world track party! . Click hear: http://www.pcsportswear.com/2008_tracktown_trials.html

On June 8, Kara Goucher ran a tough last 2k in the 5k world record attempt by Meseret Defar, and broke fifteen minutes in a tough duel with Vivian Cheruiyot. Goucher took third in 14:58.10, a near personal best. She was coming into form.

On June 22, in Vancouver, BC, Kara ran 4:06.17 to fine tune the engine, and Galen Rupp ran a personal best of 3:43.33 at the same meet, in the men's 1,500 meters.

It was just a few months ago, that several writers and myself witnessed Kara, Galen, Adam , among others were on the Nike soccer pitch, running a five mile tempo run, on soft, wet grass.

Kara was not amused. She knows the workout is good for her, but does not like it, and looked to be fighting it a bit. In a quick hello with Alberto Salazar, just before the workout, it was clear that he had a reason for all he does. And his system works with his athletes.

Galen, who I saw running 1,500 meters all winter, was floating along the five miler as if he was never hitting the group. His clean style of running would make Frank Shorter, one of our most elegant runners, look sloppy. Rupp's 3k victory at the adidas Track Classic on May 18, in a very hot, and very competitive situation showed me that Rupp is one of our truly tough and talented 10,000 meters runners.

How far these two go is anyone's guess. For Kara, who is planning on running the 10,000 meters, that race is going to be packed. Goucher's leg speed and last two kilometer moves bode well for her in Eugene and Beijing. For Rupp, he is dealing with Abdi Abdirhaman, Mr. 27:17, Dathan Ritzenhein, if he is in shape, and Jorge Torres, plus the normal surprises.

The Trials are less than a week away, you can feel the excitement!

In a superb column last week on the new record holders in the 100 meters and the 110 meter hurdles, Pat Butcher (http://www.globerunner.org/blog/?p=45),
opened the floodgates on Beijing prognostications-and I have not even begun to irritate readers with my Olympic Trials predictions! So, here we go, gentle reader:

Asafa Powell ran 9.96 in the rain today at the Trinidad National Championships in Port of Spain, Trinidad...

Living near Rock river...

| 1 Comment

While I was in Eugene, Oregon, the weekend of June 8, the big rains came. While the water had been high all spring, due to our record setting snows, I thought that the worst was over. Living in the mid west, near a river, has plenty of benefits, but it also, this year, has meant living with record setting snow (most in over 100 years) and what some are calling a five hundred year flood...

Apparently, the legal support for Justin Gatlin has finally gotten around to fighting the first positive test he had, which involved a drug for attention deficit disorder. A judge in Pensacola will hear a motion, utilizing the American with Disabilities Act, claiming that the 2001 positive violated the aforementioned act. The hearing is Monday, June 23.

The day that we can have an Olympic Trials and watch the meet without 2/3 of the media at the event only chattering away about how a) dirty track is b) the next alleged scandal, c) how all the athletes seem upset to speak just about drugs each and every press conference, I will be happy.


Justin Gatlin is using technicalities to get back into the competition. In truth, they should have fought the 2001 ban when it happened, because it was silly. But, since his second positive has resulted in such a negative pall being thrown on Gatlin, I am not sure what he will achieve by this.

As I was enjoying the run by German Fernandez last night on Flotrack, I finished editing a piece by Kirby Lee for a photo gallery on Caltrack.com and in our summer Athletes Only. Just a quite note on German. The day after his historic run on May 31, 2008, German was back at work at Applebees, a local restaurant. He had not told many of his co workers about his historic double.

Perhaps one of the things that makes this young man so special is his ability to stay centered, and keep a remarkably normal life. We wish him the very best this weekend at the Nike Outdoor!

German Fernandez after breaking Jeff Nelson's iconic 2 Mile HSR, at the Nike Outdoor 2 Mile, June 20, 2008, Photo by Victah Sailer/Photorun.net

Rich Kenah and Mark Wetmore play key elements in their company, Global Athletics & Marketing. First of all, without Kenah and Wetmore, and their team, we would have one indoor elite meet and the same outdoors. The dynamism of GAM has helped the sport get back on its feet in North America.

Kenah and Wetmore are our sports' version of the odd couple. Kenah is a pretty centered individual. A former athlete and student of the sport, Kenah fills the time when he is not with his lovely wife Cheryl (former world class 1,500m/5k runner) and their twins, with selling our sport. Wetmore, the man who started GAM, is agent, lawyer, a keen observer of the sport. A strong businessman, Wetmore is one of the most generous people I have ever met. With the support that GAM gave the Millrose 100th, I am not sure the event would have even happened. They are willing to make an investment in a sport they love--GAM is looking long term. Quite frankly, this is something new in our sport.

In this interview, Rich Kenah shares with us his views on the sport, his starts in the sport, and where he imagines our sport in the future. Be aware, gentle readers, that for groups such as GAM to be successful, they must a) love the sport, b) never give up. There are alot more lucrative and faster ways to make a living that being involved in track & field or running.

It is Kenah's job to find marketing partners for the GAM properties: Reebok Boston indoor, Reebok Grand Prix NY, adidas Track classic, MIllrose Games, Tyson Indoor Games ( at this time GAM manage Tyson and MIllrose). He also has been quite successful in finding sponsors for their premier athletes-Tyson Gay, Jenn Stuczynski, Mesert Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba, among others.

It is obvious Rich Kenah loves his job and wants to make our sport grow. And now, a few questions from us and a few answers from Mr. Kenah:

In a recently copyrighted story for USA Today, the USOC http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2008-06-13-4124748098_x.htm?POE=click-refer made sure that USA Track & Field knows that
they are serious about their requests for USATF to change both the size and make up of the board.

What I find amazing, and their is blame enough for both organizations, is that either group would have let this go this far. Allow me to explain.

In a copyrighted story on Sports Business.com, NBC has announced its intention to acquire majority stake in the World Championships Sports Network. If there is a Horatio Alger story in modern electronic sports, then this is the one....

In our upcoming issue of American Track & Field, Dick Patrick notes that Ato Bolden believes that Usain Bolt has a good shot at the 19.32 of Michael Johnson. I agree, IF he listens to his coach. This young man has a ton of talent, but 19.32 is a time that puts one with the immortals.

Michael Johnson's 19.32 came at a huge price. He was not the same sprinter for three years. I believe that such an effort has to play with one's immune system and like a stratospheric world record, it takes time to recover.

Usain Bolt's run over 100 meters was a revelation. I did not think a young man that tall could ever run that fast. Those levers moved and Usain Bolt had the race. Can he run 9.6? With the effort he showed there, sub 9.7 is a distinct possibility.

adidas decided to take the promotion of their athletes into their own hands and has developed a nifty web site, www.roadstobeijing.com, which is a perfect example of how to answer the needs of media and fans. Read on for our complete review:

Felix Sanchez, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist is coming to Europe to race this summer, in preparations for the Beijing Olympics. More news on athletes coming around into shape, such as former WR holder in the pole vault Stacy Dragila, who cleared 4.55 meters in Chula Vista this weekend. She has a real shot at making the Olympic team in the U.S. ....

CBS did a very good job at putting the NCAA championships on. Besides the entire 1,500 meters and relays, I loved the tribute to John McDonnell, the coach of Arkansas and one of the great ones in track and field coaching.

The 1,500 meters with Manzura leading from the start to the finish was, for me a highlight and a revelation. One more piece of the puzzle is being filled in for the Olympic Trials.

One of the worst kept rumors in the past several months has regarded the Beijing government's focus on controlling demonstrations, and controlling the comments by non-Chinese media and athletes. Over the next week, I will provide you with the list of issues that the Chinese government and the Beijing Organizing Committee has concerns about during the Olympics.

The modern Olympic movement has come to pass at the time of rising nationalism among the 300 plus countries on the planet. The Olympic torch relay was a huge surprise to both the IOC and the Beijing government. The ferocity of the protests in Europe, the level of organization in San Francisco, and the worldwide support that Tibet received when it became known that the Dalai Lama did not ever suggest independence, but autonomy....

Walt Murphy is the publisher of Eastern Track, XC Xpress, and Walt Murphy News Service. Walt is above all, a track geek. He provides the talent on most US track broadcasts with updated stat sheets and commentaries on the the major and not so major.

He he speaks on Greg Harger's events, the American Milers Club. Note that there was some serious 800 meters and 1,500 meters running.

While Lindsay Gallo and Jennelle Deatherage ran very close to the 4:07.00 A standard, they are withing fighting distance.

Sam Burley pulled a A standard, at 800 meters, and Jon Rankin continues to dazzle with his 1:47.01. 5,000 meters specialist Kyle King ran a smart 3:43.59 in the first meet on June 11.

On June 14, in the 800 meters, Alan Webb ran a 1:47.41 in very tight 800 meters, won by Andrew Ellerton of Canada in 1:46.07.

Also note that Steve Sherer ran 3:36.81, just over the A standard of 3;36.60, and Andy McClary followed in 3;36.91, Chris Lukesic in 3:37.51, Rob Meyers in 3;38.73 and Kyle King, back for more, running 3:40.66.

The men and women's 1,500 meters and men and women's 5,000 meters at the Trials will be very, very difficult to pick. With Manzano's win at the NCAA's on Saturday in Des Moines, running from the lead start to finish showed not only his
fitness, but his determination.

Helena Javornik has nearly every record in Slovenia in the distances from 2000 meters on. Her EPO positive is a huge deal in this country. Remember, most countries have a few stars, unlike the US...

Liu Xiang had a weird US tour. First, he could not run in New York due to hamstring issue, then he false starts in Eugene. A week later, Dayron Robles sets a new world record. Of course, Robles is on Xiang's mind. It just shows how tough the semi finals and the finals in Beijing will be....

In this special, Alfons gives runblogrun readers the insider's eyes on the Golden Spike meeting:

Our track troubadour, Bob Ramsak, moved earlier this summer and has not unpacked a thing. He sent me a picture of his office, which was two packing boxes, a chair and his laptop. We wish him luck, but also thank him for travelling all around Middel Europa, seeing great track meets and great performances.

The men's hurdles is going to be one of the toughest fields in Beijing. Dayron Robles was on the short list of most hurdle congnescenti--and another athlete that Mr. Liu Xiang will have to watch our for in less than two months...

Alfons Juck wanted to catch up on the world of track and field as he was quite busy with the Golden Spike Meet in Ostrava, so here we go:

A busy spring. Two American records in the pole vault, one for men and one for women. A 10,000 meter record for women in early May and a fabulous run for the men's 10,000 meter record, on Sunday, June 8, where Abdi Abdirhaman missed Meb Keflizighi's 27:13 by less than four seconds!

Then the world records. First, Usain Bolt on May 31 at 100 meters with his 9.72, then Tirunesh Dibaba running the 5,000 meters in 14:11.15, ( she would run a 31:03.3 for 10,000 meters a week later), and Dayron Robles 12.87 in Ostrava for the 110 m hurdles. as well as the new hour run record.

With less than two weeks to the US Olympic Trials, the final work is being done by the top athletes in the US. Veterans, new talents alike, will have to line up and perform on their day. No second chances..

The Olympic Trials makes for great sports theatre. And the 20,000 plus fans who have tickets, know that they are seeing the best of the best... two weeks to go!

In my travels, I have met some amazing athletes, great coaches and thoughtful agents. Ricky Simms of Pace Management, kindly provided me, just as he said, with the full transcript of the Usain Bolt interview, done just after his world record. I had met up with Ricky at the Nike Pre meeting, and in passing asked about an interview with Usain Bolt. He told me that the major interview had been completed a few days before, but if I was interested, he could find for me a recording of the interview, done for the IAAF on June 3.

Good to his word, Ricky emailed me the proceedings, which appear here, with some minor corrections. Please enjoy!

I did not want to change a word, as I felt that Mr. Bolt, who is not verbose, answered the questions posed in a pretty straightforward manner.

The main questioner is Chris Turner, IAAF Web Editorial Director, and a total javelin geek. Several other reporters are in the mix, Paul Gains among them. Jean Cherry, is Gene Cherry of Reuters.

Also brilliant coverage by the IAAF on the record at www.iaaf.org!

Read, sit back and enjoy!

ESPN announced an agreement to purchase Student Sports, Inc., owners of Dyestat.com, the site for high school track and field on the web. Started a decade ago, John Dye and his wife started their site to keep track of the sport where their two children were active. Developing a fine team of writers, editors and archivists, Dyestat has continued to grow and amaze. We wish the team well on their new journey with ESPN and Disney!

June 12, 2008. Ostrava, Czech Republic-the Golden Spike Grand Prix-IAAF World Athletics Tour--

In a meet where Usain Bolt was to be the story, a hurdler and a hour run put Mr. Bolt in the small print! Two world records in one afternoon!

In only his third race of the year, Dayron Robles of Cuba has set a world record! In the lead from the start, Robles took .01 seconds off the previous record of Liu Xiang of China, set on July 11, 2007 in Lausanne. The Cuban hurdler ran 12.87 today, in Ostrava, in front of a nearly packed house!

Robles, who had false started out of the World Indoors this past March, is on a roll. Today, in his world record, he defeated Terrance Trammell, who ran 13.21, and Sergiv Demidyuk of the Ukraine, who ran 13.42.

The Golden Spike is one of the few meetings where the hour run is featured. Last year, Mr. Gebrselassie broke the world record, this year, it was Tire Tune of Ethiopia,w ho added 177 meters to the previous record of 18,340m, set by Tegla Laroupe of Kenya in Borgholzhausen, Germany a decade ago, for a new world record of 18, 517 meters in 60 minutes!

For more, read on!

After the incredible weeks we have had, with Usain Bolt on May 31, Tirunesh Dibaba with the 5,000 meters world record on June 6. Bob Ramsak fills us in the happenings at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting tomorrow in the Czech Republic....

Chelsea Johnson, as of a week ago, had just set a new personal best of 4.68m or 15 feet, 4 1/4 inches, making her the number three American vaulter of all times. Chelsea was a hurdler first, and in her senior year of high school, tried jumping at one of her father's vault schools.

Here is an interview we did for Athletes Only after her pb:

It is Monday, June 9, and I am, of course, delayed in the Eugene, Oregon airport. I am on the flight with most of the Oregon team going to the NCAAs in Des Moines, Iowa. Coach Lance Deal, finely adorned in jacket, tie and slacks, looks a bit different, not much though, from his silver medal hammer throwing days! His medal in Atlanta is still one of my favorite moments in the sport, first because he never, ever gave up and two, because he showed, and still shows that sports and class still exist.

The Pre Classic is the focal point of Track City, USA-Eugene, Oregon. At Hayward Field, 14,442 fans were able to witness many of the best athletes in the world. For the first time, Kenenisa Bekele, the world record holder at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, came oh so close at his favorite distance, the 10,000 meters. Brad Walker gave the crowd an American record at the pole vault.

We know several things now: The improvements at Hayward, in the new track, new display screen are fantastic and will add to the enjoyment of the U.S. Olympic Trials! And now for the the Pre Classic, version 34:

Gatlin Appeal Rejected

| 0 Comments

Justlin Gatlin's appeal to be reinstated in order to compete in the Beijing Games has been rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport-CAS. Justin Gatlin tested positive for a second time in April 2006, but it was not officially announced until July 2006. Gatlin had an earlier conviction over some drugs used for Attention Deficit Disorder, which he had taken much of his early life, but which he did not know that they were among the banned substances by the IAAF.

The IAAF issues a response below, supporting the rejection of Gatlin's appeal. Justin Gatlin will be unable to compete until JUly 25 2010. He will miss Beijing 2008 and Berlin 2009.

Here is the eye witness report from Bob Ramsak, our roving track & field man about the world.....

The Nike Prefontaine is on Sunday and one of the largest attractions will be the men's 110 Meter hurdles.

If there is a man who has reason to have performance anxiety in this world, then it is LIu Xiang of China. The curent world record holder, LIu Xiang had a scare over his hamstrings last weekend and pulled out of the 110 m hurdles at the Reebok GP. Showing alot of class, Xiang spoke in Chinese fans in NY in Chinese last weekend and had Lewis Johnson gave his message and English to the crowd..

Bob Ramsak is featured here on his eye witness comments on Tirunesh Dibaba's amazing run.

One more note from Mark Wetmore, the agent for Tirunesh: " First time I have ever seen her really put herself out there and go for a fast time." This supports my contention, that Tirunesh has shown her racing side in the past, and is at her best in a world champs or Olympic event. This evening, in Oslo, Tirunesh Dibaba showed what she is truly capable of-her competitors should be fearful....

Tirunesh Dibaba was always shown herself as a savvy, savvy racer. Today, in Oslo, she showed her stuff as a athlete of many faces. With the pacemakers down at 2,400 meters, then two laps of help from her sister, Ejegayu, and for the last mile, Tirunesh was on her own! Running the last three kilometers in 8:27, Tirunesh Dibaba ran 14:11.15, breaking the year old record of Meseret Defar by five seconds! Ironically, Defar will be attempting to break the 5k record on Sunday, June 8 in Eugene, Oregon!
Lucy Kabuu Wangui of Kenya was second in 14:33.49, Ejegayehu Dibaba was third in 14:36.78, Belaynesh Fikadu of Ethiopia was fourth in 14:52.39 and Jennifer Rhines of the US ran 14:54.29, a personal best for the 5,000 m, taking fifth place.

A breach in security...

| 0 Comments

My trip to Eugene, Oregon was supposed to begin with flight 6566, on United Express from Madison to Denver, then Denver to Eugene. But my flight was canceled, due to what was called " a breach in security". Here is what happened...

Oslo today, Prefontaine on Sunday-a busy weekend in global track & field! Favorite American eccentric Breaux Greet is back at the javelin, and is geering up for the US Olympic Trials and a run at Beijing ! More to come....

Approximately two weeks ago, Antonio Pettigrew changed his life forever. He admitted to a grand jury that he had taken EPO and human growth hormone from 1997 to 2003. During that time, he told the grand jury, that he was able to run closer to 43 seconds, his goal. These answers were given as Mr. Pettigrew was on the stand due to the fact, that among other things, Mr. Trevor Graham was his coach for those same six years.

Someone once told me that one creates their heaven or hell on earth, well, Mr. Pettigrew is in for some new experiences....

La Shawn Merrit is on the way to the Nike Prefontaine Classic, to held this Sunday on June 8, 2008. The meet will start with 10,000 meter world record attempt by Kenenisa Bekele, and then a 5,000 meter world record attempt by Meseret Defar, and then the regular meet. The regular meet? How can one say the Nike Pre is a regular meet? Watch for world leaders in an average of six events, and watch for some fast running over two miles, the Bowerman Mile and the women's 1,500 meters!

Here is the top five marks for all events. Note how the events are heating up, less than one month before the Trials! I do not believe that there will be one soft event at our Trials this time around! The 100 meters through 400 meters will be scary with the 400 meters taking, in my mind 44.5 to make the final! We shall see after the Pre this weekend and the NCAA in two weeks!

Merrit's victory over Wariner this past weekend has the sport a buzzing. The truth is that track & field is a sport, and the race, where both athletes challenged each other, step for step, was tremendous. In this column, Bob Ramsak of Track Profile.com, gives the reader some clear insights into Mr. Merritt!

Dear readers, This was my publishers column for one of our pubs, Coaching Athletics Quarterly, which goes to 5,000 elite coaches in 209 countries. It is single topic, 32 pages, four times a year. In the spring, we do sprints, then jumps in summer, throws in fall and distances in winter. Mostly good technical pieces, plus some analysis of equipment or issues of the day, it is one of my favorite magazines to publish.

Our managing editor, Sue Hall, did a nice job on editing my piece below, I hope that you like it:

Just a few weeks after recovering from a broken wrist, Chelsea Johnson is jumping again, and she showed her fitness level with a fine 4.68 meters, or 15 feet, 4 1/4 inch jump on June 2, 2008 at a VS Athletics/Skyjumpers Meet in Atascadero, California. For more, read on.....

Bianca Knight, the new US sprint phenom started off her debut in Europe, at Malmo, Sweden, with a 23.65 win, running into -3.2 wind. Carolina Kluft, she of the recently, " I need new challenges), long jumped 6.77 meters into with a 4.2 mps wind!

Over the past four years, as I have traveled to the UK to see how the British run their sport and their meetings, I have been lucky enough to befriend Ian Stewart. I actually met Mr. Stewart at a Nike Prefontaine meeting some years ago. I found him a bit intimidating at first, after all, he had been one of my true sport heroes ( along with Dave Bedford, Jim Hogan, Ron Clarke, Bob Schul, Ron Daws, George Young, Pre, Jim Ryun ). In the time that I have been fortunate enough to spend with Ian, he has introduced me to some wonderful people, many who share his love of our sport, and many who are at pains to change the sport for the better.

Stewart is an Olympic medalist, European 5k and World Cross Country champion. He has been to the very pinnacle of our sport, and he also took a time as a bike racer. A man who speaks his mind, Stewart, along with his business partners Jon Ridgeon and
Alan Pascoe (through their business FastTrack), control all of the major meets in the UK, as well as the TV rights and marketing rights for those meetings.

What is fascinating to me is how the men, in my limited view, seem to work together. Each has his role-for Stewart, that is managing and orchestrating some of the best and most entertaining track meets I have ever witnessed. They are also, on time, down to the second.

I caught up with Ian in early May, emailing him some questions, as is my modus operandi. Mr. Stewart replied about a week later, with, as usual, some thoughtful comments on our sport, where it is and where it should and could go.

If there is an overwhelming theme of my blog, it is that one must love the sport to change it and that the change needed to take athletics to the level it should be at means that we all must make tiny steps. Those starting steps, those attempts to change our perspectives, to understand someone who does their meeting different than ours is not the enemy, but a potential light at the end of the tunnel.

I ask that you take the interviews that I will be presenting over the next few months in that light. If we agree to disagree, if we have the given that the sport must change to survive and prosper, then we are at a starting point.

At his core, Ian Stewart is a man who loves his sport. He, like most us, is fearful of its demise and also sees that change can take it to unimaginable heights.


I hope you enjoy reading this interview with Mr. Stewart as much as I have enjoyed preparing it...

Lots of things going on in the world of athletes. In North America, the Nike Prefontaine is getting alot of ink, and many are still talking about Usain Bolt's 9.72 world record! MJ's decision to return his relay gold from Sydney is sure to strike some as strange. But, in Johnson's own words, he praises and cautions WADA and USADA to protect the sport and help it regain credibility.

One of the potential candidates for USATF CEO said to me that, if he were CEO, he would require the top dozen or so stars of US track to all volunteer for the special USADA and WADA testing that Tyson Gay has done. In order to clean up our sport, we need to show that the top stars, especially, are clean, or our sport becomes the poorer cousin of bicycling..

Usain Bolt, the newly crowned world record holder at 100 meters, will be doubling in the 100 meters and 200 meters in Beijing, according to Alfons Juck today! Watch Bolt run 200 meters in Ostrava on June 12! The sprint wars are heating up!

Our friend, Pat Butcher, has devoted his column today on the dearth of Jamaican Olympic gold medalists at 100 meters. Sure, there has been the amazing gold medal of Don Quarrie in 1976 in 200 meters ( one of the true gentleman of our sport and a superb coach), but no Jamaican has won at 100 meters. 36 hours after Usain Bolt sets a new world record, Butcher (http://
www.globerunner.org/blog/?p=39
), opines on the historic opportunity.

I would like to comment on Pat's column, so read on, if you dare......

Again, we shall have some first hand stories later today, but the DKB-ISTAF Meet in Berlin was HOT! La Shawn Merrit upped the ante in the 400 meters and defeatd Jeremy Wariner 44.03 to 44.07 in a very hotly contested and anticipated 400 meter race!

In the women's 100 meter hurdles, Josephine Onyia of Spain, got her revenge from Valencia, winning her in 12.50 to Susanna Kallur in 12.54 to Lo Lo Jones in 12.57.

But it was , dear readers, the change in the women's 800 meters that has opened some eyes. Pamela Jelimo, all of 19, who won the African Champs, then ran a world junior record in 1:55.71, just ran 1:54.99 to destroy the field in the 800 meters, with second foru seconds back and Janeth Jepkosgei in third in 1:59.13! Seven women under two minutes!

More to come on this excellent start to the Golden League!

Usain Bolt has the track world abuzz and his 9.72 at 100 meters will keep people talking for weeks now! Bolt runs in Ostrava on June 12 at 200 meters ! Please enjoy the following observations by Track Profile's Bob Ramsak!

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Enter your Email


Preview RunBlogRun's Newsletter