U.S. Olympic Team Trials Recap, Day 3, Part Deux-It is all about the competition, baby!


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 Decathlon--and then, there were three

That was the name of a Genesis album, a glam band from the 70s and 80s, and it quite appropriate here. Look at this decathlon, pure speed versus pure strength vs pure guts.

Brian Clay ran 10.39 to take the 100 meters, taking 1001 points. He had a sub par for him long jump 7.39m for 908 points, threw the shot okay at 15.17m or 49-9.5 for 800 points and then rocked in the high jump where he cleared 2.08m or six feet, 9.75 inches for 878 points.

Now lets focus on Clay's high jump for a moment. Our friend from Azuza Pacific had a bit of a Daley Thompson 1984 thing going where he came close to non clearance in the high jump. Then he pulled the baseball out of the proverbial backside and did his thing! That is a champion, sports fans! In the 400 meters, Bryan ran adequately for a 48.41, 889 points and a total of 4476 for day one!

Trey Hardee is mr. guts. Running 10.43 for 982 points, then jumping 7.75m for 997 points, then throwing the shot 14.07m for 733 points for a 46-2 throw, Trey was off
and running. Add his 2.02m clearance, or 6-7.5 in the high jump a fine 47.99 in the 400 meters, his day one score of 4454 is his best ever for one day!

And then there is Mr. Strength-Tom Pappas. Tom has recovered from his shoulder surgery and other maladies and won two of five events today, setting personal bests, two in the shot in fact! Tom ran 10.90 for the hundred meters, with 883 points, 7.77m in the long jump, for 1002 points, a HUGE 17.26m shot, or 56-7.5 for the shot, and 1.96 meters for the high jump for 767 points. He finished his first day with 824 points in the 400 meters, for a nifty 49.80. Tom is at 4405.

In day two, you have the 110m hurdles, Discus, Pole Vault, Javelin and 1500 meters.
Clay is a fine hurdler, vaulter and hates the 1,500. Pappas is adequate in the hurdles, can kick butt in discus and javelin and stay safe in the vault. And while he hates the 1,500 meters, he will run it to win. Trey Hardee looks like he is ready to cook on day 2, so I am thinking he will get silver. Clay and Pappas will trade gold or bronze.

Should be a good one to watch and with Dr. Frank Zarnowski, the dean of decathlon trivia and announcing doing the job, it is quite entertaining to watch. I am pulling out my sunscreen, and going for the George Hamilton biathlon-tanning and watching the decathlon. It will be so hot on the track today, you can just about do an omelette!

Women's Discus-Experience wins out!

Stepanie Brown Trafton has been kicking butt and taking names this season, but she had a discus clinic today, courtesy of Aretha Thurmond and Suzy Powell-Roos, the American record holder.

Aretha, back from having a baby last year, got tired of watching from the stands last season and cranked a 213-11, or 65.20m for the title. Aretha did that on throw two, her series was 60.89m, 65.20 m, 58.84m, 57.98m, foule and 59.82 m.

Suzy Powell-Roos is fit, healhy and looks like her old self-very confident, and having fun again throwing. Her series, 59.88m, 58.95m, 62.55m, 59.69m, 59.51m and a huge 62.92 m, or 206-5 took her from third to second! This is Suzy's third team as well and Aretha's fourth, I believe.

Stephanie Brown Trafton threw a foul, then 60.24m, 60.43m, 62.65m or 205-6, which held up for second until the last round. Stephanie finished with a foul and 60.52m.

A great team in the women's discus!

Men's 400 m hurdles-Batman Wins!

The Olympic Trials is a pressure cooker-it is the hardest team to make, we need to get that across. When athletes get nervous, they forget things. When I get nervous, heck, I forget my name. Well, apparently, when Kerron Clement gets nervous, he forgets how to hurdle.

Gentle readers, cover your eyes, ears, whatever. Kerron Clement is one of the most talented kids on the planet. But he still has trouble hurdling. And he could not have made more mistakes in one race.

As Bershawn Jackson, Kerron Clement and hell bent Angelo Taylor came off the turn, it was up in the air. Jackson moved well from 300 meters and ran clean. By the time Jackson and Clement reached the last hurdle, it was still close. Bershawn was running all out and hurdled the last hurdle brilliantly. Kerron took the longest this writer has ever seen one to clear a hurdle and by that time, Clement was in intermediate hurdle rigor mortis, otherwise known as the tenth level of Dante's Inferno. No matter how hard he tried, little old ladies were going to sprint by him. It just was not Kerron's day. But kudoes for holding on and making the team.

Bershawn Jackson, fourth in Athens, now gets to go to Beijing, courtesy of his winning 48.17. Kerron Clement, the 2007 World champion, gets to go to Beijing, and will focus his efforts on winning-which is within his grasp. Angelo Taylor, the 2000 champion, is on the team with his 48.42 bronze to Clements 48.36.

In fourth was Justin Gaymon of Georgia, who ran 48.46. Johnny Dutch, from South Carolina, took fifth in 48.52, and in light of his tender age-nineteen, is now numero
three on the all time world junior list for the 400 m hurdles.

Women's Triple Jump-three make team, two to Beijing....

Shani Marks cranked a nice 14.38m legal jump, or 47-2.25 to take the gold, on her thrid jump. Shakeema Welsch hit a 14.27m jump or 46-10, but it was wind aided. So, she takes second, but does NOT get to go to Beijing because she did not exceed or match the Olympic A standard of 14.20m.

Joining Shani Marks will be Erica McLain, who jumped 13.96m or 45-09.75.

After leading the world early on in the triple jump (remember Sheila Hudson), the women's tripe jump in the US sunk. It is now seeing a bit of a resurgence, but to be
competitive on the world stage, we need jumps of 14.75m to 15 meters!

Women's 400 meters, first round

Mary Wineberg won her heat, in 51.46. Monique Henderson was second in 52.24.

In heat two, Natasha Hastings ran a nice 51.51, with Shareese Woods in 51.60, Shana
Cox in 51.69 and Moushami Robinson in 52.02, also going on.

Sanya Richards looked controlled in heat three, running 51.08, fastest of the day.

Dee Dee Trotter, finally looking good after having a tough early season, ran 51.97 in round four. No really surprising non qualifiers here.

Men's 400 meters, Who can run the slowest?

What is the sound or picture of 400 meter runners jogging 45 seconds? It seems that the goal here is to run the slowest and get into the next round, but do it with pinache.

La Shawn Merrit won heat 1 in 45.30, Lionel Larry won in heat two in 45.89, Jeremy Wariner jogged 200, ran 100 and slept the final 100 to run 46.04 and Quentin Iglehart-Summers finished the race in 45.87, taking his heat.

Men's Pole Vault

With swirling winds, it was the veterans who won out. Derek Miles took first here, clearing 19 feet, 3/4 of an inch. Jeff Hartwig, who will be 41 in the fall, took second with a clearance of 18-8 1/4, and American record holder Brad Walker took third in 18-4 1/4.

The winds made it difficult to vault. Walker stalled out pretty tough one time and both Walker and Miles did not complete jumps on two occassions, just running through the
pit due to the conditions.

Congrats to all three for making the team and better conditions in Beijing!

Men's 5000 meter predictions

Well, Bernard Lagat should win just about anyway it is run. Matt Tegenkamp is only one who can beat him, but Matt will have to punish Bernard so much with 1,600 meters to go that not even a 50 second last lap will change it. Look for Teegs, Solinsky, Riley to move hard mid race and not stop. Bobby Curtis is a real find and could be quite danger ous and no one should EVER discount Adam Goucher.

My picks, 13:14-Lagat, Tegenkamp, Solinsky, Curtis, Riley to spoil.

See you at Day 4!

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