July 2008 Archives

The term the IAAF used was "tampering with doping control process". It seems the seven athletes were supplying alternate urine samples and this was determined by the IAAF checking DNA samples in the urine that was saved over the past year.

This will take the Russian middle distance corps down to nothing. Yelena Soboleva, the Indoor World Champion at 1,500 meters, the world leader at both 800 and 1,500 this year, Tatyana Tomashova, the 2003 and 2005 world champion, 2004 silver medalist, was also cited in the IAAF press release.

Tampering with urine samples is not anything new. In the US, go to the back of Rolling Stone magazine and you can find places where you can purchase clean urine for urine samples. A former Olympic middle distance champion from 1976 and 1980 was caught with a balloon full of urine at a testing about twenty four years ago. The balloon burst and the athlete refused to be tested, thereby getting a life time ban. History never repeats, as the song goes?

The announcement comes on the eve of the Beijing Games, and this announcement will changet completely the character of the middle distances for women in Beijing. The good news is that athletes who were cheating have been caught, and that it was done on a world stage. It is also a telling sign to athletes considering cheating that the IAAF is nabbing world champions who cheat, so no one is immune.

This announcement will just focus the world's media on drugs and ethics once again. Congratulations to the IAAF on catching the offending athletes.

Monte Carlo was the last, last major track and field event before Beijing and with three world leads, five European leads, this meet was amazing! Yelena Isinbayeva is on form with her twenty third world pole vault record today!

Ten days to go until the start of the Olympics and seventeen days until the start of track & field in Beijing! The racing has been pretty good and most athletes are getting pretty close to where they need to be. These marks were provided for us by our friends at USATF....

Nadezhda Ostapchuck hit a world leading 20.98m to lead the women's shot going into Beijing. She should give World champ Kiwi Valerie Vili a battle for shot put supremacy. Andrey Mikhnevich of Belarus popped a fine 22.00m throw, the European leader and should be in the real medal hunt on the men's shot put. Mikhnevich's mark puts some pressure on the US trio of Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson and Christian Cantwell. My money is on the US trio, but there will be no guaranteed medals in the shot put, on either the men or women's side.

Franka Dietzsch, the world champion at the discus, has not been able to put her injuries and health issues behind and will not go to Beijing.

Overcoming his injuries, Dathan Ritzenhein took third in 1:01.38 at the Nike NYC half marathon this morning. Ritz is preparing for the Olympic marathon. This past November, Ritz took second in the Olympic Trials in Central Park. He has been plagued with several injuries, but is obviously quite fit, running this race in hot and humid conditions near his personal best! 10,000 runners competed in the Nike half this year.

In the Aviva results, note that Jenn Rhines ran a nifty 3k in 8:53, her seasonal best and pushing many in the field to personal bests or seasonal bests. Rhines has been racing in Europe for the three weeks since the Trials, with a 15:11, for 5,000 meters and this 8:53 ( I think I am missing a race).
Note that Rob Myers lead nine under four minutes in the mile in the Brothers World Record Morton Meeting, with his 3:56.23.

Go World!

Visa Sign as one left the Olympic Trials Festival on the last night of the US Olympic
Trials, July 6, 2008, 11.30 pm shot by Larry Eder.

That is the way I feel right now on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. And the last major meeting prior to Beijing, the Aviva London Grand Prix answered a few questions.....

With the deadline fast approaching, most of the 190 plus nations that will have track & field teams at the Beijing Olympic Games are furiously naming their teams. Some teams have trials and selections, some have selections of world or Olympic champions and then have an event for the next two selections.
Be that as it may. The next couple of weeks are the nerve wracking time. Either the athlete is together or he or she is not. Over the next couple of weeks, an athlete can get injured, over worked or perfectly peaked. It is all about the timing.
Tyson Gay seems to need a couple more weeks of recuperation to make sure all is in order. Usain Bolt has held his fine form since early June. Can he hold it through Beijing?
Asafa Powell is runnig well, but there are some very good sprinters running very close to Mr. Powell in Aviva London-what gives?
The distances are going to be tough to pick. The best thing that has happened this summer is that as races have slowed a bit, there has been real racing. Pacemakers may make a race artificially fast, but they do not teach an athlete how to race. It is all about the racing, and no number of workouts can give the athlete the callousing that one gets from a rough and tumble, gritty 5,000 meters on the European circuit.
In the vault, it is a matter of timing, great shape, good winds and luck. There are ten to fifteen men in the vault around the world who can medal. On the women's side, the top three to five athletes will fight for the medals, with the gold being Isinbayeva's to loose. Yelena Isinbaeyeva is the most dominant athlete, in my mind, in any event in our sport, with the exception of Kenenisa Bekele in the 10,000 meters.
LoLo Jones has come on at the right time and her 12.58 in Aviva London should be a confidence builder. We send good wishes to Susana Kallur, who we hope recovers in time to be a real factor. On the mens side, Liu Xiang has the toughest race in Beijing, bar none, he has one position where he will be China's hero-the gold in the 110 meter hurdles. He has to get by Dayron Robles, Terrance Trammell and David Oliver. Oliver may be the hardest to deal with.
Kerron Clement? This young man has talent, but can not rely on it or Bershawn Jackson will take the gold medal, it is that simple. Clement has to run clean and show his stuff over the last two hurdles and run for home like there is no tomorrow.
Reese Hoffa is on fire, and so is Adam Nelson. Christian Cantwell has passed his barrier of making the team, so now he has to relax and throw. Simpler said than done for anyone at this level.
The pressure is intense. One former Olympian once wrote that in any Olympic final, six of the field have no chance-they are over trained, under trained, or having a bad day. The other six, well three might be pretty on, but it is that one that suprises, who somehow, gets it in his or her head with forty meters to go, that he or she can win--and that is what will make it the best ten days of August-so much is involved in winning a gold medal, any medal in the Olympics.
Of the 190 teams or so in attendance in track & field, more than likely 45 will have medals to take home and 61-64 will have top six finishers. Top six in the world-pretty darn impressive, don't you think?

Here are the results of day two of the Aviva London Super Grand Prix. Some very fast sprinting on the women's side and look at Usain Bolt and his screaming 19.76!

The Aviva London Super Grand Prix in London, two days of track & field, with six hours on BBC, has had some amazing races. Allyson Felix took fourth in the 200 meters, in one of her last races before the opening of the Games in less than two weeks.

One of the most tantilizing events was the women's pole vault with Isinbayeva showing what happens when she has some competition. Her vaulting is excellent and her competitive nature gives her some advantage, but Stuczynski is learning and processing-should be a great battle in Beijing.

The Aviva London GP Fixture is a two day affair with six hours of LIVE television, from BBC this year. Day one was an amazing day, with an entertaining meet and some great clashes! More on the meet tomorrow! You can watch the meet in the US on WCSN.com!

The injury is taking longer than Tyson Gay's management group expected and after consulting a top German physician, Gay withdrew from the event. This was to be the anticipated Powell-Gay clash at the Aviva London Super GP, a two day affair at the Crystal Palace starting Friday, July 25, 2008.....

Christian Olsson, the Swedish triple jumper, one of the most dominant jumpers of his era, has injured himself once again, this time during the DN Galen, and will be unable to defend his Athens gold medal at Beijing. Bekele and Tirunseh Dibaba are both on 5,000 m reserve for Ethiopia, and Gebrselassie is still a question for Beijing....three weeks to go!

Well, the Powell vs. Bolt was good, the Defar solo race was even better and then, Sanya Richards over Allyson Felix, 50.38 to 50.88, with Novlene Williams in the middle?

In the 1000 meters, notice Chris Lukesic in 2:18. Craig Mottram wins the 3,000 meter sin 7:37 with lots of company. Matt Tegankamp in fourth and Kevin Sullivan in seventh-not bad for an old guy.

And speaking of nice doubles, Adam Nelson went two for two. He won on Sunday and Tuesday in Stockholm!

SportNet Aquires TrackShark.com

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In one of the worst kept secrets in the business, SportNet, a Wasserman Media Group company, acquired Trackshark.com and its senior editor, Tom Borish. This is the third acquisition in the last month in the athletics web arena. There has been Disney and Student Sports, NBC and WCSN.com and now TrackShark.com. Combine that with the Competitor Group acquisitions by Falconhead Capital earlier this year, you have a busy year in the eye of the M & A types.

Reasons? Many? New technology makes it cost efficient to run meets, interviews, hi res video through websites. Viewers like it, advertisers like it. Watch how things pan out over the next few months.

With 53 Olympic races, eight Olympic medals and her first medal stretching back to Moscow 1980, Merlene Ottey ran a 11.70 today in Llubljana , Slovenia. Pretty impressive for any 48 year old, just not one trying to represent Slovenia in Beijing and make her eighth appearance in an Olympic Games.....

What a difference a month makes. On June 8, Meseret Defar ran 14:38 by herself at the NIke Pre Classic, two days after Tirunesh Dibaba ran 14:11.8.

Defar ran in Stockholm with a vengance, just missing the new world record, breaking her best, and running 14:12.88!

Well, we have a horse race now, don't we? First Usain Bolt runs 9.72 to Tyson Gays' 9.85. Then Usain Bolt beats Asafa Powell over 100 meters. Then, Tyson Gay nearly misses moving on, sets AR at 9.77 in heats, runs 9.68 for fastest time in any conditions! Now, Asafa Powell beats Usain Bolt, 9.88 to 9.89 today in Stockholm. Bolt had a sloppy start and Powell got off brilliantly, executing his best race of the year!

Beijing is heating up!

Saucony Running, a division of Stride Rite, sponsored the Summer XC Training Program, an individualized summer training program for high school, college and club cross country runners, as part of the marketing plan to promote the new Shay XC. They also dedicated the sponsorship of the cross country program to the memory of the late Ryan Shay.....

I grew up in a Catholic parish outside of St. Louis, Mo. Father Walsh, this young Irish priest would visit our classroom once a week and talk to us about religion. He also tell us great stories and put up with our nonsensical questions. We liked Father Walsh and his stories. Anything to get us out of regular religion class. The highest respect a kid could get would be to be on Fr. Walsh's pinball team. That meant that, you might get in trouble with Sr. Anne David once in awhile, but overall, you were a pretty good kid.

Well, Doug Logan, USATF's new CEO, just made the pinball team. His letter to President Bush, while in truth, mostly ceremony, is the right gesture. Part of being a CEO is making the right gestures. Logan took a lot of time in the recent press conference noting his concern about drugs in sports. Now that USATF is out of testing-the best thing done in the past administration besides getting USATF on fiscal balance--USATF still must have the most tests, especially out of competition and must lead the way so that drug testing is as transparent as possible.

Marion Jones getting out of jail early is a ludicrous. However, that Barry Bonds, etc. are not in jail is also an example of how sports are viewed in the US. The legal and character issues of professional sports can be satirized on the ESPY awards by Justin Timberlake, and the same reporters who bemoan the supposed drug soaked track surfaces in our sport will write lovingly about a football player who has more DUI's and assault charges than your car has tires.

Kudos to Doug Logan for taking a stand. The message given out if Jones receives a pardon is that drugs do pay, and lying pays too! Marion Jones must be seen receiving a punishment for laws she actually violated, and she has no one to blame but herself. On top of that, to the millions of fans and former friends of hers that defended America's sprint goddess, Marion needs to have repercussions for actions she freely committed. Jones used performance enhancing drugs. Jones lied. Now, she is paying for it.

If Mr. Logan were asking for suggestions, I would humbly suggest the following: He should read up on the new program that Tyson Gay has volunteered for, in regards to USADA and WADA. Gay was given a baseline blood reading and his samples are collected every few weeks in order for WADA and USADA to better test athletes in the future. Any program like this should be applauded by USATF and Mr. Logan, in my mind, should require his top twelve athletes to do the same. USATF athletes need to be squeaky clean-the sport's future is at stake.

So, here is what we know about Doug Logan so far. He is an experienced sports administrator. He has worked with sports that have some of the same issues as track & field. He has a self deprecating sense of humor, and his bi lingual upbringing, plus his dealings with international sports federations give him a fighting chance to build on the successes that USATF has had in the past decade.

Where we have not faired well is in dealing with the IAAF and having North America seriously considered (well, excuse me, everywhere in North America but US). We have taken shots, many well deserved on the games played with drugs by the US-mostly in seventies and eighties, but still the rest of the world has no clue of the athletic ability in one neighborhood in the US, because if they did, they would just run away scared.

The truth is, in most major cities and environs in the US, we have athletes who could participate in many Olympic teams around the world. These kids are naturally talented, but go to football, basketball, soccer and baseball. It is not drugs that makes these athletes world beaters, it is three meals a day, good coaching and the time to develop.

It has been in the past decade, after a decade of self recrimination, that American distance running became something to admire again, instead of something from the old days. In Beijing, we actually have half a dozen athletes from 800 meters to the marathon who have great chances to medal.

USATF has little or nothing to do with the 1.4 million high school kids in track and cross country. Most of those kids do not get past league finals, and they do not compete in USATF junior programs. Neither do the 30 million people who consider themselves runners, walkers or joggers in the US. And the 7 million race finishers last year, well, they are no really joiners. Just consider this, take the non duplicated circulation of Runners World and the Running Network, and you get about 1.2 million unduplicated runners who are interested enough in the sport to subscribe to a running magazine, either national or regional.

For Doug Logan to succeed, he is going to have to take those glass half fulls and make alliances. Get the numbers and the sponsors will spend more money. Give the sponsors and the USOC a clear, concise description of where USATF fits in the world of running, and how it governs youth running, masters running and contributes to club and road running, and you have a national plan.

Consider this--if USATF can bring the warring parties together, and convince the USOC that they can control their version of the Balkan wars, then Doug Logan has truly accomplished something.

The rumor mill was alive this summer. First it was the board of directors of USATF had no interest in a new CEO, then it was that the head hunter was suggesting only two candidates, then it was that those candidates were turned down, then it was that five more candidates were suggested, and then we heard than NONE of them were interviewed, then the Indystar.com named their pick for the new CEO and then Bill Roe announced that the new announcement was imminent.

When Doug Logan's name came up, it was a surprise to all but the board. He was not on anyone's short list or long list. But, his resume is impressive and if you listen to what he says in the interview below, and perhaps to what he suggests, you see an able administrator (needed), a veteran international sports negotiator (needed) and someone who knows how to walk into a boardroom with a couple of autographed Nike sweats and walk out with a new multi million dollar sponsor.

What waits to be seen is who he goes to advice for? Does he take the time to see who has been supporting the elite meets the past few years, from athletes, agents, media, sponsors and management? Does he get the straight scoop from his staff on what sponsors are happy and who are not? And how seriously does he take the USOC letter and how does he insure that problem is dealt with first priority?

Our sport, to succeed, must make some very painful changes. The changes in the structure that the USOC is demanding will change USATF to its very core. Many important people with important fiefdoms are not going to be happy. Change is painful, and Doug Logan, if he does his job well, will be hated by half of the current members at one time or another. This is the real world of global sports. It must be run like a business for it to be respected and for it to be a success. That does not mean that people do not matter, but that managing people, managing a big staff, knowing who ones friends and whose one enemies are takes the kind of person who realizes that managing a sports federation is big boy time.

Most of the global federations are as fed up with the imperial ego that the USOC exudes and the medal mania that NBC pushes in its 1300 hours of sports propaganda. The US has to learn to be a much more gentle winner and a classy looser as well. In track & field, we are going to be winning more medals, we need to do this with class and not give other countries another reason to think that the US is xenophobic cretins. No one else in the world understands Manifest Destiny ( check my reading suggestions at end of interview below).

Logan is a in a good place to do this. His upbringing, which I find fascinating, gives him something most kids in US do not have anymore-even second and third generation Latinos do not speak fluent Spanish. I found his explanation of his family culture almost as fascinating as his staunch feelings, well articulated, about drug cheats.

Doug Logan will be given the benefit of the doubt by the the crew who truly love the sport, make a living from the sport, and want the sport to grow larger for all. It is important that he reaches out and touches the community at large.

Adam Nelson is one of my favorite athletes. I like the entire group of shot putters, and it is due to several reasons. The ones that I can articulate is that there is something honest about getting out there, putting a line in the dirt and throwing a sixteen pound ball and see who throws the farthest. Nelson is enthralling to watch because of his pre throw ritual-he uses what Mike Durkin, the 1,500 meter stud from the seventies used to call, "controlled aggression". When Adam is on, he is on, and with two silver Olympic medals, the guy knows how to peak.

Reese Hoffa was on the Jay Leno show last week and he did a nice job. The story of his early life is fascinating and his throwing, character and approach to the shot gives him a totally different approach to the shot than Nelson. Reese is very good at handling the pressure of a last throw.

Then you have Christian Cantwell. Cantwell is the giant. He is also the guy who broke his bad luck and made this Olympic team. The Olympic Trials is tough on the athlete no matter how much experience they have.

More on the throwers as we get closer to Beijing...

The sneaker wars were quite apparent in Eugene, Oregon during the Olympic Trials. As Cregg Weinmann, the RN footwear editor, sat behind me during the Trials each day, I asked him to keep track of the medals and places won by various footwear brands. To no one's surprise, Nike won the sneaker wars at the Trials. What was comforting was how many brands participated and also the opportunities for many brands to participate.

Each company has different needs that they are trying to accomplish. Congrats to all. It made for my favorite Olympic Trials of the eight that I have had the luck to attend!

Relays are the bain of every head US Olympic coach. Former Olympic coach John Chaplin once noted that the head coach is worshipped if all four relays are won and vilified if they are not. That is just about it.

The Jamaican 4 x 100 meter relay team looks to pose the most challenge for both men and women from the U.S. The staff of the U.S. promises that there will be more practices and focus on strategy. Let's hope so.

Note that French women are running a 4 x 100 meters. I do not believe that Christine Arron is participating in that team.

Note that, even with his 46.25 and number four ranking in South Africa, Oscar Pistorious, the Blade Runner, was not named to the South African team for Beijing....

Beijing, " The Boring Games?"

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Three weeks until I leave for Beijing. Once I get over my ear infection, and budgets, I should begin packing next week. You will be getting daily blogs from me, plus photos from my daily walks and updates event by event at www.runblogrun.com.

Today I am commenting on a story from the Weekend edition of the Financial Times:

Tomoshova runs 3:59.42 and her teammate runs 4:02.24! Between the Russians, Maryam Jamal and Shannon Rowbury, we have a real dogfight for the Beijing 1,500 meters!

Jim Dunaway has been the editor of American Track & Field for the past four years, and also the editor of Athletes Only. He is, in my mind, a great editor and my mentor. I have known him for twenty five years. This coming trip to Beijing will be his fourteenth credentialed Olympics as a sports specific writer. This is a record that Jim is quite proud of.

Jim is a sight to behold at a track meet. His love of the sport is obvious and he takes the craft of writing just as serious. His writing is clean, thoughtful and well researched. I am lucky enough to consider James a good friend. As cantankerous as he can be, especially after fifteen or so days writing in an Olympic venue, James has always been there when a good friend is needed. For that, I continue to be thankful for his comments and his thoughts.

On Sunday, in the Austin Statesmen, a feature will be printed on James, we have provided the link: http://www.statesman.com/
sports/content/sports/stories/
other/07/20/0720dunaway.html

The real treat comes from Walt Murphy, who as part of his Walt Murphy News Service, asked James to write a piece about his first Olympics, the 1956 Games, held in Melbourne, Australia. I hope that you enjoy this piece. Walt's comments on his friend, James are touching about a man who loves our sport and celebrates the great moments with his friends.

Gaz de France lived up to the hype. Jelimo in the 800 meters, running the second fastest time in world this year ( Solobodeva ran 1:54.82 next day), shows that the women's 800 meters should be hot. Wariner and Merritt dual is making the 400 meters exciting and the race in Beijing will be one of the most anticipated events of the Games!

Jeremy Wariner has let his feet do the talking this past few weeks. On June 1, Jeremy Wariner went step for step with La Shawn Merritt in Berlin and lost to Wariner, 44.03 to 44.07. His July 3 defeat at the US Olympic Trials was a low point. Wariner just did not seem to click in that race, where he came off the final turn even with Merritt and started to falter forty meters out, with Merritt taking the win. Wariner was obviously upset as his agent, Michael Johnson gave him his silver medal at the Trials. That loss may have been the best thing to happen to Wariner this year.

Then something happened. Perhaps a talk with Micheal Johnson, the only person in the world who could know what Wariner is going through, made the difference. Perhaps catching up on workouts and focusing on the task at hand. There is one fact, since the Trials, Wariner has been on a roll. Last week, in Rome, Wariner won by a few steps over La Shawn Merritt. Wariner was working out the kinks in his racing and getting back a little confidence.

In Gaz de France, Wariner and Merritt met again, with the nod going to Wariner. In his best executed race of the year, Jeremy Wariner dominated this race and the time showed, as Wariner ran 43.86, the fastest time of the year. La Shawn Merritt was in second in 44.35.

What a difference two weeks make...

Respect. That is a word used sometimes in sports. World Champions, Olympic champions, the new hot athlete are treated better, in many cases than someone just coming on the circuit. Apparently, La Shawn Merritt is learning that lesson as he races around Europe, and is 2-2 with one of the most popular athletes on the circuit-Jeremy Wariner. Wariner beat him soundly in Paris, and Merritt did not seem to be complaining about Wariner but how he is being treated. Once he had the attention of the reporters, however, he went to generalities.

Our sport is about racing, competing. Athletes running in same meet but in different heats, same distance hurts the sport. Athletes who do not show up for assigned events not only hurt the sport, but should be penalized ( this is not about runners who get sick or injured). The sport is taking a nice ride now with the upcoming Olympics, and if the IAAF, IOC, USATF, meet directors, athletes managers and media do not take advantage of this opportunity, then we will have a pretty dismal 2010.

Coach John Cook has his hands full. He is coaching Shannon Rowbury and Shalane Flanagan, both athletes capable of medaling in Beijing. Cook is detail oriented, and a coaches' coach, he knows how to get his athletes in shape and keep them focused. Case in point was when John got Shalane off the press table at the post event press conference after the 10,000 meters when she obviously was wiped out and needd to get her cooldown and drug test.

Shannon Rowbury's third lap in her 1,500 meters at the adidas track classic on May 18, looked fast, but no one saw it coming as the former Bay Area (SF,CA) athlete ran a superb 4:01.6, leading the US lists. Then, Shannon makes it through the heats like a pro, and in tough windy conditions, wins the Olympic Trials with a long kick, running her last 400 meters in just over 60 seconds!

Last night, Shannon ran with World Champion Maryam Jamal and others in the 1,500 meters at the Gaz de France meet in Paris. In the end, it was Jamal and Rowbury, with Rowbury in second, and moving on Jamal. Shannon was rewarded with a fine 4:00.33 time for 1,500 meters, the third fastest in the world!

Shannon has the talent and form to do quite well in Beijing. Watch her in one month in front of the world stage, but Shannon Rowbury is my pick for top three in the women's 1,500 meters in Beijing....

Here is the inside info on the Gaz de France at Stade de France in St. Denis. Watch for several other current reports from Paris today!

Jeremy Wariner may never admit that the best thing that has happened to him this year was La Shawn Merritt. Wariner getting beat before Beijing seems to have opened Jeremy's eyes that reputation is left with ones' warm up clothes on the side of the track. At the end of the turn, the three hundred meters mark, it comes down to who has got the drive to fight those last hundred meters, that is why we call it track & field...

I watched Gulnara Samitova Galkina run the steeple last year-this women can motor! Running in the Russian Champs, Day 1, Galkina lead Tatyiana Petrova and Yekaterina Volkova......third fastest ever!

World Indoor record holder Yelena Soboleva runs with abandon. Her 1:54.85 at the Russian Nationals is the fastest 800 meters for women since 1997! Soboleva will double in Beijing in the 800 meters and the 1,500 meters!

While Dwain Chambers will not be in Beijing, neither will a French women's 4 x 100 meter relay team, with Christine Arron's insistence on no relay this year and the sporadic performance levels of French women sprinters ( with the exception of Muriel Hurtis).

The big news is that Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell are both training for their showdown in London next Friday!

In a copyrighted story on Inside the Games (http://www.insidethegames.com/
show-news.php?id=2886
), a British blog that follows the developments leading towards, London 2012, it was noted that Dwain Chambers' Appeal to British
courts was rejected: He will not run in Beijing...

Doug Logan named USATF CEO

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Well, the guessing is over! None of the rumors were right! I have been wondering how long that it would take USATF to find a new CEO and the long wait is over.

I hold the Selection board, John Bennett, Adam Nelson, Joetta Clark and Deanne Vochatzer and Cynthia Doyle, in high regard. John Bennett would not be involved in anything that was not done in a professional style. Same things with Nelson, Clark and Vochatzer. I have not met Cynthia Doyle. Bennett, as President of VISA in the 90s, brought the VISA decathlon program-the single best event sponsorship ever in our sport-and supported a renaissance in the multi event for men in the U.S.

According to the press release, a list of 100 was cut to 23. In my research, the list was kept very tight and the presumed "have to bee's" on the list were not interviewed, in some cases. This may have been because of the lack of information. Perhaps the folks that you or I would see as must haves on the list, just were not there.

I remember having a conversation at the Trials with Tony Reavis. Tony has always said, find someone outside of track & field, who knows how to market and knows how to get into a board room, someone who has had major sport experience. In my mind, Mr. Logan's experience in Major League Soccer, his bi lingual culture will both play huge parts in his success at USA Track & Field.

In the future, the battle for global sports supremacy will be between the IAAF and FIFA. In this country, as soccer grows, and it will, track & field will have to be creative and responsive to challenges, both real and perceived, to the sports growth in the U.S. Mr. Logan's experience with major sponsors is key as well. I like that he has worked with companies other than Nike in terms of footwear. Not that Nike has not been a strong supporter of USA Track & Field, but the sport has to stop opening its hands and feeling that footwear companies should shoulder all of the sponsorship burden of the sport.

Mr. Logan's $120 million in multi year sponsorships is a key part of what will make him successful. USATF is underfunded. It should be somewhere around $50-100 million a year budget, which is not insane and not out of the ordinary for a federation that sponsors the singularly most successful sports franchise in US or Olympic history. The
sport needs to sell that Olympic ideal, the view that most Americans put track & field at a higher level than other sports, 365 days a year, every year.

In my mind, it is important to give Mr. Logan the chance to see the team in Beijing be successful. It will be a challenging trip. He will be the new kid on the block and his honeymoon will be short lived. International sports is not a we are the world, we are the children kind of place. Mr. Logan's experience there, in international sports, will help USATF as well.

And his running, citizen runner style gives him an entree into the road running community who seem to feel, much of the time, not included and overlooked. This will be one of Logan's challenges-how to take 30 million road runners and make them track fans. A small meet inside a major road race? Surely such events open the door for the future.

Doug Logan is coming into our sport at one of its most volatile, exciting and dangerous time periods: the USOC will only wait so long for change to happen in our sport. USADA and WADA will become more aggressive and USATF's huge number of tests does have an effect, but every time a US track athlete tests positive, that is not seen as, good sport, cleaning itself, it is seen as bad sport, another example of the filth and depravity in modern sport. Exciting with the level of quality in US, Beijing could be a huge success story and a great time to be promoting and selling the sport. Dangerous in that, the minefields are everywhere, but Logan's comment to meet and discuss with the sport's players shows that he is a savvy leader and knows that there is lot to learn with a new position.

Runblogrun.com wishes Doug Logan the very best in this new challenge as CEO of USA Track & Field.

The entire press release is noted below:

Dwain Chambers, who won the British Olympic Trials, still does not have a ticket to Beijing. That will be decided in London tomorrow in a courtroom decision. Details to come...

Brooks Sports announced on July 16 that they had appointed Michelle Ave to the position of Apparel Team Leader. Ave is a top industry veteran, who recently revitalized the Reebok running line. A graduate of Villanova in 1989, Ave spent much of the next decade developing as a world class 800 meter and 1,500 meter runner ( 1:59.86 in 1996 and 4:09.67 in 1993).

MIchelle is well liked by her peers and past teams. Ave brings her experience in two decades of competition, her keen eye for detail, her understanding of her consumer and her overwhelming enthusiasm for the sport to bear on her designs and products.

When President JIm Weber of Brooks noted that they have a real find with Michelle Ave, he was making an understatement. Ave is one of the best and her addition to Brooks, along with Fritz Taylor, continues to show that the footwear company that brought us the Trance is dialed in on performance running footwear and apparel!

June 27 to July 6 gave us one of the best US Olympic Trials in my lifetime. The presentation, in my mind was superb and the athletes are what I would have picked in most events! Here is the official release from USATF and watch for some of my comments on the team coming in the next few days...I am a bit behind, my apologies, as I have an ear infection and am doing anti biotics and happy pills for pain....

In my mind, this is a problematic double in Beijing. Kenenisa Bekele doubled in St. Denis in 2003, and while he won the 10,000 in a masterful fashion, he had to deal with El Guerrouj and Eliud Kipchoge in a devastatingly fast 5,000 meters.

In my mind, there are few ways to defeat Bernard Lagat over 5,000 meters. Add in the Kenyans and Mr. Bekele has his hands full. Over 10,000 meters, Bekele is the class of the event. Just watching him solo a 10,000 in 26:25 in Eugene, Oregon was a treat enough! ( Thanks to John Capriotti and Jos Hermans for that one).

On the distaff side, Tirunesh Dibaba is the classic racer, but now, she has the 5,000 meter world record. I believe that she has to a) show up on the line, b) stay out of trouble, and c) keep it at 30:30 pace and kick and 15:00 and kick. Beijing will be a sweat bath, as well as all efforts will be multiplied. Dibaba is at the top of her form and she should, without must distress, take two gold medals in Beijing.

Dear readers, This weekend, I am hard at work on budgets for our various magazines. I am dreaming and seeing figures and, quite frankly, Larry just needed a break. So, on my lovely walk through Fort Atkinson along the Rock River, I pulled together a few of my more obscure songs, with a bit of a story, combining the apocryphal with the anecdotal. I hope you enjoy:

Usain Bolt put it all together today and broke the Jamaican record over 200 meters, running a well crafted 19.67, taking a huge lead off the turn and charging home, with everything he had. For his efforts, Usain now has the number five performance of all times.

Veronica Campbell-Brown's 10.92 here won the race, but did not persuade the Jamaican selectors to place her on the Olympic team for Jamaica-Veronica had placed fourth in their 100 meter trials. Keeping the coaches for the US relays on their toes, after Allyson blasted a nice 400 meters in Rome, Sanya runs a sweet 49.86 here and shows that two US quarter milers are ready!

Asafa Powell injured again at the Golden Gala, where he would not run the final. He will be out for two weeks. He is to run Stockholm, then London, and perhaps, Monte Carlo. London is where he and Tyson Gay are to meet......

In the British Trials, our friends across the pond were treated to the fetethat the US had in 92, and nearly in 2008-a athlete allowed to run in the Trials who was involved in a positive or a claimed postive drug test. In 1992, it was Butch Reynolds and in 2008, for a bit, it looked like Justin Gatlin.
In each case, there will always be sympathy for the athlete. I am not sure how it is considered in London regarding Dwain Chambers. Mr. Chambers obviously is in shape with his 10.00, but we shall have to wait and see how the legal outcome of this case is received.

Yelena's Isinbayeva set a world record in the pole vault at the Golden Gala in Rome last night. Her jump of 5.03, or 16-6 was her first world record in three years, and shows the naysayers that Isinbayeva is indeed the most dominant athlete of this era. Jenn Stuzcynski's clearance of 4.92 is putting some pressur eon Isinbayeva, but both athletes are at differenct parts of their careers. We will look forward to a battle royale over the pole vault, coming soon!

Wariner's slight win over Merritt should give Wariner some confidence. But the races in this event through Beijing should be fascinating!

On the seventh day of the Trials, I finally got a few words with Josh Rowe, Federation manager for Nike. Josh was the guy who figured out how hard it was to make the US Track team for the Olympic Games. It had always been my feeling that this was true, that a US distance runner had a better chance, to paraphrase, for playing base for Ted Nugent than making one of 26 positions in US Olympic distances!

This piece, or a variation will appear in some of the title published in the Running Nework and Shooting Star Media, Inc. I focused on highlights and am trying to put the ten days in Eugene into perspective. A wonderful time, now back to reality and washing by basement out this weekend, if the rain stops....

While Allyson Felix did not make the 100 meter team, her convincing win at 200 meters should open some coaches' eyes on the relay team decisions. Her win in Rome at the 400 distance should open some eyes.

The race of the night was the Wariner vs . Merritt affair. Wariner won this round! On the world record front, Yelena Isinbayeva, our fourth poster for adidas athlete, broke the world record and moved it to 5.03m !

The Running Network's Paul McMullen and Larry recap 100 & 110 hurdles, 200, and 1500 finals. Larry and Paul each reveals his own favorite moment during the eight days of trials.

Brad Walker set the American record of 6.04 m on June 8 at the Nike Prefontaine. At the U.S. Olympic Trials, in swirling winds, Brad made the team, taking third. The key at the Trials was making the team.

Breaux Greer, the enfant terribleof the U.S. javelin, hurt his rotator this spring trying out for American gladiators. He threw 220 feet in the US Trials, and did not make the final. Yet the American record holder, may get a chance to throw in Beijing. Read on....

The Running Network's Larry Eder and Paul McMullen recap exciting distances races with Abdi Abdirahman, Galen Rupp, Jorge Torres in the 10,000, Kara Goucher, Jenn Rhines, Shalane Flanagan in the 5000 final as well as men's and women's 1500 semifinals.

Drug testing does catch most of the cheaters. However, with gene doping (some say it is being done now), and the seven drug cocktail mentioned by Victor Conte (check out his digital film on BBC. com), some folks are spending lots of money not to try and beat the system.

My take on the general sports fan: The sports fan got tired of professional sports when teams put winning above putting a thug with a criminal record on a team. When the pros get a positive, it is part of the white hum of scum that surrounds sports that has surrendered any dignity.

When a sports fan reads about a track athlete testing positive, they do not think, " Hey, the drug testing is working." The sports fan puts athletics, track & field on a higher plain, a simpler time, and when Olympian, which means to them, best team-or track and field is sullied, then the Olympic movement is sullied.

This track and field marketing folks have still not figured that out. In Eugene,the festive manner, the great level of performance, all added to the success of the event, and the success of the U.S. Olympic Track team. Here is the big question-how do they build on it in July 2008?

Returning from Eugene, Oregon

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The eighth day of the U.S. Olympic Trials was amazing. Ending with an American best in the pole vault. Watching Bernard Lagat's son, cavorting with his mother at the back of the interview tent. Getting a few minutes with Bernard to congratulate him. Listening to Lopez Lomong speak about the Sudan, and what he has gone through, made this grown man tear up. Thanking Jenn Stuczynski for clearing the 4.60m ( she is on our Coaching Athletics cover). I did not want it to end....

Yulia Pechonkina, the world record holder at 400 meter hurdles, has heart problems and will be unable to qualify for the Russian team....

The last day of the U.S. Olympic Trials has been crazy! Lo Lo Jones hurdled a fine 12.45 in the semi finals ( a personal best), with some of the finest hurdling that I have ever seen. Then, two great 200 meters, where Allyson Felix and Muna Lee go head to head, with Felix for the win and Marshevet Hooker leaping at the finish, getting her torso over the line before Lauryn Williams! Walter Dix did his thing, taking the 200 meters when all eyes were on Shawn Crawford and a surging Wallace Spearmon.

No one could beat Shannon Rowbury, who showed poise and a nifty 61 last lap to take the womens' 1,500 meters with Erin Donahue and Christin Wurth Thomas following. Gabe Jennings tried to take the 1,500 meters, but his two flat 800 played into the hands of the kickers. Bernard Lagat, who tole ATF after the race that he was quite relaxed, took the race with Leonel Manzano and Lopez Lomong taking two and three. Kudos to William Leer of OTC who took fourth, catching a tired Alan Webb at the line.

The hurdle finals showed a tough David Oliver catching Terrance Trammell for the win and Lo Lo Jones, hurdling a remarkable race, hitting 12.29, wind aided for the best all time run by an American!

Finally, Jenn Stuczynski, who misses twice at her opening height of 4.60, then clears both 4.65 and 4.73 on her first and takes two to clear 4.92, a new American record of 16 feet, 1 1/4 inches.

While all of this was going on and Walter Davis lost his triple jump trip to Beijing on the last jump of the competition! This was the Hardest Team to Make, and it was also, with 170,000 plus fans over the eight days, a major success!

And to think, track & field was going on around the world!

Just before the final day of track & field, Vinn Lananna and Greg Erwin, the co chairs of Eugene 2008, held a press conference. Vinn challenged the sport to take this momentum and suggested a Summer tour, similar to the European tour in the US! He also said that they would find ways to improve on 2008 for 2012.
Each day of the Trials has provided some of those oohs and ahhs. Today has been quite the same with a sunny, windy day, pretty good for sprints, difficult for the pole vault...

As we were posting the Global news from Alfons, Lo Lo Jones ran 12.45 over the 100m hurdles-the fastest time in the world this year and a new Hayward Field record! That was in the second semi final today!

It is 1:30 PM local time, and this writer is a) looking forward to the final session and b)dreading the end of the Olympic Trials. Here is why....

The only film shown on the entire US Olympic Trials in the past ten days on ESPN was Tyson Gay's dnf in the 200 meter round two. Seven times in an hour. So, for inquiring minds, here is the official statement from Mark Wetmore, the manager of Tyson Gay (Global Athletics & Marketing) :

Update on Tyson Gay from his manager:

Tyson Gay underwent an MRI late Saturday afternoon at Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eugene. The MRI showed a mild strain in the semitendinosus muscle. He is expected to engage in "active rest" for up to 12-14 days, with light physical activity increasing through that period, and then resume training. Tyson's only confirmed pre-Olympic competition is the 100 meters at the Aviva London Grand Prix on July 25, and that is still on the schedule.

That note was released through USATF at 9:53 AM local time in Eugene, Oregon. Tyson Gay went down about 60 meters from his start, when he felt the strain.

This has obviously changed the complexion of the 200 meters. Run Blog Run now picks
Wallace Spearmon, Walter Dix, Shawn Crawford in the 200 meters. Women's 200 should be Allyson Felix, Muna Lee and third is way open. I am not even trying on the men's 1,500 meters.

The genesis of this race started two years ago, in Indianapolis. In the men's 10,000 meters, Jorge Torres did not have a mark for the 10,000 meters. John Chaplin saw fit to allow Torres into the meet, giving his previous racing experience and his level of fitness. In that race, Jorge Torres followed Abdi Abdirhaman, with Dathan Ritzenhein on his back, and won the race, his first national track title.

In 2007, Abdi reversed the results, taking the 10,000 meter title, with Jorge taking fourth. In November of 2008, after leading much of the early way in the Men's Olympic Trials marathon, Abdi had to drop out around fifteen miles.

The 10,000 meters tonight, after the 10,000 Abdi ran two weeks ago, was to be his race of redemption. Abdi wanted to make the team, he had been training hard. But, so had a few others, Galen Rupp, Jorge Torres, Ed Moran, Adam Goucher, were all there. So, just how would they fare?

The Running Network's Larry Eder and Paul McMullen review the controversial entry of Adam Goucher in the 10,000 and preview the men's 10,000m race.

The Running Network's Larry Eder and Paul McMullen recap Anna Willard's American Record in the steeplechase, LaShawn Merritt's defeat of Jeremy Wariner in the 400, Sanya Richard's blazing victory in the 400, the qualifying round of the women's pole vault and Alan Webb's performance in the 1500 quarterfinal.

Anthony Famiglietti, the wild beast of the steeplechase, won the U.S. Trials in a modest 8:20.44, taking the race from start to finish. Fam is capable of a 8:10 or better this year. Bill Nelson is the new find here as Fam lead all three, including Josh McAdams under the Olympic A.

In Kenyan Trials news, Kipsiele Koech and David Rudisha are out of the steeple and 800 meters. Miles of Trials and Trials of Miles...

Anthony Famiglietti proved all of the naysayers wrong. Talented athletes, short term attention span theater. Fam is a painted (check out the website), writer, and world class middle distance runner. Last year, Fam ran a 27:37 for 10,000 meters, and then, for most of the rest of the season, he did not do well. In the US Champs last year, Fam did not make the steeple team for Osaka, an event that he had the top mark in the US for. That was last year, not this year......

Tyson Gay, running in the second round of the 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic T&F Trials in Eugene, Oregon, did not finish his heat. After being examined by the medical staff, it was determined that Tyson Gay had a severe hamstring cramp and should fully recover.

Tyson has already won the 100 meters and should be considered as part of the 4 x 100 meter relay for Beijing.

At a bit after 12 noon, Tyson Gay seized up just a few meters out of the blocks, and did not finish the second round of the mens' 200 meters. At this time, we have no idea what the level of injury Tyson has had. He looked to be in obvious pain. We hope that it is merely a cramp, but with his dnf in the 200 meters, Mr. Bolt's decisions about a double in Beijing has become alot easier.

Just another note, Mr. Bolt and Mr. Powell look to be duking it out on July 22, 2008 in Stockholm. The 100 meter duel between Mr. Gay and Mr. Powell, scheduled for London Grand Prix may be in doubt.

He was able to get up on his own, so we are hoping it is a hamstring cramp! Updates as soon as we can!

Allen Johnson, 1996 gold medalist from Atlanta, 1995 World Champion, 1997 World Champion, 2001 World Champion, 2003 World Champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, plus one of the most popular track and field athletes of his generation, did not finish his first round in the men's 110 meter hurdles. Allen, at the ripe old age of 36, went down after the third hurdle and did not finish. With an Aircast brace on his lower leg, Allen was playing with fire just competing. My guess is that this will be our
hurdle deities last appearance at an Olympic Trials.

As I am sucking down my first caffeine of the day on Saturday, July 5. I was updating our global news, when I got a call to head down to the trackside. I was just watching the first 200 heats when Tyson Gay, the fastest 100 meter runner in the world, went down in his heat. He was taken out by EMTs on a chair. We have no idea how hurt Tyson is, and will update as soon as we are updated.

What a night of track & field! When I did not think it could get any better, we have distance geek heaven-rounds of 1,500 meters, 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter final, hammer final and high jump final? And then, the one and only Ian Stewart preceeds the 10,000 meter introduction, speaking about racing against Pre?
Afterwards the Villard Street gathering was superb. Steve Jones, Alberto Salazar, Jenn Rhines, Terrance Mahon, Jorge Torres, Galen Rupp all joined the festivities.

Saucony had sponsored the Friday night party, so even Fred Doyle came out of the woodwork.

Happy Fourth of July to all! This was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. My grandfather, a police office in St. Louis, loved it and would put flares around the yard at night and we watched fireworks! I will be celebrating the fourth next weekend upon my return to Fort Atkinson. But enjoy the day with your loved ones!

It is mid morning in Eugene, Oregon and the fans are still talking about the great racing last night. The newest star, Anna Willard, set the American record in the steeplechase last night. This last spring, she ran a 4:12 1,500 meters relay leg, a sub 2:04 800 meters and a sub 54 on the 4 x 100 meters. Finally! An American who has leg speed in the steeplechase! If Willard can get into 9:15-9:20, which seems quite likely, she can be a world player. She needs to get that 1,500 meters down under 4:05 ( preferably 4:00) and her 800 meters down a bit. But Anna ran the race with consumate skill and grace. Making the move with 500 meters to go and just extending it, she stayed out of trouble and is on the road to Beijing!

Oh, watch for three Running Network/ Michigan Runner programs today! Our producer, Jenn McCafferty, is hard at work cleaning up the files and posting them! We hope you have as much fun watching them as we do prognosticating!

Day five of the U.S. Olympic Trials lived up to the hype. Great four hundred battles, huge 1,500 meter rounds, steeple rounds, and then an AR in the women's steeplechase! The Villard Street Pub, the unofficial party central in Eugene, Oregon, (the campaign center for Mr. Green, soon to be announced as Barak Obama's running partner). The Pub was filled with coaches, athletes, fans, talking track until the closing hours, as the minions left to head to the dorms and hotels around Eugene, talking about one great night of track and field.....

In an huge increase over testing in Sydney, the folks at WADA, and the IOC are increasing the testing by 90 percent over Sydney levels, with 4,500 planned tests. These tests will be in camp, in the village, virtually anywhere they want to do them. They are also noting that if said athlete test positive during Olympics or from July 1, 2008 on, said athlete will not be going to London 2012.

We applaud the testing. We also applaud European meets and agents in agreeing to a) not allow athletes with a 2 year ban to compete and b) not represent athletes with two year ban. We are hearing positive signs from various shoe companies about supporting such measures and would be the first to applaud that support.

The key is that we need to focus testing on out of competition and focus on the high level cheating-anyone caught in a championship event is a complete and total idiot. But, it does happen.

I still contend that IOC, WADA and USADA catch about 90 percent of the cheaters. The final ten percent are what pollute our sport because they have made all great peformances questionable.


This is where your favorite writer, who has just found an iced americano, spends a few minutes on the behind the scenes happenings at the trials.....

Second day of break at Trials in Eugene, Oregon and all starts again tomorrow. Nice comments by Bill Roe, President of USATF on the state of sport. Bill is a good man and loves the sport. Eugene 2008 is a huge success and it should be model for all national championships and Oly Trials in future. It could be duplicated in other areas of country with support and leadership.

Credit needs to go to the right people. Dave Taylor, former Nike executive and Duck cross country and track athlete, is a fine example. For past two years, this man has spent several evenings and days each week, as Chief of Stuff, insuring that the Olympic Trials would be the event that they are-a true celebration of the athlete and a meeting place for fan, athlete and sport. Vinn Lananna and Mike Reilly, who took the US champs to a new level at Stanford 2001-2003, should not be overlooked, as they have made this a priority. Actually, they have run it like a business-which is something our sport has been remiss in this country. Nike, especially John Capriotti's group, has put time and effort here and it shows. And the advertising messaging is totally dialed in, actually, in my mind, the best that has come out of anywhere in years.

It is a Eugene lovefest, and this is not negative, just a fact. What needs to happen in upcoming years, is that the local businesses in town feel the economic benefit from the event. Coaches clinics have been quite successful and the folks at Niketown and Eugene Running Store have done super things to promote the event, the sport and make the ten days in Eugene that much more memorable.

I have not seen any TV on the Trials. I have heard that it it good, but I do think that NBC has blown it by not offering ESPN and 2 teasers each night of highlights. That is just wrong.

There are huge stories, real human drama in this event. A keen eyed producer could see that, from Nicole Teter, and her 40 days of training to the Madison gang and their bonds and moving from the Midwest to Portland.

The Running Network's Larry Eder and Paul McMullen recap a day of stunning distances races in the men's 800 (Nick Symmonds, Andrew Wheating, Christian Smith), the men's 5,000 (Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegenkamp, Ian Dobson), & women's 800 (Hazel Clark, Alice Schmidt, Nicole Teter). They also review the conclusion of the decathlon (Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee, Tom Pappas) and preview the men's 400 (Jeremy Wariner, LaShawn Merritt).

The U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon have had four amazing days of track & field. Every night, when I catch up with my friends, someone asks, " What was your favorite moment?"

So many moments each day to celebrate, remember, consider once again, so for the sake of my short term memory, and your satisfaction, here are a few of my favorite moments of the past twenty-four hours:

Seriously, folks, I was walking back from the stadium on Monday afternoon and sitting over the bus stop, just by Agate and fifteenth street was Jimi Hendrix. Well, the guy looked like Hendrix, fiftyish, the stylish flamenco type outfit and droopy hat, with Afro that our favorite guitarist wore at Monterrey Pop. Anyhow, I asked him what he was doing, if he had any message to his fans, his people.

He told me that he had come to see the Trials and the 800 meters would be "righteous".He also told me that he really thought that Barack Obama needed a person of the people for his running mate. When I asked him who that should be, he looked at me, smiled, and then a knowing laugh appeared as he muttered the words, " Mr. Green is my man...." Then, he quietly disappeared into the crowded Track Town Festival.

Was it a coincidence? I think not, dear readers. As we all know, Mr. Green is residing at the Villard Street Pub most nights. Last evening many of the sports finest coaches, sports agents, and athletes were found at the environs, exchanging banter on the greatest 800 meter race EVER, the race of the trials. I myself, first telling Nick Symmonds that I was not a stalker, did tell him that I worship him. But, hey, all in a good day in Eugene, Oregon.

Make sure you visit the Villard Street Pub. You can sample many of the fine Oregon Micro Beers and Wines, check out PCS apparel, adidas footwear, Running Network publications, Saucony footwear, or just hang out with friends. For the gourmand, I might suggest the blue cheese sliders, fish and chips, or perhaps the hummus plate.

Remember, the Hootie Race is coming up!

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