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?
EME NEWS (JULY 25, 2008) OLYMPICS TEAM SPECIAL
BULGARIA: Women sprinters
SOFIA: Bulgaria is sending 16 athletes, but this time without a clear medal hope, but many possibilities for finals. Interesting to follow former world junior champion sprinter Tezdzhan Naimova (11.04 PB) who did not compete since first half of June. Good position could be on stake for 1500 m runner Daniela Yordanova.
100/200: Gunev; PV: Bukhalov, Efremov; LJ: Atanasov; TJ: Karailiev; SP: Ivanov, JT: Neshev; W 100: Naimova; 100/200: Eftimova, Lalova; 1500: Yordanova; 3000SC: Shalamanova; 400H: Kirilova; TJ: Dodova; DT: Getova; JT: Karapetrova.
IRELAND: Improved walkers
DUBLIN: The same number will travel to China also from Ireland. In total 16 athletes will travel with Alistair Cragg still to decide about the events. Great improvements at national championships for walkers at shorter distances.
The team: 100/200: Hession; 400: Gillick; 800: Chamney; 1500/5000/10,000: Cragg; Mar: Fagan; 20kW: Heffernan, Costin; 50kW: Griffin; W 400: Cuddihy; Mar: Curley; 3000SC: McGettigan, Britton; 100H: O'Rourke; 400H: Carey; HT: O'Keeffe; 20kW: P Loughnane.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Sebrle and Spotakova the biggest hopes, Svoboda ready for surprise
PRAHA: 17 men and 12 women is the 29 total strength of Czech Team headed by Olympic winner Roman Sebrle. He had recently good training and is still planning warm-up competitions at home and in Wattenscheid, Germany on Aug 1.
Other big medal hope is the javelin world champion Barbora Spotakova. Interestingly leading the European lists of the year is the hurdler Petr Svoboda.
The team: 100 m: Lukas Milo, 200 m: Jiri Vojtik, 400 m: Rudolf Gotz, 800 m: Jakub Holusa, 110mH: Petr Svoboda, Stanislav Sajdok, HJ: Jaroslav Baba, Tomas Janku, PV: Jan Kudlicka, Stepan Janacek, LJ: Roman Novotny, SP: Petr Stehlik, DT: Jan Marcell, HT: Lukas Melich, JT: Vitezslav Vesely, dec: Roman Sebrle, 50 km w: Roman Bilek
100mH: Lucie Skrobakova, 400mH: Zuzana Hejnova, HJ: Iva Strakova, Romana Dubnova, P: Katerina Badurova, TJ: Martina Sestakova, DT: Vera Cechlova, HT: Lenka Ledvinova, JT: Barbora Spotakova, JT: Jarmila Klimesova, hep: Denisa Scerbova, 20 km w: Zuzana Schindlerova
ITALY: 49 names and 2 title defenders
ROMA: Italy sends 49 athletes (27 men and 22 women). In number an increase in Athens there were 37 athletes. The headliners are Olympic title defenders Ivano Brugnetii and Stefano Baldini. Also European long jump champion Andrew Howe who was not competing after European Cup due to injury.
100, 4x100 m: Fabio Cerutti, Simone Collio, 400 m: Claudio Licciardello, 1500 m: Christian Obrist, 3000st: Matteo Villani, HJ: Andrea Bettinelli, Filippo Campioli, Alessandro Talotti, PV:Giuseppe Gibilisco, LJ: Andrew Howe, TJ: Fabrizio Donato, DT: Hannes Kirchler, HT: Marco Lingua, Nicola Vizzoni, 20 km walk: Ivano Brugnetti, Giorgio Rubino, Jean Jacques Nkouloukidi, 50 km walk: Diego Cafagna, Marco De Luca, Alex Schwazer, 4x100 m: Emanuele Di Gregorio, Jacques Riparelli, Massimiliano Donati, Maurizio Checcucci, marathon: Ottavio Andriani, Stefano Baldini, Ruggero Pertile
100, 4x100: Anita Pistone, 200, 4x100: Vincenza Calì, 400 m: Libania Grenot, 800 m: Elisa Cusma, 5000 m: Silvia Weissteiner, 100 mH:Micol Cattaneo, 3000mSC: Elena Romagnolo, HJ: Antonietta Di Martino, TJ: Magdelin Martinez, SP: Assunta Legnante, Chiara Rosa, HT: Clarissa Claretti, Silvia Salis, JT: Zahra Bani, marathon: Bruna Genovese, Anna Incerti, Vincenza Sicari, 20 km walk: Elisa Rigaudo, 4x100 m: Audrey Alloh, Giulia Arcioni, Manuela Grillo, Martina Giovanetti
SAN MARINO: The 400 m runner Ivano Bucci (PB 48.07) will be the only representative of San Marino in Beijing.
LIECHTENSTEIN: Another small country sole athlete in China will be marathon runner Marcel Tschopp (2:24:11 this year in Zurich).
MACEDONIA: Triple jumper Retsep Selman (NR 15.46) and sprinter Ivana Rozhman (12.45 PB) are the two athletes from Macedonia traveling to China.
MONACO: Sprinter Sebastien Gattuso (37) will be the only representative of the country where IAAF is based. He improved this year the NR to 10.53.
NORWAY: Thorkildsen, Saidy, walkers
OSLO: The reigning Olympic winner in javelin throw Andreas Thorkildsen is the main name in Norway´s team for Beijing which consists of 9 names. Sprinter Jaisuma Saidy Ndure is for 100 m and 200 m a candidate for finals. Strong is the walking representation with 2000 olympic medalist Kjersti Tysse-Plätzer, her brother Erik Tysse aims for both walks (20 km and 50 km) and Trond Nymark for 50 km. Also in the team four other women: hurdler Christina Vukicevic, heptathlete Ida Marcussen, sprinter Ezinne Okparaebo, marathon runner Kirsten Melkevik Otterbu.
POLAND: All four relays
WARSZAWA: Poland sends a huge 68 members team also because all four relays are qualified. The medal hopes mainly Monika Pyrek in Pole Vault, Anna Jesien at 400 m Hurdles and Kamila Skolimowska in hammer. Surprise could come from heptathletes.
100 m, 4x100 m: Daria Korczynska, 200, 4x100 m: Marta Jeschke, 4x100 m: Ewelina Klocek, Joanna Kocielnik, Dorota Jedrusinska, 400 m, 4x100, 4x400: Monika Bejnar, 4x400 m: Grazyna Prokopek-Janacek, Jolanta Wojcik, Izabela Kostruba, Agniezska Karpiesiuk, 800 m: Anna Rostkowska, 1500 m: Sylwia Ejdys, Anna Jakubczak-Pawelec, marathon: Dorota Gruca, Monika Drybulska, 3000mSC: Wioletta Frankiewicz-Janowska, Katarzyna Kowalska, 100 mH: Aurelia Kollasch, 400mH: Anna Jesien, PV: Monika Pyrek, Anna Rogowska, Joanna Piwowarska, SP: Krystyna Zabawska, DT: Joanna Wisniewska, Wioletta Potepa, Zaneta Glanc, HT: Kamila Skolimowska, Anita Wlodarczyk, Malgorzata Zadura, JT: Urszula Piwnicka, Barbara Madejczyk, hep. Kamila Chudzik, Karolina Tyminska, 20 kmw: Sylwia Korzeniowska
100 m, 4x100 m: Dariusz Kuc, 200 m, 4x100 m: Marcin Jedrusinski, 4x100 m: Marcin Nowak, Robert Kubaczyk, Lukasz Chyla, Kamil Masztak, 400 m, 4x400 m: Daniel Dabrowski, 4x400 m: Piotr Klimczak, Rafal Wieruszewski, Piotr Kedzia, Piotr Wiaderek, Kacper Kozlowski, 800 m. Pawel Czapiewski, Marcin Lewandowski, marathon: Henryk Szost, Arkadiusz Sowa, 3000mSC: Tomasz Szymkowiak,110mH: Artur Noga, 400mH: Marek Plawgo, HJ: Michal Bieniek, LJ: Marcin Starzak, SP: Tomasz Majewski, DT: Piotr Malachowski, HT: Szymon Ziolkowski, JT: Igor Janik, 20 km w: Rafal Augustyn,Jakub Jelonek, 50 km w: Grzegorz Sudol, Rafal Fedaczynski, Artur Brzozowski
HUNGARY: Pars the medal hope
BUDAPEST: Hungary is sending 20 athletes including former discus European champion Robert Fazekas in discus who had the well-known doping problems at last Olympic Games. Zoltan Czukor as 46 years will be one of the oldest competitors in athletics. Hammer thrower Krisztian Pars is the medal hope.
110mH: Daniel Kiss, 50 km walk: Zoltán Czukor, dec: Attila Zsivoczky, SP: Lajos Kurthy, DT: Gabor Mate, Zoltan Kovago, Robert Fazekas, HT: Krisztian Pars, JT: Csongor Oltean
400 m: Barbara Petrahn, 5000 m: Krisztina Papp, 10 000 m: Aniko Kalovics, marathon: Bea Rakonczai, Petra Teveli, 100mH: Edit Vari, 20 km w: Edina Fusti, PV: Krisztina Molnar, HT: Eva Orban, JT: Nikolett Szabo, hep: Gyorgyi Farkas
CYPRUS: High jump hope
NICOSIA: Last years world medalist Kyriacos Ioannou is also the hope for Cyprus for the Olympic Games. In total there are 7 athletes.
400m Hurdles: Minas Alozides
High Jump: Kyriakos Ioannou
200m: Eleni Artymata
400m: Alissa Kallinicou
Pole vault: Anna Fitidou
Hammer throw: Paraskevi Theodorou
Javelin throw: Alexandra Tsisiou
Remarks by Thomas Konstas: Minas Alozides has officially obtained Cypriot citizenship and that his 49.21, achieved on June 14, 2008 in the Greek Championships, was accepted as a new national record in the 400m hurdles, breaking thus the very old mark by Stavros Tziortzis, dating from the 1972 Munich Olympic Games (49.66, September 2, 1972). However, his participation in Beijing will be subject to approval by the IAAF congress, to be held in early August. The last time Alozides competed for Greece was in the 400m hurdles final of the European Championships in Göteborg on August 10, 2006. This means that at the time of his event in Beijing, more than two years will have elapsed since representing Greece. On the other hand, hammer thrower Paraskevi Theodorou achieved the Olympic B-standard by breaking twice the national Cypriot record on July 16 in Larnaca, competing as guest in the Cyprus Youth (U/18) Championships, first with 67.20 and then again with 68.05. The previous record was 65.04 by Elena Teloni from 2003.
SWEDEN: Stars like Holm, Kallur and Kluft
STOCKHOLM: Swedish teams consists of 12 athletes which are all of high quality. Stefan Holm in High jump wants to defend his title from 2004. Susanna Kallur is the hope at 100 m Hurdles and Carolina Kluft changed from heptathlon to Long Jump only.
The team - men: Johan Wissman (400m), Mustafa Mohamed (3000m SC), Stefan Holm (HJ), Linus Thörnblad (HJ), Alhaji Jeng (PV), Jesper Fritz (PV), Niklas Arrhenius (DT), Magnus Arvidsson (JT), women: Susanna Kallur (100m H), Emma Green (HJ), Carolina Klüft (LJ), Anna Söderberg (DT).
Note: Swedish Olympic Committee did not select three healthy athletes (Robert Kronberg, Jessica Samuelsson and Nicklas Wiberg) that have surpassed the A-standard this summer in international competitions.
Used with permission of EME News, pubisher Alfons Juck.