Recently in Track & Field Category

Ekaterina Stefanidi won the silver medal in 2014 European Champs, 
photo courtesy of AZsportsimages

Ekaterina Stefanidi competed in the street pole vault at the adidas Grand Prix. It was a watershed moment, as she cleared 4.50 meters for the first time! In medical school, Ekaterina told me at that event that she would train this summer and head to the European Championships in Zurich.  

Her performance in Zurich at the European Championships showed that Ekaterina Stefanidi was Greece's premier pole vaulter as well. Her silver medal in a tough competition showed that 2014 was a superb year for the Stanford graduate, now in graduate school at Arizona State.  

At the Monaco DL, Ekaterina Stefanidi tied the Greek NR with her clearance of 4.71 meters. A month later, she was the European silver medalist! 

A busy summer of pole vaulting, and now as she looks forward to 2014, Ekaterina Stefanidi now has a contract with Nike. 
ASBA is the organization that you need to know about if you are considering building a track or athletic facility. I have visited their convention for the past decade, and am impressed with their concern for building high quality sports facilities. 

We asked Jeff Benjamin, a long-time contributor to American Track & Field and RunBlogRun, to review the magnum opus of our sport, Athletics-A History of Modern Track and Field Athletics by Roberto L. Quertecani.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, photo by

French plans for indoor 2015

PARIS (FRA): L´Équipe informs about French top athletes and their indoor plans for 2015. On the positive side are pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie, hurdlers Pascal Martinot-Lagarde and Cindy Billaud, long jump European champion Eloyse Lesueur, all ready fight for gold in the Prague O2 Arena in March. Favorite of triple jump will be Benjamin Compaore and surprisingly also planning for Euroi ndoors is the 800m record holder Pierre-Ambroise Bosse along with decathlon European medalist Kevin Mayer. Not thinking about competing in the coming indoor season are both sprinters Jimmy Vicaut (the title defender from Goteborg) and Christophe Lemaitre. Triple jumper Teddy Tamgho will be still banned early March. Female French fastest Myriam Soumare is also not having indoor in her plans. Steeple star and European 1500 m champion Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is thinking about some races indoors but not the championships, under questionmark is also another European medalist Yoann Kowal. 

(Editor's comment: Mais oui, I am going to watch a couple of indoor track meets in France this winter. Which ones, dear readers, should I be attending?)

Oscar Pistorius, Daegu 2011, photo by

Pistorius sentenced
PRETORIA (RSA): South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has received a prison sentence of 5 years for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, inform AP and AFP. Judge Thokozile Masipa also sentenced Pistorius to three years in prison for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant. She ordered that this sentence be wholly suspended. Pistorius could be released after 10 months in jail to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest. However he will not be allowed to compete in IPC events until the 5 years are completed. National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said that the prosecution had not yet decided whether they would appeal, saying, "We have 14 days to consider the law and we will (need to) be sure that the facts and law will allow us to appeal." Pistorius' sentence starts immediately.

(Editor's note: Everything about this drama, followed by millions around the world, is tragic. Oscar Pistorius was an amazingly touching story: a young man, without lower limbs, who could run like the wind. The celebrity pictures of Oscar and his late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, added to the story. 

Now that Mr. Pistorius has been sentenced, the coverage will hopefully lessen and the Steenkamps can hopefully find some peace. Mr. Pistorius may be the one still alive, but his life as a world class athlete, and Olympic hero,  is over.)

Crystal Palace, photo courtesy of

CSM's Response to the Status and Future of Crystal Palace Stadium
by Jeff Benjamin
In response to the questions and outcry surrounding what is happening with the Crystal Palace Stadium, A CSM Spokeswoman has issued the following statement ;
"CHIME SPORTS MARKETING Strategy were appointed by the Greater London Authority to manage the public consultation process for Crystal Palace but have been working with the GLA to ensure a number of options to retain the athletic track are on the table, and they are keen to ensure the widest and fullest consultation on the possible future of Crystal Palace is undertaken.
 The public consultation process is ongoing at the moment.
After four years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the USATF Indoor will return to the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, MA. 

The Reggie Lewis Center is one of the pre-eminent indoor facilities in the US, with over 120 indoor track events each year. The largest and finest is the New Balance Indoor GP. 

We look forward to seeing the US Champs back on the East Coast! 

Mary Cain, USA Indoors 2014, photo by
Deena Kastor, RNR Philly Half Marathon, photo by

Deena Kastor ran an amazing performance in the RNR Philly Half Marathon last month, pleasantly surprising many with her amazing level of fitness. 

Deena Kastor has seen the sport as a high schooler, college runner, emerging elite, Olympic medalist and as one of the most articulate spokespeople for the sport. 

David Hunter reached out to Deena Kastor as she prepares for the TCS New York City Marathon. We hope you enjoy reading this piece as much as we have. 

Evan Jager, photo by

Evan Jager was is a natural at the steeplechase. He is fast, flexible and fearless. When Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert moved Evan to the steeplechase less than three years ago, they were pleasantly surprised just how fast Jager took to the barrier race. 

Few Americans have mastered this event: Horace Ashenfelter, George Young, Henry Marsh, Brian Diemer, Mark Croghan, to name a few. 

This year, Evan Jager broke his own AR with his 8:04.71 at the Ivo Van Damme Memorial. He then, ran the best race of his career, in our humble belief, battling Jairus Barich to the final steps at the last event of the year, the Continental Cup. 

For his AR, his portfolio of races and his Continental Cup, RunBlogRun names Evan Jager as our RunBlogRun American Athlete for the month of September! 

Great season, Evan! 

Special thanks to The Shoe Addicts for producing the video for RunBlogRun. 
Renaud Lavillenie, photo by

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Dafne Schippers, photo by

The European Athletes of the Year are given out right after the season ends. I like that. Nicely done ceremony as well, and congrats to Renaud Lavillenie and Dafne Schippers for their European Athletes of the Year awards! 

Lavillenie and Schippers
BAKU (AZE):  French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and sprinter Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands were named European Athletes of the Year at the Golden Tracks awards ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday evening. Great Britain's 200 m European Champion Adam Gemili and Russia's high jumper Mariya Kuchina claimed the European Athletics Rising Star awards. With the Golden Tracks being shown live on television and streamed live across the world, all four athletes were present to collect their trophies in a glittering ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in the iconic Flame Towers accompanied by the Orient Express band live music. Lavillenie, Kuchina and Schippers plan to compete indoors next year, but Gemili for the moment no. Azerbaijan public television channel iTV produced a 45-minute programme that was made available live to European Broadcasting Union members, with the programme also being broadcast on national television later that evening. In the men ranking second Bohdan Bondarenko and third Mo Farah, in women ranking second Anita Wlodarczyk and third Ruth Beitia. In the Rising Star ranking among men second Polish shot putter Konrad Bukowiecki and third French hurdler Wilhelm Belocian. In the women ranking second Swiss pole vaulter Angelica Moser and third Czech walking World junior champion Anezka Drahotova. Also presented to Briton Scott Grace the European Athletics Innovation Award (20 000 CHF) for his programme to retain and develop young athletes called "Athletics 365". In total 57 coaches are awarded representing 31 federations, among them directly in Baku from Turkey Zeynep Batar for her coaching work in junior category and Maharram Sultanadze, the head coach of Azerbaijan federation.

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