September 2008 Archives

The thirty first running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will feature a new title sponsor, a new footwear sponsor and many improvements. Last year was a battleground for the marathon management. The heat and humidity conspired against the race, and the challenges with preparing for such a war zone.

Self examination of one self is a tough situation, self examination of an event known for catering to 45,000 runners is another. After reading the press release below it is obvious that the management, from Carey Pinkowski and Mike Nishi on down, have developed the contingencies needed to deal with hot weather, cold weather, strange weather.

I have told the story many times, of coming back from dinner late the night before the race and seeing Carey Pinkowski checking the course. Most race directors do not sleep the night before, or very little. There is the famous picture of the late Fred Lebow and Alan Steinfeld checking the painting of the long blue line that marks the
New York marathon course. Race Directors are dreamers, they are perfectionists, and they want to make each race a little better than the one before...

What is significant about the race is that the new title sponsor, Bank of America, took over from La Salle. LSB was a very good title sponsor and helped grow the sport. Bank of America, and rightly so, is trying to put its imprematur on the race, with its theme of 29 neighborhoods, one world class race.

The new footwear sponsor, Nike, took over from New Balance. With Nike's experience in events, from Nike women's marathon to the Human Race, it will be interesting to see how Nike manages their new responsibilities.

Marathons are big business. From the 45,000 application fees, to the shoes sold at the expo, to the hotel rooms, miles of pasta and sight seeing that goes out, the city of Chicago, as does the city of New York and any other major city event, gain huge benefits from a major city marathon.

Even with the stock market searching out record lows, and the economy scaring most people, running should continue to thrive. My reasoning, after discussions with numerous running stores, races, event directors, is that running and walking are one of the few things in our life that we can still control. A pair of $150 shoes, a pair of $40 shorts, and even a pair of $30 socks pails in comparison to the cost of anti depressants or a nice white room, with perhaps, a straight jacket.

Running and walking allow us to do more than exercise, it is a time to reflect on the day, on your family, on your life, and on you. Training for a marathon is an experience that is good for more than one's heart, it is good for the soul. That is why, for so many, the day of the marathon is a celebration. It is a celebration of making it through the long dark nights of training, the typical aches and pains and the questions that one has-did I do enough? did I train long enough?

All of those things add up, and on the line, on October 12, 2008, 45,000 runners and walkers, all with different stories, will begin moving together across the city of Chicago. For those two plus to eight hours, they virtually own the city of Chicago, and for the thirty-first time, that is good.

Lilya Shobukhova has run the 5,000 meters in 14:23.75. She finished sixth in the Olympic 5,000 meters in a sleep and kick race. She trains with former Boston marathon winner. And now, her marathon debut is in London in 2009.....


The first man to break two hours, ten minutes was Derek Clayton, who did it in 1968 in Fukuoka, Japan. In 1969, Clayton ran 2:08:34, and in his own words, he never recovered.

Derek Clayton was my manager at Runner's World. Every once in awhile, he would let his guard down and tell us about his competitive days. It was fascinating to see a man who was so self made, both in business and athletics. He did not fancy that he had talent, he did believe that his drive was his best asset.

After considering the six foot six Australian ( via Ireland and England), for most of the past twenty six years, I consider Clayton to be one of the most driven and talented athletes of his time, parallel to the great Ron Clarke. His punishing training and his lack of a coach who he could trust was probably what did his career in. The concepts of recovery have changed much in the last thirty years, as have training shoes, racing flats and spikes and nutrition.

If one notes, however, that all of the great marathoners have had their challenges, their dark days, and their human frailty shown on global tv, then Haile Gebrselassie is like many of his predecessors. And then, he is also not like many of his predecessors. Allow me to digress.

Haile Gebreselassie has been on the world stage for fourteen years. From the time he won his first record at 5,000 meters in Hengelo in 1994 to his 2:03:59 in real,-Berlin yesterday, Haile has challenged himself, his competitors and the notion of the marathon.

Recently, we had a twenty one year old Olympic marathon winner. This is after the Olympic and World champions getting older and older. The other theory is that some runners can run for records, some can run for championships, but rarely is there one who can run for both.

Haile has had some bad days on the road to marathon deity. He dropped out of London one year, he dropped back from the lead at London one year, and it was always with that, that one said, well, Haile has to throw in the towel.

Now, Mr. G speaks about running until 2016, if he is healthy. His 10,000 meter run in Beijing was masterful. He pushed the negative split idea to its zenith--13:48, then 13:13. Afterwards, Haile chastised himself about not running the first half faster so he could have had a better chance at a medal!

The 10,000 meter speed is key to his success! He may not win medals but 26:51 does give a runner a certain amount of confidence when one needs to run 29 minute 10k's to set a record.

Where can he go from here? Mr. Butcher has a few suggestions!

Running a tough race at real,-Berlin, Irina Miktienko became the first German women to break two hours, twenty minutes in the marathon!

More Global News, by Alfons Juck


Yes, there was news besides 40,827 runners in real,-Berlin on Sunday around the
world of athletics and besides a new world marathon record!

Haile has cut the marathon world record, in less than one year, by 56 seconds! He is the first man under 2:04!

A few years ago, when Haile Gebrselassie told the sports world he was moving up to the marathon, the cognescenti of the sport said that a) he may have waited to long, b) he wonderful 10,000 meter stride would be destroyed by the pounding of the marathon and c) the marathon was a young man's game.

Well, as his sponsor's line goes, " Impossible is nothing" , and Haile Gebrselassie showed that his passion, his drive, and his athletic ability put him on a " planet far from normal men" (yes, I am quoting the old Superman series).

Haile had company until 36 kilometers, when he charged away from James Kwambai of Kenya, who set a personal best by nearly five minutes! Haile finished the final five kilometers in 14:29, all by himself, to become the first man under 2:04. In one year, Haile has cut the world record by 56 seconds!

More on this to come today and tomorrow!

Victah Sailer of PhotoRun shot these pictures for us before the real,-Berlin marathon of the little Emperor, Haile Gebreselassie....

Haile Gebrselassie, showing off his number for all to see. He has predicted a world record this year, as he did last year. This would be world record number 26, tying him with the venerable Paavo Nurmi, the original Flying Finn.

Walking expert Bob Bowman put his had in the ring for the USATF President Post. Already in the ring are Stephanie Hightower and Dee Dee Jensen. This could be a very hotly contested election in a time when huge changes are about to be placed upon our federation. The position of President becomes ever more important in such times, as the President and the CEO will either be contentious or work well together.

It was quite clear to me that, after interviewing the USOC's Peter Ueberoth and Jim Scherer in Beijing, that they were quite pleased with the selection of Doug Logan as CEO of USATF. Logan will be the person guiding the federation though the stormy waters of the huge changes that the USOC expects USATF to make in the next months.

Logan has directed one of his blogs to the high performance group at USATF, and it is obvious that he will change the structure, philosophy and focus of the Indy staff in the near future. But how much change will there be? Will it be a gradual evolution or a violent revolution?

USATF, in many ways, has brought this on itself. While there was great change over the past decade, our sport still lags behind other sports in terms of commercial viability, entertainment opportunities and financial support. USOC has perceived, albeit recently, that athletics could be a huge draw, huge money maker and that the kids need to be corralled and taught to play well or the Olympic money wagon will be less and less full.

The challenges facing the new President, whether it is Bob Bowman, Stephanie HIghtower or Dee Dee Jensen, will be huge. We need someone who not only wants the job, but who has the capabilities to grow with the job and handle the budgetary and staff challenges that will come as the sport tries to right itself.

Lots of news to catch up on from around the world of athletics.....

Sunday morning, if all goes right, we should wake up in the US to a new world men's marathon record, set at the real,-Berlin marathon by one Haile Gebrselassie. Haile took sixth in the men's Olympic 10,000 meters, and he loves this marathon course.

A truly iconic figure in our sport, the little Emperor has become a global sports figure because of his tremendous racing pedigree, but also, because he is accessible. His command of the English language is such that an interview with Haile is truly an event for the interviewer and interviewee.

My two hour interview with Haile in 2006 at the PF Chang's Half Marathon was truly a special occasion. Our friend, the late Mike Long, set it up and Haile spent time with me, talking about his track career and his marathon career. His perception and understanding of what makes him an elite athlete, and his understanding of the responsibilities of an elite athletics superstar, who makes a nice income from his competitions was complete.

" When Gebrselassie races, the sport always expects records. Not all good races give you records!" Haile told me, a bit frustrated. He say, like many of us, that his sport's focus on records, instead of competition, was not always good.

Now do not get me wrong, Haile will go ahead of Paavo Nurmi for world records and world bests by a distance runner if he sets a new record this coming weekend. The marathon is his new challenge and his fitness is quite high. This writer believes he can run 2:04:10, but I have never been one to vote against the little Emperor.

The fact is that the City of Los Angeles Marathon has been a diamond in the rough since its inception. I remember running the race in 1987 and wondering why so many people had dropped out in the first few miles. It was like no other race in the country and the level of frustration among sponsors with the first management team, Bill Burke and Marie Patrick are legendary.

Chris Devine and his team came in 2004, but, in retrospect, they seem to have been outplayed by Mr. Burke and his team. The promised changes did not happen and the marathon slinked along, hampered by the other issues that Devine Racing was facing during their tenure to change the face of race marketing. Grand ideas need money and someone who can manage the events and deliver the services. While three capable Presidents went through Devine, the events continued to be harmed.

Over the last two years, Devine Racing has been dealing with late payments to elite runners, contractors and unhappy sponsors. Their ability to complete the sail of the Los Angeles Marathon will hopefully provide Devine with the cash to clear up its bills and for the LA Marathon to become what it should be-one of the major world marathons.

It has always confused me why there are not planes of Japanese marathoners coming to LA, as happens in Honolulu. LA just could not develop that type of relationship. Perhaps under Going the Distance and Mr. Frank McCourt, who is financing the purchase, we can see the LA Marathon achieve the heights that the late Fred Lebow of the NYRR always thought it could when he began helping Bill Burke in the late eighties.

The City of LA Marathon has always had the promise to be a gem on the marathon circuit, perhaps under someone who understands business and civic pride, it can achieve what many have thought was its destiny--to be a truly world class marathon!

Why is Chris Turner, who is doing his impersonation of Nosferatu, being attacked so unmercifully? This writer suggests several answers....

As the season winds down, Yelena Isinbayeva, she of the two Olympic gold medals, and twenty four world records, will compete for the last time in 2008 in Daegu, Korea...

(Jeff Shaver is seen here piloting a super train between Kawasaki and Tokyo. His authoritarian look kept anyone from asking him questions as he boarded the train!)

Jeff Shaver is an ASICS Aggie who lives in the San Francisco Bay, but travels to China and Japan for business. Jeff is a good friend of mine who keeps me laughing at all the wrong times. We were lucky enough to meet up in Beijing and Mr. Shaver spent a couple of nights with the media viewing the Olympic track meet.

When Jeff told me that he was heading to Japan to drop his daughter off at university, we discussed his covering the Seiko meet for us. Here are his observations ( photo should be here shortly):

Wallace Spearmon showed up on crutches for a going away party for Coach McDonnell, who has retired from the University of Arkansas. Wallace has a torn meniscus, which he has dealt with all season long....

Nick Willis caught Bernard Lagat at the tape, 3:50.5 to 3:50.6, first Kiwi to win Fifth Avenue Mile since John Walker in 1984! Lisa Dobriesky edged Shannon Rowburty 4:18.6 to 4:19.2, to give Great Britian its first womens win in NY since Paula Radcliffe in 1997! 4,000 runners ran miles in the Continental Fifth Avenue Mile.

Jefferson Perez of Ecuador, the 1996 Olympic race walk gold medalist, last world champion and the 2008 silver medalist walked his last race today, in Murcia , Spain, finishing third in 1:24.35.

Stefan Holm of Sweden, one of the great jumpers of our era, competed for the last time in Vaxnashallen, Sweden, where he had started his competitive life at the ripe old age of 12, with a clearance of 1.40 meters. Saturday, he won and cleared 2.25 meters with friends and fans around. We wish him well.

Please keep Aussie distance runner David Fitzimmons, who died of non Hodgkins Lymphoma on September 7, 2008 in your thoughts and prayers. A two time Olympian-76 and 80, Fitzimmons ran 13:17 for 5,000 meters and 28:04.4 for the 10,000 meters.

The outdoor global season is winding down, and the last signifigant meets in China, India and Japan.....

While all of the excitement is about Usain Bolt and what he can do over the 100 meters and perhaps 200 meters, this thoughtful writer suggests that Mr. Bolt try the 400 meters. His size, his leg speed, his relaxed running all suggests a sub 44 opener.

Always, always have more speed than your competitor. It would be like Mr. Wariner running the 800 meters, and achieving a sub 1:41. Could be done, can be done, but the limitations that athletes still put on themselves is amazing!

If any actor in recent times has lowered the proverbial comedy playing field, it is actor Will Ferrell. Mr. Ferrell has to his credit, several years at Saturday Night Life, but also, Anchorman, Taledega Nights, among others.

Steve Hooker, the Australian vaulter, won in the Beijing pole vault shoot out in front of 91,000 track fans. On his return home, he was surprised to find that Mr. Ferrell and his co conspirator in bizarre comedies, John C. Reilly, both dressed up like Mr. Hooker to meet Steve. Apparently, Steve always wanted to meet the comedian. Be careful what you wish for....

Kerron Clement: The RBR Interview


Carolyn Feith, agent and her athlete, Kerron Clement, Beijing silver medalist, 400 meter intermediate hurdles

This interview was done after Kerron's return from Beijing. A busy man, Kerron was the silver medalist in the 400 meter hurdle sweep by the US, lead by 2000 champion Angelo Taylor. Clement is immensely talented, and is learning to race better in championship environments. In Beijing, there was no stopping Angelo Taylor, although Kerron stayed very close. In this interview, Kerron gives you, our readers a look into his professional life as an elite athlete.

What is wrong with this picture?

Picture provided by alert reader and writer, Bob Ramsak-thanks, Bob!

The Marathon Majors is a great idea. They have shown, so far, that the major events can a) work pretty well together, b) tell the story and c) provide riveting races globally. The issue is visibility. A global TV program highlighting the event, a global commemorative program highlighting the sport and most importantly, a global sponsor recognizing global marathoning as a major sport would take the marathon to a new level...the events are doing a good job, and the key is not to focus on what goals can be accomplished in the short term and what needs long term, we applaud the effort and the creativity of the World Marathon Majors and wish them every success!

The big lesson this year with Merritt and Wariner is that it is all about the head to head races--it is all about the competition! A close race gets people talking for days. As this season comes to an end, it is time to consider how we improve our sport. I welcome comments and notes and will be publishing interviews from fans, coaches, athletes, managers, critics of the sport. Our sport needs to understand what it does well and then find ways to improve the weak points....

The merry traveler of the athletics circuit, Bob Ramsak, gives us his thoughts on the World Athletics Final. I consider Bob Ramsak to live in a parallel universe to what in my day, we called dead heads, the tye died fans of the Greatful Dead. The only difference in Bob's case is that the events he follows around have guys throwing javelins and running 5,000 meters...

One of the true sportsmen of athletics, Adam Nelson and his lovely wife just announced that Caroline Grace Nelson was born September 13, 2008! Congrats to all.

Alfons Juck, publisher of EME News, gets us caught up on the global event and track celebrity front....

Kara Goucher and Kim Smith will both be debut marathoners at this years' ING New York City Marathon, to be held on November 2, 2008! Goucher, who has run 30:55 on the track and 1:06.57 for the half marathon, and Kim Smith the New Zealand record holder at 10,000 meters (30:35.4) should both do quite well at the distance. Both finished in the top ten in the Beijng 10,000 meters!

LaTasha Jenkins free to compete

CHICAGO (USA): Chicago Tribune informs that US sprinter LaTasha Jenkins is free to compete. She is the first athlete whose appeal against USADA was successful. This current case started in 2006 after she had positive test at Hechtel meet in Belgium (July 22, winning the 100 m in near PB 11.03). During this long appeal process she was provisionally suspended. She won her appeal on technical issues, her tests were not run according to WADA rules. First USADA accepted the appeal of Jenkins, but WADA had another opinion. But after all examinations WADA dropped the case at CAS. She returned to competition in 2006 after ending her career in 2003. The 30 years old athlete recently learned she will win a silver medal from Edmonton 2001 World Championships in the wake of Marion Jones case. She also has bronze from World Indoor Championships in Lisbon the same year. Her 200 m best 22.29 comes back from 1999 and 100 m 11.02 from her best year so far 2001. It is not immediately known whether she will return to competition. She was also coached by Trevor Graham who is charged of making false statements to federal investigators.

I remember September 11, 2001 as if it were yesterday. It was my birthday, numero 43, and I had taken Adam to junior high that day, and headed to my favorite bagel shop in Madison. I was picking up bagels when I saw the second plane crash into the Towers. I knew then it was a terrorist attack. I just remember being stunned.

The next moment, I made my first phone call to Victor Sailer. Victah, who does most of the track & field photos and major race photos for the Running Network publications, and someone I have known since 1986. Victah was a fireman a the time. My son Adam had known Victor since he was three, when Christine and I started American Athletics. Vic was there for us, with comments, photographs and encouragement. He is the New York cousin I never had. I knew he was stationed in the Tower area, so I was worried. Adam, for a few weeks wanted to change his name to Vic-I remember telling Victah and he had a good laugh.

I made a dozen phone calls that day to his phone, and about eleven oclock that night, I called and promised him to loose a hundred pounds if he was alive. At 11.55 that night, he called back and said that he got my message and I was now on the record. I did fulfill my promise and walked a marathon too the next year. Vic, in his inimitable style is on me now to loose my next weight class, so the support is constant. He is a great and loving friend.

Victor retired as a firemen a few months after the 9-11 disaster. I did not celebrate my birthday for several years after that, feeling foolish after all of the losses. One of my former high school classmates had an office in one of the Towers and and had pulled one of his sales staff off a toilet to get him out.

This year, as I turn the big five oh, my parents, niece and son will be with me, and I will grab a pint with some friends at the Black Hawk and perhaps go over to our other watering hole, the Velvet Lips. One turns 50 one time. My heart will be with the families who did not get to celebrate any more birthdays and who have that huge hole that a tragic loss like 9-11 brings.

The following column is about the late Vic Navarra, with an intro by Pat Butcher, and the column proper by Victor Sailer,. Those that know Mr. Sailer know that he is not one to show emotions easily. His loving tribute to Vic Navarra, one of the nicest guys in the world, needs to be savored and treasured....

Matt Tegenkamp is back to form, running a fine 7:40.90 over some tough competition, with second being Vincent Chepkop in 7:41.03 and in third, Mike Kiputo Kigen in 7:41.07. Chris Solinsky, another cheesehead, and former Badger, took seventh in a near personal best of 7:44.53!

(In this picture, Mr. Tegenkamp is shown running in the semi finals of the Beijing Olympic 5,000 meters. Matt won his semi final. He placed 13th in the final. )

Usain Bolt, the three time gold medalist from the Beijing Games and one of the most colorful athletes in our sport, returned to Jamaica on Monday, September 8, after a long season....

September 7, 2008. Berlin, Germany: Derek Miles, US pole vault champion, and fourth place in Beijing Olympic Games, set a personal best of 19 feet, 2 1/4 inches or 5.85 meters at a special

The global season has been long, and yet, Asafa Powell of Jamaica is still going strong, running 9.82 for a clear win in the 100 meters. Bernard Lagat ran 3:32.75, one of the fastest times in the world, finally seeming to get over the bug or dead legs that held him back in Beijing. Shannon Rowbury, in third in the women's mile after Jamal and Burte, ran a fine 4:20.34. Solinsky, our cheesehead on the global circuit, ran 7:47, and Chris Lukesic ran 3:38.92 for seventh in the 1,500 meters.

I have no idea how these athletes can push themselves so long. The big push of the night was to be the women's 5,000 meters. Tirunesh Dibaba ran 14:23.46, winning by nearly fifty seconds. Dibaba, the two time gold medalist in Beijing, was human, and her run, though brave, was short. Time to call this a season....

Yipsi Moreno, won in Rieti, after leading in Beijing, and coming back with her huge final throw, but having to settle for an Olympic silver medal.

Christian Cantwell, the Olympic silver medalist, defeated the Olympic gold medalist, Tomasz Majewski of Poland, the first shot put Olympic champion since 1980! Stefan Holm, who sounds as if he is ending his career, won over Olympic silver medalist Germanine Mason...two more meets in Europe, then the World Final in Stuttgart.

Pamela Jelimo burst on the scene at the Berlin ISATF meet on June 1, and has taken the 800 meters by storm, winning with her brazen 800 meter front running tactics, and making sub 1:55 800 meter runs nearly commonplace.

Her Olympic win was spectacular, especially with the conditions. It was ironic that her rise has come as Maria Mutola, who has virtually owned the 800 meters for the past decade, was entering the autumn of her long career.

The last meet of the Golden League ended with a whisper, and some rain, but not a bang. In the US, ESPN Sports Center, for the first time in seven years, showed a track race live on Sports Center ( the last was Alan Webb in USA Outdoor in 2001), with Asafa Powell, fresh off his 9.72 and Usain Bolt.

Bolt had a terrible start and Powell had a strong start. Powell got out well and kept leading through seventy meters, when Bolt burst on by, still running cautiously, and kept the lead, taking the win in 9.77 to Powell's 9.83.

Jeremy Wariner won in the 400 meters in 44.44, by over a second. Kerron Clement took the 400 meter hurdles and Miguel Pate won the long jump.

Sileshi Sihine of Ethiopia finally got to win a 10,000 meter run in 27:06 with Masai and Kipyogo in attendance. Eliud Kipchoge won the 5,000 meters in a tired 13:06, with many in attendance.

It has been a long season, as Yelena Isinbayeva's 4.72m for the win in the pole vault shows.

The meet will be on US televsion from 11 pm to 1 am Friday, September 5, and again on Sunday night on ESPN. Check your local listings!


DUBNICA (SVK): The premier one day athletics meeting in Slovakia, the 6th Athletics Bridge (EA Permit) will this Sunday present in total 13 olympic medalists (5 winners, 4 silver and 4 bronze holders). Capacity crowd (4000) is expected in this „capitol of athletics" in the country, as the home club Spartak is the number one here headed by Milan Hort who is also Vice-Chairman of Slovak Parliament.

Bryan Clay is learning what it takes to be a gold medal winning decathlete, and the whirl wind tour is probably more wear and tear than the Olympics! First, he was named the third US decathlete to have his face on a Wheaties Box ( Jenner, O'Brien and now Clay!), then there was the tv shows, and now the RNC! A modest correction to the ABC press release, the last American to win Olympic gold was in 1996, twelve years ago, three Olympics ago, and that was Dan O'Brien. One of Clay's other bits of trivia is that his Olympic Trials score of 8,832 is the best score by a US decathlete in fourteen years ( Knoxville, 1994)!

Thanks to USATF Director of Communications Jill Geer for the press release!

When I asked Cregg Weinmann, he did not flinch! Of course, as the footwear and apparel reviewer for the Running Network, Cregg deals with minutae and esoterica each and every day of his life. This report is fascinating, again, thanks to still photography, emails, phone calls, video and the limited minutes NBC gave to athletics, Cregg's report adds to the knowledge of the athletic marketing wars in Beijing....

This project was done by Cregg Weinmann, during the ten days of Olympic Track & Field. Using the poor TV coverage of NBC, Cregg also used email, photographs and questions with the major players to give you, our readers, a bird's eye view of the footwear and apparel marketing wars....apparel piece will be next up!

ESPN will show it 11 pm EST tonight and ESPN SportsCenter will show the 100 meters lIve today at 2.30 PM EST. The 100 meters between Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt should be a great race today!

This weekend in Rieti, Tirunesh Dibaba, double gold medalist ( remember our comments on FT sports columnist Pat Butcher's critique of her racing), will make a serious attempt on her world 5,000 meter record of 14:11.15!

Oh, and a quick apology to Pat Butcher, who I referred to as a former columnist for FT, Pat is currently a sports columnist for Financial Times, my favorite newspaper in the known world.

Wilfred Bungei's brilliant victory over 800 meters in Beijing was a race to behold. Running from the front early on, Bungei lead at the 200 meters, hit the 400 meters in 53 seconds and then ran a 51.4 to close the race and take the win. His win was extremely close, his 1;44.65 holding off Ismael Ahmed Ismael of the Sudan's 1:44.70. The captain of the Kenyan Olympic team now wants to run very fast over 800 meters, and Bob Ramsak tells us, in this revealing interview, just how fast Mr. Bungei believes he can go....

There are some true stars in our sport, Haile Gebrselassie, Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbayeva, Liu Xiang, Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunseh Dibaba and Meseret Defar. to name a few. At the Super Star level, Mr. G, Mr. Bekele, Ms. Isinbayeva and of course, Mr. Bolt come to mind. Today I will concentrate on Mr. Bolt, Ms. Isinbayeva and Mr. Bekele. Mr. G will get his due again in about a month, at -real,Berlin.

Let me see, Bolt versus Powell versus Gay. That will be a good show. And ESPN and ESPN2 will have it, thank God. Gay will make final decision tomorrow, but the race could be a barn burner.

My take? Bolt is tired, but still on his game. Powell is running well, and Gay is still a few weeks from great racing shape. It has been a long strange season for them all....

Tirunesh Dibaba won the Beijing double: 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. In winning both, she lead for a very small part of either race. While her 10,000 meter win was masterful, her 5,000 meter race was one of the slowest and most boring tactical races in our sport's history. Pat Butcher, who blogs at, had some choice
comments on Tirunesh and her racing tactics. The issue of class also came up, and I wanted to comment on the whole brouhaha:

Derek Miles, fourth in Beijing, was second in Laussane, at 5.70m, to Yevgeniy Lukyanenko.

Asafa Powell is a very talented young man who has broken the world record several times. He anchored the 4 x 100 meters to a new world record for his country in Beijing, clocking 37.10. He has been labeled a choker in many circles because he can race well on the circuit, but not do as well on the world champs or Olympic stage.

As a former coach, my take on Mr. Powell is that he has some block about racing the rounds in championships and Olympics. There are racers and there are championship racers. Asafa, in my opinion, needs a good sports psychologist to help him figure out what keeps him from using his obvious talents in the World Champ and Olympic arena.

For a fascinating interview, check out Bob Ramsak's chat with Asafa which we have published below in its complete form:

This wonderful fixture on the circuit, is also held in the home town of the International Olympic Committee. Asafa Powell showed his stuff with a 9.72, the second fastest ever in nearly windless conditions. Usain Bolt now has six sub 20 second 200 meter runs this year, with his 19.63. La Shawn Merritt ran a fine 43.98 for his 400 meters.

David Oliver, the bronze medalist from Beijing, ran a fine 13.02 to Dayron Robles, the gold medalist from Beijing's 13.17. Nice women's 1,500 meters with Maryan Jamal of Bahrain broke four minutes with 3:59.84 and Shannon Rowbury took second in 4:01.97.

The season has got to be wearing out all of the competitors from Beijing. 100 meter hurdle gold medalist Dawn Harper took second here, with LoLo Jones in fourth. More action on Friday!

Matt Tegenkamp took sixth in the 3,000 meter at the Aviva British Grand Prix on August 31, 2008, running 7:47.17!

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