Joe Douglas built the Santa Monica Track Club into a power house around the star quality of Carl Lewis. Commanding much of the under the table promotion budgets in the late 70s, early eighties, Lewis was one the first athletes, along with his team, to deliver strong crowds to major stadiums in Europe.
Lewis, in his prime, was problematic. No one disputed his star quality. Meet managers bemoaned that fact that, after negotiation with the SMTC, much of their limited promotions budgets were gone. An infamous article from Sports Illustrated, in 1984, in their Olympic Preview issue, did not cast a positive glow around Carl Lewis. Even with four Olympic medals in 1984, he did not get his due adulation.
Carl has, over the past decade, voiced his concerns over the past decade-his last real competition was in 1996, in Atlanta, where he won the gold medal in the men’s Long Jump-one of the biggest upsets in sport history.
Carl Lewis now wants to get the current athlete and past athletes on the same page in order to save his sport. He sponsors and has sponsored a Carl Lewis Junior Invitational, and has donated much time to such events.
I thank Carl Lewis for wanting to save our sport, but remind him that there is enough room for many, as coaches, administrators, athletes and some fans have been trying
to sound the alarm for years.
Change does not happen overnight…
EME NEWS (JAN 17, 2009) UPDATE
Svoboda 7.60, Davin 8.11 at 60 m Hurdles
LUXEMBURG (LUX, Jan 17): The 7th Dussmann Indoor Meet saw plenty of new meet records, probably the best was the 60 m Hurdles heat time of Czech record holder Petr Svoboda with 7.60. It is also his PB, in the finals after collision with German Helge Schwarzer at the third hurdle he eased to 7.65 win. “I wanted to run under 7.60, but after the collision it was impossible,” was his first impresson. Schwarzer won his heat in good quality 7.66 and was second in finals (7.74). Great early shape was again confirmed by Belgian Elisabeth Davin. She won the 60 m in 7.38 (and beat Vida Anim of Ghana, 7,41), but more importantly improved her PB to excellent 8.11 to win the 60 m Hurdles. That is only 0.06 behind the national record. French Aurelie Kamga for first time achieved sub 24 indoors at 200 m with 23.91. Dutch Dennis Licht got new meet record at 1500 m (3:44.72) and the same for former World and European junior finalist in High Jump Czech Oldriska Maresova who improved her overall best to 188 cm. German Lars Borgeling cleared 530 to win men pole vault and US sprinter Jerome Avery was the fastest as expected with 6.72 (heats) and 6.75 (final) at 60 m.
ROAD AND CC
LAUSANNE (SUI, Jan 17): French runner Loic Letellier won the 4th International Cross Country race “Cross de Vidy” clocking 25:31 at 8 km. Ethiopian Tsige Worku was the best woman at 6 km (21:59).
TSHWANE (RSA, Jan 17): Former New York Marathon winner Hendrick Ramaala won the Half-marathon here, part of the local Nedbank Series. His winning time was 1:04:11. Sharon Tavengva of Zimbabwe was the best woman in 1:15:54.
NAIROBI (KEN, Jan 17): Five times World Cross Country champion Paul Tergat made a comeback 11 years after shifting his attention to the road with a fine run at the Kenya Armed Forces Cross Country Championships at the Kahawa Garrison in Nairobi. Informs David Makori. Tergat stole the show from the day’s winners Vincent Kiprop and Lynet Chepkurui under a heavy downpour that made the Kahawa Garrison course muddy and quite difficult to navigate. He finished 17th (39:56) and said he would do a few more races and step up his training regime before deciding whether or not to make the big announcement of his comeback. Kiprop outlasted the competition in the race to win in 38:49.07 with Barnabas Koskei (38:52.04) and William Chebon (38:54.00) completing the podium. In the women’s race, Chepkurui (29:10.6) had the better of strong challengers Penina Arusei (29:41.3) and Sally Barsosio (29:50.2). There was also a 21km on the road ahead of the Cross Country championships with Japan-based Philes Ongori winning the women’s race in 1:10:23 and the men’s title going to Geoffrey Giikuni (1:01:01).
LUDWIGSHAFEN (GER, Jan 17): Anna Battke improved in Pole Vault during regional championships in third attempt to 460 cm. She is now one of the top candidates for German team traveling to European Indoor championships in Torino. Her previous indoor best was 450. She also tried at new German indoor record height 471 cm.
LVIV (UKR, Jan 17): 2004 Olympic medalist Vita Styopina won the Oleksiy Demyanyuk Memorial High Jump meeting with solid 192 cm. Her next meets will be at 5th Moravia High Jump Tour in Czech Republic. She already jumped at regional event on January 6 in Mykolaev and achieved 190 cm. Also second former World Junior Champion Irina Kovalenko went over 192. She also heads to Czech Series but only to the first leg in Trinec on Wednesday. Men winner was European Junior Champion 2007 Oleksandr Nartov with 220 as he afterwards tried at new meet record height 231 cm. Second Andriy Protsenko and third Viktor Shapoval cleared 215 cm. Due to ilness world champion 2005 Yuriy Krymarenko was a non-starter and world junior champion 2008 Bogdan Bondarenko is injured with his knee.
LJUBLJANA (SLO, Jan 17): Former world finalist Matic Osovnikar started the season with 6.75 at 60 m. Nina Kolaric was the best woman in 7.44.
JABLONEC (CZE, Jan 17): Czech outdoor hurdles record holder Lucie Skrobakova clocked 8.21 at 60 m Hurdles and Libor Zilka was best at 60 m (6.78) during the “Jablonecka Hala” international meet. Remigius Machura jr. won the Shot Put (18.96) and German world junior champion David Storl as third improved his indoor best with senior implement to 18.16. Outdoors he already achieved 18.46 last year.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY (USA, Jan 16): US Pole Vaulter Pat Manson is still jumping at age of 41. On Friday he cleared 520 cm, his PB from 1994 is 585 cm.
HOUSTON (USA): Former hero Carl Lewis is still tirelessly covering ground to raise the profile and burnish the image of track and field, the sport that made him famous all over the world. Writes Houston Chronicle. While he still keeps a residence in Los Angeles, the nine-time Olympic gold medalist has been strengthening his ties with his boyhood home community in Willingboro, N.J., and will again host the Carl Lewis High School Indoor Invitational track meet at the Yeoman Field House on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Houston. Lewis, who never worried about speaking his mind and was outspoken during his career against drug cheats, believes that the track and field athletes are the ones most holding back the sport today. Instead of running or jumping off to Europe or Asia for big paydays, he says they should be nurturing the sport at the grass-roots level in the United States and vigorously condemning drug cheats. Lewis believes track and field athletes need a union, so that there can be one receiving house for grievances, one voice that speaks out on their behalf, one organization that mandates rules.
ATHENS (GRE): Greek television informed that olympic 2004 walking winner Athanasia Tsoumeleka had a positive EPO test on August 6 last year just prior to Olympic Games. In Beijing she finished 9th and improved the national record to 1:27:54 at 20 km. She denies the allegations, media are informing. Just recently the national federation SEGAS published a list of four top athletes who will get the biggest support for the preparation. Tsoumeleka was one of them. The other three were triple jump olympic medalist Hrysopyi Devetzi, long jumper Louis Tsatoumas and European 400 m hurdles champion Periklis Iakovakis.
Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.
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