June 2011 Archives

"Portrait of the Writer Fyodor Dostoyevsk...

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Image via Wikipedia

I went to college at Santa Clara University, where I spent nearly six years of my life in the 70s and early eighties. I ran cross country in the fall, track club in the spring, and studied whenever I was not running.
My coach, Dan Durante, taught engineering and would discuss politics and philosophy with us on Sunday twenty-mile runs.  Santa Clara was not the kind of university one could take lightly, and athletes did not receive breaks.

I was fortunate to have had several excellent professors. As part of my History degree, I took a series of classes on Russian, German, European, Chinese and Japanese history & culture. One of my favorite professors was Dr. Istvan Mocsy, a man whose style and erudition proceeded his entrance into our lecture hall. Dr. Mocsy was an unforgettable character as well as a tremendous professor; one could always tell when his office was open as gray smoke from cigarettes came wafting over the top of his office door. 

Dr. Mocsy was fond of Russian writers, so we read Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Gogol. The dear and glorious professor's modus operandi was to get the student to use contemporary sources, literature, art, news media, to appreciate the significance of the situation, through many views.
His thoughtful approach to the subject has helped me for the nearly thirty years that have passed since my graduation. The good doctor even wrote a letter to my son, when he found out I had given him Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks to read.

Mocsy was the rule at my university: I was fortunate to have had men and women who loved learning and shared that enthusiasm with my classmates and myself. They changed my life.  I found out, over the years, that many were not so fortunate with their education and professors. The major lesson I learnt in university was that one must keep a clear mind in trying to discover the truth, and one may have to pull off many layers of detritus before one comes to the truth, or, someone's version of the so-called truth. 

I come to the world as an optimist. I choose that position daily, although, I must admit, some days are harder than others. Today is one of those days.

I am in receipt of a press release from Jill Geer of USA Track & Field noting that Mike McNees has been extended to interim CEO, it looks like, through London 2012. It also seems that the Board, all 15 of them, will be engaged in some aspect of monitoring the USA Track & Field staff and Mr. McNees.

My experiences with Mike McNees is that he tries to get things done. If he said he would do something, he actually did it. That, in itself, is refreshing. I like Mr. McNees. I like his sense of self-deprecating humor, which goes a long way in a world fraught with mine fields. Interim CEO is similar to the former Catholic notion of Limbo-not heaven, not hell (I believe Limbo is gone now, I will have to check).  

And Limbo is where Mr. McNees seems to be. I do believe, that McNees understands the daily challenges of his job, and this press release probably puts his world even more in the now. The release notes an extension on his job, which could last until London 2012, or it could not. Read on, gentle readers. 

A first read of the release below might lead one to believe that Mr. McNees will hold the position through London. Au contraire, mes amis. If one reads between the lines, the position could last one day or four hundred days, depending on if the Board of Directors finds a suitable candidate for the CEO position.

I fail to comprehend how,  with 100 possible candidates, a suitable candidate for the USATF CEO was not be found. Between those candidates, and the board, surely something should have arisen? Perhaps, it is that the position of CEO is so fraught with challenges that one person can not handle the job? Or, perhaps, that the limitations put on the CEO makes the position an impossible one to hold? 

I really admire the Board. Seriously. I do realize, that for many reasons, there are complications in what should be a clear-cut process. This journey to find a new CEO has not been as transparent as the Board would have hoped. Some of the blame goes on the board, and some of it goes on us.

If the goal is transparency, then we are idiots. Confidences are exchanged in such a process, and the best candidate may be holding a job, which would require time and some negotiation to get the desired results. If that is the case, then the board should just say that. 
Nothing is as simple as it looks. Running a four minute mile, or jumping 27 feet in the long jump has true beauty in its execution, however, it is the building of layers and layers of training, and callousing that makes both miler and long jumper.

From the outside, this whole search looks quite unappetizing. 

This process has been a mess. Intentional, or unintentional, the process has taken almost ten months. Is the process this complicated? If so, then, tell us.

Our sport has a world championship in less than two months and an Olympics in less than thirteen months. There are two ways the process might go. Either get the process done, now, or hold off until 2013, and let us recover from the situation recently resolved with Mr. Logan and focus on a world championships and Olympics. 

Or, the second option: The Board needs to get this process done, and select a new CEO who can lead us into the next two to three Olympiads. And the board needs to let the CEO do what he or she is to do, which in my mind is still the big three: represent the sport, encourage our sport to grow, and sell a hell of a lot of sponsorships. That rolodex (both hard copy and on phone) is key. A CEO is a closer. They smell the sale and thrive on the challenge. Oh, yes, they need to know to get along with various constituencies.  

Our sport is not the easiest sport to manage, it seems. Get me an A plus candidate, because they will be dealing with A level problems. If it takes more time, let us know. It it takes two people to run this sport, let us know. Drop this transparency obsession and tell it like it is. Either truly put off the search and focus on Daegu and London, or complete the process. But please, do something definitive.

LeMaitre-Powell-Frater-Lausanne11.jpgLemaitre, Powell, Frater, 2011 Athletissima/Lausanne,
photo by PhotoRun.net

A true night of athletics, the 2011 Athletissima in Lausanne, Switzerland will be remembered for some tremendous races, and great performances. Asafa Powell ran 9.78 and took over the world lead in the 100 meters.

Tamgho_Teddy-Lausanne11.jpg Teddy Tamgho, 2011 Athletissima/Lausanne,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Teddy Tamgho, one jump from disaster, hopped, skipped and jumped 17.91m for the new world leader and meet record! Phillips Idowu, who jumped 17.52m, was relegated to second.

Thorkildsen_Andreas-Lausanne11.jpg Andreas Thorkildsen, 2011 Athletissima/Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Then, Andreas Thorkildsen set his spear on hyper space, and landed at 89.12m (289-3 3/4)-a huge throw and indicative of his recovery from earlier injuries. Morgan Uceny won a very tactical 1,500 meters-portends of Daegu? And a great women's steeplechase as Milcah Chemos continues to dominate. Some other great performances, but you will be able to decide for yourself, thanks to our friends at Universal NBC!
Asafa Powell, 2011 Athletissima, Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2011 Athletissima, held in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 30, 2011 was a great example of how exciting the Samsung Diamond League can truly be! Assafa Powell runs the 100 meters in 9.78, running the world leader! Michael Frater runs a pb of 9.85 and Christophe LeMaitre runs 9.95, equaling his personal best! Plus two more under 10.00!

LeMaitre_ChristophePC-Lausanne11.jpgChristophe Lemaitre, 2011 Athletissima, Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Christophe Lemaitre equaled his personal best of 9.95, set a week ago, and the young Frenchman has all of his country watching the sports updates on Channel 4 for stories on the French star.

Tamgho_TeddyPC-Lausanne11.jpg Monsieur Teddy Tamgho, 2011 Athletissimo, Lausanne, press conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Some of the races showed the status of the event. The men's triple jump had Teddy Tamgho unleashing a HUGE 17.91m world leading triple jump. In second, Phillips Idowu jumped 17.52m, and the battle is on. This one will go to Daegu, where it could take 18.00m to take one of the first two medals!

Idowu_PhilipsPC-Lausanne11.jpg Phillips Idowu, 2011 Athletissimo, Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

And then, Andreas Thorkildsen, a man who learnt his American english by watching TV shows as a kid, unleashed his spear 88.19 meters! (289 feet, 3.75 inches for you non metric types!)

And a tip of the hat to Brittney Reese, who jumped 7.25m last weekend (23-7 1/2) and won over in Lausanne in 6.85m.

USA Track & Field

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend, it was Justin Gatlin. Justin, who has finished his ban, ran the 100 meters, and made the team for the 100 meters and the list for the 4 x 100 meters. In many meets in Europe, Justin will not be able to run due to his ban.

LaShawn Merritt went to a convenience store, and among the things he purchased were Extenze, a male sexual aid. In said aid, was a banned substance. LaShawn probably did not take it for athletic performance enhancement, but for more personal reasons. Those personal reasons were dashed when he tested positive. In light of the situation, Merritt was banned 21 plus months, just short of the two years.

In a time when drugs continue to muddy and bruise our sport, the European meet directors are trying to put a line in the sand. USA Track & Field is trying to put together its best team. And there is controversy.

This should be a teachable moment, but, right now, there is some acrimony.

Here is my beef: no athlete who gets caught admits it and says, "Yep, I am wrong." I have not recalled hearing an athlete say, "What I did was stupid, can you forgive me? "

I applaud USADA and WADA for the most part. I do not think Marijuana should not be on the list, that is silly, as all one wants to do after that is buy a pizza and watch the Simpsons. I do think that they should just stop spending money on chasing Mr. Tour de France and make sure that the problem areas that some of us see are monitored.

There will always be cheaters, sad, but a fact of life. We owe it to the young athletes, the seasoned athletes who have spent their entire careers running,  jumping and throwing without the use of banned substances, to clean up our sport.

Thompson, Bolt, Lemaitre, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

It is now one day past the USA Outdoor Champs and many of those athletes are headed to Europe to race in Lausanne, Paris and or Birmingham.

The US team has some interesting components, from the men's shot to the women's long jump, from the men's 1,500 meter team to the women's 100m hurdles. We have several events that can take one to two medals in the Worlds in the event and others, that it will be a cold day in hell before we see a medal.

That being the case, the loss of Tyson Gay, Wallace Spearmon, Jr. will hurt us in the sprint medals. My modest suggestion is for Walter Dix to focus on the 200 meters, where he has a reasonable shot (his double was superb, but this is the World champs). The Jamaican athletes in the sprints are parallel to the Kenyans in the long distances. It took us two decades of asking questions and challenging our training stratigems for US distance runners to begin making inroads. I believe it is time to ask the right questions for U.S. sprinters, as the world of sprinting has changed, and there are great sprinters from all over the world.

I have seen Christophe Lemaitre run several times, and I enjoy watching him run. I remember asking Brooks Johnson one time if white kids could run fast. The response was quick, the look was something I have never forgot: " Color means nothing, do they want it? are they willing to work? Are they willing to fall?"

Watching David Oliver show his stuff, especially against Liu Xiang at Nike Pre, was fascinating. Oliver was nervous before the race, and yet, he stayed the course, he went past his comfort zone, and battled Xiang for five straight hurdles before David took the race.

This weekend, watching Adam Nelson throw his best since 2008 was one of my highlights of the weekend. Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell responded as well, and Cantwell's big foul shows that these three may be our best men's shot put team EVER.

On the women's side, Michelle Carter and Jill Camerena were the highlight of Thursday night. The 19.85m throw by Camerena, followed by 19.86m by Carter and then, a 19.84m by Camerena was, well what sport is supposed to be about.

Then, there was the men's 1,500 meters, and Matt Centrowitz, Jr., running that 52.25 last lap, holding off the likes of Bernard Lagat and Leonel Manzano, running a the last 200 meters like he was Portugal's Rui Silva. Now the job is, get those A standards and focus on Daegu.

Hot, humid conditions and all of the world's best, running for medals. The focus must be there now, the notes on the mirror, about one's goals and one's aspirations. And can one do it in front of 60,000 track fans and few billion TV viewers? That is the nature of the beast: it is what makes our sport so exciting.

Thanks to our friends at Universal Sports/NBC, we have some of the highlight videos of the four days of the USA Outdoor Champs, held June 24-27 at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. Amazing performances, great meet, some new faces and some old faces.RBR will be will following up with Day 4 reviews and our highlight moments! We hope you enjoy!
Allyson Felix, 2011 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Oliver-LiuFHH-Pre11.JPGDavid Oliver, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Uceny_MorganQ-USout11.JPGMorgan Uceny, 2011 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

A great day three at the US Champs. David Oliver defended his title, with a time of 13.04, with Aries Merritt (13.12) and Jason Richarson (13.15). Allyson Felix won the 400 meters in 50.40, with Francine McCorory running  pb in second, 50.49. Debbie Dunn was third.

In the men's 400 meters, Tony McQuay, NCAA champ, won the 400 meters here in a huge upset over Jeremy Wariner. McQuay ran 44.68, and Wariner and Greg Nixon were timed in 44.98. Wariner had not looked that good in the rounds!

Wallace Spearmon, with an achilles injury, did not get out of round 1, running 20.85. Tyson Gay obviously did not run the round and neither did Justin Gatlin.

Hats off to LaShinda Demus, one of my favorite athletes, who won the 400 meter hurdles in 54.21. In second, Queen Harrison ran from lane 1, running 54.78 and Jasmine Chaney, who was only 4th in NCAA, took third here in 55.22, a pb!

The 1,500 meter races were the races of the day, for me. In the women's 1,500 meters, Christin Wurth made the race, running 62.24, 2:08.33, and Wurth did not give up. Leading until the final straightaway.

Morgan Uceny, who has run superbly this season, lead the chasing pack. Uceny flew down the final straightaway, winning in a fine 4:03.21. Next came Jenny Simpson, who went by Wurth with fifty meters to go, running 4:05.66, as Wurth desperately tried to hold on.

It was Shannon Rowbury, fighting for her dream to make the team, who caught Wurth and took third, 4:06.20 to 4:06.21.

The men's race, while fascinating, was, well less than satisfying. Running a pace slower than the women's race, 65 seconds for lap 1, 2:11 for the 800 meters, this was going to be a barn burner.

Dwight Phillips, the 2009 champion, finished tenth here in the long jump. He has had a rough season, with new coaching relationship, etc.

The pack of Lagat, Centrowitz, Wheating, Torrence, Ulrich, Manzano were all there, as Centrowitz moved through the pack and took the lead from Lagat at the 200 meter mark. Running a brutish 52.25 for the last 400 meters, Matt Centrowitz, Jr. added the US title to his NCAA title, with his win here. Bernard Lagat was second and Leonel Manzano, who moved into lane three and just gutted his way to third, passing Wheating and Leer. Wheating ended up in fourth and Leer in fifth.

And this is where the strange stuff begins. Only Wheating and Leer have B standards. Word was that Bernard Lagat is not running the 1,500 meters, and Wheating will have a shot, but that waits to be official.

And now, off to day 4!

Andreas Thorkildsen, 2010 Areva Paris, photo by PhotoRun.net

Andreas Thorkildsen is back, throwing 84.33m on Saturday. Andreas had to take a month off due to an injury. We also failed to note David Rudisha's WL of 1.43:38 in Nancy, France on Friday. RBR was preoccupied worshiping our sport in Eugene, Oregon as Day 3 of the US champs went on! What a great day! That night, the Nike High School TF champs went on, under perfect conditions!
Molly Huddle, USA Outdoor, 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Molly Huddle showed her AR strength and confidence tonight, taking on a very tough field. Desi Davila and Jenn Rhines, both coming back from the 10,000m the night before, with Amy Hastings, Angela Bizzari were all in the fight.

Huddle lead much of the race, with Amy Hastings taking over and Angela Bizzari right there. In the end Molly Huddle broke the race open over the last three laps, winning in 15:10.01, with Amy Hastings in second and Angela Bizzari in third, running 15:14.31 and 15:16.64. Jenn Rhines was fourth in 15:19.92.

In the end, it was Huddle's race to win or loose, and she showed her championship form.

Solinsky_Chris-USAout11.jpgChris Solinsky, Matt Tegenkamp, Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat (near Solinsky), USA Outdoor, 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

So, here is the mile breaks; 4:40 for the first mile, 4;14 for the second mile (8:54), then a 3:57 last mile with a 1:55 last half mile. Those are the stats for the 5,000 meter, and here is the story: Lagat is in fine form, Tegenkamp and Rupp had made the 10,000m the night before, and Chris Solinsky is still banged up, a bit, and recovering, and focused on the 10,000 meters.

Tegenkamp made the first significant move, taking the lead at six laps and pushing for two laps, dropping it to 63s. Then Chris Solinsky made the long run home: 62, 61, then 59 and Solinsky lead until 50 to go, when Bernard Lagat, the best kicker in the world in my mind, went by and won his fifth title. Chris held on to second, making his second World team and Rupp was third, doing the double.

A great race with some fantastic racing and a great team! Nice job to both the men and women's 5,000m team!

Lagat_BernardFV1-USout11.JPGBernard Lagat takes his fifth title! USA Outdoor Champs, 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Molly Huddle, 2011 USA Outdoor, 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Molly Huddle showed her talent with her strong win in the 5,000m. In a tactical 5,000m on the men's side, the 4:40-4.14-3:57 for the three miles, and in the end, Solinsky ran his race. So did Lagat and Rupp, and all three made it!

Walter Dix showed his stuff, winning the 100 meters for the men and Carmelita Jeter took the title for the women. More to come..
Gay_Tyson1a-NYDL11.JpGTyson Gay, adidas GP NYC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jeter_CarmelitaQ-USAout.jpgCarmelita Jeter, USA Outdoor, 100m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dix_WalterQ_USOut.JpgWalter Dix, 2010 USA Outdoor, 100m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tyson Gay, 2007 triple gold world champ, 2009 WC silver medalist has had an injury that flared up as he warmed up, or tried to for the 100 meter semi final. He could not warm up properly and he is out of both the 100 meters and 200 meters. Tyson Gay loves to run fast, and when he can't he is frustrated. As much as this was a personal tragedy, it also changed the race, completely, and several athletes rose to the occasion.

Walter Dix lost his shoes, passport, and clothes on his flight from SFO to Eugene. Putting his bag on his flight, he was given a tag and told he would get it in Eugene. Apparently, it was never even loaded on the plane.

Walter overcame that, and ran round after round, very well and leant perfectly at the tape to outlean Justin Gatlin, who finished second, and Michael Rodgers, who is having the best year of his career.  Dix won in 9.94, Gatlin in 9.95 and Rodgers in 9.99. Gatlin is coming back well after being out of the sport for nearly four seasons.

Carmelita Jeter told me in NY, "when I listen to coach (John Smith), I do well, when I don't well (a laugh), I do not do so well." Well, Jeter listened to coach Smith and ran a nearly flawless race, to win over Marshevet Myers and Miki Barber, who is really running well. Jeter ran 10.74, with Myers at 10.83 and Barber at 10.96.

Eaton_AshtonLJ-USout11.JPGAshton Eaton, USA Outdoor, Decathlon, photo by PhotoRun.net

A jubilant Harry Marra, coach of Ashton Eaton, and I chatted just before the 1500 meters of the decathlon. "This is Ashton's first decathlon in nearly a year, he got some rust out." noted Marra, the dean of American decathlon coaches.

Eaton_Ashton100-USout11.JPGAshton Eaton, USA Outdoor, Decathlon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Eaton impressed. His 110m hurdles is second in the world to only Frank Buseman of Germany from 1996 (13.47). Eaton has learnt to throw, and his final 1,500 meters, in 4:24.10, showed the promise of this young man.

As I noted on our RN broadcast, Ashton Eaton will be a star in 2012, 2016 and 2020. We have a decathlete legacy once again!

Eaton_AshtonSH1-USout11.JPG Ashton Eaton, USA Outdoor, decathlon, photo by PhotoRun.net
Tyson Gay, 2010 Brussels, photo by PhotoRun.net

Per an announcement by the announcers just before the third semi-final, Tyson Gay has withdrawn from the 100 meter semi finals. USA Track & Field is quoted as attributing the  withdrawal to pain in both hip and adductor.  USATF told the mixed zone that Tyson Gay has a right hip "problem" he has been living with recently. Apparently, he could not warm up today.

This was first announced by Ato Bolton, NBC announcer and constant twitterer.

The first day of the USA Outdoor Championships showed, that, once again, the wealth of talent in American track & field continues to astound. From Ashton Eaton's first day of 4602 in the decathlon (he won two events), to two strong 10,000 meter races, to the fabulous women's shot put and men's hammer-the US team for Daegu, Korea is looking very, very good.

Rupp_GalenFV-USAout.jpg Galen Rupp, USA Outdoor, 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

The men's 10,000 meters was won for the third time by none other than Galen Rupp. Sporting an allergy mask for the first 17 laps, Rupp stayed out of the fray, and then dropped off his mask and went to business. Rupp's business included a 1:52.6 last 800 meters with a 54.4 last lap to hold off Matt Tegenkamp (4th, Osaka, 5,000m) and Scott Bauhs, who showed the talent and kick (finally) that many have believed the Chico (State) Grad has possessed. Bobby Curtis, the US leader for the 10,000 meters, finished fourth in this very tactical race. Chris Solinsky, still dealing with a leg injury (but recovering well), did not start the 10,000 meters, preferring to focus on the 5,000 meters. Rupp told the Eugene-Register Guard's Ron Bellamy that he would probably double this weekend, returning Friday night for the 5,000 meters. Rupp ran 28:38.17 to Tegenkamps 28:38.97 to Bauh's 28:40.51.

Flanagan_Shalane1-USout11.JPGShalane Flanagan, USA Outdoor, 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shalane Flanagan took off from the start and dominated the women's 10,000 meters. Showing her toughness, Flanagan ran her fourth sub 31:00 10,000m, with a fine 30:59.97, which she finished with a 57.93 last lap!

Pursued by Jenn Rhines and Kara Goucher the entire race, Goucher overcame Rhines for second, with Goucher running 31:16.65  and Rhines, in third, in 31:30.37. Huge Personal bests were scored by fourth placer Desi Davila (31:37.14) and fifth placer Magde Lewy Boulet, who ran 31:48.38!

The field events opened some eyes. Kibwe Johnson, the leading U.S. hammer thrower, let her rip and 80.31 meters, 263-06 later, he had the US leader, the best US throw in eleven years and a throw that puts him in top six contention for Daegu, Korea!

Johnson_KibweA-USout11.JPGKibwe Johnson, USA Outdoor, hammer throw,
photo by PhotoRun.net

In the women's shot put, Jill Camerena has been having a super year. Camerena lets go with a 19.85m throw! One centimeter off her indoor best and second best throw for US women ever.

Camarena_Jill-USout11.JPG Jill Camerena, USA Outdoor, shotput, photo by PhotoRun.net

Well, this was so not over! Michelle Carter, who has beat Camerena by a centimeter before, throws a personal best of, yes, 19.86m! Now Michele Carter has the second best throw in US ever, and Camerena has third best.

Carter_Michelle1-USout11.JPGMichelle Carter, USA Outdoor, shotput, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jill Camerena comes back in next round and drops a huge throw, by any standards, 19.84m, just two centimeters short of the lead! The US now has two throwers who can challenge the world's best in the shot put, and this again shows how two competitive athletes can change an event that has been dormant for several years.

2008 Olympic champ Stefanie Brown Trafton took the discus on her first throw of 63.35m and Christian Taylor, NCAA champ, with a triple jump of 17.49m, with team mate William Claye in second and 2005 World Champ Walter Davis in third. Note that all three jumpers were or are coached by Dick Booth, a coach with tremendous talents in coaching the jumps. 

The first day of USA Outdoor showed us many things: new faces, and some faces, recognizable, who could be challenged in this, the toughest track & field championships in the world. Make the top three or you do not go to Daegu: as simple (well, besides the A and B standards) and as daunting as one can get! 

The first night of the 2011 USA Outdoor Champs was a great start to a tremendous weekend of track & field. The women's 10,000 meters was won by Shalane Flanagan in 30:59.73. The men's 10,000 meters, won by Galen Rupp, had Rupp running a 1:52 for the last 800 meters! And probably the most competitive event of the night was the women's shot put, where Michelle Carter defeated Jill Camerena 19.86m to 19.85m. The men's 1,500 meters has several Ducks in the final. Andrew Wheating lead AJ Acosta across the line and Matt Centrowitz, Jr won the last heat. Stefanie Trafton-Brown won the women's discus on her first throw of 63.35m. Aretha Thurmond nearly got her, with her throw of 62.87m. The photo gallery was shot by PhotoRun.net. The gallery was produced by RN's webmaster, Chuck Bartlett.
Flanagan-Kipyego-Payton11.JPGShalane Flanagan, 2011 Payton Jordan Invitational, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shalane Flanagan, as the video from the shoe addicts notes, is 'middle distance running royalty." Both her parents were elite runners, her mother, a marathoner, and her father, a world class cross country runner. Flanagan showed her royalty with a superb win over 10,000 meters, running 30:59.97, with a final lap of 57.3! 

Flanagan was the bronze medalist in Beijing in 2008: only the second American women to EVER do that ( the other, yes, was Lynn Jennings back in 1992). Flanagan is a gutty runner. Yet, it has only been in this past year that Shalane Flanagan has truly come into her own.

In November 2010, Flanagan took second in a truly tactical marathon, the ING NYCM. A marathon known for its fast times, this years marathon was a world champs simulation, where Flanagan showed her stuff and took the battle to the finish line.

In March 2011, Shalane Flanagan took the bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships! The U.S. team she was on took a bronze! That may be the most significant race that Flanagan had run, well up til tonight.

On May 1, Shalane Flanagan and Sally Kipyego battled over 25 laps at the Payton Jordan Invitational's Kim McDonald 10,000m, with Kipyego just getting the victory. On June 4, Shalane Flanagan pressed hard in the 4th and 5th kilometers, only to miss the AR for 5,000 meters by a few seconds; she had faltered a bit over the last fifty meters, showing, that yes, Shalane is indeed human.

Tonight, Shalane Flanagan showed her stuff. Running from the front the entire race, Flanagan pursued her goal of a sub 31:00 with the the focus needed to medal in Daegu, Korea. Running a superb 57.3 last lap, Flanagan ran 30:59.97.

Surprising, the battle for the second through fifth was probably more fascinating of a story than Flanagan's win. The truth be told, Shalane Flanagan makes her wins look easy-and they are anything but not! This was her fourth sub 31:00 10,000 meter run-she now ranks equal third on the list with a few women you might know, one whose name is Paula Radcliffe.

The 10,000 meter race is as much a race of mental anguish as it is a physical challenge. Running 25 laps on a 400 meter track, running as close to one's maximum is no easy feat. Two time Olympic medalist Frank Shorter noted that running such a race was like cutting one self with a very sharp knife, the cut was deep and the pain was excruciating.

There was a time in the 10,000 meters, where Shalane Flanagan was just running all out, 73-74s, with twenty-five meters back, Jenn Rhines and Kara Goucher were battling for second place, with another fifty meters back, Magda Lewy Boulet and Desi Davila was trying to close the gap.

I was sitting about 100 meters from the finish line, as Alberto Salazar encouraged Kara and Amy Yoder Begley. Then, the brothers Hanson were cheerleading Desi Davila and Richie Boulet, himself a 3:52 miler (on Hayward's track) was encouraging his wife, Magda Lewy.

If one can go back to one's modest competitive days, one will remember a point in the 10,000 meters race-no man's land-about 7,000 meters into the race, where one is trying to fight the fatigue, the actual pain that comes from fast distance running, while trying to stay on pace.

There was a time, in this race, where Flanagan was flying around the track, with Jenn Rhines and Kara Goucher within steps of each other, and Desi Davila, slowly gaining on the pack in front of her, and Magda Lewy Boulet, obviously trying to concentrate, but also in pain.

Amy Begley, back from surgery, was running a gutty race, one that we have all done. Trying to get back into racing fitness requires racing-that simple. Begley battled herself and the track, for twenty five laps, showing herself to be tough and resilient. Begley finished sixth in 32:34.75.

Magda Lewy Boulet had battled with Desi Davila for sixteen laps, when Desi began to pull away. Magda is one tough athlete. Jack Daniels, her coach, told me at Boston this past April that Magda was one of his toughest athletes. This tough athlete finished fifth, running 31:48.58, her personal best.

Desi Davila, the second place runner at Boston this past April ran very close to making the US team. Davila ran 31:37.14, her personal best. She tried to run down Jenn Rhines for third place, but to no avail.

Jenn Rhines, the three time Olympian, continues to show her moxie with a gutty third place here. Rhines, who held off Kara Goucher for sixteen or so laps, finished third in 31:30.

Kara Goucher, less than one year from having a baby, best day ever, as she ran 31:16.65. Goucher pressed Rhines until lap 19, where she went by Rhines, moved into second and built a major lead. 

Shalane Flanagan showed that she is frightfully consistent. We saw her later, after the race, at Thrill on the Grill gathering, and Shalane said, " I feel great, a little tired, but that is about it!"
Nothing more can be said here!   

Oh, and if that is not enough, one of the true track geek of geeks, K. Ken Nakamura, notes the following on the 10,000 meter that was run tonight:

Women's 10000m stats from Eugene 

1)  Desiree Davila became 24th American woman to crack 32 min for 10000m 
2)  Magdalena Lewy-Boulet became 25th American women to crack 32 min for 10000m.  
3)  Five American women cracked 32min for 10000m in Eugene.  
     This (five Americans) is the most ever in a single race.  
      Previously, four American women cracked 32 min in 
      2005 Cardinal Invitational, 2005 USA National in Carson and in GP in Helsinki in 2006. 
4)   Shalane Flanagan cracked 31 min for the 4th time in her career.  
      She is now tied with Sun Yingjie, Lornah Kiplagat, Ingrid Kristiansen, Galina Bogomolova, 
      Ejegayehu Dibaba and Derartu Tulu for having run third most sub-31 min 10000m.  
      Radcliffe lead with 8 and Werknesh Kidane has five.

USA Track & Field

Image via Wikipedia

Well, the long, slow death roll that was l'affair Logan, has grinded to a close. Per a nicely written press release posted on Thursday afternoon, June 23, the former CEO agreed to terms noted as "private' between USA Track & Field and Mr. Logan.

As we are, in this society, prone to conjecture, most recent estimates note that the settlement offered was somewhere between $1.35 million and $1.5 million. But, hey, what is $150,000 between friends? It should be understood that Mr. Logan got probably less than what he thought he deserved and much, much more than what anyone else thought he deserved. As the late writer Kurt Vonnegut would say, " So, it goes."

Or, does it? In the end, it is the constituency of USA Track & Field that is, once again, injured. Besides the money, legal fees and lost time, the USATF board is in the midst of trying to decide if they a) keep the interim CEO they have, b) hire a new CEO from the search, and interviews that were apparently done, c) not hire a CEO, but run the interim CEO through the board or d) some combination of the above that I can not conceive.

With a sigh of relief, we thank the board of USA Track & Field and Mr. Logan for finding a common ground: money.

There is a joke attributed to the late George Bernard Shaw, the Nobel laureate for literature in 1925. Mr. Shaw was out to dinner with a very attractive socialite. As was his want, Mr. Shaw asked the women to sleep with him. She declined. He then offered her $1 million dollars (worth about $3.5 million in today's currency). She changed her mind. Then he took back the million and offered her $25. She, aghast, again declined and asked Mr. Shaw what kind of person that he thought she was. Mr. Shaw demurred, " My dear, we know what kind of person you are, we are just trying to determine a price."

It is this distasteful feeling that I am left with about this situation. However, that is modern business and modern life....sad, but true. 

Athletes running. Side B from a black-figured ...

Image via Wikipedia

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of American Track & Field. That article was cut from the original 5,000 words to 3650 words. After a discussion with the writer, Mark Winitz, and editor, James Dunaway, I made the executive decision that the originally edited piece, of about 4,400 words, gave the reader a bit more insight into the people who are running your sport.

Mark Winitz is one of our longest enduring writers. The relationship between a publisher and his editor and his writers is an evolving one. Let's just say that, Mark has taught me much more than I have taught him. His obvious love of the sport is seen in all of his writing. But it more than that. Mark Winitz understands the relationship between writer and reader. It is, using my words, a sacred trust. You, the reader, in reading our publications, blogs, website, demand that our team of journalists do their very best to give you the complete story. The nuances, the subtrefuge, the complexity that makes us human can be revealed best, by someone who understands their subject and most of all observes their subject. 

Mark Winitz is a sports journalist. He has spent most of his adult life honing his craft, developing his skill. We are much the better for his devotion. 

Mark Winitz and I had several pointed discussions on this article. He felt that you the reader, should see the piece, unabridged, and in all of it's complexity. Mark was right. It took my taking some time to reread his piece in order to put it in front of you.

So, here is the approved version of Mark Winitz feature on the USATF board. Please pass it around, and remember, the board is meeting this weekend, June 25-26, in Eugene, Oregon to discuss many topics, among them, finding a new CEO.

I am only sorry I took so much time to republish this piece as Mark Winitz saw fit.  

2011 adidas Grand Prix meet had some superb performances, and some big surprises.The performance that will go down on the record books is the adidas Golden Spikes mile, where, for only the second time in athletics history, a U.S. high school runner, in a high school only race, broke four minutes for the mile. This time, following in the footsteps of one Jim Ryun, was Lukas Verzbicas, who ran a spectacular 3:59.71! What has not been talked about was the depth in the race, where twelve high school boys broke 4:10.2 for the mile!

The men's 100 meters, won by Steve Mullings after three false starts, did show that Tyson Gay, even with a bad start has his mid race gear back. I am looking forward to seeing that in Daegu!

Bill Bowerman, 1911-1999,
photo courtesy of Nike Archives

The Bowerman Award is the highest accolade one can receive in the sport of collegiate athletics (cross country, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field). Established by the USTFCCCA, we at RBR think this is an exemplar program! 

USA Track & Field

Image via Wikipedia

On the eve of the 2011 USA Outdoor Champs, the search for a new CEO continues. Without boring you, this process got its start early last fall, when then CEO Doug Logan was released of his duties. A settlement between Mr. Logan and USATF was noted less than one month ago, however, we have no indications of whether Mr. Logan signed and took the money.

About the same time, mid- May, in two separate columns by Phil Hersh and Gene Cherry/Reuters noted a conversation with Steve Miller noting several options for USATF : a) keep Mr. McNees as acting CEO until London 2012, with support of several board members, b) name a board member CEO, if one of final ten interviewed candidates does not fit the bill, c) to hold off the CEO announcement and run USATF through the board.

Mr. Miller is one one prone to hyperbola. It did seem, to this reader, that Mr. Miller was, shall we say, offering some solutions to an issue that become more and more problematic.

As one footwear executive noted, " why do they need to name a CEO?, things seem to be working fine."

In the current note from Jill Geer, it notes that no board member was, is or has been been a candidate. I will take Ms. Geer at her word, although I find that hardly a realistic scenario.

Now, I am confused even more. Perhaps we should just put some names in a hat, pick one out and name them CEO? The process done in 2008 and the process now seem much less satisfying.

I am taken to the character of Phaedrus from Zen & the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. The classic part of my brain wants transparency, however the stoic part mocks transparency-how can you pick the best candidate without giving them absolute anonymity? Perhaps as Phaedrus hinted, there is no answer that will satisfy all.  

I am okay with , as long as we get a CEO who a) knows the sport, b) can deal with the board, which is now the 800 lb gorilla, and c) can sell the heck out of the sport. 

This is getting a bit frustrating. Heck, Popes have been named in a shorter time.  If I have any suggestions to the board, it might include a way to expedite what has become for many observers,  to be an exercise in frustration.

During the scheduled board meetings on June 25 & 26, if the dear Board could, perhaps send out a whiff of white smoke (part of process used in named Pope in Roman Rite) if the vote is indecisive, and a plume of black smoke, as the votes are burnt to a crisp, and we have a new CEO. Eugene will not be Vatican city, but, the intrigue is sure building up like an episode of my new favorite showtime saga, The Borgias (about Lawrence Sixtus (Roderiga Borgia and his exemplar family). 

Perhaps, just perhaps, I will try a different tactic this time around. Perhaps, I will stand outside the board meeting place, adorned in sack cloth (old potato bags for the masses),  and ashes, hoping for a new CEO.

(Well, in between the javelin, hammer and 10,000 meters). I have not given up hope. 

Ashton Eaton, 2009 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

This insightful piece on Eaton and his relationship with Harry Marra, one of the top coaches on the decathlon in the US (who, along with Fred Samara, developed the VISA Decathlon program in the 90s). Mark my word, this man will be rising up the decathlon food chain for 2012, 2016, 2020.
150px-Bowerman4-1-.jpgBill Bowerman, 1911-1999,
photo courtesy of Nike Archives

Now in it's third year, the Bowerman Awards, recognizing the top collegians in track & field and cross country, has become a real winner! Developed by the USTFCCCA's Sam Seames, the Bowerman, named in honor of the iconic coach/inventor who graced the University of Oregon and founded Nike with one of his former athletes, Phil Knight.

This is list of the top male candidates-the women will be introduced tomorrow!

LeMaitre_ChristopheR1-EuroInd11.jpgChristophe LeMaitre, 2011 Euro Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Updates from the European Team Champs.......

Haile Gebrselassie, 2009, real, -Berlin, photo by PhotoRun.net

Haile Gebrselassie, a man who has set 24 wolrd records over his career, will be returning his most important racing courses to run at the end of September 2011. The 2011 event has been sold out since February 2010, as the BMW Berlin marathon (with new sponsor).

In a homage to Hansons Brooks athlete Desi Davila, this video celebrates her amazing performance at the 2011 Boston marathon, and her hard work over the past four years, from her 2:44 marathon debut to her 2:22.38 this past April.

The secret to the Hansons Brooks Distance Project? The Brothers Hanson would tell you, hard work over the long term, pays its dividends. That Desi was a five minute miler out of high school could not give any suggestion of the quality that she is running at now.

Davila has gone from pretty darn good to giant killer. Look at her face during the surges, her response, her reactions, her running the race tangents. Davila knows how to race, and she proved it in Boston. The video is by The Shoe Addicts. Like the music in David Oliver and Shalane Flanagan, the music was written and performed by up and coming musical acts of all music genres, courtesy of The Shoe Addicts.

Shalane Flanagan has had quite a year, from her second place debut in the 2010 INY NYC Marathon, to her mind boggling bronze medal at the World Cross Country Champs. Her fine race over 10,000 meters in Payton Jordan Invite on May 1, and her 5,000 meter race at the 2011 Nike Pre Classic showed us that she is building to something great. We are looking forward to her racing at the US Champs June 23-27!

Matt Rubel, who has spent the last six years as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Collective Brands, has resigned. As CEO of Collective Brands, Rubel oversaw brands such as,  Payless Shoe Source, and footwear brands Sperry and Saucony. Rubel's resignation was effective June 15, per a news release posted on the Collective Brands website. Michael J. Massey has been named the interim CEO for Collective Brands.

There has been some recent pressure from the investment community and investment media on Mr. Rubel, noting the recent challenges of the Payless chain. This was during a time that two of his prized brands, Sperry (Topsider) and Saucony were growing very well.

The resignation came as a shock to most of the employees of Collective Brands. The change by the Collective Brands board was swift and done with much discretion.( The release of the resignation was well organized as well, note that Mr. Rubel's wikipedia page was updated June 16.) 

The release was very supportive of Mr. Rubel, with a note from Mr. Rubel wishing nothing but the best and a statement from Robert C. Wheeler, Lead Director, praising Matt Rubel on his leadership and noting that they would hope to build on his successes.

The time between the complaining by Investment media and the resignation, obviously pushed by the Collective Brands board,  was quick. The bloodletting was small, but there must be come concern within CB employees as to what the next steps will be. Mr. Rubel was known for his gamesmanship, and desire to build the Collective Brands business, especially in sports and leisure.

Publicly traded companies have their own pressures, and CEOs and executives at those companies deal with unique pressures. The need for a scapegoat sometimes surpasses the need of an effective leader over the long term. If that is the case, that would be disappointing. 

We wish Mr. Rubel our best wishes. He has been a colorful and welcome addition to our sports business over the past four years! He realized, that for vertical brands, supporting human capital, focusing product on the market, and focusing marketing and sports marketing on the specific marketplace brings tremendous dividends.

For more on Matt Rubel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Rubel
Renaud Lavillenie, Steve Hooker, photo by PhotoRun.net

Steve Hooker has taken nine months away from the pole vault. His intention is to return at the Herculis/Monaco meeting. We wish him the very best  in Monaco and several years of healthy pole vaulting.
Andreas Thorkildsen & Tero Pitkamäki: 2010 Icahn Stadium, adidas gp NYC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Andreas Thorkildsen is recovering from his injury and is already throwing. Yours truly has been sick for four days since adidas gp NYC. Will get info on Oslo and NYC posted asap.
Blanka Vlasic, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Webb_Alan-NewBalGP11.JPGAlan Webb, 2011 NB Indoor GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

Blanka Vlasic, the World Champion and European Champion, will be competing in the AVIVA Birmingham meeting in July. 

Alan Webb, the current AR holder in the mile and 1,500 meters, is recovering from an injury and he will not be competing at the US champs this year.

Dayron Robles, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Oliver_DavidFH_Pre11.JpgDavid Oliver, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

At the eighth stop of the 2011 Samsung Diamond League, the Areva Paris Meeting, not only with the fans get to see Usain Bolt racing, but also David Oliver versus Dayron Robles! Areva has had some great fields in the past and 2011 should continue to build over the next few weeks!

Updated June 16, 2011

Rodgers, Gay, Mullings, 2011 adidas Grand Prix NYC, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2011 adidas Grand Prix NYC will be remembered for what it was and what it was not. The 3:59.71 for the High school boys mile, run by Lukas Verzbicas, was a superb performance. The fans who witnessed that race saw history. The men's 5,000 meters woke people up with a very tight finish, but the race of the night was to be the men's 100 meters.

The first false start shocked not only the field but the fans. The starter was holding the sprinters very long. The second false start was disappointing, and meet announcer Toni Reavis not only noticed it, but played off it. The third false start showed that this was not just a problem of sprinters attempting to jump the gun, but starters worried about the rainy conditions complicated this situation.

The field was decimated as announcer Toni Reavis noted, " and then, there were six."

By this time, Tyson Gay, Steve Mullings, Mike Rodgers and the rest of the field had pushed on their power three times, to be called back.

Steve Mullings got a good start and charged away. Tyson Gay had a bad start. What was most remarkable was Gay's run from forty meters to the finish, and lost the race to Mullings by just a lean.

Does this race settle anything? Nope. It did play into the problems TV have with track & field and contributed to an NBC broadcast that was criticized at a high level for lack of coverage of some events, breaks in other events, and not staying with the 100 meter finish so that a major tweet was " Who won?" for the men's 100 meters. 

The adidas Golden Spikes HS girl's mile was run in very windy conditions.Reagan Anderson took the lead, taking the compact field through 69.17, just under 4:40 per mile pace! Alli Billmeyer braved the lead after that hitting the 800m in 2:24.85 and 1,200meters in 3:35.51.

The pack was close together, and one wondered who would make a move. The last lap had some changing of positions, but, it was really decided down the final stretch as Camille Chapus sprinted to the lead and held off a fast charging Eleanor Fulton, who took second, and caught  Alli Billmeyer.

Camille Chapus won the adidas Golden Spikes HS Girl's Mile in 4:42.71, her personal best. Eleanor Fulton ran 4:42.90, her personal best and Alli Billmeyer, the young women who did the pace chores for most of the race, took third, in a personal best of 4:43.18. In all, seven of the competitors ran personal bests with such windy conditions!


adidas Golden Spikes HS Boys' Mile

This may go down as one of the true highlights of the meet. The pack hit 57.68 seconds for the 440, 2:01.71 for the 880 and 3:01.38 for the 1320-could Verzbicas make it? Doesn't everyone go under three minutes at 1320 so they can break four minutes?

Lukas Verzbicas is not an ordinary runner. His best part of his race is everyone else's worst-he can maintain a pace in even the most difficult of positions. Indoors, Verzbicas ran 4:03 for the mile, then 8:43 for two miles and then won the mile, two mile and 5,000m at the New Balance Indoor!

He also had Austin Mudd chasing him over the last lap! Mudd ran a 4:01., and twelve runners were under 4:10.1. One long time observer of the sport texted me and noted that this should be the best high school boys mile EVER! Well, we will let the statisticians figure that out, for now, this mile had everyone engaged in the stands!  

With just about 300 meters to go, Lukas Verzbicas made history, as only the second high school boy miler after Jim Ryun, to break four minutes in a high school only race. Lukas is the fifth U.S. high school boy to break four minutes for the mile (the last was Alan Webb, a decade ago!).

What superlatives does one give to Lukas Verzbicas? His two mile record, set last weekend at the Nike Pre Classic (8:29.43), was a tremendous performance, but this mile, with the cream of the crop of high school boy distance runners in the field, was tremendous!

In speaking to Lukas after the race, he told me no more racing this year, as he prepares to go to the University of Oregon for college.

Related articles
Linet Masia, 2011 NYRR Mini-10k, photo by PhotoRun.net


NEW YORK (USA, Jun 11): World champion at 10 000 m Linet Masai dominated the 40th edition of the NYRR Mini-10-K overwhelming a star-studded field that included twelve Olympians and six world championship medalists. Informs Race Results Weekly. Breaking the tape in 31:40, a full 29 seconds ahead of second place, Masai earned her second Mini title, collecting the $10,000 the first place check in the process. Next up for Masai is the Kenyan Trials for the IAAF World Championships on July 15 and 16, where she plans to run the 5000m. But if it was Masai's choice, she would double in the 5000m and 10,000m. "In Kenya, they don't allow anyone to double. If they allowed it, I would do it," said the very shy Masai. In second, Aheza Kiros prevailed in 32:09, just one second ahead of Belainesh Gebre. Rounding out the top-five were Edna Kiplagat (32:24) and Emily Chebet (32:31).


Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 2011 NYRR Mini, photo by PhotoRun.net

The first American finisher was Magdalena Lewy Boulet, tenth in 33:09. Returning for the first time since giving birth to daughter Piper in February was American record holder in the marathon, Deena Kastor. Knowingly not in the best racing shape, Kastor was pleased with her finish in 25th place in 35:00.


          Deena Kastor, 2011 NYRR Mini, photo by PhotoRun.net

The biggest surprise of the day was Liliya Shobukhova. The reigning World Marathon Majors champion and runner-up at April's Virgin London Marathon finished 28th in 35:31, more than three minutes behind Masai. Shobukhova never played a major factor in the race.

Glenn_BriannaDiamond-nycDL10.JPGBrianna Glenn, 2010 adidas GP NYC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Welcome to the 2011 adidas Grand Prix NYC. This morning, 7,000 women ran the NYRR Mini 10k, celebrating its 40th year. Linet Masai won that race, hitting the mile in 5:31, then dropping a 4:51 bomb between two and three miles, hitting 5k in 16:04, and flying away from the field, hitting 8k in 25:22, six miles in 30:26 and a final time of 31:40! Jack Waitz, the husband of the late Grete Waitz, made history as he become the first official male finisher, running just above 47 minutes!  

Please remember that both the Mini this morning and the adidas Grand Prix NYC are dedicated to the memory and legacy of Grete Waitz, the Norwegian distance runner who influenced women's running and the development of women's marathoning, with her exceptional running, love of the sport and pure class. Consider her today while you are watching the event! Check back with us today to keep track of the various disciplines in our sport of track & field athletics!

The adidas Grand Prix was a fine athletics meeting that had to deal with the cards that it was given, namely, the weather, and in the ultimate race, the Men's 100 meters, three false starts altered what should have been a tremendously fast race. In the end, the battle between Tyson Gay and Steve Mullings will only add to the excitement of the meet!

The best race of the day was the high school Boys adidas Golden Spikes Mile, where Lukas Verzbicas, fresh off his two mile record last weekend, became only the second high school boy to break four minutes in a high school race, and only fifth high school boy miler to break four minutes. Meeting him after the race? None other than the ONLY other man to break four minutes in a high school only race: Jim Ryun! 

Watch for more on Sunday!
Bernard Lagat, 2009 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

A slight drizzle, but no thunder claps, so the crowd is coming to adidas Grand Prix 2011. This meet is a testament to the very hard work of the team under the watchful eye of Global Athletic & Management, and the support of the sponsors, including adidas.

With great sprints, throws, jumps and distances, the meet will be tremendous! Looking foward to some great competition.
Thumbnail image for Rudisha_David-Brussels10.JPG
David Rudisha, 2010 Belgacom Brussels,
photo by PhotoRun.net

David Rudisha, who has been recovering from some issues with his left foot, will be racing June 24 in Nancy, France over the 800 meter distance. He will follow up with that race on June 30, running the Samsung DL meeting in Lausanne.  This was confirmed by his agent, James Templeton. 
Gay_Tyson-Brussels2010.jpgTyson Gay, 2010 Belgacom Brussels, photo by PhotoRun.net

The idea of track geekdom, well, needs to be embraced. As a friend noted this evening, " Oh my God, we are all just....geeks." It was said with a touch of tenderness, and some pride.

So, with the help of Sara Hunninghake, the PR maven for the adidas Grand Prix NYC, here are helpful links that will make you seem oh so geeky to your friends, family, irritated spouses and significant others. RBR will be covering the MIni 10k live this coming am and also the adidas Grand Prix NYC! On twitter, as is my want, and then, dear readers, on runblogrun.com and www.runningnetwork.com sites!


* There have been athletes who've scratched this week; the lists online are updated to reflect all changes. A few to note: Sherone Simpson (JAM), Wallace Spearmon (USA), Nesta Carter (JAM), Michael Frater (JAM) & Kerron Clement (USA).

* To access results of Diamond League events held so far this year, see:

* For detailed statistical information on athletes, results of meets from around the world and other useful information, visit www.all-athletics.com

* To access current IAAF world lists or all-time lists, see http://www.iaaf.org/statistics/toplists/index.html

* For year-by-year lists of Track & Field News end-of-year athlete rankings, see http://trackandfieldnews.com/index.php/rankings

* World, American, All-Comers and adidas Grand Prix meet records for the events being contested today are listed in the Media Guide; they and other records (world junior, high school, etc.) are also available at http://trackandfieldnews.com/index.php/records

* For brief statistical information on athletes, search by athlete name and country at http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/biographies/index.html

* For lengthier biographies of USA athletes, see www.usatf.org

* Results from past years of the adidas Grand Prix begin on Page 71 of the Media Guide.

It is four in the morning in New York City, and I am catching a cold. So, the yogurt, green machine Boosted smoothie, decaf coffee and garlic are called into action. Saturday should be a tremendous day of athletics in the Big Apple.

In the morning, at 8 am precisely, the NY Road Runners 10k Mini will go off. Dedicated to the memory of Grete Waitz, seven thousand plus women will be starting the race, in honor of the late Grete Waitz, the women that former RW Publisher George Hirsch (and current NYRR Chairman) noted, " legitimized marathoning for women."

Benoit-Waitz-NYC05.JPGJoan Benoit Samuelson, Grete Waitz, 2005 ING NYCM marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

In a touching memorial service for Grete Waitz, attended by one of her brothers and her husband, Jack, many paid their respects to the women who, put the marathon on the map in 1978 when when, having not ever run longer than 20k, Grete Waitz ran the marathon and set a new world record. That day, she also took off her shoes, threw them on the ground and told her husband Jack that she would never run a marathon again. Thankfully, she did not keep that promise. From Mary Wittenberg, to George Hirsch, to Barbara Paddock, to Allan Steinfeld, to Anne Audain to Spencer Nel, the speakers gave us a part of Grete Waitz that many of us never would have known.

Spencer Nel, representing adidas, spoke of Grete's relationship with the adidas brand, dating back to 1977, and her legacy. Elite athletes in both the MIni this morning and the adidas Grand Prix NYC will be wearing special kit from the adidas line, co developed by Grete Waitz, to promote the need for Cancer research. All profits from this line will be donated to the foundation that Grete developed.

It is fitting to memorialize Grete with a 10k on the roads and a day of track & field. Grete Waitz, from the age of 14, lived in both worlds. Her World Cross Country golds were preceded and followed by European medals, World Champs gold (marathon). In fact, in 1978, with her mile of 4:26, her World Cross Country gold that year, and her first ING NYCM victory, Grete was a true renaissance runner. With Jack Waitz at her side nearly her entire career, Grete Waitz ran and competed with dignity and honor. In her six years battling cancer, she spent time with her loves; children, her sport, and Jack. It is fitting that Jack Waitz will be the first man to officially run the NYRR Women's Mini-Marathon this morning.

Grete Waitz, in my eyes, would be very pleased....

So, on your run, or walk this morning, consider the life of Grete Waitz, and how she affected women's running, in particular, and our sport in general.
Then, watch the adidas GP NYC on Television, and enjoy a great day of sports!

Tyson Gay, 2010 Belgacom Brussels, photo by PhotoRun.net

CaCarter-Mullings-Rodgers-FraterFHH1-Pre11.JPGNesta Carter, Steve Mullings (in green), Mike Rodgers, 2011 Nike Pre Classic,
photo by PhotoRun.net

philips_idowu_triple_jump.jpgPhillips Idowu, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Tamgho_Teddy-Doha11.jpgTeddy Tamgho, 2011 Doha DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Some great competitions coming up! While I am covering the adidas grand prix NYC press conferences, read up on Alfons Juck's comments on the upcoming meet!

Jessica Ennis, Tyson Gay, Blanka Vlasic, Jeremy Wariner, 2011 adidas GP NYC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Four of the seven adidas Icon athletes (David Rudisha, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Haile Gebrselassie are the others), are competing at the 2011 adidas Grand Prix NYC on June 11, 2011 at the Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island.

Right now, Thursday night, it is raining and thundering in Manhattan. My flight, United 646, was the last one to land in LaGuardia. We had to make two attempts, the first aborted, when the wind sheer was over 25 miles an hour, and was literally pushing us around the sky. The pilots of this flight are owed a few adult beverages (on their time off) by me. It was one of the more spectacular landings that I have had in all of my flying years.

Here is a little bit on the four athletes who braved the Empire State Building:

Jessica Ennis is the European and World Champion in the heptathlon. Her recent 6790 at Gotzis shows that she is over her injuries from the spring. Ennis wins in 2011 Daegu and London, and she may be the biggest heptathlete ever.

Blanka Vlasic, the World and European champ in the high jump, is one of the most popular stars of the sport. Vlasic jumps with a style that is her own, and she has captivated fans in many stadiums across the world.

Tyson Gay is the man who beat Usain Bolt. Their battle in Daegu, Korea, over 100 meters, could be the race of the world champs. Now healthy, and running at about 75 percent of his capacity (his comments), Gay recently ran 9.79 for 100 meters.

Jeremy Wariner, the Olympic champ from 2004, and World Champ in 2005, 2007, is running well again. He is looking to run the 400 meters in the World Champs and is working with his long time coach, Clyde Hart, once again. Wariner had a close race with Angelo Taylor last week, showing Jeremy Wariner, that he will have to be at his best in Daegu, Korea.

Usain Bolt, 2010 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt opened his 200 meter distance in the rain of Oslo, Norway this evening, clocking a WL in 19.86. The crowd of 14,800 was entertained by four world leaders and two stadium records, plus two national records!

Bolt has now run two 100 meter races and one 200 meter race. His national championships are approaching, and we shall see how he and his fellow Jamaicans fare in that very challenging event.

Long time before we reach Daegu, Korea (78 days). Let's see how Bolt and Gay look over the next several weeks. 

Usain Bolt, 2011 Ostrava Golden Spikes, photo by PhotoRun.net

Vili_Valerie-nycDL10.JPGValerie Adams, 2010 adidas Grand Prix NYC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Defar_MeseretFV-Hengelo11.jpgMeseret Defar, 2011 FBK Games 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Some strong performances in Oslo this evening! Usain Bolt opened his 200 meter season with a fine 19.86 for 200 meters. Valerie Adams won the shot put over a strong field. Aries Merritt ran 13.12 for the 110m hurdles over a strong field. Meseret Defar is winding into shape, running 14:37 and change this evening over a very tough crew.

The result that I was most fascinated with is the women's 800 meters, where
Halima Hachlaf of Morocco won the race in 1:58.27, with Mariya Savinova of Russia in second in 1:58.44, and Caster Semenya of South Africa in third in 1;58.61. Janeth Jepkosgei Besienei ran 1;59.05, with Jennifer Meadows in fifth in 1:59.27. Eight women under 2:00!

Tyson Gay, June 8, 2011, Omega Electronics Manhattan Boutique, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tyson Gay is going to focus in 2011 on the 100 meters. He could not say, in a short piece by Alfons Juck, when he would open at 200 meters this season. Can not wait to see him run this weekend at the adidas Grand Prix NYC.

RBR is on way to NYC, after a night of no power in lovely Fort Atkinson, WI as thunderclaps let loose just above my above. Looking forward to making it to NYC tonight, watch for an update this evening!

The five Olympic rings represent the five cont...

Image via Wikipedia

In the world of high stakes sports media, the battle over Olympic TV sponsorship is one of the true pitched battles. Fox, ESPN/Disney and Comcast-NBC Universal presented to the IOC yesterday.

At the presentation, was Jaques Rogge, President of the IOC and Richard Carrion, CEO of Popular, Inc. a financial investment company.

The previous record was $3.5 billion paid by NBC/Universal for the 2001-2008 Olympic Games. That win was championed by Dick Ebersol, who had won the last 8 bids for TV Olympic rights. Ebersol resigned from Comcast-NBC Universal less than a month ago. For the Comcast-NBC Universal team, Mark Lazurus was brought in, a long time TBS executive. Lazurus headed up the presentation by Comcast-NBC Universal, and has been given high marks.

This is the world series of sports bidding. Brush your shoes, pick the power tie, floss your teeth twice, as nothing can be left to chance.

First presentation was Fox, then ESPN Disney, then, Comcast-NBC Universal.

Carefully orchestrated by Mr. Rogge, a man who has righted a listing ship over his tenure as the el popa of global sports, the presentations were both tedious and symbolic.

As the teams left the presentations, they presented their bids in sealed envelopes.

In the end, Comcast-NBC/Universal won, with a tremendous bid of $4.38 billion for the Olympic events through 2020. Rumored to be a cost cutter, Comcast obviously wanted this prize of prizes in the global sports foodchain, and Mr. Rogge and Mr. Carrian wanted to set a record for TV rights, knowing that the living entity that is the Olympic movement, needs beaucoup d'argent to feed the beast.

The record buy of U.S. TV rights is a tribute to the vision of Mr. Rogge, who has worked, both in front and behind the scenes to clean up some of the unseemly issues that have dirtied the Olympic movement in the past. His major issue is still drugs in sports, but there has been some progress made in that arena.

 Rogge understands what he has: the Olympic movement, especially the Summer Olympics, is the cathedral from which nearly five billion people around the world worship sports every four years for 18 days. Nothing comes near it, and if Rogge has his way, nothing ever will.

For more on the Olympic movement, we heartily suggest that you subscribe to insidethegames.biz, as we do!


Usain Bolt in Ostrava, 2011 Golden Spikes/Ostrava, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2011 EXXON Bislet Games is Thursday, June 9, 2011 in Oslo, Norway. The stadium has seen 69 world records, and the conditions should be wonderful. Bolt will run 200 meters for the first time in 2011 and we shall see how Mr. Bolt can open up over the half lap.

Desi Davila, the women who battled to the final steps in 2011 Boston Marathon, will be running 5,000 meters this weekend at the Portland, Oregon Track & Field Festival. And on Saturday, June 11, 2011, across the country, the adidas Grand Prix will be happening at the Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island, right in the center of New York City!

Lavillenie_Renaud-Rome11.jpgRenaud Lavillenie, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yohan Blake took a few good sprinters down, running 9.95 in Montreuil, France, in the first ProAthlet meeting of 2011. Christophe LeMaitre ran a smart 9.96, for a new French NR, as Teddy Tamgho (now coming to adidas grand prix NYC) jumped 17.67m, and Renaud Lavillenie cleared 5.83m.

Tamgho_TeddyR-EuroInd11.jpgTeddy Tamgho keeping it real (en Francais), 2011 European Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bolt_UsainH-Rome11.jpg2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, Thompson, Bolt, LeMaitre, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tyson Gay, 2011 Omega Press Conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Gay_TysonCarpet-Omega11.JPGTyson Gay, 2011 Omega Press Conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Gay_TysonTool1-Omega11.JPGTyson Gay working on Omega watch, 2011 Omega press conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tyson Gay had a busy morning and afternoon. In the Manhattan showroom for Omega Electronics, one of his sponsors and a supporter of the 2011 Samsung Diamond League. Tyson was treated to the black carpet treatment at the showroom.

RBR will be in NYC tomorrow and we can not wait to see Tyson Gay run at Icahn Stadium on Saturday, June 11, 2011 for the sixth 2011 Samsung Diamond League of the season.

Tyson Gay tested himself last Saturday, in a local meet in Claremont, Florida. Telling kentucky.com that he is 75 percent fit, Mr. Gay ran 9.79, the fastest time in the world. One shudders to think what this man can run when he is fully 100 percent, and one gets very excited about a fit Usain Bolt, fit Tyson Gay and others who will line up in Daegu, Korea for the sprint showdown. 

Usain Bolt in Ostrava, May 31, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

The crowds will be at the EXXON Bislett this Thursday in Oslo, Norway for the top quality athletes who will be running on the fifth stop of the 2011 Samsung Diamond League series!
Lukas Verzbicas, 2011 Nike Pre Classic Two Mile, photo by PhotoRun.net

Olivia Expone.jpg
Olivia Expone, National leader, 400 meters (53.15), 2011 Brooks PR invitational,
courtesy of Brooks Running

Geydon & Oshier_SSS3120.jpgElias Geydon, 2010 Cal State 1600m champ, Jantzen Oshier, 2011 Cal State 1600m champ (4:00.83), 2011 Brooks PR Invitational, courtesy of Brooks Running

The adidas Grand Prix NYC will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at the Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island. If you live within driving distance, borrow your parents car, fill your Iphone with tunes (My suggestions for driving music : Allman Brothers, Eat A Peach, Lou Reed Live, Jim Carroll, Catholic Boy and Genesis, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and anything by Sage Francis and G. Love & His Special Sauce).

It will be the sixth meet on the 2011 Samsung Diamond League Series, and it will be spectacular. With great meets last weekend on the left coast-Nike Pre Classic, and the week before in Rome (Compeed Golden Gala), plus, for me, FBK Hengelo, track season 2011 is on fire!

RBR will cover the 2011 adidas Grand Prix NYC LIVE on twitter, and follow up with LIVE updates on each event, plus results and features over the next 72 hours of the meet!

Amy Eloise Neale.jpg  Amy Eloise Neale, #1 Mile, #1 1,600m, #1, #,3,200m, 2011 Brooks PR Invitational,
photo courtesy of Brooks Running


Mo Farah, 2011 Nike Pre Classic 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

By the time that Mo Farah moved up from the back of the pack, to the front pack, and then, at 9,000 meters, into the lead, all six thousand fans in Eugene were his. Mo Farah, now coached by Alberto Salazar, is the adopted son of Eugene, Oregon. The athletes in the Oregon project, from Galen Rupp, to Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp, get wild applause when they line up on Hayward Field.

This night was for Mo though. As Galen Rupp had pulled out of the race due to allergy issues, and Chris Solinsky had withdrawn 2600 meters into the race with an injury, the identification for Eugene was Mo Farah.

Mo Farah, born in Somalia, moved to UK at the age of 8, and is a product of the British running system. He is also an example of what happens when British and American ingenuity comes together. In this case, Ian Stewart of UK athletics and Alberto Salazar of Nike's Oregon Project.
Buzunesh Diba, 2011 Dodge RNR San Diego marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Negari_TerfaFV-SanDiego11.JPGTerfa Negari, 2011 Dodge RNR San Diego Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Keflezighi_MebFV-SanDiego11.JpgMeb Keflezighi, 2011 Dodge RNR San Diego half marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Yep, Buzunuesh Diba just ran her ninth marathon and she won Honda LA Marathon in March 2011. This women seems to thrive on marathons.

Meb Keflezighi, all of 36, shows he has some muscle memory in those legs as he blast Martin Lel and runs 62:38 for the half.

 David Oliver, Liu Xiang, Aries Merritt, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photos 1 & 2,  by PhotoRun.net

The 110 meter hurdle race between David Oliver and Liu Xiang in Eugene, Oregon was EPIC. The battle over five hurdles, where Oliver and Xiang were neck and neck shows the best of our sport and is something that all sports fans can identify with! Here are a few of my observations:

Notice the focus on both the faces of Oliver and Xiang. David told me afterwards that " I am very focused. I do not know where anyone is, well, unless they are in front of me. I was aggressive from the start. I had to win the race by the third hurdle."

In speaking to both David and LIu (through translator) before the race, it is obvious how much respect each athlete has for the other. Along with Dayron Robles, we are speaking to two of the very best 110 meter hurdlers in the world.

Liu Xiang stopped David Olivers' winning streak at 18 in Shanghai. David told RBR that " it was was my worst race, ever. But, what was strange, you know, was that I ran 13.18 in my worst race." David was a bit nervous in the interview on Friday. Perhaps I misinterpreted nervousness for focus, I am not sure. Oliver wanted to win on Saturday.

Liu Xiang is fascinating. It is quite obvious that Mr. Xiang understands English much better than he lets on. I did drop a time into the conversation, which was corrected by his translator, which had been corrected by Liu. He paid much respect to David Oliver and Dayron Robles. He also noted his changes in his hurdling, where he is using a seven step approach now, and noted his core (hips, butt, lower back, quads) were quite sore from this new technique.

Blanka Vlasic, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Blanka Vlasic has world leader, but is not over 2.00 meters yet-long season ahead. Vania Stambolova hurdled a fine 53.68 for the Euro leader in the 400m hurdles. Big concern is Asafa Powell, who felt a cramp at 20 meters, slowed it down, and finds some tightness stretching after the race. We will keep RBR readers updated on this one. 
Amine Laalou, 2010 Continental Cup, Split, photo by PhotoRun.net

Powell_Asafa-Shanghai11.jpgAsafa Powell, 2011 Shanghai DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Amine Laalou ran a world leading 1,000 meters today in Rabat, Morrocco, with a fine time of 2:15.31. In the men's 100 meters, in what should have been an easy day in the office, Asafa Powell was timed in 36.2, a bit slower than he normally runs.

Per agent Paul Doyle, off twitter, Asafa probably had a cramp in his hamstring and slowed it down rather than injure himself. With the Jamaican champs three weeks from now, we wish Asafa a very speedy recovery.

Ian Waltz, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, discus, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here are the field events that I missed in my live coverage of the 2011 Nike Pre Classic. I hope that you enjoy!
The 2011 Nike Pre Classic and the 2011 adidas Grand Prix NY are the two major elite outdoor meetings in North America. That is a fact. Less than two weeks later, the USA Outdoor Champs will determine who makes the US team to Daegu, Korea for the World Outdoor Champs (August 27-Sept 5).

I have journeyed to the Compeed Rome Golden Gala and FBK Hengelo in the past two weeks. Add onto that, the 2011 Payton Jordan Invite, and I have been lucky enough to see most of the major elite athletes open their seasons so far, and should see the remainder at the 2011 adidas Grand Prix this coming weekend.

Here is what I want to see in our sport: Road races and track meets co promoting. Track & Field and Road running coming up with a solid program to encourage activity to reverse the trends to obesity in young people. Besides T&F and Road racing encouraging physical activity, I would love to see some elite athletes support a read a book a month club. We have so much talent and creativity in the members of this sport, yet, we have not harnessed it.

I love what Runnerspace & Flotrack, as well as others are doing in promoting our sport. From the tweets on how frustrating the NBC broadcast was to watch, I would say that our TV model needs to be shaken up. I like it that Ato Boldon tweets and stirs it up. The best broadcast of track for the year, in my mind, in the US, was the New Balance Indoor GP in Boston.

Athletics has many disciplines. We are a bit complicated, but, we shoot ourselves in the foot when athletes do not show up to a promoted event, when athletes avoid racing other athletes, and most importantly, when we do not appreciate that we are part of this bigger force, the global sport of athletics.

Oliver_DavidFH_Pre11.JpgAndy Turner, David Oliver, Liu Xiang, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, 110 m hurdles, photo by PhotoRun.net

How we answer these challenges will determine if the elite part of our sport grows, is recognized for the good it engenders, or sits behind professional walleye fishing on the sports marketing money food chain. In sports marketing, perception is reality.

We need more highlights in our sport in North America than Nike Pre, adidas NY and USA Outdoor.
Steve Mullings, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Steve Mullings continues to shine in 2011, showing that he will be someone to watch in Daegu. Carmelite Jeter answered the 10.76 of Veronica Campbell Brown (Ostrava, May 31), with her own 10.70! Again, a dual to watch for 2011!

The Nike Pre Classic had two great days of racing, and here is how Alfons Juck saw the events on Saturday, June 4, as 12, 188 paying fans were entertained with some of the best performances in the world!

Jeter_Carmelita-Pre11.JPGCarmelita Jeter, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Great Sprints, amazing distance races, great field events, how do you capture the 2011 Nike Pre Classic?

Stewart-Simpson-Jeter-FraserFHH-Pre11.JPGStewart, Simpson, Jeter, Fraser, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Much to say about the Nike Pre Classic this year, as there were some amazing performances. My only real disappointment was seeing Galen Rupp not line up in the 10,000 meters (per email from Alberto Salazar, to USATF, Rupp withdrew due to allergies), and seeing Chris Solinsky drop out just after 2400 meters (first heard hip flexors, but Pasqual Dobert, one of his trainers and Jerry Schumacher, his coach, said it was an injury he did not want to push, and that Chris should be fine for the USA outdoor).

Mo Farah's victory over 10,000 meters showed that, with planning, hard training and guts, runners like Solinsky, Tegenkamp can compete with the top Kenyan and Ethiopian runners. Great to see Mike Rodgers run 9.85 and Carmelita Jeter running 10.70 was amazing. Hayward Field is known for great distance running, field events, but not really for sprints! The conditions on Friday and Saturday night were just about perfect!

Verzbicas_Lukas1-Pre11.JPGLukas Verzbicas, breaking the two mile record, 2011 Nike Pre, photo by PhotoRun.net

I have to say, the cheering for Lukas Verzbicas as he charged down the final straight, intent on breaking German Fernandez high school record was, well, a great moment at the meet. It was also nice to see Bernard Lagat turn around to greet Lukas as he came across the finish line! 

More deep thoughts to come!

Welcome, fellow track geeks! Track geekdom heaven is here! Get in your run, jump or throw, open a cold beverage and read, gentle readers!

Yours truly is a bit slow this morning, kind of early for my night owl personae, but I am here, caffeinated and will be posting race updates LIVE here, and then reprising them in a column tomorrow or later this pm.

Farah_MoFHH-Pre11.JPGMo Farah setting Euro, British records in 26:46.57 victory, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Thumbnail image for Isinbayeva_YelenaFL1a-Zurich09.jpg
Yelena isinbayeva, 2009 Zurich,  photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Isinbayeva has set world records in the women's pole vault 26 times. Over the past three years, her career has been, well, mercurial.

Perhaps it is as Frank Shorter (1972 gold, 1976 silver) once noted, that after working so brutally hard for the first gold medal, it is hard to keep that level of focus. Isinbayeva took some time off, moved back to her first coach, and has stayed out of the attention of the media. Good for her. She needed a break from all of it.

Per our roving source of all things athletics, Alfons Juck, Ms. Isinbayeva will be returning to competition on July 16 in Heudsen. We look forward to seeing the female incarnation of Sergey Bubka jump once again. She is coming back to a world where several women vaulters want her position. We shall see how she rises to the competition.

It is looking to be a fascinating summer!

Thumbnail image for Flanagan_Shalane-USxc10.jpgShalane Flanagan: will she get the 5,000m AR back?
photo by PhotoRun.net

The 37th incarnation of the Nike Prefontaine Classic may be the best version yet. The men's 10,000 meters and women's 5,000 meters, both held on Friday night to have better conditions and institute the Distance Gala, should be two of the most exciting races in Pre history. I believe that you can confidently look at an AR over 5,000 meters from Shalane Flanagan and, in the 10,000 meters, serious attempts at the 10,000m AR by Chris Solinsky and Galen Rupp and a new British record threat by Mo Farah. Conditions should be perfect! I am predicting ten runners under 27 minutes in the men's 10,000 meters.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Farah_Mo-EuroInd11.jpgMo Farah: will he break British 10,000m record?
photo by PhotoRun.net

The Nike Pre Classic, to be held on Saturday, should be superb three hours of track & field geek time! The men's shot field is supreme, as should the women's 100 meters, men's sprints, and especially the men's two mile and Bowerman mile.

Rupp_Galen1-Stanford10.jpgGalen Rupp & Chris Solinsky: both could edge under current AR, but who will hold the record after tonight? photo by PhotoRun.net

Walter Dix, 2010 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

Last year, at the 2010 Nike Pre Classic, Walter Dix held off Tyson Gay over 200 meters. This year, Walter Dix is fit, over his injuries and has started off 2011 in strong fashion, with his win in Doha at the first of the Samsung DL meetings in 2011.

So, what will he do here? Only Walter can answer that question, so, stay tuned, on Saturday, June 4.

Justin Gatlin, 2010 Rovereto, Photo by PhotoRun.net

The facts are these: Justin Gatlin won the Olympic 100 meter gold medal in 2004 in Athens. In 2006, Justin Gatlin tested positive for a banned substance and received a four year ban. Now, running again, having served his time, Justin Gatlin will be racing at the 2011 Nike Pre Classic.
He will find, however, per two stories published by the Reuters news agency today, written by Gene Cherry, that he will not be welcome to most of the major European meetings this summer.

The stories, published today by Reuters, and written by Gene Cherry,
confirm that Justin Gatlin is running the Nike Pre, but also that the Euromeetings group is adamant about his competition in Europe.

This is a very complicated issue, as drugs have sullied our sport for decades.  RBR understands that the Euromeetings managers have put a proverbial line in the sand-drug cheats are not welcomed in their events. The European managers have decided, as a group, that banned athletes (two years and longer) are not welcome into their meetings.

 But, in the U.S., there is the over riding feeling that if a person takes their lumps, and serves their time, which Gatlin did, they should be given another chance. Does this apply to athletes who have hurt their sport with positive drug tests? Does Justin Gatlin, having served his time, deserve another chance? 

There is no easy answer. Gene Cherry provides two very well-written articles on this conundrum. I am curious to see what you are readers think of Justin Gatlin and his comeback.

Please email me at [email protected] with your thoughts or use our comment column.

The two stories are linked below:

Justin Gatlin to run Nike Pre Classic, by Gene Cherry /Reuters


Justin Gatlin: Oregon Invite will not change European ban, by Gene Cherry/Reuters


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Farah_MoFV_NYCH11.Jpg
Mo Farah, 2011 NYC Half marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net
In what is shaping up to be the epic 10,000 meter race of 2011, Mo Farah has joined the field of the 10,000 meters, to be held on Friday evening, June 3, at historic Hayward Field. A field that has seven runners who have best 27 minutes (now 8, with Solinsky), Mo Farah, Galen Rupp and Chris Solinsky are part of that historic field, with Mo Farah, the top British distance runner, joining in the last several hours.

We just wrote that the US record could be in danger, well, add the British record (27:18, Jon Brown), should be toast. Mo Farah has run 27:28, but should be able to surpass that here, with the conditions, field and level of competition! Looking forward to Friday night even more!
Solinsky_Chris1b-Stockholm10.jpgChris Solinsky, 2010 DN Galan Stockholm, photo by PhotoRun.net

Chris Solinsky is running the 10,000 meters on Friday night, June 3, instead of the two mile on June 4. Joining Galen Rupp and an amazing field, there is the definite chance of a new American record! Friday night is a Distance Gala night, with men's 10,000m, women's 5,000m, world record attempts at 25k/30k for men--a true night of distance running under the stars!

Solinsky has run sparingly this spring, however, qualifying for the 5,000 meters for Daegu, running a 1,500 meter pb and also a mile pb (mile pb indoors).

Rupp raced alot this winter, 5,000m in Dusseldorf, then a 5,000m AR in Birmingham indoors, then second in the 3,000m in Albuquerque in the USA indoor, a strong half marathon debut in March soon followed.

RuppLeads-USAInd11.JpgGalen Rupp, 2011 USA Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

The men's 10,000 meter field is amazing. You will be hard pressed to find a field better than this until the World Champs in Daegu. Perfect conditions, a cool clear night and a star packed field should give Solinsky and Rupp a chance to tuck in, relax and see what they can do!  

Looking forward to that race, and RBR will keep you updated on the Distance night in Eugene, starting at 6.40pm Friday night, with a world record attempt at 25k and 30k on the track as well. Distance geek o mania!
Carmelita Jeter, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Nike Pre Classic will happen on June 4, and RBR will be there! There will also be a Distance Gala on Friday night, and we will cover that live.

Here is the release on the 100 meters, men and women and the 200 meters as well! Running to plane to PDX, watch for more tonight from Portland!
Maryam Jamal, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Robles_Dayron1-Hengelo11.jpgDayron Robles, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

I am back in the States, after the trip back from Hengelo to Chicago, then a two hour bus ride to Madison. My trip to Rome and Hengelo gave me a first hand look at the major early season meetings and I was left with how many great things we have done right in our sport. There are many challenges, but there are opportunities to grow this sport even more than I imagined.

Maryam Jamal ran a brilliant 1,500 meters in Hengelo, to take the second world lead she had set in four days, with her 4:00.31. Dayron Robles showed that he is a force to be reckoned with in 2011, with his world leading 13.07.

Now, off to the PRe Distance Gala and the Pre Classic, two sessions of great track and field in Eugene, Oregon!

Usain Bolt, 2011 Ostrava Golden Spikes, photo by PhotoRun.net

The appearance of Usain Bolt, and his 9.91 victory would have been the story of the meet, EXCEPT for Veronica Campbell-Brown, who, in a legal +1.1 wind, blew the field away and ran her personal best, a scintillating 10.76, which gave her the 8th best performance EVER, equal to the iconic Evelyn Ashford!

Campbell_Veronica-Ostrava11.jpgVeronica Campbell-Brown, 2011 Ostrava, photo by PhotoRun.net

Veronica Campbell-Brown is not running anything between now and her Jamaican championships, focusing on making the team and heading to Daegu. In this writer's mind, VCB should be hard to beat over 100m and 200m at her champs and is now the women to beat in Daegu! Find the tape of her run, VCB ran flawlessly, and ran through the finish, to wake many up to a) how fit VCB is and b) how dangerous she will be in Daegu!

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