December 2011 Archives

Pearson-Diack-BoltA-IAAFgala11.jpgSally Pearson, Lamine Diack, Usain Bolt, IAAF Gala, photo by

Alfons Juck, who provides us with his daily news of the world, is the heart behind EME News. We provide his top ten list for moments in 2012. Watch for one from RBR later today. Happy New Years to our friends and readers around the world. As of 31.12.2011, Runblogrun daily readers in 162 countries, with nearly 300,000 daily readers. Thanks for your support and we look forward to covering the sport you love in 2012! Enjoy the weekend with your friends and family!

We thank our friends at,, globalathletics & marketing, UKathletics,,, EME News and the coaches, athletes, agents and managers who make the sporting news every day.

Vlasic_Blanka1-EmpireSt11.JPGBlanka Vlasic, 2011 adidas NYC GP, photo by

Blanka Vlasic, 2011 WC in high jump, has changed agents to Daniel Wessfeldt. USA Today predicts 2012 Olympic champs. An early Happy New years to our readers...

Vlasic changes agents
MONTE CARLO (MON): High jump star, world and European gold medalist Blanka Vlasic has changed management. After many years with Austrian agent Harald Edletzberger Blanka Vlasic has now joined agents Daniel Wessfeldt and Stina Funke in JRS Sports Management, with offices in Monaco and Sweden. " I have known Daniel and Stina for many years and feel confident with them and their network. I am now looking forward to a strong 2012 and I will kick off the season with a training camp in South Africa and after that a couple of indoor meetings. The main goal for 2012 is of course the Olympic Games in London," she said in a statement forwarded by Daniel Wessfeldt.

USA Today predictions
NEW YORK (USA): USA Today predicted results of Olympic Games in London. For athletics they named top 8 in every event. From Daegu winners the compilers are trusting 10 men (Bolt at 200 m, Kiprop, Kemboi, Borchin, Bakulin, Rudisha, Harting, J. Williams, D. Phillips and A. Kirui) and 10 women (Jeter, Pearson, Kaniskina, Montsho, Cheruiyot at 5000 m, Chernova, Reese, Murer, Adams and E. Kiplagat) to win also in London. In relays they see three repeats from Deagu (men of Jamaica at 4x100 m and USA at 4x400 m and US women at 4x400 m). Interesting to see their prediction of Yohan Blake winning the 100 m ahead of Asafa Powell with Usain Bolt third. US wins are foreseen in 110 m hurdles (Oliver), 400 m (Wariner) and shot put (Cantwell). From Europeans they trust to Mo Farah at 10 000 m, Andreas Thorkildsen in javelin, Renaud Lavillenie in pole vault, Philips Idowu in triple jump and Krisztian Pars in hammer. Other wins for Cuba (Suarez in decathlon), Ethiopia (Merga at 5000 m) and Puerto-Rico (Culson at 400 m hurdles). In women events US win for Allyson Felix at 200, from Europeans Betty Heidler in hammer, Blanka Vlasic in high jump and Barbora Spotakova in javelin. Africa should get golds in the 10 000 m (L. Masai), steeple (Chemos) and 800 m (Jepkosgei). Asian wins in the 1500 m (Jamal) and triple jump (Rypakova) and remaining are Yareli Barrios for discus, Melaine Walker at 400 m hurdles and Jamaican women in the 4x100 m relay.

Bolt and Jeter by
BUDAPEST (HUN): Respected data and stats website announced its Athletes of the Year 2011. They are sprinters Jamaican star Usain Bolt and US 100 m world champion Carmelita Jeter. On the continental level the best in Africa are David Rudisha and Vivian Cheruiyot, in Asia Liu Xiang and Maryam Jamal, in Europe Mo Farah and Tatyana Chernova, in Oceania Mitchell Watt and Sally Pearson and in South America Fabiana Murer and two male athletes sprinter Bruno de Barros and long jumper Irving Saladino. For North and Central America the top ones are the world best.

Bolt´s fan base growing
KINGSTON (JAM): Usain Bolt publicist Carole Beckford informs that with 210 days to go before the London Summer Olympic Games, Usain Bolt is about to set another record. His Social Media numbers have been improving rapidly and even in off season, he seems to be attracting new fans. Bolt's Facebook numbers are moving closer to 6 million and he stands to achieve that before the Games. On Twitter his number has doubled in less than six months. Facebook Fans total 5.72 million, while Twitter has shown great growth since May moving from 125,000 then to 328,000. The interaction for Bolt, who talks 'often' to his fans has opened up a new set of opportunities for him. Since November he has added over 87,000 fans on Facebook and just under 20,000 Twitter followers. Although Bolt is reaping rewards from the track, off the track he has been making a significant contribution to charity, by pledging his support to the 14th Sigma Corporate Run (February 19, 2012); and continues to support projects through his Usain Bolt Foundation. Coming up early in 2012 a few major projects will be announced including business partnerships and more charity activities. Bolt and his Racers Track Club team mates are in full preparation mode for the active 2012 track and field season. He has been also nominated for the RJR Sports Foundation Awards, scheduled for Friday, January 20 in Kingston.

France has the biggest number of top meetings
BUDAPEST (HUN): In one day meetings rankings by France has the biggest number of events in the top 100 with 10. Second is Germany 9 followed by Italy and USA with 8. Fifth position in this ranking for Belgium (6) ahead of Brazil with 5. Four meetings in the top 100 rankings are organised in Switzerland, Spain and Sweden. Three in Great Britain, China, Canada and Finland. Three countries are not havig a meeting in the top 100 but had one in 2010. They are Greece, Ireland and India. Although Weltklasse Zürich achieved the highest Participation Score, it is Herculis Meeting of Monaco which has the best total Competition Score and is ranked first in the 2011 Competition Rankings in the Invitational/One-day outdoor competitions category. Writes Best meets in other areas are Rabat in Africa, Doha in Asia, Sydney in Australia and Rio de Janeiro in South America.


MADRID (ESP): Double olympic winner from Beijing Tirunesh Dibaba is returning to racing at 47th San Silvestre Vallecana end of the year race on Saturday in Madrid. She will face home star Marta Dominguez at the 10 km distance. Last competition of Dibaba is registered from August 2010 in London at the 5000 m on the track. Also in the field Ethiopian Gelete Burka and other home star and Daegu 1500 m bronze winner Natalia Rodriguez. In men´s race Ayad Lamdassem, Chema Martinez, Jesus Espana, Manuel Olmedo are facing Eritrean Teklemariam Medhin and Portugal´s veteran Rui Silva.

BOLZANO (ITA): New addition into the field of 37th BOClassic end of the year race in Bolzano is Half Marathon world champion Wilson Kiprop. Already earlier announced were world champions Imane Merga with Vivian Cheruiyot.  The elite races (women 5 km, men 10 km) will be broadcast live by RAI Sport 1. Another top name is Kenyan Edwin Soi who won here already three times. Also to mention Spanish European 1500 m champion Arturo Casado, Moroccan Abdelaziz El Idrissi and Ukrainian Sergiy Lebid. In the women field to mention Ibtissam Lakhouad from Morocco, Portugal´s Ana Dias, Hungarian Krisztina Papp, Ethiopian Afera Godfay and home top runner Silvia Weissteiner.

PEUERBACH (AUT): The Austrian end of the year race in Peuerbach will have top quality field on Saturday headed by road world record holder Leonard Komon for the men´s 6.8 km. Also in the race Josphat Bett of Kenya, Moroccan title defender Najim El Qady, Germans Jan Fitschen and Steffen Uliczka, Czech group is headed by miler Jakub Holusa. Women´s 5.1 km race has last two years winner Asmera Work Bekele of Ethiopia running with German marathon star Irina Mikitenko and Hungarian Aniko Kalovics. Austrian elite is fully represented and headed by Gunther Weidlinger, Andreas Vojta and Andrea Mayr. 

NEW YORK (USA): Canadian Carmen Douma-Hussar and Landon Peacock lead the elite fields for Saturday night's Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park.  The New York Road Runners, who will organize this iconic four-mile road race held at the stroke of midnight for the 33rd time, expect 5000 runners to take part.

SAO PAULO (BRA): For San Silvestre of Sao Paulo at 15 km top Kenyans Matthew Kisorio, Martin Lel, Duncan Kibet will face Ethiopian Tariku Bekele and home star Marilson Gomes dos Santos. The Brazilian best runner won here already three times in 2003, 2005 and 2010.


MOSCOW (RUS): Another win for high jump World champion Anna Chicherova. She was voted Russian Sportswoman of the Year 2011 by the sports daily Sport Express. In the poll around 100 journalists participated. In an interview she said her plan for 2012 is to jump 210 or even higher.

PARIS (FRA): Fastest European Christophe Lemaitre said for L´Équipe that he wants in 2012 more concentrate on the 200 m. He thinks there is more potential for him at this distance. Lemaitre also confirmed his indoor season will be short without competing at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Also summer he is not planning to many competitions apart of European Championships and Olympic Games.

GLASGOW (GBR): Daegu double bronze medallist Kim Collins will launch his 2012 assault in Glasgow at the Aviva International Match before testing his Olympic credentials against former World Record holder Asafa Powell in an explosive Aviva Grand Prix encounter in Birmingham. The 35-year-old former World Champion, who defied critics by taking 100m and 4x100m bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, this summer, will represent the Commonwealth Select side at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall on 28 January before heading to Birmingham to race at the NIA on 18 February. Collins will contest both the 60m and 200m events in Glasgow before turning his attention to a blistering 60m showdown with Powell in Birmingham. Collins also aims to run at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Organizers are informing in a release.

EDINBURGH (GBR): Recently crowned European champions Atelaw Bekele and Fionnuala Britton will head the European Select men and women's side at the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry in the New Year. The Belgian and Irishwoman after their solid victories at the Championships in Velenje will start favourites in the International Team Challenge  against the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad and Team USA in Holyrood Park on 7 January. Bekele is part of an extremely strong Euro men's contingent which also includes Ayad Lamdessem (second), Joe Sweeney (fifth) and Javier Garcia (sixth) at the Championships as well as Sergiy Lebid the former nine time gold medallist who will captain the team. Britton will captain the continental side in the 6km race which also includes Spaniard Delores Checa who proved herself to be Europe's fastest 5000 metres performer this year in the women's race which has been added to the programme for the first time. The Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry will also feature what will be a very fast 3km clash between all of the current Olympic distance running gold medallists Kenenisa Bekele, Asbel Kiprop and Brimin Kipruto. Writes David Martin.

DURHAM (USA): Insidethegames informs that US Paralympic sprinter Jerome Singleton has been fitted with a new prosthetic leg that he hopes will help him win gold at London 2012.  Singleton will be a strong contender in London and will hope to repeat his 100 metres victory over South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius in Christchurch earlier this year at the IPC World Championships. Despite being born without a fibula Singleton is currently the fastest amputee on the planet and has now been fitted with a new prosthetic leg in Honea Path in South Carolina.

MADRID (ESP): Middle distance runners Natalia Rodriguez and Manuel Olmedo were voted Spanish Athletes of the Year 2011 by Spanish Athletics Federation and magazine Atletismo Espanol. The Daegu 1500 m medalist Rodriguez got 8471 votes ahead of Nuria Fernandez 4270 and Dolores Checa 3855. Best non-runner was fourth placer high jumper Ruth Beitia (3740). In men´s order Olmedo got 8039 votes ahead of Jesus Espana 6804 and sprinter Angel David Rodriguez 6234. Fourth is discus thrower Mario Pestano 4730. Top junior athletes are Tallinn 5000 m and 10 000m winner Gabriel Navarro and triple jumper Ana Peleteiro medalist from Lille World U17 Championships. Top ones in the U23 category are 800 m runner Kevin Lopez and walker Julia Takacs. Enrique Pascual is the coach of the year (Olmedo) and top club is Valencia Terra i Mar. The Gala awards evening will be held on January 21 in Sevilla.

OSLO (NOR):  Norwegian athlete of the year 2011 is sprinter Jaysuma Saidy Ndure. He was Daegu 4th placer in the 200 m race.

HENGELO (NED) : The FBK-Games stadium might add an indoor facility to its complex reveals newspaper The Stentor. The warm-up area that is currently used for the FBK Games will be removed, opening up plans to add an indoor warm up area that could be used for the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Hengelo.

DUBLIN (IRL): Ciaran O Lionaird is among the Irish athletes with preliminary entries for the world indoor championships in Istanbul in March and the Irishman is ready to answer the call if things go to plan. O Lionaird is now training with Alberto Salazar in Portland and told the Irish Examiner "Everything is great here in Beaverton, I spent Christmas at Nike WHQ, staying in the routine. We are in the middle of a hard training block here so I didn't want to disrupt it." O Lionaird is one of Ireland's hopes for the London Olympic Games.

SOFIA (BUL): Bulgarian Athlete of the Year 2011 Vania Stambolova is in preparation for the indoor season and aims to run the 400 m at World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. She was world championships finalist in Daegu at 400 m hurdles.

ROAD TOWN (BVI): With three national indoor records under her belt and four NCAA All America Honors to her credit in her senior year, Chantel Malone was crowned the 2011 Sol British Virgin Islands senior Female Athlete of The Year, during the BVI Athletics Association's 3rd annual Athletes Awards Recognition Gala, held at Drakes Point at Fort Burt, on December 28. Malone, who was the 2009 and 2010 Sol BVI Jr. Athlete of the Year, completed her eligibility at the University of Texas. During the season she broke Ashley Kelly's 400m National Indoor Record, after running 53.23 seconds, then improved on her Long Jump standard with a leap of 665 and extended her own triple jump mark to 13.45m. There was no senior male award presented for the second successive year. Informs CAC website.

AUSTIN (USA): Michael Johnson believes Usain Bolt can cement his legendary status by stepping up to 400m and has backed the Jamaican to break his world record. Johnson believes Bolt has the talent to break his world record if he decides to step up to the one-lap event. "He was a 400m runner before he was a 100m and 200m runner," Johnson told ESPN. "He has always been great as a 200m runner but he was a good 400m runner when he was very young.

LONDON (GBR): Latest blog by Pat Butcher at The Coe & Ovett Olympics on BBC Radio.


TRNAVA (SVK, Dec 30): At the traditional Weight Throw competition (10.5 kg) outdoors European Champion 2010 Libor Charfreitag won with good 41.65 m. In the 29th edition he achieved already his 17th win, his meet best is 43.28 from 2003. Charfreitag was satisfied as he is not preparing for weight throw competitions this season. Second was another NCAA Champion Marcel Lomnicky with personal best 39.91 m. World 2009 medalist Martina Hrasnova won the women competition with new meet record 25.94 m. Her previous one was 24.64 from 2007. Charfreitag returns to his training base in Dallas on January 4, Hrasnova travels early January to her first training camp in South Africa (Potchefstroom) and Lomnicky will fly back to Blacksburg, Virginia to complete his last NCAA indoor eligibility season.

SITTARD (NED, Dec 29): At an indoor pole vault meet German Bjorn Otto cleared 552 and Belgian Chloe Henry went over new national indoor women record with 422 cm.

CHELYABINSK (RUS, Dec 17): Late addition from Russia. World pole vault finalist Dmitriy Starodubtsev improved twice his best during an indoor students competition. In first attempt at 580 and also at 590. He tried then three times at six meters. His former best was 575 from 2008, he is also World Junior champion 2004 and European Junior champion 2005.


GENT (BEL): The international meet will be held on February and not January, the 18th.
Kelly Wells, Ginny Powell, LoLo Jones, Danielle Carruthers, Doha 2011, photo by

Powell_Asafa-Lausanne11.jpgChristophe LeMaitre, Asafa Powell, photo by

Campbell_Veronica-ParisDL11.jpgVeronica Campbell-Brown, photo by

The U.S. Open Indoor Track & Field meet, to be held January 28, 2012, will feature some hot races. In the women's hurdles, and in the 50 meter sprints, fans will get to see some of the best in the world, from LoLo Jones, Kelly Wells and Tiffany Ofili Porter, to Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown in the 50 meters! More to come!

Blanka Vlasic, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala Roma, photo by

Blanka Vlasic told Croatian news agencies that she would be competing indoors, including the World Indoors in Instanbul. And guess which event Sports Illustrated noted at the Olympic story of 2011? Sure, Usain Bolt's false start in the 100 meters! They also noted Goeffrey Mutai's New York win!

Bolt_UsainDQbib1-World11.JPGUsain Bolt, 2011 World 100 meters, photo by

Martin Lel, 2011 Mardi Gras Half Marathon, photo by

Martin Lel will be running the Dubai Marathon in January 2012. Lel, who is training well, is looking for a strong performance. ASICS already sent out an email blast noting their sponsorship of the Honda LA marathon. ASICS America also has sponsorships of ING NYCM, Paris & Tokyo Marathons.
Keep your thoughts and prayers with Lee Evens, two time Olympic champion, who is waiting on some decisions by medical professionals on whether he needs brain surgery or medicine, or a combination thereof to deal with a brain tumor.

Mr. Evans was featured in the first issue of American Athletics that we did in 1989, he was gracious and thoughtful. We will keep you updated on his condition....

StartLine_WC09_WC09.jpgStartline, photo by
updated 12.26.11

Big Sur Half Marathon course, photo courtesy of BSIM

Entrusted with a course the includes some of the most beautiful scenery
in the world, BS Half Marathon has not only repeated their award for sustainability, but they improved their performances in several categories!

The course is gorgeous. The first photo, I believe shows part of the old Butterfly to Breakers 10k course, which had this wicked hill about mile 4 to 6. The lower picture shows in the very background, Pacific Grove's Lovers' Point, which is one my favorite places on the planet. RBR encourages you to try and run this one. And congrats to the team at BSIM, who has taken some of the most beautiful running paths on the planet and added to them, not taken away from them!

HM68-1 small.jpg
Big Sur Half Marathon course, courtesy of BSIM


Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, photo by

Merry Christmas to all, and best wishes for well earned days of rest....2012 is not far off, and it should be an amazing year, indoor and outdoors! Looking forward to seeing many of you this year! Special thanks to Alfons Juck, aka the Juckster, a man who provides us with much of the news from around the world. (Special thanks to and as well). Also thanks to Victah Sailer, aka Victah, aka and his merry group of photographers, who provide most of the photos we use all year. There are more to thank and we will thank them over the next week. For now, enjoy the bit of athletics news...
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Shrimp Bordelais, by Gervais Henric

Merry Christmas to all of our friends, followers, readers on! I have quoted Steve Martin for several years, " Some people get paid for selling Flair pens, and I get paid for doing this!" . I feel lucky enough to work with good people, in a sport that I love and interacting with people that I care for very much. Enjoy your holidays, remember to enjoy with someone you love!

As many may know now, I am planning my mid-life crisis, which is two years away. As I expect to live to 110, I am planning on that situation now, so, for the final thought for the day, I shall quote Goethe:

"Age merely shows what children we remain."

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Winter Solstice!

ASICS America now has a major marathons on both the East & West coasts! Fascinating to see what they do with Honda LA Marathon sponsorship, stay tuned! The late Fred Lebow would be most pleased....
Akron marathon .jpgAkron Marathon, photo courtesy of AkRUN

This is part three of four parts written by Akron Marathon's David Hunter. I hope you have enjoyed as much as I have enjoyed and learnt from them. The key is, brand is key, know your brand, love your brand, build your brand.

My apologies for the late posting of this piece. The week before the holiday has been crazy, I am off to Vegas to be with my sister, Lou, brother in law, Gervais and neice, Tess (and of course, my son, Adam).

A warning over the next two weeks: probably one post a day, and Christmas special picture!

Thanks to David Hunter, one our newest and most enthusiastic writers! I always tell Adam that for us to truly live, we must learn something new every day. Stay open to that, friends.

RUN is a recent book by Matt Fitzgerald. Matt Fitzgerald is an integral part of the Competitor Group editorial team, and a prolific author on training. This is one of his most recent books, which we, of course, missed during our travels to track meetings far & wide this past summer.
Jeff Benjamin, our ever alert book reviewer, sent me several emails on this one, so, without any further adieu, please find Jeff Benjamin's thoughtful commentary on Matt Fitzgerald's book, RUN.

book cover of "Running For The Hansons"

Our own Jeff Benjamin reviews the new book, Running for the Hansons, by Sage Canaday. Overall, Benjamin recommends the book.....
And to think, when Disney first started the WDW Marathon, they did it to fill the park on one of their few open weekends of the year. Now, runDisney events are some of the biggest weekend draws. Running has allowed Disney to virtually print money on the results of these races!

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Race

Brings Scary Good Times Back to Walt Disney World 


New 10-mile event is reminiscent of Tower of Terror 13K race from 2009;

Race debuts Sept. 29, 2012 and is sixth signature runDisney event and second nighttime race at Walt Disney World; Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend shifts to early Nov.


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2011) - Reviving the scarily popular Twilight Zone Tower of Terror theme, runDisney unveiled its newest race today, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, which debuts next year at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

The nighttime race, scheduled for Sept. 29, is the reincarnation of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K last held in 2009. The new event has a similar race course - through the set of "Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show" and past Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat - but features runDisney's first-ever 10-mile distance that finishes, appropriately enough, near The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Runners will receive a finisher medal inspired by the Tower of Terror and then celebrate their achievement at a villainous post-race party with their family and friends, where they will enjoy live music, characters - including your favorite Disney villains - and have exclusive access to attractions like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Star Tours and Toy Story Mania.

"The 10-mile distance has emerged in popularity as beginning runners, who are fast becoming super fans of the sport, consider it the next big challenge after a 5k or 10k," said veteran race director Jon Hughes, who will serve as race director for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror event.  "Take into account the unique night race combined with Disney's Tower of Terror theme, and it's 'the must do' event for 2012!"

The new The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror race is the sixth signature runDisney event and the second nighttime race at Walt Disney World along with the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which shifts to Nov. 9-10 next year during the final weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. As with all runDisney events, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror race weekend will involve a variety of events, including a 5K and Kids' races, plus a Health and Fitness Expo, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

Race registration opens Feb. 14, 2012 at For more information on runDisney events and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, visit

Taylor Dupont, 2010 NIN, photo by

Bob Gourley has been involved with the hammer and weight throw since about the time of Moses. So, that means that Bob really loves the event and thanks to him, we get some very cool updates on the event!

The weight throw, and the hammer throw are two of the coolest events in our sport. They require speed, stamina, and lots of personal drive. Thanks Bob for the update!

Christian Cantwell, 2011 WC, photo by

Williams_JesseR-World11.JPGJesse Williams, 2011 WC, photo by

Two of the most dynamic athletes in our sport, Christian Cantwell & Jesse Williams,  have confirmed at the U.S. Open, to be held at Madison Square Gardens on January 28, 2012.

BAA image002.jpg  
The new B.A.A. Distance Medley, the combination of  the BAA 5k (April), the BAA 10k (June 24) and the B.A.A. Half Marathon (October 7) looks like fun. Registration opens January 25! Read on for details!

Yelena Isinbayeva, photo by

Yelena Isinbayeva is opening her 2012 season in Russia on January 21, 2012. Teddy Tamgho gets a six month ban for his October actions and the list is long on the athletes of the year from around the world....
Powell_Asafa-Shanghai11.jpgAsafa Powell,  photo by

Li-Ning & its partner, the Acquity Group, announced on Monday, December 19, that its new e commerce site, Digital Li-Ning ( was live. The Li-Ning brand, which has produced performance footwear and apparel in China (number three brand behind Nike and adidas), for twenty-two years, is focusing on a digital launch as it showcases its running, basketball and fitness footwear and apparel to the American market.

This is not the first attempt by Li-Ning in the United States. But, it seems, to be the most focused and directed. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted Li-Ning's recent battles for market share in China with Nike and adidas. 2011 has been a difficult year for Li-Ning in China, as profit dropped by half as both Nike and adidas pushed on the Chinese brand. The article also noted that many keen observers of the footwear business think that Digital Li-Ning, a partnership between Li-Ning & the Acquity Group, a U.S. based digital firm, may be the best of both worlds.

Like many of the top brands, Li-Ning has sponsored athletes. Early in the game, Li-Ning sponsored Shaquille O'Neal, Evan Turner and Baron Davis in basketball, and WR holder Yelena Isinbeyeva (pole vault), Asafa Powell (76 times under ten seconds in the 100 meters), Andreas Thorkildsen ( javelin world champion, currently second in world) and Christian Taylor (gold medalist, Triple Jump) in the sport of track & field.

From the pages of Financial Times to the pages of Wall Street Journal, Chinese businesses are told that they will be out-marketed, out-designed and out-spent as they venture outside of the Mainland. The fact remains that, it is only a matter of time before a Chinese brand gets bloodied, re-evaluates and evolves itself into a global brand.

Digital Li-Ning wants to be that brand.

Mo Farah, 2011 European Indoor Champs, 3,000m, photo by

Mo Farah will be running a 1,500 meters on January 28 at the AVIVA Glasgow meeting. Teddy Tamgho is training in Florida, has to speak with the FFA Disciplinary Board over an alleged altercation from last October. Less than four weeks to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
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Galen Rupp, 2011 NYC Half marathon, photo by

Galen Rupp, per EME news, has entered the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the Marathon, to be held in Houston, January 14, 2011. Rupp, the America record holder at 10,000 meters, and 5,000 meters indoors, would be running his first marathon. His half marathon debut last spring in New York city was pretty impressive. Watch for upcoming pieces on the Trials from RBR.

Rupp_Galen-USout11.JPGGalen Rupp, 2011 USA Outdoor Champs, 10,000m, photo by

Bolt_UsianA-IAAFgala11.jpgUsain Bolt, 2011 IAAF Athlete of Year, photo by

Coach Glen MIlls knows a bit about Usain Bolt. And what would one expect? Someone who observes you day after day, year after year, workout after workout. There is talent around the world, much that never pans out. What made Bolt go from star junior to star elite open athlete? Coaching is a huge part of it. Here is what Coach Mills has to say about Usain Bolt, as Bolt prepares for 2012....

Vivian Cheruiyot, 2011 WC Daegu, photo by

Vivian Cheruiyot, the gold medalist at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, is considering the roads...Koji Murofushi, 2011 WC, gets Japan's Athlete of the Year. Ostrava planning big things for 2014!
GouchersFlag-NYChalf11.JPGKara, Adam & Colt Goucher, 2011 NYC Half marathon, photo by

Kara Goucher and Adam Goucher qualified for the 2012 U.S. Marathon Team Trials. Kara will be running, but, Adam, unfortunately, will not. A U.S. former champion at 5,000 meters, Adam has been fraught with injuries over the past half decade. The guy, tough as nails continues to come back. Kara Goucher, a strong college runner who was often injured, worked with Alberto Salazar's crew for several years, garnering a World Championship bronze medal in Osaka, Japan in the 10,000 meters. Moving up to the Marathon, Kara has run well over the distance, but has had her ups and downs. Perhaps the pressure of being "the next hot runner" was hard, perhaps the media coverage, all played a part, but, in the end, after some ups and downs, Kara Goucher moved from being coached by Alberto Salazar to Jerry Schumacher.

I have been lucky to see both Adam & Kara race well, and also have those tough days. On my mantle at home, I have an autographed shoe from Adam Goucher, from way back in 1999. I have been fortunate to see Kara work out and also watched her race, giving it her all, on that day. Nothing asked, nothing given.

Goucher_Kara1a-Miami11.jpgKara Goucher, 2011 Miami Half Marathon, photo by

Adam & Kara Goucher have both had the Miles of Trials and the Trials of Miles as writer John Parker, in the cult classic, Once a Runner, described the experiences on the road and track.Their books, Running the Edge and Kara Gouchers' Running for Women, are, per our reviewer, Jeff Benjamin, chock-full of tips to make your running better and to learn from their experiences. 

Goucher_AdamQ-USOlyT08.jpgAdam Goucher, 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, 10,000m, photo by

Both Adam Goucher & Kara Goucher are at crossroads: different places in their careers and now, with a son. Their books, quite different, should be on any coaches bookshelf (or athlete). Jeff Benjamin, a long time writer for both American Athletics (now American Track & Field) and will tell you why:

Vivian Cheruiyot with her fans, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by

Makau_PatrickFVWR1-Berlin11.jpgPatrick Makau, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon WR, photo by

Kenyan athletes Vivian Cheruiyot and Patrick Makau are the Kenyan athletes of the year. A tough year and such a high level of competition for Kenyan athletes.

Chris Solinsky is training once again. We caught up with him at the NXN and he was up to running about five miles, just trying to be patient. Amy Yoder Begley was seven weeks after surgery, and she was going to run just about four miles, with lots of core work. Amy's specialty on twitter is finding notable, but unusual holidays, like National Cupcake Day.

Dayron Robles will be running in Dusseldorf. Kim Collins, 2011 bronze medalist in the 100 meters, will be running World Indoors!

Brooks PR Invitational 2011 , courtesy of Brooks Running

_SSS0931.jpgBrooks PR invite 2011 programs, courtesy of Brooks Running

The Brooks PR invitational in 2011 was a breath of fresh air. Great performances, great athletes, and a fun time. Brooks President Jim Weber was mesmerized by the enthusiasm of the athletes. Jesse Williams, the sports marketing manager at Brooks had involved a huge team to get the event done, and the athletes were excited. Get the fastest kids in the country, and put them on a fast track and see what happens. Talk about fireworks! Make sure you are there on February 26, 2012, or watch it on!

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Dave Hunter (the author), Creigh Kelly (the announcer), Steve Marks (the dreamer), photo courtesy of AkRUN

In the second part of this journey from dream to a hard won reality, Dave Hunter talks about the 2003 and 2004 races and bidding for the Olympic Trials in 2008. Be careful what you wish for, it has been said.

It has been said, that, during the Moscow Trials of 1938-1939, that Soviet premier, Josef Stalin, would visit many of the imprisoned at night, and chat with them, negotiating a "quick death". My guess is that what most teams involved in bidding for past Olympic Trial marathon races have felt similar desires. Lots of work, not really many benefits. If running, jumping and throwing are illogical activities, then putting on a U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials is a near journey into insanity.

Bidding for an Olympic Trials, in the current system, is invasive. There are no winners and no losers. The winners will spend up to several million dollars with the joy of giving their city prestige and the sorrow of dealing with an Olympic marketing team that has very little appreciation for local support. The losers know that they were through a battle royale, which is what AkRUN experienced.

In the following article, Dave Hunter speaks of some the challenges, which the team took on, with a smile and lots of energy. What AkRUN got, after only two years, was Street Cred or RESPECT. For AkRUN, it was a good fight...
Jacko Gill, photo by

Jacko Gill, too young to throw the shot in the 2011 WC in Daegu, is turning a few heads with his strong throwing. He was to compete on Monday, but canceled due to bad weather. Gill wants to improve his bests at 4kg and 5kg shot put for 16 and 17 year olds. A supporter of out of competition testing, Gill has been drug tested 15 times.

Asafa Powell, 2011 Lausane, photo by

Lots of announcements about 2012 Indoor season, including Asafa Powell. Heard that FootLocker XC Nationals was well done, and some gripping battles. Photos on way.

Indoor season is shaping up. Saw that McMillan adidas repeated as winners in USATF XC Club champs, nice run by Matt Centrowitz, Jr. who was fourth in 29:50 (he ran a Turkey trot in 30:05 for 10k, taking second there).

Noted earlier that Jenny Simpson, 2011 WC gold at 1,500 meters and 2011 WC bronze medalist Matt Centrowitz, Jr., will be opening 2012 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on February 4, 2011.

Sad News that Sunday Bada, one of Nigeria's most decorated athletes, died suddenly, at the age of 41.


Jenny Simpson, 2011 NB Games, photo by


Matt Centrowitz, Jr, 2011 WC, Daegu, photo by

Two of the hottest athletes in American Track & Field, Jenny Simpson, WC gold medalist at 1,500 meters and Matt Centrowitz,Jr. bronze medalist at 1,500 meters, will be debuting their 2012 season at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, to be held on February 4, 2011. Both athletes show what focus brings to a year as important as 2012.

Simpson and Centrowitz To Make 2012 Debut in Boston

Miler Medalists will compete at the Reggie Lewis Center

BOSTON (Dec 13) - The reigning World Champion at 1500 Meters, Jenny Simpson, will open her 2012 season in Boston and Matthew Centrowitz will make his professional track debut on February 4 at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, organizers announced today. Tickets for the 17th annual Olympic-style event are on sale now at
or by calling 1-877-849-8722.
American Jenny Simpson delivered one of the most memorable moments of the 2011 IAAF World Championships as she effortlessly moved outside and kicked past the entire field in the 1500m final to become the first American woman to win an outdoor world title at this distance since Mary Slaney's victory at the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, more than 28 years ago.    An intelligent and savvy racer, Simpson also knows how to run fast.  She set six NCAA records during her collegiate career at the University of Colorado and is the reigning American Record-Holder in the 3000m steeplechase.
"2011 was a big year for me but 2012 is almost here. Preparations for next year are going well and I am excited to return to Boston.  Track fans at Reggie Lewis have shown that they particularly appreciate the distance races so I am looking forward to hopefully giving them a glimpse of things to come this summer."
Matthew Centrowitz, like Simpson, returned to the United States this summer with a medal from the World Championships - an impressive end to an already standout season that included victories at the Pac-10 Championships, NCAA Championships & the USA Outdoor Championships.    Centrowitz's bronze medal performance made him the first US collegiate athlete in history to ever win a medal at this distance at the World Championships.  He announced last month that he will forgo his last year of NCAA eligibility at the University of Oregon and this will be his indoor track professional debut.  

The 17th-annual meet, the second stop in USA Track & Field's Visa Championship Series, begins at 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College.  Tickets and meet Information can be found on-line at
or by calling 1-877-TIX-TRAC.
About New Balance
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host.  New Balance employs more than 4000 people around the globe, and in 2009 reported worldwide sales of $1.65 billion. For more information please visit

The Running Event is the key event for specialty. Mark your calendars now for Dec.5-8, 2012, and Austin, Texas. Tremendous event, retailers, manufacturers, media, a place to see product, talk out issues, stay on top of the buzz. It is what a trade show should be. The key for Formula 4 Media will be able to keep it relevant and timely for the industry.

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1939 marathon shoe, from adidas historical files

RBR tweeted highlights from each day, including an excursion to Moonshine, where Saucony exec Tim Knowlton saved RBR's credit card, which was left with bill. Thankfully, the observant bartendress placed the card in the safe, and a nightmare was avoided.

Great to see many industry heroes, including Freddy Doyle, Saucony, minus part of a thumb and Mike Rouse, Active, with arm in sling. On the last day of the event, saw Mark Sullivan, one of the Formula 4 founders (Jeff Gruenhut, Troy Leonard, Jeff Nott) smiling. Hats are off to four guys who gambled all to pursue their dream, and, in the end, do something good for the business of specialty running.

Great buzz from this years show, will be writing about it over the next couple of weeks!





The Running Event, Largest Ever, Attracts 1,600 



AUSTIN, Texas (December 13, 2011) - Sixteen hundred running industry professionals filled a convention center last week in one of the most running-friendly cities in America with one primary goal in mind: encourage people to run more with the latest performance footwear, apparel and running accessories.


The Running Event(R) Conference and Expo (, the six-year-old brainchild of Formula 4 Media, brought the $850 million running industry to Austin on Dec. 7-10, with conferences, The Running Specialty Hall of Fame and 50 Best Stores recognition dinners, a lightning fast 5K, and 250 exhibitors, up from 175 the year before.


Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell came to the Austin Convention Center for lunch, and to boast, "We are the fitness capital of the world."


An avid fitness walker, Mayor Leffingwell continued, "A show like this is a catalyst that brings people to Austin. They get to see our city. Walking the show I started thinking I need to get back into running."


Local retailer Paul Carrozza of RunTex, who helped train the Mayor by making him walk backwards uphill, said, "For a new visitor, Austin blows away your expectations of Texas. We're not all tumbleweed and dust bowl. This city of 800,000 is a fitness oasis in the state."


Increasing the popularity of running was much on the minds of manufacturers and retailers alike.


During the 50 Best Stores Awards dinner on Dec. 9, The North Face named Gazelle Sports of Kalamazoo, Mich. the winner of The North Face Never Stop Exploring Award, recognizing the store's programs that encourage both kids and parents to get outside and push their personal limits. 


Said The North Face Vice President of Sales Michael Millenaker, "Retailers need to organize more grassroots events and promotions - we all need to work together to find new runners, and not just elite runners."


The TRE Expo was three weeks later this year, allowing exhibitors to display samples of their Fall 2012 products and provide retailers a first look at what's new from top footwear and apparel suppliers, as well as new innovative accessories from a number of entrepreneurial companies. For instance, accessories vying for retail attention this year included: the Hand's Free Dog Leash System; KT Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape; HVLO Headphones in a Headband; Knuckle Lights; Phubby, a cell phone cubby worn on the wrist; and the self-explanatory LegLube Performance Shave Gel for Fast Legs - all designed to enhance the running experience.


Global footwear giant ECCO, which has been in the running category for the past several years, reports generating new leads through its participation in TRE 2011. "The buyers and store owners here represent a Who's Who of the running industry," said Erik Walcott, general sales manager, ECCO Performance. "We're here because we're trying to expand distribution within the specialty running channel."


Adds June Angus of Seattle's Amphipod, "This is the busiest show ever for us. We're already in just about every specialty running shop in the U.S. and the accounts we see here are interested in expanding with us further."


Said Olivier Bernhard, six-time Swiss Ironman Champion and the founder of On Running, "The chance to put shoes on the feet of the most important independent running retailers is invaluable to us. On's innovative CloudTec cushioning system has such a unique feel that it's vital for retailers to experience the difference.  You just can't do that on a brochure or website."


At the Running Specialty Hall of Fame dinner, the Brooks Adrenaline 11 won the Independent Running Retailer Association (IRRA) Shoe of the Year; Brooks was also recognized as Vendor of the Year.


The popular Indie 5K, which began in the pre-dawn darkness of nearby Zilker Park, reportedly now lays claim to the fastest industry 5K in the world with a blistering 15:03 first place finish by Benson Cheruiyot, head coach and director of the Kenyon Running Team, who ran representing exhibitor NuCentury Herbs. He finished first among 360 entrants which included fastest retailer Joe McCellon of RunTex (15:22).


Troy Leonard, TRE show director, believes Formula 4 Media's investment in the conference and expo is paying off. "Next year we're hearing retailers will bring more of their staff because TRE's concentrated focus on running is an exceptional use of their time. This all adds to our continued transition from a small boutique expo to a full-fledged trade show."


Adding to TRE 2011's buzz, an independent filmmaker named Shawn David was on hand shooting an upcoming documentary about sneakers called "Laced Up." Local Austin television affiliates gave their viewers a sneak peak from within the closed-to-the public expo. FOX TV aired a round-up of new products, interviewing Running Insight's Cara Griffin, editor at large. KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate, focused on the W.L. Gore & Associates mobile Storm Chamber, part of Gore's Know What's Inside Tour. Austin native Lance Armstrong also tweeted a TRE 2011 welcome to his 3.2 million followers.


The Conference and Expo returns to Austin in 2012 on Dec. 5-8. In 2013, TRE is scheduled for Dec. 3-6.  


The Running Event® is a registered trademark of Formula 4 Media, LLC.


For more information:

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Sergey Lebid, CampaccioXC09, photo by

Sergey Lebid is the king of European Cross country. The man has also competed in all 18 of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. 489 competitors will be running from 33 countries in the races held on Sunday, December 11 in Velenje, Slovania.

Congrats to Edward Cheserek and Molly Seidel who both won the FootLocker XC Championships in San Diego, California today!

2011 SPAR European Cross Country, photo by

The European Cross Country Championships are tomorrow and you can find them live on the European Athletic Association on Sunday, December 11, 2011.
Brooks Sports, Inc. sent out its first corporate responsibility report. The company that coined the phrase Run Happy, is trying to make happy shoes, ecologically speaking. As Keith Peters, the Executive Director for the Council for Responsible Sport tells us, small changes mean a lot. We encourage other companies in the running business, a business built around a sport that makes one more aware of nature and surroundings,  to look to green alternatives...


Brooks Sports, Inc. Takes Significant Step in Sustainability Journey with First Corporate Responsibility Report



Company Shares 2009/2010 Progress and Future Focus Areas



Bothell, Wash. - Dec. 8, 2011 - Brooks Sports, Inc., parent of leading running brand Brooks and women's active lifestyle brand Moving Comfort, today released its first corporate responsibility (CR) report. The report, Running Responsibly, expresses the company's philosophy on corporate responsibility and its road map to achieve its CR goals. It also represents an important mile marker in the company's quest to become one of the most admired companies in the world and a more sustainable business.


The report, which includes the company's first greenhouse gas emissions measurement, highlights the corporation's 2009 and 2010 environmental and social performance, and the strides taken to manage the company's most material sustainability issues. The report also highlights challenges and key focus areas around the bend.


"Through best-in-class gear, can-do service and Run Happy spirit, we strive to develop meaningful consumer connections that ring far beyond the register," said Jim Weber, Brooks President and CEO. "We care about our customer's healthy bodies and minds, and our role in fostering an environment where life can thrive for the long run. Our newly established sustainability baselines will help us measure our future CR progress in what we consider a lifelong marathon."


The CR report includes an in-depth eco-footprint of two of the company's top-selling 2009 products--the Adrenaline GTS 10 performance running shoe and the Podium SS technical running top--that identifies, quantifies and assesses the environmental impacts associated with these products' different life cycle stages. The report also features sustainability highlights from 2009 and 2010:


·         BioMoGo Midsole - A five-year study found that BioMoGo, the midsole materials used for the vast majority of Brooks shoes, degrades in anaerobic conditions 50 times faster than a standard EVA midsole.

·         Cascadia 6 - Virtually every component of the Cascadia 6 has an environmentally-friendlier feature, such as materials made of recycled content, water-based inks and adhesives, and soy-based foams.

·         CMP Midsole - Brooks' eco-friendlier compression molded preform (CMP) midsole manufacturing process creates 50 percent less waste than traditional midsole manufacturing methods.

·         Green Silence - Constructed with roughly half as many parts as a comparable shoe, 75 percent of the Green Silence is made from post-consumer recycled material. The shoe requires 41 percent less energy to produce and uses 65 percent fewer volatile organic compounds.

·         Packaging Materials and Waste Reduction - Brooks examined every aspect of its shoe box and determined several ways to significantly reduce packaging materials and waste.

·         Hazardous Substance Reduction - In 2010, Brooks listed 193 chemicals on its restricted substance list and actively tracked 67 of the highest risk substances. All 49 of Brooks' footwear component and material suppliers, and contract factories have enlisted in its Restricted Substances program to help make Brooks products as safe as possible.

·         Factory Performance - Brooks began auditing its contract factories in the early 2000s, driving steady and meaningful social improvements. From 2009 to 2010, the average number of violations against Brooks' Code of Conduct decreased in issues related to wages and benefits as well as heath and safety.

·         Factory and Supplier Training - At Brooks' annual training conference, the company educates its factories and component suppliers, free of charge, about its CR program, human rights, worker health and safety, and environmental issues.

·         Soles4Souls - Brooks collects and donates product samples and gently worn shoes and apparel for those in need through the Soles4Souls program. In two years, Brooks donated more than 175,000 items.

·         Brooks and Moving Comfort Charitable Apparel Programs - Together, the two brands donated more than $65,000 in 2009 and 2010 to various charities through the sales of cause-related apparel collections. 



Now with a baseline measurement of its sustainability impacts, Brooks will focus future CR efforts on five key areas that are most pivotal to its business:


·         Energy and water used to manufacture and assemble products and operate facilities

·         Waste generated (particularly on materials that are used) in the manufacture of products

·         GHG emissions associated with products and business operations

·         Materials used that are harmful for people and the environment

·         The well being of the individuals who work at Brooks and make its products


Brooks' Running Responsibly report is written in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Guidelines, the de-facto standard for sustainability reporting. To see a copy of the entire report, please visit Feedback is encouraged on the reporting process and performance via [email protected]


About Brooks
Brooks is a leading running company that designs and markets a line of performance footwear, apparel, and accessories in more than 60 countries worldwide. A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Brooks was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., near Seattle. The company's mission is to inspire everyone to run and be active by creating innovative gear that keeps them running longer, farther, and faster. Visit for more information, and to follow frequent brand updates on Twitter (@brooksrunning) and Facebook (Brooks Running).


About Moving Comfort

Established in 1977 with the first women's running short, Moving Comfort designs and delivers fitness apparel and sports bras that support and inspire women to get fit, be healthy, and achieve their own unique personal best. Headquartered in Bothell, Wash., near Seattle, Moving Comfort is a division of Brooks Sports, Inc. Visit for more information.

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When the book shown above appeared in my post office box, I was transfixed. Total track geekdom from our friends at Athletics Weekly. The writing is excellent, the pictures are amazing, and all three titles help you capture the feel of our sport! More are on the way! Now they have three books, or zines out, and they are fantastic. If you are a track fan, coach, enthusiast, you need these books and they are quite inexpensive.

As a favor to readers, AW will sell the books to our readers for $18.50 each, including shipping to U.S! You must use code, RBR to insure that AW knows you are one of us. ( I would suggest a great gift for holiday, just put a card there, show your favorite geek this blog and wait for the books to arrive!)

The website to purchase from is

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association is the event for coaches to be at next week. The convention treats coaches like they should be, with respect, and provides many coaches clinics as well as social time to tell stories, and meet other coaches. We heartily endorse the meeting, love their Bowerman awards and believe that this organization has the heart and soul of the track & cross country coach in mind. If you can be there, get there!

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Richie Woodworth (Saucony President), with Mark Herzlich, courtesy of Saucony, Inc.

Great human interest story and sports story combined, Mark Herzlich is great example of Saucony's tag line, Find Your Strong. Herzlich is a good example of all sportsmen and women, that their sports, when broken down to their purest form, including running, jumping and throwing.

Another example for niche brands: when sports marketing dollars are tight, your athletes have to give you more value than some of the big brands.
Yohan Blake & Usain Bolt, photo by

Goucher_Kara-World11.JPGKara Goucher, 2011 WC, photo by

Flanagan_Shalane1-USout11.JPGShalane Flanagan, 2011 USA Outdoor, by

Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt could meet BEFORE Jamaican champs or London, if the MONEY is right. So, let's see who is going to put up that kind of money! Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher and Lisa Uhl are racing in Miami this coming weekend, and Ricky Simms of Pace Sports Management was named Kenyan Agent of year.
Nice to see the brands continuing to support our sport! The ABN AMRO Marathon Rotterdam is one of the most historic, prestigious and largest in Europe. As we know, the majority of support for running and track & field comes from the footwear brands. Nice to see it continue....Good job, New Balance!
Renaud Lavillenie, 2011 WC, photo by

Bernard Lagat, 2011 Fifth Avenue Mile, photo by

Bernard Lagat will go for the AR for 5,000 meters indoors that Galen Rupp took from him in February 2011. He then hopes to head to Instanbul. Renaud Lavillenie hurt his right hand in a vaulting accident this past week.

In Austin, Texas for the 2011 Running Event, the show of record for the specialty running business. Four days of conferences and expo meetings. Coming at end of several trade shows and conventions, which is how our sport ends the year. Watch for updates!
Valerie Adams, 2011 WC Daegu, by

Valerie Adams, the best women shot putter on the planet, will be defending in Istanbul for the IAAF World Indoor Champs. Also note that six events had their qualifying standards lessened, per the IAAF, for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Dave Hunter is a lawyer/running enthusiast from Akron, Ohio. We asked Dave to develop a four piece series on how the Akron Marathon developed, from beginning dreams to AkRUN it is today. This is the first of four sections, we hope that you enjoy it.

I remember going to the first Akron Marathon, it was pretty amazing to listen to the excitement from the locals and their dreams of making the marathon grow and feature the city of Akron.

There are lessons in this story for the cities and towns considering a race, and for the established races. Whether it be the late Fred Lebow, trying to get the first sponsor for the five boroughs version of  the New York City Marathon in 1976, or Steve Marks, telling David of his dream for the Akron Marathon, the stories are both filled with dreams, frustration, dreams, frustration, frustration, dreams. This is how the Akron Marathon team made their dreams a reality.

For our sport to develop, it is key that we learn from each other. Mr. Hunter's piece shows us the hard work that is involved when one goes from dream to reality...we hope you enjoy the piece as much as we have enjoyed the assignment, and remember, come back the next three Mondays for the upcoming sections!

start line_2011.jpgAkRUN, Starting Line 2011, courtesy of AkRun

m-logo.jpg The ASBA, founded in 1965, is a non-profit association focused on professionalizing the process of developing, designing and building sports facilities. Their Technical Meetings, which I have attended since 1991, are one of my favorite convention and trade shows each and every year. These folks build the sports sanctuaries across the country.

Our publication, American Track & Field, will not accept advertising from non ASBA members, and we recommend all coaches, facility managers and athletic directors check out the asba site as well as check with the ASBA when looking to develop a new sports facility!
Saving a few bucks when the facility is sub standard is not smart business.
The ASBA, founded in 1965, is a non-profit association focused on professionalizing the process of developing, designing and building sports facilities. Their Technical Meetings, which I have attended since 1991, are one of my favorite convention and trade shows each and every year. These folks build the sports sanctuaries across the country.

Our publication, American Track & Field, will not accept advertising from non ASBA members, and we recommend all coaches, facility managers and athletic directors check out the asba site as well as check with the ASBA when looking to develop a new sports facility!
Saving a few bucks when the facility is sub standard is not smart business.

Mark Sullivan, picture courtesy of Formula4media

In the six years that Mark Sullivan and his partners have built the Running Event, it has become the most important trade event in the industry. A meeting place for specialty running stores and manufacturers, as well as key players in the industry, the Running Event is everything that a focused, well-timed expo/convention can be, in this digital time. At the end of the day, human interaction is still key and relationships are key to this, and other businesses. Huge congratulations to Mark Sullivan, Jeff Nott, Jeff Gruenhut and Troy Leonard, the partners of Formula 4 Media, LLC.

RBR sent Mark Sullivan these questions just before the ING New York City marathon and he kindly took the time to reply. We held the interview until today, the eve of the sixth Running Event, which will be held December 7-11, 2011 in Austin, Texas.

The fact is this, if you are in the Running business and not at the Running Event, you have cut your effectiveness. RBR suggests that you put it on your schedule next year.  We asked Mark Sullivan questions about the event, Formula 4 Media and the business in general. We hope that you enjoy!
Gateway Arch, St. Louis.jpgGateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, photo by Larry Eder

The last day of the convention gave many awards. It also could have been a very ugly floor fight over the logo and sponsorship resolution, but it did not. Cooler heads prevailed, and the resolution was removed, with an agreement that the athletes and USATF would discuss the sponsorship opportunities as well as logo options.

The AAC session showed RBR several things: 1) level of distrust between athletes and USATF, 2) enduring frustrations between athletes and USATF on sponsorships and opportunities, obviously dating long before current federation, but still in need of being resolved, 3) lack of understanding on both sides by how much money is put into sport by various footwear manufacturers, 4) difference between athletes making $200k a year and athletes juggling job delivering Pizza Hut and training, 5) need for closed meetings in order that information can be shared by all sides.

I totally appreciate USATF wanting transparency. However, when money is being discussed, and negotiations on sponsorship logos and needs of athletes, anarchy can not prevail. Transparency be damned, get athletes, federation and sponsors on same page. Each group needs to understand the other's currency, and needs. That, to me, was the lesson of the AAC session on logo and sponsorships.

Please find Elliott Denman's comments on Day 4 of the USATF Convention.

Spent day at ASBA technical meeting. Spoke on panel on Marketing Trends for sport. One of my favorite events in the year, as I get to meet with track builders and manufacturers. This afternoon and tomorrow are technical meetings and a trade show. My suggestion is that if you are looking to resurface a track, build a track, or upgrade your facility, work with certified track builders and work with ASBA members. They are focused on building better facilities in both track and tennis.

Liu Xiang, 2007 World Champ and 2011 silver medalist, just finished some testing in Houston and it sounds like he is well on his way to being ready for London 2012.....

Thumbnail image for Liu_XiangFans-AsianG10.jpgLiu Xiang, 2010 Asian Games, photo by

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The third day of the USATF Convention was all about the awards, and the Hall of Fame. There were continued meetings on the logo and sponsorship issues with the AAC. But, the Hall of Fame award evening was noted to be superb, here is how Elliott Denman, our man in St. Louis, saw day three:
Gateway Arch, St. Louis.jpgGateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, photo by

Lots has been going on this week in our sport. I thought it might make sense to give you all of the releases that USATF communications has put out since the beginning of the convention. Big news, is BP sponsorship and logo clarifcation. Some very good comments, on the logo situation at the AAC meeting.

I was called paternalistic earlier today. Sorry if that is how some see it. I believe that differences in perspective, are for the most part, helpful. It allows us to learn and see how to look at a situation from other view.

Off to the ASBA Technical meeting for three days. Then, it is off to the Running Event. Did enjoy the Nike NXN today, was a tremendous event. Very glad I went.

Congrats to Sergey Bubka for becoming the first Ukranian athlete to win the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of 4th grade. It essentially makes him a Hero of the Ukraine..tremendous performances at the Nike NXN today, now in its eighth year. USATF convention continued, with much ado about something in AAC meeting. 

Bubka_Sergei1a-Youth09.jpgSergey Bubka, photo by
nxn madding crowd.jpg2011 NXN, the madding crowd, photo by Larry Eder

It is early afternoon after the Nike NXN race. The morning was wonderful as Futsum Zeinasellaissie won by 24 seconds in the boys race, in 15:03. Lincroft XC won with 91 points from Carroll (95) and Davis (157).

ON the women's side, Sarah Baxter won by four seconds over Haley Pierce in 17:42 and Katie Knight in 17:45 (Katie won the Border clash less than two weeks ago). On the team side, Manlius won with 60, Kinetic with 82 and 180 for Wilmington.

For more information, please go to

In the meantime, I am going to crash and will write a piece from the airport tonight as I head to the ASBA conference (track builders) this evening. I wrote a few deep thoughts about a few topical pieces below, hope you enjoy it!

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Arcadia, 2010 Nike NXN, photo courtesy of Nike communications

The 2011 NIke NXN will be live today on from 9.30 AM PST to 11 am PST, don't miss a minute of the battle for team supremacy! This year will be a huge battle on both sides! will twitter it live today and then follow up with the stories and behind the scenes info you love, so catch that later today. We are off to Portland Meadows, see you there! 

Link for live coverage:

Gateway Arch, St. Louis.jpgGateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, photo by

Friday, December 2, 2011 was a day of learning for many....

Day two of the USATF convention kept many busy. The highlight for me was the AAC meeting where uniforms and logos were discussed. It was obvious that the meeting would be heated, as there were misunderstandings on both sides.

Credit should be given to Jon Drummond and Benita Fitzgerald Mosley for organizing the meeting. Credit should also be given to manufacterer reps from Nike ( John Capriotti), Saucony (Mark Bossardet), Reebok (Patrick Joyce), adidas (Spencer Nel), Meet management (Ian Stewart), marketing (Rich Kenah), IAAF (Bob Hersh) and Mike McNees from USATF. Max Siegel provided some strong observations. Credit Stephanie Hightower for stepping in and keeping the meeting in perspective. The information provided was like a Marketing 101 master's class in real live, day to day brand marketing.  

I was asked not to write anything during the event, and I did not. Apparently, some others did twitter things, and while it was not said outright until mid meeting not to video or twitter, it again shows the lack of appreciation for corporate privacy which many companies dearly protect. Assuming that the meeting (I was asked to leave mid-way through) was a good starting point for a discussion on how to improve the marketing of the sport, here were the themes that I heard and was asked to comment upon:

It seems that many athletes believe that if they are allowed to put more logos on their uniforms, ala NASCAR, the coffers will open and money will flow. It does not seem to be the case. 

The more logos on uniforms, the less valuable the sponsorship is, in the eyes of the footwear companies and major IAAF sponsors. IAAF's agency, Dentsu, carefully guards all advertising opportunities and logo and board sponsors are key to sports survival.

Meet Directors will not give away their sponsorship or branding opportunities. It was noted that if an athlete takes off their singlet after an event in UK, which diminishes the value of AVIVA, the major sponsor of the seven meetings in UK, the athlete looses sponsorship dollars. The fact is, five meets in European indoor season have shuttered their doors, due to lack of sponsorship and or tv coverage. It is a tough economic time in sports, and has been since 2008.  

The theme: if you want more money, if you want more sponsors, you need to understand the sponsor's needs and find ways to bring both the athlete and sponsor needs together.  

Consider this? Use the NASCAR idea for a second. Most consumers, when asked will know one of the 2o plus sponsors of a NASCAR driver. NASCAR goes out of their way to promote all major sponsors, just watch the culture around a race finish.  

Sponsors want positive media from sponsorship. Stories about athletes in media give consumers strong feelings about brands and that is what many sponsors are looking for. Non-endemic sponsors, or non running related sponsors, are not flocking now to track and field athletes, and part of that, is the way we have been perceived in the sport business.

When athletes speak on TV, do they thank their sponsor first, or do they thank God and their family? Think about it! Watch NASCAR, athletes thank their sponsors, first, family, etc. Sponsors need to get benefits from sponsorship.

IAAF will introduce rule in January where manufacturers logo and one other logo allowed on uniform. Non-commercial club name, logo may be discussed shortly. This will apply for non IAAF major championships, including Samsung series.

Max Siegel, new Marketing consultant for USATF, suggested that there may be opportunities in ethnic marketing, local marketing, health marketing for athletes to consider. 

Annual sponsorship from footwear companies in US for running is approximately $100 million a year. Majority of sponsorship comes from Nike and adidas, but all brands (we count 43) support sport from athletes to numbers for local races.

Note that NBA, MLB, NFL have one logo on uniforms besides manufacturers. NASCAR cars average $25-30 million in cost per year. Dale Earnhart (Max Siegel represented Earnhart) raised more for sponsorship as his brand (his name) was developed and respected. Athletes must look at themselves as brands.

It was obvious that meet directors, footwear sponsors, major sport sponsors are going to be very hesitant about giving their prized sponsorship logo space away. Athletes need to look out of the box, perhaps search out a key sponsor before they go to footwear sponsorship.

It is obvious that athletes, managers, sponsors need to hold more sessions so that all can be on the same page. For athletes, if they seriously want to see more money in the sport, then they have to understand what corporations want when they sponsor an athlete, what they are looking for in return for their dollars. 

As someone who spends most of his days looking for advertisers for 20 magazines and 28 websites, understanding the needs and how companies work, especially in tough economic times like these, are key to my success. Take the time to appreciate the needs of a potential sponsor and see how your needs may help the sponsor fulfill some of their marketing or branding concerns. Communications is key. Contentious communication gets one no where.  And worst of all, calling some one or something names on twitter will just make sponsors question the validity of people who poorly behave. 

President Hightower said it best, take the time to understand each other.

Elliot Denman, our man in the meetings, wrote about Day 2 at the USATF convention:
Koch, Karpas.jpgBrant Kotch, Steve Karpas, Allan Steinfeld Award Winners, photo by Larry Eder

Congratulations should be in order for Brant Kotch and Steve Karpas, of the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon, who won the Allen Steinfeld award. Allan Steinfeld, along the late Fred Lebow, put the New York Road Runners on course for much of their success today, and Allan was also the Race Director of the ING New York City Marathon for many years.

Brant Kotch and Steve Karpas have worked together on the Houston Marathon Committee for the past eleven years. In that time, the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon have grown from a very nice regional event to one of the top ten marathons in the world, with fields surpassing 30,000 and world class times in both the men and women's races.

Over the past four years, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon has become one of the fastest half marathons in the world, and hosted the USA Half Marathon championships for several years. The ability to put on huge half marathon, marathon, 5k and a half marathon championship are not to be underrated.

On January 14, 2012, the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team trials will be hosted in Houston. On January 15, 2012, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon and the Chevron Houston Marathon will be run, with 30,000 of Brant and Steve's closest friends.

Hosting men and women's marathon Trials is a daunting task. But, Brant Kotch, Steve Karpas and their teams are up for the task. RBR wishes them well, congratulates them on their awards, and knows that January 16, 2012 can not come too soon!

For more on the Marathon Trials:
Gateway Arch, St. Louis.jpgGateway to the west, December 1, 2011, photo by Larry Eder

The USATF Convention opened on Thursday night, December 1, 2011 with the opening address from Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC. Several things should be noted: 1) The obvious change in tenor of relationships between USOC and USATF, 2) The obvious high regard Chairman /Prez, Stephanie Hightower  is held in by USOC's Blackmun, 3) USOC's need for USA Track & Field to succeed for the Olympic medal count to grow, 4) for the USOC, Swimming & Track & Field are the key federation players at this time. 

It is also obvious, at least to me, that Stephanie Hightower would  have been a very effective CEO for USA Track & Field. That has not happened, and while we have done well this year, the lack of a CEO will bit us in the hind quarters one of these days. Mike McNees is doing an exempler job as acting CEO, so add his and Ms. Hightower's name to my short list of CEO candidates, and if one gave me an hour, I am happy to list 25 more candidates, some who would actually take the job if offered. 

USA Track & Field has three openings on the board of directors. Steve Holman, Jack Wickum and Max Siedel. Max Siegel is now consulting, through his company MSI, Inc. with USA Track & Field, to bring USATF into the 21rst century in terms of marketing, promotions and media. With MSI's success in NASCAR and also on ESPN, Max Siegel should shake up the status quo in the marketing of our sport.

Gateway Arch, St. Louis.jpgGateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, photo by Larry Eder

The Hyatt Regency on Chestnut street is merely a few blocks from some of the most historic structures in the city of St. Louis. The Old Courthouse is the site of the famous Dread Scott decision, where slavery was allowed in the state of Missouri, in 1821, a decision that merely put off the inevitable. The Gateway Arch, is one of the most amazing structures to view and even more amazing to visit. Over six hundred feet tall, the Jefferson Exposition gives the viewer a look into all things west.

Saint Louis is a river city. With Spanish and French influences, the city has fascinating ethnic diversity, dating from the eighteenth century. St. Louis was the place one began the journey to the Western United States. Over the past two decades, the city has been rediscovered, and some of the old neighborhoods ( I was raised two blocks from Anheiser Busch, on Lemp avenue) have become quite bohemian, with art galleries, restaurants and young families discovering the benefits of living in old homes, built of brick that date back to the nineteenth century.

The USATF convention comes to St. Louis at a critical time. It has not been held here since 1994, when the event was hosted at the Adam's Mark. Since then, we have had three very different CEO's-first Ollan Cassell and then, Craig Masback. Doug Logan, the most recent CEO, made it only 18 months as the head of USATF. The most recent CEO search gave us a candidate who did not want to hold the job, or perhaps, the candidate could not extricate himself from a current job situation. In any matter, the federation has been without a CEO since September 2010.

The truth is, Mike McNees,as the acting CEO, has stayed out of the limelight and has allowed a board that is quite activist (minus three members, Jack Wickun, Steve Holman and Max Siegel) fight among itself.

2012 is a year with many momentous decisions: 2012 Eugene, 2012 London and a focus forward. The focus for the board is 2012 Eugene and London 2012, and then, as the chairman and President Stephanie Hightower noted, and then, next summer, a renewed effort on finding a new CEO. 

The promoters of the 2014 European Athletics Championships, which will be held in Zurich, revealed their logo last week:

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Monday, 21 November 2011: Media Release of Leichtathletik EM 2014 AG
A Logo for Zürich 2014 - UBS a Partner for the Championships

A crown of lights mirroring the 31 light poles of Letzigrund Stadium will serve as official logo for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich to be held from 12 to 17 August 2014. At a media conference, the Zurich promoters presented the corporate visual identity for the event during which about 1 400 athletes from 50 nations will be hunting titles and medals. Two and a half years before the first starting gun will be going off, UBS, who is also a sponsor of the national athletics team, has signed on as a main partner for the mega event. Alain Blondel, former European decathlon champion will join the promoters' team as a Technical Director. And about 360 million TV viewers will be able to be part of the championship action thanks to what will be the largest TV production in the history of Host Broadcaster SRG SSR.

Coralie Wipf and Stephanie Rossi, both students at the Zurich University of the Arts, designed the championship crown of lights logo, integrating the characteristic 31 light poles of Letzigrund Stadium. "The visual identity for Zürich 2014 called for a touch of festiveness. Zurich will be presenting itself to the world with its beautiful stadium, its magnificent location on Lake Zurich, and its people who pair professionalism with warmth and affability. The crown of lights encompasses all of these notions," the two young designers explained.

Their interpretation did not only convince the championship promoters. Athletics fans liked their idea, as well: 2 768 users participated in a vote on the website of the national federation Swiss Athletics. The crown of lights clearly beat two drafts submitted by fellow students of the Zurich University of the Arts.

Preparations Well on Course

The visual identity of the championships is but one aspect of an event steadily taking shape. Thus, Hansjörg Wirz, President of European Athletics, and Patrick K. Magyar, CEO of Leichtathletik EM 2014 AG, have been very pleased with the way preparations are progressing. A reinforced team and partnership agreements are part of the solid foundation that has been laid for a most successful event.

Former European Champion Alain Blondel Appointed Technical Director
The management quartet heading the LOC includes Patrick K. Magyar (CEO), Tobias Wihler (Logistics and Services Director), Christoph Joho (Marketing Director), and Alain Blondel (Technical Director). While Magyar, Wihler, and Joho have been on board from the outset, Alain Blondel will join the team as of 1 May 2012.

Blondel had claimed the European decathlon title for France at the championships in Helsinki in 1994. After completing his career as an athlete, he made a name for himself as a coach, a technical leader of athletics events, and as a TV and radio commentator. "Alain is a renowned athletics expert. With his comprehensive experience and his excellent language skills, he will be an extremely valuable asset to our team," CEO Magyar said.

Reinforcing the team is vital, particularly because Weltklasse Zürich 2014 will be held 10 days following the European Athletics Championships. "Dual roles will make sense in certain areas. But there are tasks for the championships that we have to separate from the meeting preparations," Magyar pointed out. Whereas he will maintain his position as Weltklasse Zürich Meeting Director, Andreas Hediger, who has been in charge for technical matters related to the European Championships, will concentrate on Weltklasse Zürich in the future. "Andreas has done a tremendous job for the championships. It is also thanks to him that our preparations are very far advanced two and a half years prior to the event," Magyar said.

UBS an International Partner of the European Championships 2014

With the status of an International Partner, UBS has become one of the main sponsors of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich. "The championships represent an excellent opportunity to add to our long-term commitment to athletics, and to help inspire people with this wonderful sport," Thomas Ackermann, Head of Marketing UBS Switzerland, commented. "We are proud to be part of this journey to Zürich 2014."
In addition to the main event held at Letzigrund Stadium, UBS will support a variety of activities related to the European Championships, and will put a special focus on promoting youth sports. The UBS Kids Cup, successfully launched this year, will serve as a prime platform to integrate and activate kids and young people.

UBS will also be partner of the Swiss national athletics team, and will be present on official competition uniforms. "Local athletes are important ambassadors of the championships. As a sponsor we would like to support our national team, so that they will be able to shine at Zürich 2014," Ackermann stressed. The strong ties of UBS with national athletics also underline the bank's closeness to its home market Switzerland.
Four additional International Partners have already been signed: SPAR, the two Swiss companies Omega and Le Gruyère, as well as Eurovision. They all are long-term partners of European Athletics, and will support the European Athletics Championships 2014 as event sponsors.

SRG SSR to Produce World Feed

Zürich 2014 Host Broadcaster SRG SSR will be producing the world feed and will be providing all services to international broadcasters (commentator and interview positions, studios, etc.). SRG will produce at least eight TV signals of the competitions and distribute them to interested TV stations. The SRG channels SRF, RTS, and RSI will focus on Swiss athletes, and will be part of the event in the run-up to and during the championships with TV and radio coverage, as well as with multi-media platforms. The production will represent the largest, most comprehensive host broadcasting project in the SRG history.

Urs Leutert, Head of Sports Programme SRG, is looking forward to the project: "SRG is proud to support the European Athletics Championships 2014 with our approved technical and production know-how as a broadcaster. We will do our utmost to provide viewers with powerful competition images that convey the fascination of the sport, as well as to showcase Zurich as a venue and Switzerland as host country."

Swiss Authorities: Support and Pleasant Anticipation

Ever since the candidacy for the championships was submitted, the Canton and the City of Zurich have backed the championship project. Governing Councillor Mario Fehr stressed the importance of the event in view of location marketing aspects for the Zurich region and for the entire country. "We regularly demonstrate our skills in hosting international sports events. Weltklasse Zürich sets an impressive example each year. And after acting as a venue for the UEFA EURO 2008, we will prove ourselves again during the European Athletics Championships."

City Councillor Gerold Lauber is looking forward to see Zurich in the spotlight of the European Athletics Championships: "We will have the opportunity to present our dynamic metropolis, our high-level infrastructure, and our outstanding know-how with regards to sports events. In addition, a number of attractive activities prior and during the championships will add to the multifaceted calendar of events to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike."

Great Interest among Residents

Surveys have shown that residents take a lively interest in the European Athletics Championships. 75 per cent of all those polled stated that they had a favourable or very favourable opinion of the championships being held in Switzerland, as opposed to a mere 3 per cent who were against the event. Promoters have been even more pleased to note that a large number of people are planning to attend the European Championships. "Prices for stadium tickets will not reflect that fact that we are staging European Championships in a very small stadium in comparison," Patrick K. Magyar, CEO of the Leichtathletik EM 2014 AG promised. Tickets will be on sale as of the end of 2013.

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Chaunte Howard, 2010 Ostrava, photo by

Chaunte Howard Lowe, the American record holder in the high jump, will be jumping in the Moravian high jump competitions in January and February. She had given birth to her second child, Aurora, in April 2011. With little preparation, Chaunte went for the Daegu qualifying, but her legs just could not follow her heart, and she cleared only 1.78m. Now, Chaunte is back in training and will be one of the stars at the Moravian Jump series.
Teddy Tamgho, photo by

NO on Istanbul for Tamgho, but, Probably YES for Helsinki. Tamgho, who was injured near the World Champs last year, is working on his fitness, as he prepares for one event in 2012: the London Olympics. Everything else will be secondary....

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