Okay sports fans, one of the things that I treasure is creativity. Jon Gugala, one of our writers, and a non accredited media member in London, has, how shall we say, a difficult time getting to some athletes at times. Without credentials, one can not get into the MPC, mixed zone and interview areas.
Bono on the Men’s 10,000-Meters
by Jon Gugala
August 5, 2012
LONDON–In RunBlogRun’s continuing effort to bring you up-to-the-minute, cutting-edge Stories that Matter, we’re sorry to report that we won’t be getting exclusive interviews with 2012 Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah of the U.K or silver medalist Galen Rupp of the U.S. We couldn’t even get bronze medalist Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia (heretofore know as Bekele the Younger).
So for commentary, we got Bono, lead singer of British supergroup U2, instead.
RunBlogRun: Bono, thanks for being with us today.
Bono: I hope so.
RBR: Yes. So. The men’s 10,000m last night.
B: Well, selfishly, I would say to you music is my first love. To wake up in the morning with a melody in my head is a great gift.
RBR: I see you’re alluding to the fact that many Brits did wake up this morning with a melody in their head after what the native press has been calling Super Saturday. U.K. athletes winning three gold medals (heptathlon, men’s long jump, and 10,000m) in track and field, all within 30 minutes, is a special thing. It’s being called the greatest day in U.K. athletics ever. It must be a proud day for the host country.
B: This is a great thrill for me.
RBR: Yes, and you should be proud. But let’s talk about the early stages of the 10,000m race, how it wasn’t until Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, a 2004 bronze-medalist, stepped up to the plate after six laps that the race really began. Even then, the lead pack only went through the 5,000m split in 14:05, and Farah’s winning time of 27:30.42 was the slowest in the Olympics since 1992.
B: This has been very extraordinary.
RBR: But did you think that, with 1600m to go and a lead pack including two Kenyan athletes, two Eritreans, and three Ethiopians, the East African hegemony could be broken and bested by teammates Farah and Rupp?
B: Last year was also very important for me.
RBR: It was, wasn’t it? Rupp set the AR of 26:48.00, and Farah took silver in the event at the world champs. Maybe we should have expected this, but it’s still hard to believe that it actually happened.
B: All of us working together can have a real impact in the world.
RBR: And that brings up a good point: We did see certain team tactics in the race by the pair. For instance, when Farah, accompanied by the roar of the home crowd, moved into the lead with 1600m to go, Rupp would shadow his moves, even down to the last kick (Rupp would finish in 27:30.90). It was refreshing after so long having Ethiopia and Kenya use similar tactics in previous championship performances.
B: If your brother becomes poor, the scriptures say, and cannot maintain himself, you shall maintain him.
RBR: Ah, I see you’re referring to the fact that Mo Farah has been training in the States under the Alberto Salazar-led Nike Oregon Project. That seems both an additional feather-in-the-cap for the States, and a confirmation of Salazar’s coaching and long-term approach with Rupp.
B: And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord’s favor, the Year of Jubilee.
RBR: Bono, you bring up another good point, the fact that it’s been a long time–48 years now–that a U.S. man has medaled in the event. In fact, Billy Mills’ historic–
RBR: Yes. Well. Another fun fact: an Englishman has never, ever won the Olympic 10,000m. Farah will never be forgotten.
B: The one thing we can all agree–all faiths, all ideologies–is that God is with the vulnerable.
RBR: Again, great point: 2004 and 2008 10,000m gold medalist Kenenisa “Kenny” Bekele, after spending much of the last Olympic cycle injured, was never really a factor in this race, finishing fourth, and not even the fastest of his family. How’s that for vulnerable? And baby brother Bekele the Younger would take the bronze, with Kenny just off the podium. How do you think this will affect the mood for their Christmas this year?
B: God may still be with us in our mansions on the hill–and I hope so.
RBR: Yes. Regardless, Bekele the Elder still has his legacy as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) after four Olympic medals, and he may, like a certain Haile Gebrselassie, have a brilliant future on the roads ahead of him. Time will tell.
B: God is in the debris of wasted opportunity.
RBR: Well, I certainly agree with you there. It did seem like a wasted opportunity for the Kenyans, who were completely shut out from the medal stand–though historically in the event they’ve been mercurial at best. What does this mean for Athletics Kenya and their selection system and/or compulsory training camps?
B: The right to be ridiculous is something we hold very dear.
RBR: True. But for Rupp and Farah, it certainly didn’t hurt them, and could have possibly helped.
B: That’s my gift.
RBR: It’s the United States’, too.