Mike Rodgers Interview at the Great CityGames by Larry Eder


Mike Rodgers is the hardest working man in sprinting.

Over the last weekend of the season, Mike raced 100 meters in Brussels, then, sixteen hours later, raced in Gateshead, England, then, sixteen hours after that, raced the 100 meters at the Deca Nation in France.

Rodgers_Mike-PreC15.jpgMike Rodgers, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mike Rodgers is one of the guys I see most on the circuit. He is always in the lobby of the host hotels, hanging out, working out, or racing. That is his life during the summers.

At Beijing, Mike Rodgers had a rough day in the office. When no one wanted to anchor on the 4x100 meters, Mike Rodgers took the position running against Usain Bolt. The team had been changed since the World Relays due to injuries and fitness among others reasons.

In the final of the 4x100 meter relay, Mike Rodgers took off about two steps early, and Tyson Gay could not catch him. Mike Rodgers could not stop in the zone and get the relay baton. Although he finished, the team was disqualified for an exchange out of the zone.

Mike takes the hit for the relay miscues, although, I am not sure he should. In the interview Mike Rodgers said it delicately: the athletes need to put the time in to get the baton around the track. I concur.

It is not the guys, it is the speed with which those hand offs are done. We take four of the fastest runners in the world and do not take the consideration that this is a treacherous activity that must be practiced? One of two track camps is not the time needed in to be successful in a pressure cooker Global final. The faster the team, the more work involved.

We need to get past the idea that because these guys can run fast over 100 meters means that they can successfully transport a baton around the track, in the legal exchange zones, while running fast. These are different skill sets. This is coaching.

This is a coaching and administrative issue.

Get the four to six best guys, not fastest, but guys who can run relay best and take the year needed to kick butt. They should sleep with the baton. It is their friend. They need to practice mistakes, miscues and recover.

In Beijing, if the last hand off had gone well, the US would have been in the fight and it would have taken 37.2 or 3 to win. That would have been a race, not the route shown.

I am sure if NIKE put up serious $$ for four men to practice all year (two subs) and the goal is to win the 4x100m that this would be solved in a heart beat.

Mike Rodgers was interviewed by me just after his 100 meter victory in Gateshead. One of my favorites, we have a nice time catching up.

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