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Track & Field

Track & Field (189)

So, here is the real story on David Hunter: the guy loves track & field. In his second career, after a life in the world of business, David is now living his dream: announcing track meets, and cross country meets for that matter, and writing about the sport he loves.  I have always thought that the really fine writers can communicate to their readers the excitement of events that they never have tried. That is what Mr. Hunter has done here: his obvious affection for Michelle Carter, and her journey to be a clean Olympic medalist is just what our sport needs right now.  The truth is, the athletes know. Not much gets by your fellow competitors. While we are in the darkening clouds of extortion and corruption in our sport, we must reach the maelstrom before we can find the higher ground.  —Larry Eder
 
When it comes to track & field - and the all that surrounds our sport - Michelle Carter likes to do it her way. It’s not that she lacks respect for those who approach the sport differently than she does. Michelle Carter - the American outdoor standard bearer in the shot put with a 2013 record heave of 20.24m [66'4¾"] - finds the pathway that works for her - even if it is something as simple as adopting a nickname. “When I was in college [at the University of Texas], I was the only thrower on our team. And all the other girls were calling themselves ‘The Track Divas’ and they wanted me to join in,” Carter explains. “But I’m not really a track diva because I’m not on the track like that. So actually, I started calling myself ‘The Shot Diva’ and it just stuck.”
Sunday, 29 November 2015 02:46

2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Schedule Released

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Here is the just released schedule for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, to be held, July 1-10, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. The Olympic Trials is one of the most amazing nine or this time, ten days of athletics in the world! If you can get there, find a way, it is a great time with twenty thousand of your closest friends! 

 

Local jobs, sports tourism dollars and new construction of local hotels are among the economic benefits of Tracktown USA events, area business leaders were told Nov. 3 at a Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce meeting at Lane Community College.
 
Michael Reilly, chief executive Officer of Tracktown USA, said among future economic opportunities for the area include the expected expansion of Hayward Field at the University of Oregon to accommodate 30,000 to 32,000 fans at major events.
USATF and its Athletes Advisory Committee (AAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a USATF Revenue Distribution Plan that will deliver an additional $9 million in cash to athletes over the next five years.
 
USATF CEO Max Siegel and AAC Chairman Dwight Phillips signed the MOU, which memorializes the structure of the plan announced in September. Beginning in 2016, roughly $1.8 million per year in additional, cash funds will be distributed to athletes over and above current funds available through USATF Tier funding, development funding and other programs. Roughly 75 percent of the funds will be evenly distributed among athletes who qualify for and compete on that year’s U.S. Team at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships or Olympic Games. The model will provide roughly $10,000 annually for each athlete who makes and competes on the World Championships or Olympic Teams.
Thursday, 17 September 2015 21:16

An Exciting Final Night in Beijing!

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Here, finally, is my last column on the final night's action on the World Championships in Beijing. After the build up and controversy, the meet came off much better than I expected.
 
In the end, I believe that we continue to miss the major positives of our sport. We make a huge mistake pushing records and fast races. We need to let them come when they do.
Thursday, 17 September 2015 21:12

Want to Outrace Farah? Get a Segway!

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In all seriousness, I felt bad for both Usain Bolt and the young man who slipped and fell on the Segway. I had never seen one on the track before (I did see a couple of nimrods riding them around town.). I learnt, after my tweet , that Segways help cameramen keep their cameras balanced and provide some of the cool shots, I now understand their value.
 
But still, I have to use it.
 
Short of knocking Mo Farah over with a sneaky Segway, few are going to beat him over 5000 meters or 10,000 meters.
 
Mo Farah is at the top of his game.
 
Neither marathon, nor media carnivals seem to diminish his racing skills.
 
Yet, most of the world's elites think that if they can only, off a slow pace, take him on, they can win! Excuse me, are they delusional?
 
In the 10,000 meters earlier this week, three of Kenya's best tried to break him, and they came close, if they only had truly worked together. Don't believe me? Look at the pace: a 63 second lap, then a 68 lap, a 62 then followed by 68 second lap. Mo Farah would catch his breath everytime the pace slowed down or pick up. Over the last kilometers, where Mo Farah does most of his damage, the pace was, again, up and down. Mo threw in a 52.4 last lap, after having nearly fallen down twice in the last lap, and he finally broke Geoffrey Kamworor in the last 100 meters.
 
In the 5000 meters tonight, the pace was, well dawdling... the first kilometer was 3:02.04, the second kilometer was 5:58.13. In that pedestrian pace, Ben True, Galen Rupp and Ryan Hill were all three. Mo Farah was at the back of the pack, staying out of trouble. And Caleb Ndiku was, mid pack.
 
The pace continued to be slow, as the 3000m was passed in 8:47.29, and it was not until 4000 meters that the race got interesting.
Thursday, 17 September 2015 21:08

In Praise of Dafne Schippers

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Dafne Schippers has had a spectacular World Championships. Her 100 meter NR went from 10.92 to 10.83 to 10.81 here! And then, that amazing 200 meters.
 
On Friday night, there were some spectacular events, from the surprises of the 100m and 110m hurdles races to the 200 meters. My favorite had to be the women's 200 meters. (I will write about the long jump later, so patience, kind readers).
Thursday, 17 September 2015 21:05

Always Stick Around for Taylor's Last Jump!

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Christian Taylor is a clutch jumper, among many things. This guy can pull out a final effort that wins competitions. I forgot that, in Lausanne, after Christian had leaped 18.02 meters on his fifth jump and looked away. On his sixth jump in Lausanne, Christian Taylor leaped 18.06 meters!
 
So, I was prepared in Beijing, I watched each jump of Pedro Pichardo and Christian Taylor.
 
And what a magnificent night!
Thursday, 17 September 2015 21:00

Rudisha is the Man!

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After having watched David Rudisha set the WR and win the gold medal in 2012 in London, I believed that I had seen the future of middle distance running. After that, a 1:40 for 800 meters was not too far off!
 
And then...
 
David Rudisha showed he was human. He was injured and found that cycle of injuries and fitness challenges that all of us find sometime in our careers. The only problem is, most of us are not the world record holders for 800 meters.
 
The battle back from injuries, for athletes of all levels, is very difficult.
 
For a world record holder, it has to be madness.
 
When speaking to David Rudisha, it is not apparent, at first, if it was difficult. But, it was. In 2013, Rudisha spent most of the year injured. In 2014, he was beat by runners he had destroyed before, and his second in the Commonwealth Games was a high watermark for Rudisha. He noted that he was happy to compete there, but he obviously did not like getting beat by Nijel Amos.
 
"I have learned that what I was missing from my training was the speed work. When I would do 300 meter repeats in 35 seconds, my knee would hurt. In 2015, I have been able to do 100 meter repeats, 150 repeats, 200 meters and 300 meters in 33 seconds, and there was no pain." A smile erupted on David Rudisha's face when he told this writer about that revelation.
 
The speed work gave him confidence. The lack of pain, a friend for the past 18 months, must have also allowed him to feel good.
 
In the rounds, Nijel Amos did not make them out. Mo Ama was disqualified for a rule violation. Part of the job for an elite athlete is to make it through the rounds.
 
As the Steve Forbert song from the 1970s noted (Cellophane City), " you can not win, if you do not play."
 
Rudisha had two formidable opponents: Adam Kszczot, the European champion, who is a masterful tactician. And most importantly, the new find of the year, Amel Tuka, from Bosnia Herzogovina, who caught all the fast guys in Monaco.
 
How would the front runner face these guys?
 
And that was what was truly special about David's race on Wednesday.
 
He did the absolute opposite of what everyone expected: He controlled the pace, took it slow, wait, pedestrian, an agonizing 54 second first lap. It kept him in control, and in the game.
 
When David Rudisha started to use that renewed 33 second 300 meter speed and that 22 second 200 meter speed, he was flying. But so, was Amel Tuka, who took off, after having been in a bit of a box, with 300 meters to go.
 
Rudisha began to fly, running his last full lap in 51.7, but that last 200 meters was where the damage was truly done: he covered that in just a shade ove 24 seconds.
 
" I felt confident and fast, " is how a smiling David Rudisha would speak about it on the afternoon after his glorious run.
 
"I was here to win, and this was the focus of my year," the soft spoken Rudisha told this writer.
 
In speaking to Wilson Kipketer, the former World Record holder and 1995 World Champion last April 2014, Wilson had noted a fear that David Rudisha might try and come back too quickly. " Coming back to great shape takes much time, " is how Wilson spoke, " I was not patient, and I had some tough times trying to return to my world record fitness."
 
David Rudisha is the zen master of the 800 meters. A man of quiet confidence, who has amazing endurance, amazing speed, and super human drive, David Rudisha knows that, still, he is not in WR shape, but he hopes to reach again before Rio.
 
As one knows, all eyes are on Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
 
David Rudisha has his focus.
 
A focus he never gave up on.

 

Thursday, 17 September 2015 20:52

A Night of Peaks and Valleys in Beijing

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A night with some strange turns and twists on Day 3 of the World Championships. As David Hunter, one of team in Beijing noted, " Northern Ohio will be very excited tonight, with Shawn Barber's gold medal in the pole vault and Emily Infeld's bronze in the 10,000 meters!"
 
And that was an understatement.
 
Pole Vault: Shawn Barber Upsets
The pole vault was supposed to be a done deal. Renaud Lavillenie has been jumping great, and cleared 6.05m in June and 6.03 in London. In the London Diamond League, Shawn Barber, fresh from his Pan Am gold medal, cleared all four of his heights in London, up to and including 5.93 meters, and finally missed at 6.03 meters. Lavillenie cleared 6.03 meters, missing at 6.10 meters.