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Track & Field

Track & Field (386)

Track & field is essentially an individual sport where finely-tuned, driven athletes pursue individual records and honors. True enough, global championships such as these of course have a team component where countries strive to accumulate an overall medal count of which they will be proud. But, in reality, national medal counts are an aggregation of the medal-worthy performances of their individual countrymen and countrywomen.

 

But there is an exception to the usually-solitary pursuit of track and field greatness. The relays. Especially the granddaddy show-closer: the 4 x 400m. When 4 individual athletes combine to create a racing quartet for their country, the relay mates - who normally warily view each other as their rivals in the individual competitions - are suddenly galvanized by a common purpose: win that medal, preferably a golden one!

 

And when the foursome is comprised of American men racing the 4x4, there is an additional element of bonding. Just ask any quarter miler who's ever had a global 400 meter carry for the Red, White, and Blue, and he'll tell you: "The only medal is the gold medal. Lose this event? The United States doesn't lose the men's 4x4. We own this event!"

 

This morning session's concluding event was the first round of the men's 4 x 400 meter relay with the 6 fastest teams advancing to Sunday's final. In these global competitions, top contenders try to find the right balance: send a little message to the other nations while not showing too much of the hand they'll play in the final. In heat one, the Belgium quartet - with 3 Borlee brothers in the lineup - cruised to an easy 3:07.39 win when brother Kevin held off the Bahamas [3:07.55] and anchor Chris Brown on the final leg. In the second and final heat, Team USA took on Nigeria and Jamaica. Young Alvion Bailey led off for the Red, White, and Blue with a 46.7 to give the US a slight lead as he handed off to Calvin Smith who pushed out the US advantage with a 46.1 leg. Running third, Chris Giesting turned in the best American split of the morning - 45.7 - to give his teammate Patrick Feeney a comfortable lead for his anchor duty. Unchallenged, Feeney - who will long be remembered for his memorable 2015 Penn Relays "USA v. America" anchor leg which turned back a powerful Jamaican quartet for the win the very first time Feeney donned a USA singlet - ran an effective, albeit conservative, 46.9 for a stress-free win for Team USA [3:05.41].

 

The animated foursome spoke freely in the mixed zone. Inspired, not pressured, is how Bailey sees the current 400 meter athletes who face the challenge and the responsibility of carrying on America's dominating heritage in this event. "There is not necessarily any pressure. We just want to be great," declared today's lead-off runner. "The history of the 4x4 of the U.S. is so big and goes so deep. And we have respect for it. I'm just trying to find my place and state my name. That is really just what I'm trying to do. There's really no pressure especially when we've got people like Calvin, Chris, and Feeney. It makes it a lot easier when you know they've got your back."

 

Smith, the 28-year-old veteran on this morning's U.S. 4x4 squad, shared his views on the role of this opening round and what Team USA hoped to accomplish. "We just wanted to go out there and win and [like a killer stage performer] just kind of drop the baton. That makes everybody else say, 'Them boys really hit and run.' I think we accomplished that today and we've got more to come in the finals."

 

One of the larger challenges facing all 4x4 finalists is determining whether or not any last minute tinkering should be implemented before Sunday's final. Should a personnel change be considered? Should a fresh athlete from the relay pool be substituted? Should the lineup order be reshuffled? Former Notre Dame star Giesting offered his views. "We don't know yet. We're going to talk about it tonight after this race and see who's healthy, who's ready to go. And whatever four it is, I know they're going to give it their all and bring home the gold for the USA."

 

Feeney, Giesting's former teammate at South Bend, cites his USATF debut last spring at Franklin Field as solidifying his confidence for similar challenging assignments. "I know it was great that USATF had the confidence in me to anchor at Penn Relays last year. I was real nervous going into it, but I knew this was my first opportunity and I didn't want to let them down. That helped carry me through. And then I found out I was anchor today, and I was pumped again. So I knew these three guys were going to give me a lead and sort of bring it home and get us to that final tomorrow. The main thing is just getting to that final with the top time." Mission accomplished.

 

Before the U.S. quartet left to rest up for Sunday's final, the group fielded one last inquiry. Which finals team is their biggest concern? Tentative teammates hesitated, until the seasoned Smith - perhaps hinting that self-inflicted wounds must be avoided - blurted, "The USA!" 

 

Added Feeney, "If we go out and do what we need to do, I think it's going to be a good race for sure. But we're going to do whatever it takes to bring home the gold."

 

Can this new generation of American long sprinters add luster to the U.S. legacy in the event that American track and field considers as its very own?

 

This evening, we find out.

 

Dave Hunter, who ran his marathon P.R. of 2:31:40 on the highly revered Boston Marathon course back in the Paleozoic era, is a track and field announcer, broadcaster, and journalist.

Website: http://www.trackandfieldhunter.com

Thursday, 31 March 2016 02:02

2016 World Indoor Champs: Moment of Larry, Day 3

Written by

The story is so uplifting for some, they just can not believe it. Take a talented distance runner who just is not ready or into college. Find him a bit out of college, and working at McDonalds. Then, talk him into training again with his old coach, but a new club started by a pretty talented distance runner (Brenda Martinez and her hubby). Watch the guy run, get back into shape and begin to improve.

 

Then, watch track geeks, (c'est moi), drop their jaws when Boris runs with the big boys in Europe. Watch him almost make a U.S. team for the World Champs Outdoors.

 

But this is Indoors, and will it be a different story? Read on, gentle reader.

 

Boris Berian is a tough runner. An 800 meter guy built like Herb Lindsay, one the country's finest long distance runners in the 1970s and early 1980s, Herb had some guns on those arms. Boris does, too.

 

At the U.S. Indoor Champs, Boris just took the lead and crushed it, winning and not looking back.

 

In the rounds at the Worlds, Boris stayed out of trouble and made it through with ease, with Antoine Gakeme, winning his heat in 1:48.09, with Berian at 1:48.55 in second.

 

He’s much tougher now, perhaps the missed opportunity in 2015 opened his eyes, and gave him the vision he needed to move on.

 

The final on Saturday was looked upon with much fascination. Mo Aman, the defending champion was there, as was Antoine Gakeme, Eric Solinski, and Boris Berian. Many thought he would medal, but few thought he would dominate.

 

Berian got out hard, and hit the 200 meters in 23.92, which is fast! Continuing his hard front running, he hit the 400 meters in 49.73, which really turned some eyeballs. That’s David Rudisha speed, and David was in Australia, or Kenya, right now.

 

Berian looked focused and driven. He was running smooth, but with power. That’s what blows many away, but if you remember, Berian is to 2016 what Alberto Juantorena was to 1976. Boris Berian is a California version of Alberto Juantorena.

 

Boris continued his driven display of front running through 600 meters in 1:17:37, when the rest of the field woke up and tried to gain on him. For about fifty meters, Boris seemed like he was taking a quick break to gather himself for the run home.

 

I was hoping that I was not watching a law of physics being proven—that if you go out too fast, you come back real fast.

 

Boris willed himself over that last 200 meters of the 800, where the lactic acid is nearly up in your throat and six little voices are whispering—no begging, “Please stop! Coach Vigil will understand. Boris, this is your right hamstring, I have no energy left and I want a sauna." 

 

You ignore those voices and you just drive on, which is what Berian did.

 

The 800 meters is 200 meters too long for a perfect race. It’s a race where time and pain mold into one, and 25 seconds of pain moves to thirty-two.

 

Berian held on, and pushed to the finish to win his first World Indoor title in 1:45.83, to the resounding cheers of the partisan crowd. But, in truth, everyone was a fan of Berian that Saturday night at the Oregon Convention Center.

 

Berian put away that carbuncle of self-doubt that we all have at about 680 meters to 700 meters, when he made the decision to charge on. His face was full of pain and drive, and his arms were pumping and his legs had to follow. There was no other choice after he committed.

 

My MOMENT OF LARRY for night three is Boris Berian's race, but specifically, when he won it, between 600 and 700 meters, when the brain shuts off, the eyes flutter, and the lungs just beg for mercy.

 

Berian conquered all. But, something tells me, he did that on some cold-as-hell night, doing intervals, when no one was there but his coach, a few joggers, and someone with a rubgy ball.

 

Runners are creatures of habit and comfort. Nothing is comfortable about a fast speed session, or a long, grueling series of 600 meters and 1000 meters, but it gives one a sense of comfort, or relief.

 

And in this amazing setting, as Boris Berian was running his race. Not far back, Eric Sowinski was moving well,and running his race, to take the bronze, surpassing the defending champion Mo Aman. Eric is a great guy, a determined runner and he picked up his first international medal, as the US went 1–3.

 

Earlier this afternoon, I was speaking to VP of Running Product at New Balance, Tom Carleo.  about Boris and he told me the reason he ran so well was, (jokingly), "because of the shoes." I concurred, wisely, to Boris Berian's club sponsor, New Balance.

 

The shoes sured helped, and the sponsorship really helps, but Berian has some brass ones and his race was something to behold. Watch it and watch it again. And remember, Boris Berian's 800 meters is our Moment of Larry for Day Three of the 2016 IAAF World Athletics Championships!

March 20, 2016 - On the fourth and final day of the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Portland, Ore., California native Shannon Rowbury brought home a bronze medal for the U.S. as she finished third in the women's 3,000-meter final in 8:55.55.

 

Rowbury also captured the 3,000m win at the U.S Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend in 8:55.65. After conferring with her coach, Alberto Salazar, Rowbury decided to forego her specialty event, the 1,500m, at the U.S. Champs and concentrate on the 3,000m for Worlds. Last July, Rowbury etched her name in the history books by breaking Mary Decker's 1,500m outdoor American record with a 3:56.29 at the Herculis meet in Monaco.

 

In 2008, Rowbury recorded the top performance ever by an American woman in the Olympic 1,500m final when she finished seventh in 4:03.58. At the 2012 Olympic Games, she placed sixth in the women's 1,500m final.

 

On Sunday, Rowbury was among a closely spread front group of women competing in the women's 3,000m final over 15 laps of the 200m oval in Portland's Oregon Convention Center. The pack, led early by Kenya's Betsy Saina, went through 400m in a relatively slow 1:20.8.

 

 Just past 1,000m, Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba moved into the lead, strung out the field, and proceeded to a 8:47.43 victory, repeating her 2014 World Indoors 3,000m win. Eight-time World and Olympic medalist Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) secured the silver in 8:54.2 followed by Rowbury for bronze.

 

"It started out just like Worlds two years ago," Rowbury said. "I knew watching videos from the past that there would be a hard move and I needed to test my toughness. I tried to stay with the lead pack. I thought it was a little bit closer. At a certain point, I knew I needed to close ground on the chase crew. Over the last few laps in the race, I knew it was getting tough. Everyone else was working hard too. The crowd helped bring me home. I brought home a bronze in 2009. You only get so many opportunities in a championship. You only get this once in a lifetime to get Worlds at home and I wanted to take full advantage of that."

 

Rowbury's PR in the 3,000m indoors is 8:47.18 which she set in Boston in 2010. She grew up in the Sunset District of San Francisco where she attended Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep School before moving on to Duke University where she set multiple school records at distances from 800m through 5,000m. Although she now trains in Beaverton, Ore. and is guided by Coach Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project, Rowbury's heart is still in San Francisco where she has strong family connections.

 

In other day four action among Californians competing at the World Indoor Champs, Jeff Henderson (Chula Vista, Calif.)--the 2014 U.S. outdoor long jump champion--placed fourth with a second round leap of 8.19m/26-10.5. Marquis Dendy (Middletown, Del.) came to Portland as the world leader in the long jump, and he left as the world champion. He also posted his best mark in round two, leaping to victory in 8.26m/27-0.

 

"I have a lot to focus on and work on," Henderson said after the competition. "I was hoping to get the win but I didn't. I'm not worried about it, because I haven't jumped this much in a while. But I PR'd, so I know I'm in good shape."

 

Home-field advantage paid off in a huge way for Team USA at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships. The U.S. broke its own championship record for number of medals won, with 23, and number of golds, with 13. The medal tally crushed the previous records of 19 medals overall from 1999, and 10 gold medals from 2012. Ethiopia finished second in the medal tables with five medals and two gold, as Team USA totaled 249 points on the placing table to Ethiopia's 56.

 

Many congratulations to TrackTown USA, the local organizing committee for these excellent championships, and to Vin Lananna who serves as President of the organizers. We have much to look forward to in TrackTown: The 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials this coming July and for the first time on U.S. soil, the 2021 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

 

 Mark Winitz, longtime scribe for California Track & Running News and American Track & Field, is a contributing writer on RunBlogRun.com.

There are three facets of enjoyment for a long-scheduled, much-anticipated event that proves to be memorable: the anticipation; the actual experience; and the lasting reflection. Few would disagree that these 16th IAAF World Indoor Championship gathering proved its worth as one such event. There have been so many memorable moments - some overwhelming, others more subtle - it is difficult to single out the best. While others will certainly have their own, different collection, here is the listing of my top ten memorable moments - in ascending order, of course!
 

#10 / w60 / Barbara Pierre's Upset Win

Underestimated American sprinter Barbara Pierre [7.02] parlayed a rocket start into an upset win and her first global title. Dutch star Daphne Schippers - behind from the gun - couldn't run down the American, but closed hard for second [7.04].
 

#9 / Heptathlon / Eaton, Beach Shine In Multi

Ashton Eaton coolly did his thing in winning his 3rd consecutive world indoor heptathlon title. Eaton's 6490 point total is #6 all time as The World's Greatest Athlete now has 5 of top 6 heptathlon performances of all time. Coming from way back in the standings, Curtis Beach's courageous final-event 1000 in 2:29.04 - a new championship record - fell just 8 points short of the bronze.
 

#8 / Pentathlon / Theisen Eaton's Gutty 800 Lifts Her To Gold

In 3rd place and down 114 points to pentathlon leader Anastasiya Mokhyuk with one event to go, Brianne Theisen Eaton ran a spirited final event - the 800m - in a season-best 2:09.99 to earn 965 points, giving her just enough points [4881] to slide past the Ukrainian [4847] for the gold medal.
 

#7 / wPV / Jenn Suhr's World Championship Clearance Highlights Her Victory

After failing to win the national vault title in the same venue the week before, Suhr came back strong. Carefully managing her attempts, the 34 year old reigning Olympic champion took only 4 jumps and made them all to win the gold. Her last clearance at 4.90m/16'¾" set a new indoor championship record.
 

#6 / mPV / Renaud Lavillenie Jumps Seldom, Jumps High, Claims Title

Showcased during the Day One opening ceremony, the pole vault events claimed the crowd's full attention. The efficient Frenchman needed only 2 jumps to win the men's competition. The reigning Olympic champion then went on to set the championship record [6.02m/19'9"] and tantalized the capacity crowd with 3 attempts - albeit unsuccessful - at the world record height of 6.17m/20'2¾".
 

#5 / m3000 / Hill's "Near Perfect" Race Earns Him Silver

At the pre-race press conference, Hill revealed he was shooting for a top 5 finish, but felt he "had a shot for medal if he had a really good day. The Bowerman Track Club athlete had that really good day. After a tepid start, the NC State graduate was able cover when defending champion Kenya's Caleb Ndiku dramatically shifted gears with 6 laps remaining. 5th at the bell, Hill never gave in. At full throttle over the final 100, Hill passed Marakesh's Iguider off the final turn and caught Kenya's Choge just before the line for the silver.
 

#4 / wLJ / Brittney Reese's Patented Clutch Final Jump Bomb

Multiple-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese lost the early lead in the women's long jump when Serbia's Ivana Ŝpanovic stretched out a 5th-round leap of 7.07m/23'2½". As she has done so many times before, Reese returned the favor when - on her 6th and final attempt - the American jump queen uncorked a world-leading leap of 7.22/23'8¼" to swipe the gold medal and claim yet another indoor world championship title.
 

#3 / wSP / Michelle Carter's "Buzzer Beater" Last Throw

Going into the 6th and final round, Michelle Carter's third round heave of 19.31m/63'4¼" had held up as the event leader. With her final attempt, Hungary's Anita Marton got the ball out 19.33m/63'5" to edge into the lead. But the American Shot Diva had one final throw remaining - and Carter made it count as she unloaded a world-leading monster put of 20.21/66'3¾" to grab back the gold medal.
 

#2 / m1500 / Savvy Race Strategy Results In Gold For Centro

It was the elephant in the room. He'd won global medals before, but never gold. Would this be the time for Matthew Centrowitz? The race began cautiously. But Centro - the master of race positioning - was always in the right spot. Everyone could sense the pace winding up, but the real race began when Nick Willis spurted into the lead with 2 laps remaining. Although slightly gapped, Centro kept his cool. With 100 remaining and the decibel level inside the Convention Center never higher, the Millrose champion got on Willis' shoulder, swung wide off the final curve in a full sprint, and overcame the Kiwi for the win - covering the final 300m in less than 39 seconds.
 

#1 / m800 / Bold Berian Is Courageous

Throwing caution to the wind, USA's Boris Berian - an unsung McDonald's employee just about a year ago - simply went for it in the 800 meter final. After splitting 400 in 49.3 to forge a 15 meter lead, Berian began to wobble with 150 meters remaining as he worked hard to hold on. Lifted by the roaring crowd, the fearless leader crossed the line in 1:45.83 to hold off a late charges by Burundi's Antoine Gakeme [1:46.65]. Erik Sowinski's fine 3rd place finish [1:47.22] gave the USA two middle distance medals. You've got to risk it to get the biscuit.
 
Throwing caution to the wind, USA's Boris Berian - an unsung McDonald's employee just about a year ago - simply went for it in the 800 meter final. After splitting 400 in 49.3 to forge a 15 meter lead, Berian began to wobble with 150 meters remaining as he worked hard to hold on. Lifted by the roaring crowd, the fearless leader crossed the line in 1:45.83 to hold off a late charges by Burundi's Antoine Gakeme [1:46.65]. Erik Sowinski's fine 3rd place finish [1:47.22] gave the USA two middle distance medals. You've got to risk it to get the biscuit.
 
 
You'll note my Top Ten is heavily weighted with American moments - and justifiably so. While I plead guilty to a bias in favor of my homeland, with the final count at a record 23 medals [13 gold; 6 silver; and 4 bronze], Team USA simply had more grand moments. It is true that the Olympic Games are still nearly 5 months away and anything can happen. And it can be fairly observed that many exceptional foreign athletes did not compete here. But this medal harvest - gathered notwithstanding that more than a few American medal prospects [e.g. Felix, Taylor, Merritt, Simpson, Gatlin, etc.] also elected to bypass the indoor season and/or this global championships - suggests there is reason for optimism about America's medal prospects in Rio.
 
Dave Hunter, who ran his marathon P.R. of 2:31:40 on the highly revered Boston Marathon course back in the Paleozoic era, is a track and field announcer, broadcaster, and journalist.   http://www.trackandfieldhunter.com

NBC Olympics will present an unprecedented 76 hours of coverage of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extraincluding more than 60 hours of coverage in primetime – in the months leading up to the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. NBC Olympics’ Trials coverage spans nine sports – swimming, track and field, gymnastics, diving, rowing, wrestling, water polo, field hockey, and volleyball.

 

NBC Olympics’ 76 hours of comprehensive coverage marks the most ever for the U.S. Olympic Trials, topping the 67.5 hours of coverage in 2012, and will feature some of the most anticipated stories and athletes of the Rio Olympics,

 

All events will be live streamed across NBC Sports Live Extra -- NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.

 

“As the U.S. Olympic rights holder through 2032, the Olympic Trials are a key component to our overall Olympic strategy,” said Peter Diamond, Executive Vice President, Programming, NBC Olympics. “This year, fans will be able to watch more of the compelling Trials coverage than ever before, as our nation’s most talented athletes strive to represent the United States in Rio.”

 

TRACK AND FIELD

NBC Olympics will provide 16.5 hours of Trials coverage in the semifinals and finals of track and field events, including seven primetime telecasts, five on NBC. Track and field Trials coverage begins on Friday, July 1, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, with the finals in men’s shot put and 10,000m. NBC’s coverage continues Saturday, July 2, at 2 p.m. ET, with the finals in women’s 10,000m, long jump, and discus, and continues on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET with coverage of the decathlon.

 

NBC’s coverage on Sunday, July 3, at 7 p.m. ET features the finals in men’s and women’s 100m and 400m, men’s long jump, and women’s high jump. The action shifts to NBCSN on Monday, July 4, at 7 p.m. ET with the finals in men’s and women’s 800m, as well as the men’s pole vault and javelin. NBCSN’s presentation on Thursday, July 7, at 8 p.m. ET includes the finals in women’s steeplechase, shot put, and triple jump.

 

NBCSN’s Trials coverage on Friday, July 8, begins at 6 p.m. ET, showcasing the semifinals of men’s 1500m, women’s 100m hurdles, and men’s and women’s 400m hurdles, and continues on NBC at 8 p.m. ET with the finals of women’s 100m hurdles, and men’s discus and steeplechase. NBC’s coverage on Saturday, July 9, at 8 p.m. ET includes the finals in men’s 110m hurdles, 200m, 5000m, triple jump, and women’s javelin. Sunday’s coverage will highlight the finals in the men’s and women’s 1500m, men’s and women’s 400m hurdles, women’s 200m, and men’s high jump.

 

Date

Coverage

Network

Time (ET)

Fri., July 1

Men’s Shot Put & 10,000m Finals

NBC

9 p.m.

Sat., July 2

Women’s 10,000m, Long Jump & Discus Finals

NBC

2 p.m.

 

Decathlon

NBCSN

5 p.m.

Sun., July 3

Men’s & Women’s 100m & 400m Finals*

NBC

7 p.m.

Mon., July 4

Men’s & Women’s 800m, Men’s Pole Vault & Javelin

NBCSN

7 p.m.

Thur., July 7

Women’s Steeplechase, Shot Put & Triple Jump

NBCSN

8 p.m.

Fri., July 8

Men’s 1500m, Women’s 100m Hurdles, & Men’s & Women’s400m Hurdles Semifinals

NBCSN

6 p.m.

 

Women’s 100m Hurdles, Men’s Discus & Steeplechase Finals

NBC

8 p.m.

Sat., July 9

Men’s 110m Hurdles, 200m, 5000m, Triple Jump*

NBC

8 p.m.

Sun., July 10

Men’s & Women’s 1500m & Women’s 200mMen’s & Women’s 400m Hurdles & Men’s High Jump*

NBC

7 p.m.

 

*coverage may include additional events

One of the finest long jump competitions that I’ve ever witnessed happened at the World Indoors. The battle between Ivana Spanovic, Janay DeLoach, Lorraine Ugen and Brittney Reese was riveting.

 

After her fine clutch leap of 7.22 meters, I had to name Brittney Reese as the Funk Queen of the Long Jump Universe. And here is why:

 

Ivana Spanovic was on a roll. She leaped 7.00 meters and took the lead, setting a national record.

 

Brittney Reese responds with 6.97 meters, her longest jump since 2015. After her fine 6.89 meter leap for the USA Indoor win, and her 6.81 meter leap in February, Brittney looked like the old Brittney, the one who brought home two Olympic golds and three World Indoor Champs. Was she back all the way? Fans were pondering.

 

So was Brittney.

 

Her injury came in 2013, where she tore her hip (labrum). Instead of repairing it in 2013, she just put her head down and competed through the season. Her series of five years of championship victories ended. 2014 was the year of surgery and recovery.

 

There’s something about an athlete at the top of their game. After years of finely-tuned training, the grace and agility of an elite athlete makes the activity, in many cases, look effortless. While Reese never looks effortless, her talent is in the amazing athleticism, both physically and psychologically, that she brings to the game.

 

In 2015, it just wasn’t there. She won the U.S. Champs with 6.97 meters, but it blew many of our minds when she didn’t make the final in Beijing. Her timing was off, she was fouling a remarkable number of times. This viewer could sense her frustration.

 

"It took me two years just to get back to where I was. I couldn't stay healthy last year at all and finally I had to just step back and see why I love the sport and work hard on getting really healthy" was how Reese described her frustration to the IAAF.

 

Coming back from an injury and surgery cannot be calculated on an abacus. The time stretches out and the frustration of activities that one once found to be effortless hits home. Is it time to retire? Give up? Surely, Reese had enough medals to call it a day.

 

But not Brittney Reese. Not the funk queen of the long jump universe.

 

I’ve interviewed Brittney on several occasions. I like her upbeat manner. I respect her hard work, but most of all, I like her gamespersonship.

 

Brittney Reese is one of the toughest competitors that I’ve ever seen.

 

In Round 5 of the World Champs Indoors, Brittney Reese leaped 7.00 meters, her farthest jump in three years.

 

Ivana Spanavic responded with 7.07 meters, a second National Record.

 

So, in Round 6, Reese and Spanovic have their jumps.

 

How will Reese respond? Is her body ready to challenge Spanovic, the reigning European Indoor champion, who’s jumping National records as if they were kernels of popcorn.

 

Watching Brittney Reese in good health and in competitive mode is a site to behold.

 

Reese was focused before she went for her sixth and final jump. She used every centimeter on the run up and leaped in the air, landing farther than she had since 2012. Her final jump was 7.22 meters, just one centimeter off her leap in Instanbul in 2012, where she last won the World Indoor.

 

Her leap of 7.22 meters stunned the already hyped crowd.

 

How would Spanovic respond? Could she improve on her 7.00 meters and 7.07 meters?

 

Spanovic leaped to 6.76 meters; Reese's leap could no longer be challenged.

 

So, why do I call Brittney Reese the Funk Queen of the Long Jump Universe?

 

It actually comes from Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons, who dedicated one of his Life in Hell collections to cartoonist Lynda Barry (I still have her “Poodle with a Mohawk” poster somewhere), who he referred to as the Funk Queen of the Galaxy.

 

So I’ve lifted it, and now use it to pay credit to Brittney Reese, who’s obviously back in shape and back in competitive mind set. Keeping one's head when one's steps are just a bit off, and the competition has raised the game, is what Brittney Reese just did in Portland last weekend.

 

With seven global titles now, let's see how Brittney Reese responds for Eugene and then, Rio.

 

And for that, we at RunBlogRun have burdened Brittney Reese with the title, Funk Queen of the Long Jump Universe.

 

Yep, we worship her.

 

—Larry Eder

Friday, 18 March 2016 00:39

2016 World Indoors: Quick Previews

Written by

Here are our favorite quick previews from Alfons Juck and EME News, our long time partner and a keen observer of the sport.

 

Event by Event 

Men

60 m: Experienced generation Powell, Collins, Rodgers against young ones Bromell, Bracy.

 

400 m: Maslak defending against US duo, Caribbeans, but the dark horse is young Haroun.

 

800 m: Berian on home soil, what is the shape of Aman? Be ready for surprise.

 

1500 m: Iguider, Centrowitz, Souleiman - all three in great shape. What will be the tactics.

 

3000 m: This is open, the usual fight Ethiopia vs Kenya will be added by home duo Hill-Chelimo, and what about Iguider and his double?

 

60m Hurdles: French connection says the movie, Martinot-Lagarde, Bascou. McLeod is the man to watch.

 

High Jump: Barshim has the credentials and potential, but Tamberi is also unbeaten in 2016 and hugely improving.

 

Pole Vault: Lavillenie in shape is tough to beat. But do not forget Barber is the World Champion. Meet record 601 is possible.

 

Long Jump: Who can beat Dendy? Other medals very open.

 

Triple Jump: Big guns injured, time for China gold (so far only one male by Liu Xiang at World Indoors) ?

 

Shot Put: Nedow won the Tour, Stanek beat him in last meet, Haratyk was early excellent and Roberts won US title.

 

Heptathlon: Eaton is unbeatable in normal situation. The rest on the podium could be anybody.

 

4x400 m: No doubt about the winners, Belgium will be ready for silver and possibly attacking their own European record?

 

Women
60 m: Pierre is a fast starter, but Schippers can catch her. Will we see sub seven?

 

400 m: Despite not beeing the fastest this year McPherson should be the pick. US duo not that experienced, Adekoya is ready.

 

800 m: Another open one. Who has top indoor experience? Possibly US duo will use home advantage.

 

1500 m: Fast or slow. Seyaum vs Hassan.

 

3000 m: It should be Dibaba, then little space, then Defar, then lot of space, then rest. Anyway, we count with meet record.

 

60mH: If not full US podium, then surprise. Only Tiffany can spoil the party.

 

High Jump: 19 years between Beitia and Cunningham, but the bet goes to Licwinko. Finally two meters?

 

Pole Vault: Real World record chance for Suhr, how many medals for Greeks? Meet record should be for sure (so far 486)

 

Long Jump: Is Stratton ready to cope withe favorite role? Reese, Spanovic far more experienced. Not to forget British duo and German newcomer Wester.

 

Triple Jump: First ever gold (also medal) for Venezuela? Surprise from Papahristou?

 

Shot Put: All points to Carter win. Valerie never gives up.

 

Pentathlon: This will be interesting. Brianne is ready, but Ukrainians have big scores, Williams fresh enough from last weekend? Surprise from Lake.

 

4x400 m: Can USA come close to World Indoor record?

Friday, 18 March 2016 00:39

2016 World Indoors: Quick Previews

Written by

Short Previews of Portland
Here are our favorite quick previews from Alfons Juck and EME News, our long time partner and a keen observer of the sport.

 

Event by Event 

Men

60 m: Experienced generation Powell, Collins, Rodgers against young ones Bromell, Bracy.

 

400 m: Maslak defending against US duo, Caribbeans, but the dark horse is young Haroun.

 

800 m: Berian on home soil, what is the shape of Aman? Be ready for surprise.

 

1500 m: Iguider, Centrowitz, Souleiman - all three in great shape. What will be the tactics.

 

3000 m: This is open, the usual fight Ethiopia vs Kenya will be added by home duo Hill-Chelimo, and what about Iguider and his double?

 

60m Hurdles: French connection says the movie, Martinot-Lagarde, Bascou. McLeod is the man to watch.

 

High Jump: Barshim has the credentials and potential, but Tamberi is also unbeaten in 2016 and hugely improving.

 

Pole Vault: Lavillenie in shape is tough to beat. But do not forget Barber is the World Champion. Meet record 601 is possible.

 

Long Jump: Who can beat Dendy? Other medals very open.

 

Triple Jump: Big guns injured, time for China gold (so far only one male by Liu Xiang at World Indoors) ?

 

Shot Put: Nedow won the Tour, Stanek beat him in last meet, Haratyk was early excellent and Roberts won US title.

 

Heptathlon: Eaton is unbeatable in normal situation. The rest on the podium could be anybody.

 

4x400 m: No doubt about the winners, Belgium will be ready for silver and possibly attacking their own European record?

 

Women
60 m: Pierre is a fast starter, but Schippers can catch her. Will we see sub seven?

 

400 m: Despite not beeing the fastest this year McPherson should be the pick. US duo not that experienced, Adekoya is ready.

 

800 m: Another open one. Who has top indoor experience? Possibly US duo will use home advantage.

 

1500 m: Fast or slow. Seyaum vs Hassan.

 

3000 m: It should be Dibaba, then little space, then Defar, then lot of space, then rest. Anyway, we count with meet record.

 

60mH: If not full US podium, then surprise. Only Tiffany can spoil the party.

 

High Jump: 19 years between Beitia and Cunningham, but the bet goes to Licwinko. Finally two meters?

 

Pole Vault: Real World record chance for Suhr, how many medals for Greeks? Meet record should be for sure (so far 486)

 

Long Jump: Is Stratton ready to cope withe favorite role? Reese, Spanovic far more experienced. Not to forget British duo and German newcomer Wester.

 

Triple Jump: First ever gold (also medal) for Venezuela? Surprise from Papahristou?

 

Shot Put: All points to Carter win. Valerie never gives up.

 

Pentathlon: This will be interesting. Brianne is ready, but Ukrainians have big scores, Williams fresh enough from last weekend? Surprise from Lake.

 

4x400 m: Can USA come close to World Indoor record?

Thursday, 17 March 2016 22:41

US Athletes at the World Indoors: Who's Medal-Ready?

Written by
By Dave Hunter
 
(Portland, Ore., March 13, 2016) In the afterglow of the 2016 Indoor Track & Field Championships which saw many experienced veterans perform well, several promising young athletes come of age, and a goodly number of world-leading marks produced, what can Team USA realistically anticipate when Portland hosts next weekend's IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships?
 
Encouraging USATF performances combined with USA's "home track advantage" should give the Red, White & Blue an extra edge. Nobody's crystal ball is perfect, but here is how I read the tea leaves:
 
60 METERS. The Men: The dashes - especially the shortest one - are always tough to call where the margin of error is so thin. The 60m is Marvin Bracy's specialty. And Trayvon Bromell's Beijing medal performance has proved he can shine on the big stages. Mike Rodgers knows what it takes to capture an indoor global sprint medal. Look for a medal here. The Women: The depth here makes prognostication here most difficult. Pierre's and Bowie's experience is a needed plus against top flight foreign competition [Schippers, et. al.] Pierre's #2 WL mark suggests a strong medal possibility.
 
400 METERS. The Men: Vernon Norwood looked poised and strong last weekend winning the 400m in 45.80 - showing he can win even if he doesn't get the all-important pole on the break. If he runs like that next weekend, he's on the podium. The Women: Untested Quanera Hayes is the world leader [51.09], but the USA's reigning 400m world champion elected to pass on this global championship. Can the inexperienced Hayes step up?
 
800 METERS. The Men: Boris Berian has 1:43 wheels, but his front-running style seldom prevails in high-quality global competitions. And he's had past challenges in the past producing in pressure packed situations. More experiended global athletes may just be too tough. The Women: The normally soft-spoken Ajeé Wilson has proclaimed her desire to perform well in these championships. She's the 800m world-leader competing on her national turf. What better stage to claim her first senior global medal?
 
1500 METERS. The Men: Both Matthew Centrowitz and Robby Andrews have the electrifying finishes that could place either of them on the medal stand. And Centro has the global medals to prove he can get the job done. But against such a deep foreign field, the missing ingredient is a brilliant race strategy. If the coaching brain trust can map out a plan for success, one of these two just might be able to crack the East African juggernaut. The Women: Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson - the two best American milers who have both won global medals - bypassed this event. And while Brenda Martinez has an 800m bronze from the '13 World Outdoor Championships, her lack of 1500m racing experience places her at a real disadvantage against the daunting foreign competition in this event.
 
3000 METERS. The Men: Ryan Hill - a 5000m finalist in the last two outdoor world championships - has the seasoning for this indoor championship. Possessor of a potent finishing kick, he also has an Infeld-like courage to stick his nose in there, to get in the mix. Again, the field is loaded and rounds are involved, but stranger things have happened. If the final gets tactical - as it often does - this 3-time national champion has a shot. The Women: Shannon Rowbury is at the top of her game. But a fast-paced final snuffs her chances. Yet even in a tactical final in the 8:50 range, could she match the blazing finish of her foreign competitors?
 
60M HURDLES. The Men: After several of America's top hurdles bypassed the USATF competition, Jarret Eaton stepped up to capture the national title. It is difficult to see either Eaton or Spencer Adams challenging the likes of Omar McLeod and Pascal Martinot Lagarde. The Women: It's a different story here. Buoyed by a new coiffure - practically a must for U.S. women hurdlers - a restored technique, and renewed confidence, American Record holder Brianna Rollins claimed the national crown with a world-leading clocking of 7.76. Kendra Harrison was just a tick behind in 7.77. Nia Ali had earlier made the USA team in this event as a wild card entrant. With these U.S. athletes possessing the #1, #2, and #4 world-leading times and no other non-American in the world list's top 10, might a sweep be possible here?
 
LONG JUMP. The Men: After Beijing, Marquis Dendy has some unfinished business to handle on the world stage. With his world-leading mark of 8.41m/27'7¼" and the recent withdrawal of Great Britain's Greg Rutherford, he should be poised to take care of business and win that medal. The Women: Brittney Reese has the #3 jump on the world leader board at 6.89m /22'7¼". With brimming confidence, familiarity with the facility, and a supportive home crowd, look for yet another global medal for Reese here.
 
TRIPLE JUMP. The Men: Chris Carter [#2WL] should compete for a medal, while Omar Craddock [#7WL] could surprise with a good performance. The Women: The U.S. women are outmatched here, but should gain valuable experience competing against athletes who have mastered this difficult event.
 
HIGH JUMP. The Men: Erik Kynard looked good last weekend - winning the HJ title and walking away with plenty of jump left in his legs. The reigning Olympic silver medalist will need that extra spring this weekend. Tied for 11th on the world list, Kynard will need a big break through to compete with the likes of Qatar's Barshim and Italy's Tamberi and Fassinotti. The Women: Are there any chapters left in Vasthi Cunningham's storybook season? The teenager is the world leader [1.99m/6'6¼"] and will certainly have roaring crowd support as she takes on the world's best. A medal of any color for the high schooler would be a sports story of global proportions.
 
SHOT PUT. The Men: Kurt Roberts will be the favorite here. But he must throw better than he did last weekend when he won his first national title. Wily veteran Reese Hoffa can never be counted out. The Women: U.S. veterans Michelle Carter [WL#1] and comebacking Jill Camerena-Williams carry the U.S. hopes. The favored Carter should be on the podium. Camerena-Williams could join her if she has a good day at the office.
 
THE MULTIS. The Men: If healthy, Ashton Eaton should be the prohibitive favorite. His uneven performance in selected events last weekend - including his awkward blast from the blocks in the 60m - has some concerned. Curtis Beach - now back after resolving lingering elbow issues - should perform well indoors where the javelin and the discus are off the agenda. A medal for the likeable Beach would be a terrific feel-good story. The Women: Barbara Nwaba and Kendell Williams are both talented athletes who could be in the hunt if they can string together 5 consecutive top performances.
 
POLE VAULT. The long-awaited St. Patrick's Day Showdown should be a colossal opener for the World Championships. The Men: Could this competition be better? A marquee battle involving, among others, WL#1 Renaud Lavillenie, the reigning Olympic champion; WL#2 Shawn Barber, the reigning world champion; WL#4 Sam Kendricks, who PR'd at 5.90m/19'4¼" to win the USATF title here last week. This field is so tough, Kendricks may have to PR yet again to get on the podium. The Women: Sandi Morris, the #3 all-time indoor vault performer, and Jenn Suhr, the indoor vault world record holder, give the U.S. a formidable 1-2 punch in this competitive event. But top flight foreign competition abounds. Managing the jump count and producing first attempt clearances will be key if the Americans are to be successful in winning a medal.
By Mark Winitz
 
March 11, 2016 - Californians turned in solid performances on the first day of competition at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships at a newly refurbished Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Berths on the U.S. team heading into next weekend's IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships--in the very same facility--are on the line. The top athletes in each event qualify for a slot on the U.S. team for Worlds provided that they meet the IAAF's qualifying standards for the competition.
 
In an important Olympic year, a number of top Americans have elected to compete indoors to hone their skills for outdoors while others focus entirely on the upcoming U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials and a ticket to Rio for the Olympic Games.
 
Native San Franciscan Shannon Rowbury has chosen the indoors route and has demonstrated that a memorable year is in the making. The two-time Olympic Games finalist at 1,500m who now trains in Oregon under coach Alberto Salazar defended her title at the Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile last month before grabbing the 3,000m win in Portland. Rowbury ran conservatively, in 6th place through 2,000m behind leaders Emily Infeld, eventual second placer Abbey D'Agostino, and others. With 400 meters to go, Rowbury shot to the lead and proceeded to a convincing 8:55.65 win. She has the qualifying standard for World Indoors so we'll be seeing her next weekend.
 
"It was quicker early on than I expected," Rowbury said. "The plan was to get a good, hard close. With 400 to go I decided enough waiting. By the last 100 meters I felt really great. I'm excited about my fitness. "Now that I've made the team I'll let Coach (Salazar) decide if I compete in the 1,500 tomorrow."
 
Other athletes with California ties: Garrett Heath, a 9-time NCAA All-American while at Stanford University, placed 5th in the men's 3,000m final in 7:41.26, three seconds behind winner Ryan Hill.
 
In the men's 35-pound weight throw, Colin Dunbar (age 27, Long Beach, Calif.) heaved a huge 5th round throw of 23.96 meters/78 feet-7/12 inches, a 3-foot personal best, to win the competition. Wearing a black T-shirt with a slogan "Crush Your Goals," the former All-American for Long Beach State topped three-time Olympic hammer thrower A.G. Kruger who finished in second at 23.24m/76-3. Dunbar's ultimate goal is to represent the U.S. in the hammer throw at this year's Olympic Games.
 
Prior to his win in Portland, Dunbar's best performances were a third place finish at the 2013 U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships in the weight throw and a sixth place finish at the 2013 U.S. Outdoor T&F Championships in the hammer throw. A broken foot in 2014 put him on the sidelines that year. Most recently, Dunbar won a silver medal as a member of Team USA at the 2015 NACAC Senior Area Championships in Costa Rica. He qualified for that competition with a sixth-place finish at the U.S. Outdoor Championships.
 
The 35-pound weight throw is not recognized by the IAAF as an official event, so it is not conducted at the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships. It is the winter indoor equivalent of the hammer throw, which can't be held indoors because of space restrictions.
 
Long jumper Jeffrey Henderson, the 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist, grabbed second place in the men's long jump final with a leap of 8.05/26-5 behind winner Marquis Dendy (8.41m/26-7.25).
 
In the men's pole vault final, Adam Bragg (Lake Forest, Calif.) tied for third with three others in 5.50m/18-5. Bragg, 22, who set an Ivy League record (5.42m/17-9.25) for Princeton last year, has a promising future.
 
In the women's triple jump final, April Sinkler (Chula Vista, Calif.) grabbed 5th and top Californian in 13.36m/43-10 behind winner Christina Epps, 14.05m/46-1.25.
 
In the first round of the 60m dash competitions, four Californians advanced to the semi-finals: Men’s 60m: Jeffrey Henderson (Chula Vista) 6.58, Carlin Isles (Chula Vista) 6.68. Women's 60m: Jenna Prandini (Clovis, CA), 2ndplace, 7.24, Women's Heat 3: Lekeisha Lawson (West Covina, CA), 2nd place, 7.30.
 
In the prelims of the women’s 400m, Kendall Baisden (Coronado, Calif.) recorded a fifth-fasted time of 53.20 to advance. Olympic and World Champion Natasha Hastings had the fastest time of the day (51.79) and will be the favored contender in the final.
 
Other Californians who advanced to their finals: Men’s 800m: Boris Berian (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), 1:48.96.