Archive for the 'christian cantwell' Category

Notes from Swimming and Track Trials: June 29, 2008

Some thoughts from this weekend’s events:

– How often do you see drama in the women’s 10K run? Shalene Flanagan and Kara Goucher were neck and neck until the final straightaway when Flanagan broke away. Amy Begley, the third place finisher, had to step up her run a notch to make sure that her time qualified. When Begley found out that she was going to Beijing, she jumped up and down like a little girl – see why I tell you to watch the trials?

– Congratulations to my classmate at Mizzou, Christian Cantwell. His past two Olympic trials were disappointing to say the least – fouls, lots of fouls – and he qualified for the team with a throw over 71 feet. He is joined on the team by Reese Hoffa and Adam Nelson.

– Tyson Gay is one of my favorite track athletes going into Beijing. His record breaking 100m was wind aided, so it won’t go in the record books, but he sent a clear message that he will be a force in Beijing. Gay also showed his respect for history by wearing a uniform reminiscent of Jesse Owen’s uniform from the 1936 “Go F### Yourself, Hitler” Olympics in Munich.

– Michael Phelps is an amazing athlete, and driven as can be. He broke the 400m individual medley WR with friend Ryan Lochte nipping at his heels, and there is no sign that Phelps is going to let up.

– In contrast to Phelps’s cool confidence, Katie Hoff looked shocked when she found out that she broke the world record at the 400m IM.

Dara Torres is profiled in the New York Times, and her training regimen, and the cast of characters she works with, is nothing short of amazing.

– I enjoy Rowdy Gaines calling swimming for the same reasons why I love Ron Santo calling Cubs games. He has the enthusiasm of an uncle cheering on his nephew, but who will also call out his nephew for screwing up.

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Try the Trials: Swimming and Track

The final trials for the U.S. Olympic team start this weekend. Swimming begins Sunday and will run through next Sunday in Omaha, Neb. (Side note – the hospitality business is Omaha must be booming. The College World Series just ended Wednesday, and now they are heading right into the Olympic trials.) Track and field runs today through Sunday in Eugene, Ore., where Team Nike USA will be assembled.

Track and Field

With Marion Jones making license plates and Justin Gatlin suing everyone but the CIA to get into the Olympics, USA T&F will have to work hard to shed the doping scandals of the past few years. Luckily, they have Allyson Felix (cue choirs of angels.) This four time world champion and Sunday school teacher is already a heavy favorite to win the 200m. Tyson Gay, running the 100m and the 200m, is the world champion in both events. Gay isn’t just looking for gold here, he wants to break the world records. In field events, Adam Nelson, a silver medalist in Sydney and Athens in the shotput, will compete against Christian Cantwell, a graduate of the best school on Earth, ever, for the spot. Jen Stuczynski has a shot at breaking the pole vault world record. (Sorry, boys, Allison Stokke will not be there.) Track and field trials will air on NBC and USA starting at midnight tonight, or tomorrow morning on USA.

Swimming

One of the things that I love about swimming is that the sport knows no age. Unlike gymnastics, where women are over the hill when they can buy themselves a Bud Light, swimmers can excel when they are 18 or 38. Remember Michael Phelps? As if you could forget him and his six gold medals. Over the seven days of trials, he will only have one day off. Now, a mature 22 year old, Phelps will try to repeat his herculean feat of 2004. As impressive as Phelps is, my heartstrings are much more tugged by Dara Torres, who made her Olympic debut in 1984. She has four gold and four bronze medals, and at age 41, is trying to make the Olympic team once again as a freestyler. Swimming television coverage starts Sunday at 8 ET on NBC, and will continue on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday on USA at 8 ET.