Archive for the 'tyson gay' Category

Back from My Oly-cation

After the madness of the Trials, I took a little break from Fourth Place Medal. To my two readers, I apologize. Some things to catch up on:

Eric Shanteau wins the balls of steel award-no pun intended. Well, kinda intended. He is putting off cancer surgery to compete in the Olympics. Godspeed to you, Eric.

Breaux Greer, a javelin thrower who was injured during the trials, is going to Beijing.

USA Track & Field decided to place him on the team announced Monday, citing a rule that allows for “the selection of an injured athlete who competed in the Olympic trials but did not final … as long as another athlete is not displaced from the team.”

So, Tyson Gay still can’t run the 200m, unless one of the U.S. runners drop out.

Chicago 2016, the group working to bring the Olympics to my city, had a snazzy little party to raise money for the effort. It netted twelve million. By the way, if Chicago gets the Olympics, I may explode in happiness, and that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

The Chinese will not be serving dog meat at the Olympics.

Usain Bolt has now run the fastest 200m of the year, after breaking the world record at the 100m.

– Via the New York Times, people much smarter than me have made medal predictions for Beijing. The verdict is that the U.S. will win the most overall, but China will win the most gold.

I think that’s everything for now. Phew.

Final Thoughts on Swimming and Trials

The Olympic Trials in the United States’ two most successful sports are complete, and the week was full of fantastic moments. There are few smiles like those of someone who has just become an Olympian, and fans saw dozens of those this week. I won’t lie – more than a few tears trickled down my cheeks when watching the trials. A few disparate thoughts before I go to bed:

– Tyson Gay’s fall in the semis of the 200m broke my heart. First, the manner in which he fell reminded me of when I fell running (very short, very terrible dalliance into the sport) and dislocated my knee (why I stopped.) I was very happy to hear it was not that serious. Secondly, I hate that he won’t be running the 200 for the US. However, I do not think that the misfortune of one man is a reason to change an entire system that quite frankly, works just fine. There are two reasons why the trials for track work. One – the United States is loaded. We have tons of talent. Secondly, track (and swimming for that matter) is an objective sport – who is the fastest. No judges, no degree of difficulty, no petitions or lawsuits. If you run the fastest, you’re in. I have no worries for the United States in track and field. We will do just fine, even with Tyson Gay only running 100m.

– Dara Torres was the cause for many of my tears this week. How could she not be? A 41-year-old mom who is swimming at her best? I tend to believe people, sometimes causing me to be gullible. Pat Forde doubts that Dara has come by her swimming renaissance fairly, and I am embarrassed to say that it never even occurred to me that she didn’t.

– The broadcasts for both swimming and track were very good. The announcers were careful to explain qualifying procedures, back stories, athletes’ accolades and the nuances of each event. The puff pieces were kept to a minimum, but still good. The broadcasts weren’t perfect – the post-event interviews were always a little weird, but still, these broadcasts far outpaced gymnastics.

Now, we wait. Most Olympians have been decided, though some gymnastics team members are still up in the air. The Games kick off in a little more than a month. For now, we can just sit back and enjoy the hype.

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.

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.