Monday, August 18, 2008

NBC Made Me Do It

A coworker of mine that was born and raised in Jamaica wore her country's colors today.   Although she's been in the States for quite a while, she still speaks with a heavy accent.  I love her accent.  She was excited like anyone might be if someone you know did something that made you proud.  I doubt if she knows any of the the Jamaican Olympians.  She might.  An island that small, I'm sure there is like 3 degrees of separation amongst people.  It really doesn't matter if she knows them or not.  They represent her and where she comes from.  And today, anyone from Jamaica should be proud of the women that historically swept the 100 meters lead by the young Kelli Ann Frazier and the "world's fastest man" Usain Bolt.  ONE LOVE 

Before I apologize once again for passing bad information, let me first use NBC  as a scapegoat. If their Olympic scheduling were more conducive to the average person in America that works for a living instead of those of can operate on 3 hours of sleep per night, I may have not made the mistake that US hopeful Bernard Lagat qualified for the 1500.  That race was run 17 hours before NBC decided to broadcast it at 1:30AM.  And I had a 5:30AM wake up call.  I'm hurting right now from sleep deprivation. 

I admit I was tired.  And because of that I left believing that Lagat barely made it in.  In fact, he barely missed making that final by a hundredth of a second.  That hurts.  Lagat said with such confidence that he'd make it in, so I believed him.  Alas, the hope for an American getting a medal in the 1500m has fallen.

Cameroon's Etone wins the women's Triple Jump in record fashion, while Great Britain's Idowu leads the TJ for the men with a 57' 3 ".  Kenya is doing well with gold medals in the women's 800m for Pam Jelimo and Brimin Kipruto in the men's 3000m Steeplechase. American Sheena Johnson leads the way in the 400m hurdles.  All the American men make it through to the next rounds of the 200 meters.  Dix, Spearman and Crawford have a chance to redeem the American sprint core as they head to a final with Jamaica's Usain Bolt.  The drama continues...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica!!!

Before I disclose any results from last nights festivities of the track & field Olympic games, let me first apologize for announcing that heptathlete Hyleas Fountain got the gold in her event.  I was wrong.   Fountain was leading after the first day of the two day event by a substantial margin, but failed to equal her previous performances in her favorite event, the long jump.  She finished with the bronze medal instead.  

As excited as I was about Fountain leading the hep, and the fact that the track and field events finally started, I was a little confused with the NBC broadcasting schedule.  I don't solely rely on NBC to feed me my information---heaven forbid, but I do like to see the special features, if any, that they might have on the athletes.  I must say as  much as I respect other sports like gymnastics and swimming, it seems the coverage is a little lopsided.  In fact, my hope is that there is a plan inside NBC to cover as much track and field as swimming was covered.  I'm not hold my breath.  Instead I'll do what I started doing and surf the net to get you the 411 on most, of not all, track and field news.

GETTING BACK...Jamaica...Jamaica....Jamaica!!!!  Is anyone really surprised that Jamaica is doing as well as they are?  I'm not.  Oh, how well is Jamaica doing?  Well, for starters, Usain Bolt is the "World Fastest Human" not just for this year, but until someone breaks his world record of 9.69.  And the ladies sweep the 100 meters, finishing naturally 1-2-3.  Except in this case, 1-2-and 2.  Former Auburn standout Kerron Stewart tied with her countrywoman for 2nd place with a 10.96.  The US ladies were a little disappointing.  Williams lead the US women with a 4th place finish.  It would seem that Sandra Richardson in the 400m and Alyson Felix in the 200m are the strongest hopefuls for gold, but we will see.

Lagat qualifies to the finals of the 1500m finishing 7th in his semi round heat.  

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Track & Field Day 2: THUNDER BOLT takes the GOLD and NEW WORLD RECORD

I think we all sort of thought this could happen. As much as we hate to admit this, Jamaica looks really strong this Olympic year and could possibly remove the US off the medal stand in many events that we are accustomed to winning.

Usain Bolt wins the 100m dash and breaks his own record in 9.69 seconds. Richard Thompson of Trinidad takes the silver, and Walter Dix gets the bronze. Tyson Gay does not make the finals and watches his nemesis, Assafa Powell falter to a fifth place finish. More great event results to come.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Track and Field Day 1

Here's something for those of you who just can't get enough of knowing what's going on in Olympic track and field, but can't seem to find out because you have a job like most of us.

Despite his absence in Europe just before the Olympics, Tyson Gay shows that he is at least as fast as the 100 meter field which includes current world record holder Usain Bolt and Assafa Powell of Jamaica. No blistering times were recorded in the first rounds of the event that determines the "world's fastest man." However, it does not look easy for the reigning 100 meter championThe last time anyone saw Tyson Gay was at the US Olympic Trials in mid June where he stumbled a few meters out of the blocks in the 200m finals due to a presumed hamstring strain.

American Hyleas Fountain wins the Heptathlon. (Are you watching Kawanna?)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

An Olympic Moment

If you ever get a chance to witness Chicago's Bud Billiken Parade, I encourage anyone to enjoy one of the great parades in America. Signifying the end of the summer and back to school preparations, the Bud Billiken Parade gives an opportunity to reflect as well as look at the future. For me this year, the parade meant something a little more. This being an Olympic year, the Chicago Striders were asked to take part in this historic parade with CHICAGO 2016, an organization behind the move to bring the Olympics to Chicago in 2016, obviously.
With no hesitation, but completely honored to be asked, I agreed and witnessed what I believe the Olympics are at least partly about. POSSIBILITIES and HOPE.

After what seemed like thousands of floats, cars, bands, politicians and dance teams it all seemed worth while when I saw the Striders standing, waving and proud to be part of this historic event. Kawanna Brooks, our 3rd place finisher in the hep at this year's JO USATF Nationals, represented along with some of our college bounds Maris Smith and Icy Snoddy. Even my son Cameron, who at 9 years old at times displayed this season acute athletic potenti
al and other times not really a fan of the rigor involved in track and field, showed the type of emotion an Olympian might feel, a hero might feel after returning home triumphant from the Olympic Games. Hmm 2016.

Now agreeing to do the parade meant squeezing this between the Chicago Striders Olympic Spirit Invitational on Friday the day before and the Pot-Luck @ the Point right after on Saturday....irregardless of the 60% chance of on and off showers throughout the day because this season is officially over.

So we did get a little wet, but I think those of us that gathered to signify the end of this great season did not feel dampened by the rain. We were happy to celebrate, reflect and prepare for another great season next year.

"When is the javelin and the pole vault coming on, Dad?" Cameron asked from the back seat of the truck as we head home.
"Track and Field starts next Friday." I replied.
"See me on top of the float?
"I did."
"I'll be 17 in 2016.
"I know."
The hope and the possibilities: The Olympics.