Monday, June 25, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 50 Olympic Trials 2012

This is a blog devoted to 1950's and 1960's Track and Field, but current events are hard to ignore.  I was able to watch the Olympic Trials on Saturday and Sunday.

  A few comments concerning said event: 

1. Production:    They are doing a bit better with less blathering by the announcers (exception being Bruce Jenner  interview)  I'd much rather have heard something from Milt Campbell who was also  there.  Milt's post Olympic career and life tell a much better story of America. He got less than a full second of camera time.
2. The woman interviewing Jenner and Dan O'Brien was completely out of her element.  A Katie 'Queen of Fluff' Couric wannabee.       I don't even want to speculate on how she scored this gig.   Dwight Stones should retire, as field events barely received any attention. 

3. Ashton Eaton's performance put this observer on the edge of  credulity, especially coming through in a 1500 pr to break the world record.  It appeared that the two leaders Joe Detmer and Curtis Beach  in the1500 let up to encourage Eaton.  I'm wondering if Detmer sacrificed his third place position overall  to help out.  Eaton was easily the most articulate and gracious interview of any of the winners on Saturday.  It is difficult to imagine how anyone could expect to get an intelligible word out of someone who has just made a lifetime dream come to fruition.  A few thanked their maker and extolled that he has a plan for them.  It makes one wonder what the plan is for the ones who didn't make the team.
4.  One of my regular sources (Ernie Cunliffe)  explained that Joe Dettmer who slowed and encouraged Eaton at the finish of the 1500 probably didn't have the 'A standard' (8200 points)  to represent the US at London, but he still might have placed third instead of fourth as he was only 23 points out of 3rd.  Ernie informed me that you get about 4 points for each 0.5 second improvement in the 1500,  therefore if Dettmer had managed a 4:11.36 instead of his 4:14.77  he might have been third, but still not good enough for an A level performance.   Still this was a nice gesture.  I don't know that he could have done a 4:11.36 but it's nice to believe it was possible.  After all Eaton did the near impossible.  He also would have made the US team in the long jump with his 27'  (8.23 meter) effort.    Now, what has this kind of goings on meant in the past?  Dennis Kavanagh shared a bit of history. 

"At the 1951 Pan American Games, Browning Ross placed 1st in the 1500 meter run, shared 1st in the 3000m steeplechase, and finished 4th in the 5000m run.  A controversy occurred in the 3000m steeplechase, where two Americans, Curtis Stone and Ross had pulled away from the field.  Stone slowed down on the last straightaway and held Ross's hand as they crossed the line together.  Argentine officials debated for two hours whether their actions violated rules requiring athletes to make an effort to win before finally allowing the results to stand.

I am not sure and haven't researched it, but I have the feeling that Stone won the AAU cross-country championships one year.  I am not sure I have anything that summarizes the winners, or whatever, of the old championships.  Well, let's interrupt this for a commerical;"  DK

5. The  public relations folks are probably breathing a sigh of relief that Lolo Jones managed to qualify in the hurdles.  They covered her more before and after the race than Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells  who beat her rather soundly.  Obviously a lot of ad agency money is riding on her being at London to promote whatever products they can tout using her smile and looks.  Maybe they had a reality show planned if she didn't make it.  Sort of a fall from grace thing.  Glad to see she made it through.  We'll be bombarded in the coming weeks with any conceivable product.  I can just imagine the meetings this Monday morning at her ad agency.  This too would make another reality series.   "America's Fastest Next Best Model".  Any other suggestions?   Post on 'Comments' below.

From Bill Blewett - "George,  On the subject of Lolo Jones:  I saw the piece about her on the NBC Nightly News, and was awed by the magnitude of high-tech support she has received to prevent a repeat of 2008, i.e., hitting the ninth hurdle.  To me it seems simple, fatgue takes hold even in a race of only 100 meteres, causing the stride to shorten late in the race.  The 10 cameras and real-time computer modeling is merely technology in search of an application, withthe only real benefit being to market her sponsors '  products.  She's on the team, because of her talent, resolve, and assiduous training, not because of high-tech gadgets."

6.  The 800 semis weeded the 1:43 potential guys from the 1:46 guys.  The top three on Monday will have a shot at the silver behind David Rudisha of Kenya unless some unforeseen circumstance occurs.

7. Is the US the only place that has this type of selection process, or am I missing some olympic trials elsewhere?   The Answer:  Kenya had one.  I'm told that Kenya had a great trials this weekend as well.  Have to look it up.

8. David Rudisha (800 meter record holder )  is the son of Daniel Rudisha, a silver medalist on Kenya's 4x400 way back when (1968 Mexico City) .  Interestingly this family name 'Rudisha' is Masai, not one of the more prominent running tribes of the Nandi and Kalenjin.    David apparently ran a 1:42.12 and some change with approximate 50, 51 splits.   Led from wire to wire.  Bring on the world.  Keep taking your malaria pills, and stay on that high protein diet, David.

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