Thursday, August 27, 2015

Veterans Christian Taylor and Allyson Felix spark life into Team USA on Day 6 of world champs...

BEIJING, China—Veterans Christian Taylor (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Allyson Felix provided some spark to a Team USA squad that was shut out of the medals two days ago, as they won their events to conclude day six of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

The 2011 World and 2012 Olympic champion, Taylor had a tentative first attempt with his jump of 16.85m/55-3.5. With a tremendous second “step” phase, he was able to produce 17.49m/57-4.75 on his second attempt to move into second overall, and his third jump matched Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Cuba’s then-best of 17.60m/57-9, leaving Taylor in second because the Cuban’s next-best jump was superior to Taylor’s.

Taylor, the University of Florida alum, took the lead in the fourth round with a leap of 58-0.25 (17.68m), then got his American record in the penultimate jump of the evening, despite leaving about 8 centimeters on the take off board to spare.

Inn the women’s 400, Allyson Felix of Los Angeles, who seems to have been around forever despite being only 29 years old, set a personal best of 49.26 to win her first major international title at 400 meters, and in doing so, broke a tie with Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson for the most world championship gold medals won by an American.

Running in lane 6, she made up the stagger on 2008 Olympic gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain in lane 7 before the first curve was over.

Ohuruogu and the field began to close around the 200m mark, but Felix quickly put on a surge and pulled away for the win in 49.26, a 2015 world leader, stadium record and personal best. Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas was a well-beaten second in 49.67, with Shericka Jackson of Jamaica third in 49.99.  

Former Oregon Duck Phyllis Francis was seventh overall in 50.51, just 1/100th off of her personal best set in the semis.

In the most anticipated race of the evening, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt defeated the USA’s Justin Gatlin to add the 200 meter title to the 100 championship won Sunday night in a world leading time of  19.59 to Gatlin’s 19.74.

Friday, University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo begins competition in the decathlon, while Vancouver native Kara Winger, the current American holder in her specialty, competes in the qualifying round of the javelin.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defending 400 champ LaShawn Merritt sets personal best, but loses in Beijing...

BEIJING, China—Day five of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships saw Team USA bounce back from being shut out of the podium Tuesday with medals in the women’s 400 hurdles and men’s 400 Wednesday night at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

In the men’s 400, defending champion LaShawn Merritt (left/photo by Paul Merca) ended up running a personal best of 43.65, but fell short of Wayde van Niekerk from South Africa, who ended up winning with a 43.48, while American trained Kirani James of Grenada ran 43.78 to capture third in the first race in history that three men broke 44 seconds.

To give perspective on van Niekerk’s winning dash, he becomes the fourth best performer all-time behind Michael Johnson’s world record 43.18; Butch Reynolds’ 43,29, and Jeremy Wariner’s 43.45 to win the 2007 world title.

In other finals, Kenya’s Julius Yego won the men’s javelin with a throw of 304-2 (92.72m), the furthest throw in the world this season, and Kenya’s first ever medal of any color in a field event; Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic defended her 400 hurdles title in a time of 53.50, with collegian Shamier Little of Texas A&M second in 53.94, and Cassandra Tate third in 54.02 to get the USA the other spot on the podium; and, Yarisley Silva of Cuba won the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 16-0.75 (4.90m); and Kenya’s Hyvin Jepkemoi won the women’s 3000 steeplechase in 9:19.11.

In qualifying events contested Wednesday morning involving athletes from the Pacific Northwest, defending champion Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Beaverton based Nike Oregon Project, qualified for the finals in the men’s 5000 by finishing second in his heat in 13:19.44, while Oregon alum and NOP teammate Galen Rupp was eighth in his heat in 13:20.78.  US national champ Ryan Hill of the Beaverton-based Bowerman TC was sixth in his heat in 13:19.67.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Americans shut out of the podium in Beijing...

BEIJING, China—If you had to look at Tuesday night’s finals results from a strictly American perspective, there would be a better than even chance that one would conclude that it wasn’t a good night for Team USA on the fourth day of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the National Stadium, aka the Bird’s Nest.

The biggest disaster was in the men’s long jump when no Americans advanced to the finals, as Jeffrey Henderson (26-1, 7.95m), the reigning Pan Am champion and current world leader at 27-11.5 (8.52m), had a miserable series, and saw three athletes pass him in round three to place him ninth and out of the running for three more jumps, while Mike Hartfield failed to even get a mark.

Meanwhile, the Chinese long jumpers, who are now coached by former Bellingham resident Randy Huntington, better known as the man who coached world record holder Mike Powell, fed off the energy of the sellout crowd and finished 3-4-5, led by 18-year old Jianan Wang, the reigning world junior champion, who jumped 26-10 (8.18m).

2012 Olympic champ Greg Rutherford of Great Britain added a world title to his resume, winning with a jump of 27-7.25 (8.41m).

No Americans made the finals of the 800 meters, as world record holder and reigning Olympic champ David Rudisha of Kenya (above/photo by Paul Merca) won in 1:45.84.

2011 world champion Jenny Simpson of Boulder, Colorado lost her shoe with two laps to go in the finals of the women’s 1500 and finished next to last in the 12-woman field in 4:16.28.  Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project was seventh in 4:12.39. as world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia won in 4:08.09.

One of the biggest upsets in the meet happened in the men’s 400 hurdles, as Nicholas Bett of Kenya ran a personal best and world leading time of 47.79 to take the victory.  The top American was veteran Kerron Clement in fourth in 48.18.

The women’s discus was won by Denia Caballero of Cuba with a toss of 227-3 (69.28m), while the top American was Whitney Ashley at 200-3 (61.05m) in ninth.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Emily Infeld of the Beaverton-based Bowerman Track Club takes bronze in 10000m...

BEIJING, China—It was a solid showing for the Beaverton based Bowerman Track Club as Emily Infeld (left/photo by Paul Merca) snuck past American teammate Molly Huddle on the final few steps to secure a bronze medal in the women’s 10000 meters Monday night at the Bird’s Nest Stadium to highlight day 3 of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships.

After a relatively mild first half of the race that went through in 16:11.99, Kenya’s Sally Kipyego, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at this distance who trains with the Eugene based Oregon TC Elite, took the lead with Kenyan teammates and Iowa State alum Betsy Saina lurking along with former world champion Vivian Cheruiyot.

Also in that pack of ten were Infeld, teammate and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, Huddle, and former NCAA champ Susan Kukijen of Florida State and the Netherlands.

Cheruiyot shot past Huddle and into the lead with Ethiopian Gelete Burka in tow, but appeared not to have the extra gear needed to pass Cheriuyot, who took the win in 31:41.31 to Burka’s 31:41.77.

With those two medals locked up, it became a battle between Notre Dame grad Huddle and Georgetown grad Infeld for the last podium spot, but Infeld snuck past her with less than five meters to go to take the bronze in a time of 31:43.49 to Huddle’s 31:43.58.  

Kipyego was fifth in 31:44.42, followed by Flanagan in 31:46.23.  Betsy Saina was eighth in 31:51.35, while Susan Kuijken was tenth in 31:54.32.

Infeld said, “I honestly have no idea. I was just to run through the line and give it everything I had. I feel like the last lap I felt really good and I just want to hang with it. I feel like i can medal. I just ran through the line. I feel a little guilty because I feel like Molly let up a little. I don’t think she realized how close I was. I was just trying to run through the line. I’m really thrilled.”

Flanagan, who won the bronze medal in this event at the 2008 Olympics at this venue said, “It was a pretty modest pace, I knew it would be fast at the end. With two laps to go, I literally got chills thinking there’s three Americans right here that could medal. I just thought this is a phenomenal position to be in. I don’t think I believed as much in myself and my ability to close. I wish I had a little bit more faith in myself. I think I was just feeling sorry for myself. I’m proud of sixth tonight. Most importantly, three Americans in the top six tonight is a phenomenal performance. My coach told us that we were capable of things like that tonight.”

True to Flanagan’s words, the 3-4-6 by Team USA in the 10000 is the best finish by an American squad at the world championships.

In other finals Monday night, American record holder Evan Jager of the Bowerman TC, who was one of the favorites to break up the Kenyan stranglehold in the 3000 steeple, was sixth in 8:15.47, while his club teammate Dan Huling, who stayed back of the pack in the early going, was one spot ahead of him in 8:14.39.

Former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral was tenth in 8:24.94.

Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won his third straight world title at this distance, running 8:11.28 to lead a 1-2-3-4 Kenyan sweep.

Akron’s Shawn Barber of Canada was an upset winner of the pole vault, clearing 19-4.25 (5.90m), as reigning world and Olympic champ Renaud Lavillenie of France ended up in a three-way tie for third at 19-0.5 (5.80m).

Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia successfully defended her world title in the triple jump with a leap of 48-10.75 (14.90m), and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica won the women’s 100 in 10.76, as American Tori Bowie took third in 10.86.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Usain Bolt repeats as world 100 meter champion at scene of his Olympic triumph...

BEIJING, China—Usain Bolt (above, on the right/photo by Paul Merca) was everything advertised and more, as the Jamaican successfully defended his world title, coming from behind to defeat current world leader Justin Gatlin of the USA in the featured men’s 100 meters at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Gatlin got out early and appeared to be in command to add a world title to the Olympic title he won way back in 2004 in Athens.

However towards the last few strides of the race, Gatlin appeared to time his dip to the finish line a bit early, and the taller Bolt, who won Olympic gold in the 100 and 200 at this venue in 2008, took advantage of Gatlin’s gaffe to win in a season best 9.79, far off his world record of 9.58, but nonetheless a victory when it mattered.

Gatlin finished second in 9.80, while Baylor University’s Trayvon Bromell of the USA and USC’s Andre DeGrasse of Canada tied for third in 9.92, after running a long collegiate season.  Both appear as the future of the short dash on the international scene.

In the semis, Gatlin appeared invincible after running 9.77 in the semis a few hours earlier, while Bolt ran 9.96 pressed by USC standout Andre DeGrasse of Canada.

Such was the depth of the field that it featured the first nine-man final, as it took 9.99 to get in with Bingtian Su of China getting the last spot when the Seiko timing device could not separate him and Jimmy Vicaut of France for the last spot even though they ran in separate heats.

Su tied his Chinese national record of 9.99 in finishing fourth in the first heat, which he set in Eugene at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, and which got most of the 50000 spectators in a tizzy.

In finals contested this evening, Pawel Fajdek of Poland won the hammer with a toss of 265-4 (80.88m); Jessica Ennis-Hill won the heptathlon with a final score of 6669 points, while Oregon grad Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada and the Oregon TC Elite was second with 6554.

Penn State alum Joe Kovacs, who formerly was coached by new Arizona throws coach and former University of Washington assistant TJ Crater, won the shot put with a toss of 71-11.5 (21.93m).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Husky alum Brad Walker falls short of qualifying for pole vault finals in Beijing...

BEIJING, China—University of Washington alum and 2007 world champion Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) did not advance to the finals of the men’s pole vault Saturday night at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

The University/Spokane HS graduate opened the evening with a first attempt clearance at 17-8.5 (5.40m), then followed up with a first attempt make at 18-2.5 (5.55m).

A first attempt miss at 18-6.5 (5.65m) put him in a hole but was able to clear on his second attempt.  With several others ahead of Walker on fewer misses, he needed a make at 18-8.25 (5.70m), which was the automatic qualifying mark to advance to the finals, but he missed on all three tries.

All told, sixteen men made 18-8.25 (5.70m) to advance to the finals on Monday night. led by reigning world and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France.  The current American champion, Sam Kendricks also made the final, as did NCAA champ Shawn Barber of Akron from Canada.

Two finals were contested at National Stadium, as Mo Farah of Great Britain and the Beaverton based Nike Oregon Project won yet another men’s 10000 title in 27:01.13, with a last kilometer of 2:28.81, while his NOP teammate and Oregon alum Galen Rupp was fifth in a season best 27:08.91.

In the women’s shot put, Christina Schwanitz won with a toss of 66-10 (20.37m), while Michelle Carter of the United States grabbed a bronze medal with a throw of 64-10 (19.76m).

Sunday night will see three finals—the men’s hammer, men’s shot, and the men’s 100 meters.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cas Loxsom of the Brooks Beasts fails to advance in first round of 800 meters...

BEIJING, China—Cas Loxsom of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts (left/photo by Paul Merca) failed to advance to the second round of the men’s 800 meters Saturday morning at the opening session of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Loxsom was near the front of the pack in the first of six heats, and led the field through the first 400 meters in 54.70.

However, he was jostled as the field approached the 600 meter mark, as Ali Al-Deraan of Saudi Arabia squeezed past Loxsom on the rail, causing the Penn State grad to lose his balance momentarily , and that was enough for the field to move past him.

Nijel Amos of Botswana won the heat in 1:47.23, as Loxsom finished sixth in 1:48.97.

In the mixed zone afterwards, a disappointed Loxsom said, “It’s just disappointing. I’m hoping Clayton (Murphy) and Erik (Sowinski) can come out and do something good here. That’s certainly not the shape I’m in. I was pretty ready for this. I don’t really know what happened. It’s just a bummer. I’m a little embarrassed and just frustrated.”

“I wanted to be back hunting a little bit. I think I panicked a little bit when I found myself at the front. No one was going to take it. Usually, I’m pretty good. I tried to stay it outside on lane 2 and kind of let them take it on the inside and no one was going to bite. Honestly I should have just trusted my kick and trusted my strength and the fitness I was  in and just let it be slow. I think I wasted a little too much energy trying to pick up a race that was only going through in 53 anyway.  So I think from 300 to 600 I kind of pressed a little bit. I’m obviously not going to put time on those guys, so I think the rest of the field to get their legs under them and be ready to kick.”

Later on this evening, University of Washington alum Brad Walker, the 2007 world champion, competes in the qualifying round of the men’s pole vault.

Ni Hao--it's just about time to roll here in Beijing!

BEIJING, China—Our coverage of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships is now fully underway here at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, site of the 2008 Olympics.

As is the case at the world championships, I did a walkthrough of the stadium to familiarize myself with the surroundings, including the media mixed zone, the photo areas, and our work station, which is just off the finish line.

I was goofing off on the track—here I am pretending to do a sprinter’s pre-block routine (photo by Jeff Cohen).

On Saturday morning, Cas Loxsom of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts will get things underway for the Washington affiliated athletes, as he has his first round of competition in the men’s 800.  He will run here in Beijing without teammate and reigning national champ Nick Symmonds, who did not sign the contract with USA Track & Field because of a clause requiring him to wear Team USA/Nike products during all official team functions, which he felt violated his contract with Brooks.

Saturday night, former world champ Brad Walker makes his fourth appearance at the world championships when he goes in the pole vault qualifying round.

There are only four athletes with Washington ties competing at the meet (former Bellingham resident Donn Cabral is no longer counted)—besides Loxsom and Walker, Kara Winger and Jeremy Taiwo will compete during the course of this meet.

We have prepared a Scrib document with brief information on the four athletes with Washington ties competing here in Beijing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lots of stuff happening in Beijing while in transit to world championships...

HONG KONG—paulmerca.blogspot.com’s coverage of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships begins today as I’m sitting here in the Hong Kong airport waiting to transfer to another Cathay Pacific flight.

My trip started off with a flight to San Francisco late Tuesday night, then a 12+ hour flight to Hong Kong.

Shortly before leaving San Francisco, the IAAF announced that Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe of Great Britain (above/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty) was elected the new president of the organization, defeating another Olympic gold medalist, Sergey Bubka of Ukraine.

In his post-election press conference, Coe, who won gold in the 1500 at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, said, “I am deeply honored that our sport has placed its trust in me. There is no job I want to do more – nor with greater commitment.” 

Coe takes office on August 31st, the day after the conclusion of the world championships.

“I’m very flattered, very, very honoured to have been elected President. I haven’t had much of a chance to let it sink in,” commented Coe at a press conference Wednesday.

"I want to thank the (member) federations but I also want to thank those that cover and broadcast our sport. We tend to forget that the media is most potent sponsor of our sport; and I will maintain my chairmanship of the media committee.”

In other election notes, USA Track & Field president Stephanie Hightower was elected to the IAAF Council, while two influential people within the sport with Washington ties were elected to key IAAF committee positions.

Bill Roe of Bellingham, who founded Seattle based Club Northwest and Northwest Runner magazine, was elected to a spot on the IAAF Cross Country Committee.  Roe, who was the president of USA Track & Field from 2000-2008, and who also served as an interim CEO, has been an international team leader or coach for the United States at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships nine times. He was a U.S. delegate for IAAF Congress in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. 

Anne Phillips, who was a middle distance runner at the University of Washington from 1979-81 from Spokane, was elected chairman of the IAAF Women’s Committee.  The Montana resident was first elected to the Women’s Committee in 2011, was a member of the IAAF Cross Country and Road Running Committee from 1996-2008 and has worked as an ICRO at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. She has served on three U.S. international teams and was race director of the 1993 USATF Cross Country Championships. Her USATF committee work includes the USATF Women’s Track & Field Executive Committee and International Relations Committee.

On the agenda for paulmerca.blogspot.com upon arrival later today will include a stop at the Bird’s Nest to pick up credentials and to get the lay of the land, and most importantly, adjust to the time zone.

We will also have a viewer’s guide featuring the four athletes with Washington ties competing here in Beijing—Cas Loxsom, Kara Winger, Brad Walker and Jeremy Taiwo.

In the meantime, we’ll just chill here in Hong Kong!

NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Beijing 2015 stats book is now available for download...


If the world track & field championships are around the corner, that means that the IAAF’s statistics handbook is ready for download!

The IAAF statistics handbook is now available for download in advance of the IAAF world track & field championships that begin a week from Saturday at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics.

Produced in collaboration with the Association of Track & Field Statisticians (ATFS) and edited by renowned statistician Mark Butler, the 830-page book is nothing short of a historical and statistical feast for media and fans alike.

In addition to complete results – including each round of every event – from each of the previous 13 editions of the IAAF World Championships, the book also includes important facts and figures from the championships, an analysis of performance trends, superlatives, and listings of multiple medallists and placing tables.

Also included are results from past major championships: The Olympic Games, other IAAF World Athletics Series events, and area championships. There is also a World and continental records section, all-time world lists, listings of national records, a section outlining official World record progressions as well as biographical summaries of many of the stars expected to figure prominently at the World Championships.

The publication is available as an e-book, which makes it easy to go through the pages with your web browser.


Meanwhile, USATF media manager Amanda Brooks has posted some photos from Team USA’s training camp in Narita, Japan.

Click here to get an up-close look at what the team is up to a week before the world championships.

Finally, for those readers in the USA, here is the NBC/Universal Sports broadcast schedule for the world championships:

NBC (Channel 105 on Comcast in Seattle)—All times listed are Eastern time

Saturday August 22:  3p-430p
Sunday August 23:  1p-230p
Saturday August 29: 230p-4p
Sunday August 30: 2p-330p

The Universal Sports broadcast schedule (most are live) is available here.  Note that Comcast in Seattle does not offer Universal Sports.   It is available on DirectTV, Dish Network, and Verizon FiOS, among other providers.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Beijing to cover Washington athletes at the world championships beginning August 21st.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nike Global Athletics head John Capriotti threatened to kill Brooks Beasts coach Danny Mackey, according to police report...

If you think the sport of professional track and field in this country is getting crazy with the recent Nick Symmonds vs. USA Track & Field spat, think again.

According to a University of Oregon police report obtained by LetsRun.com (link here), Nike global director of athletics (track & field) John Capriotti threatened to kill head coach Danny Mackey (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts during a confrontation at the USA Outdoor Track & Field championships in Eugene on the meet’s first day (June 25th).

In the report, which LetsRun.com posted, Mackey was talking with Dorian Ulrey in the medical tent behind Hayward Field, after heat 3 of the men’s 1500, in which Ulrey finished seventh in 3:46.24, when Capriotti approached him in an heated manner.

Among the witnessed named on the police report are Stanford coach Chris Mittenburgh, Nike runner Will Leer, Nike sports marketing manager Llewellyn Starks, agents Dan Lilot & Peter Stubbs, and World Athletics Center coaches Dan Pfaff and Kyle Hierholzer.

What set Capriotti to go off on Mackey is unknown, but Mackey says in the police report that Capriotti made statements during the argument about Mackey’s alleged involvement in the fallout from the doping allegations involving the Nike Oregon Project (Mackey worked for Nike in their sports research lab for three years).  

No criminal charges were filed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Washington alum Megan Goethals added to Team USA Minnesota roster...

MINNEAPOLIS—University of Washington alum Megan Goethals (left/photo courtesy Team USA Minnesota) is one of four new members of Team USA Minnesota, according to a release from the organization.

Goethals, who was the 2009 Foot Locker Cross Country Champion out of Michigan, was a nine-time All American at the University of Washington, where she posted personal best times of 9:08 in the 3000m, 15:33 in the 5000m and 32:52 in the 10,000m.  

She was also a Pac 12 5000m champion and after graduation won the 2015 Disney World Half Marathon and the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15k, as a member of the Hanson’s/Brooks Distance Project in her hometown of Rochester, Michigan.

"This is a real exciting group of young runners to bring in," said Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker.  "They have all shown the ability to compete successfully at a high level and they all competed for great collegiate programs under outstanding coaches.  They know what it's like to win and be a part of winning programs and that's the kind of talent and attitude we were looking for."

Along with Goethals, Team USA Minnesota added Oregon alum Parker Stinson, Biya Simbassa from Oklahoma, and Katy Moen from Iowa State.

NOTE:  Team USA Minnesota contributed to this report.

Monday, August 10, 2015

USATF announces world championship team, minus Seattle's Nick Symmonds...

INDIANAPOLIS—USA Track & Field Monday formally announced the 130 athletes who will head to Beijing to compete in the IAAF World Track & Field Championships that begin August 22nd at the National Stadium, aka the “Bird’s Nest”, the site of the 2008 Olympic track & field competition.

As reported Sunday night on this blog and other media, the biggest name missing from the squad is Seattle’s Nick Symmonds of the Brooks Beasts, as the six-time national champion, two-time US Olympian and reigning world championship silver medalist at 800 meters refused to sign USA Track & Field’s document requiring him to wear Team USA gear made by Nike at official team functions, contending that the term “official team function” on the document is vague and overreaching.

The four athletes with Washington ties that are going to Beijing are:  Cas Loxsom (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Brooks Beasts in the 800; Washington alums Brad Walker (pole vault) and Jeremy Taiwo (decathlon); and Vancouver native Kara Winger in the javelin.

Winger won the javelin at the national championships in late June, while Walker and Taiwo both finished second in their events, and Loxsom was third.

Winger will be joined on the team by husband Russ, as the Idaho alum, who finished second in the discus, won the NACAC senior title over the weekend to qualify for Beijing.

Members of Team USA are expected to report to Japan for a voluntary training camp this week before the final trip to Beijing.


MORE ON NICK SYMMONDS…

Symmonds put up a blog post on Huffington Post Monday explaining his reasons for not signing USATF’s Statement of Conditions.

He writes, “The "Statement of Conditions" referred to is a contract that USATF demands all potential team members sign in order to be selected for a USA national team. One of its conditions is that all team members wear the Team USA gear manufactured by Nike at all "official team functions," but it fails to define what an official team function is. This vague commitment is hugely problematic for all non-Nike sponsored athletes who are contractually obligated to wear their sponsor's gear at all times outside of official team functions.”

He goes on to contend that the federation is only sharing 8% of its gross revenues with the elite athletes, as opposed to the 50% that most professional sports leagues share with their athletes, citing a study by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist done for the Track & Field Athletes’ Association.

By his actions, Symmonds hopes that he can help the federation rewrite the statement of conditions so that it protects the rights of all involved parties; demand that USATF share at least 50% of revenues; and find out where the alleged $3.52 million dollars that Zimbalist claims is missing due to an “accounting inconsistency”.

You can read his post here.

Seattle's Brooks Sports issued a statement shortly after USATF announced the team in support of Symmonds: 


"Central to our purpose of inspiring everyone to run and be active is supporting professional athletes in their ambition to be at the top of their game and pursue it with vigor. Core to their success are years of support that begin with parents and coaches, continue with clubs and, for those at the highest level, culminates in brand sponsorship. While we’re disappointed Nick Symmonds won’t realize his dream to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, we applaud his leadership in creating a dialogue around athletes’ rights. We will continue to support him on and off the track as a passionate ambassador for our sport and our brand.”

MARISA HOWARD SIGNS WITH OISELLE…


She also wrote a blog post on the Oiselle web site introducing herself, which you can read here.

Howard, who finished fourth in the NCAA steeple finals in early June, joins a talented Oiselle squad in that event that includes 2012 US Olympian Shalaya Kipp, and sisters Mel and Collier Lawrence.

She recently returned from Korea where she finished fourth in the steeple at the World University Games.  Before going to Korea, she ran in the USA championships where she fell in the water (above/photo by Paul Merca) with three laps to go in her semifinal race.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Seattle's Nick Symmonds is off the world championship team...

So much for budging.

Nick Symmonds (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts, and reigning USA national champion at 800 meters, posted Sunday night on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts that he has been left off the squad that will represent the USA at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing for his refusal to sign the mandatory athlete statement of conditions required to compete.

USA Track & Field will formally announce the roster Monday.

Over the last several days, Symmonds, who was a two-time Olympian at 800 meters, and won a world championship silver medal in Moscow, Russia two years ago  has contended that the athlete statement of conditions letter violates his contract with his sponsor, Seattle-based Brooks Running, in that USA Track & Field requires him to wear Team USA apparel made by Nike at all team functions.

While he has no problem racing in the Nike kit (Symmonds was sponsored by Nike until the end of the 2013 season), USATF’s interpretation of “team functions” is broad, and not specific.  He contends that he can’t leave the team hotel to have a cup of coffee without having to wear either Nike or non-branded apparel.  He’s also loudly wondered if he’s supposed to wear Nike gear from the time the plane leaves Seattle for the training camp in Japan to the end of the final athletes’ dinner in Beijing.

Symmonds has gone as far as to offer help USATF CEO Max Siegel and the USATF board in rewriting the athlete statement of conditions in such a way that the federation can protect its financial interests, while striking a balance with the athletes’ individual rights to acknowledge their individual sponsors.

One aspect of the whole Symmonds versus USA Track & Field showdown that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that USATF’s Athletes Advisory Committee, which is supposed to be the athletes’ advocate in these matters, has been silent.

When the NFL announced that quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots would face disciplinary action from the league for his alleged role in deflating footballs used in their playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, the NFLPA (players’ union) was quick to defend him.  In other major professional sports, whenever a player is being disciplined, the union automatically provides assistance.



Haven't seen 1 statement from T&F Athlete Advisory on Nick Symmonds confrontation with USATF. I thought they're suppose to be advocates, wow”

He then goes to ask, “And what has the Athletes Advisory done to assist Nick in his battle? Where is the statement of issue or support? “

“ALL T&F ATHLETES and any supposed athlete advisory should be support this stance. You're either all together or not”

Pryor then tweeted, “Think about this: The AAC chair is also a USATF brand ambassador---> can u say conflict of interest? No wonder no support for Nick Symmonds”

The USATF Athletes Advisory Committee chair is retired long jumper and four-time world champ & 2004 Olympic champ Dwight Phillips.


Symmonds followed up his tweet by stating that he is “Proud to have stood my ground and fought another battle for athletes’ rights. A huge thank you to the media and fans for all your support”

He then tweeted, “Tomorrow I will present proof that @USATF is stealing millions of dollars from the athletes, getting rich off the hard work of #TeamUSA.”

The mainstream media has picked up the story of Symmonds’ plight, including ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.  Curiously enough, the local Seattle sports media has not picked up on the story.

Brooks' sports marketing manager Jesse Williams tweeted within the last hour, "@NickSymmonds will be paid his World Team bonus from @brooksrunning as he won @usatf champs & deserves it! #LetNickRun #Beijing15"

Whether you agree or disagree with his beliefs and the way he’s gone about this, Symmonds has made things interesting in the run-up to Beijing.

Deadline reached, and Nick Symmonds still hasn't signed USATF athlete statement of conditions...

Unless either USA Track & Field or Nick Symmonds (left/photo by Paul Merca) changes their mind, the reigning USA champion at 800 meters and member of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts will not toe the line at the IAAF world track & field championships in Beijing, which begins in thirteen days.

Symmonds, who won the silver medal at the 2013 world championships in Moscow two years ago, is refusing to sign a provision requiring team members to wear Team USA apparel at all team functions.  He contends that the provision means he cannot wear his Brooks apparel at any time that he’s in public during the trip, even when leaving the team’s hotel to have a cup of coffee, and that the requirement violates his individual contract with Brooks.

Symmonds once again is asking that the federation clearly defines what a “team function” is. 

The national team’s kit is produced by Nike, which has the contract with USATF until 2040.

In Ken Goe’s article on oregonlive.com, Symmonds told him, “If they want to renegotiate, I’ll talk. I’ve offered to help them write a better statement of conditions that protects their rights and the athletes’ (rights).”

Goe also quotes an email that USATF chief of public affairs Jill Geer sent him, saying, “We will announce the team (Monday). We will make any statement necessary at that time.”

Clayton Murphy of Akron, who finished fourth at the USA championships, would be the next man up, assuming Symmonds doesn’t go, pending any legal action Symmonds chooses to take.

CHAMBERS RUNS STRONG THIRD LEG TO HELP USA WIN 4x4 AT NACAC

At the final day of competition at the NACAC senior championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tacoma native, Marcus Chambers ran a solid third leg to help Team USA win the gold medal in the 4 x 400 meter relay.

After receiving the baton with the lead from second leg Calvin Smith, Chambers, the reigning Pac-12 400 champ from the University of Oregon, was able to open up a gap on the Bahamas’ Wesley Seymour for USA anchor James Harris, who maintained the lead on the final leg.

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