Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 8 of the Olympics--morning session...

11:45 pm--We will sign off with the decathlon pole vault still going, but will update standings when we return in about four hours. Clay has cleared 5.00m or 16-4 3/4, worth 910 points.

11:05 pm--
Ouch...the first big surprise in the pole vault...Trey Hardee no heighted a few moments ago at 4.70m/15-5, so he's out of medal contention.

Clay's cleared 4.80m/15-9, worth 849 points, so far. Clay's kept himself cool with one of the Nike ice vests. I wonder if he has any secret beverages stashed in that vest? (JK!)

9:30 pm--
Bryan Clay leads with 6455 points after seven events, and his lead is growing. Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine threw himself into second in the discus, and he now has 6172 points - 283 fewer than Clay.

Krauchanka and Hardee were less successful in the discus, slipping to third and fourth, with 6139 and 6114 points, respectively. Hardee threw 43.55/142-10, worth 737 points.

9:00 pm--
Alex Schwazer wins gold in 3:37:09, as the Italian corrals the Olympic record in the 50 kilometer walk, beating the old mark of 3:38:29 by Vyacheslav Ivanenko of the Soviet Union in 1988.

Jared Tallent of Australia gets second in 3:39:27, a personal best, and the bronze medal goes to Denis Nizhegorodov of Russia
in 3:40:14.

7:50 pm--
Bryan Clay just put the smack down in the decathlon discus--53.79m/176-5, worth 950 points to win flight 1.

Krauchanka and Hardee will throw in the next flight.

Clay now has 6455 points through seven events. According to the decathlon website, he is on a projected pace of 8872 points.

6:30 pm--
The decathlon 110 hurdles are over, and Bryan Clay extends his day 1 lead over Belarus' Andrei Krauchanka, with a 6-event score of 5501 points, to Krauchanka's 5381.

Trey Hardee stays in third, four points behind the Belarussian, with a score of 5377.

Clay ran 13.93, worth 984 points, to win the second of four heats. Hardee ran 14.20, worth 949 points, with Krauchanka at 14.21, worth 948 points.

Next up is the discus in about 30 minutes.

5:00 pm--
Ni hao from the Bird's Nest as Day 8 of Olympic track & field gets underway.

The schedule Friday morning is rather light, with only the men's 50 kilometer walk and events 6 through 8 of the decathlon competition--the 110 hurdles, discus & pole vault on the agenda.

The second day of the decathlon is where all the drama takes place, and of course where all the medals are decided. Bryan Clay of the U.S is leading after the first day’s five events, and should win. But with a thin 88-point lead over Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus after five events, and with another six athletes within 250 points, Clay will have to be close to his personal best to fend them off.

In tonight's session, we'll have finals in the women's long jump, 5000 & the 4 x 100 meters; and on the men's side, the suddenly wide open pole vault now that Mountlake Terrace's Brad Walker isn't in the mix, after no-heighting in qualifying; the final two events of the decathlon, the javelin and the 1500; and the men's 4 x 100 meters.

There are semifinals in the women's and men's 4 x 400 meter relay, with the latter being the event that on paper, the United States should win handily, barring a dropped baton.

Speaking of dropped batons, there's quite a bit of fallout after the disaster that befell Team USA Thursday night, with both 4 x 100 meter relay teams dropping the baton on the final exchange, as both Yahoo! Sports and the New York Times writes.

In the Yahoo! article, new USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan said that he promises “a comprehensive review” of the way the federation does things— including, he pointed out, “the way we select, train and coach our relays.”

There have been some rumblings over the last few months, particularly within the USATF community, about how monies allocated from the US Olympic Committee have been spent, particularly in relay development programs, involving flying athletes and "relay coordinator staffs" to meets around the United States and Europe.

It will be interesting to see how Logan addresses the problem, and the expected resistance from the folks involved in that program, from USATF High Performance Division Chairman Brooks Johnson, on down.

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