Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lagat & Walker return to winning ways in Gateshead...

Bernard Lagat (left/photo courtesy Nike media relations) and Brad Walker rebounded from disappointing performances in the Beijing Olympics with victories at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead Sunday.

Lagat set a personal best in the 1000 meters, running 2:16.18 to turn back Olympic 1500 meter bronze medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand (2:16.93) and Eugene's Nick Symmonds (2:17.10 PR).

Walker defeated a field that included Olympic bronze medalist Denys Yurchenko of Ukraine, jumping 5.72m/18-9.25.

The Mountlake Terrace resident only took four total jumps in the cool drizzling conditions in Gateshead, first clearing 18-1.25 on his second attempt, then jumping the winning height on the second attempt.

Complete results from the Aviva British Grand Prix are posted here...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Brad Walker & Bernard Lagat look to get back on track in Gateshead...

After his stunning exit from the Beijing Olympics in which he failed to clear a height in the pole vault qualifying round, Mountlake Terrace's Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) looks to jump start his season Sunday at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead, England.

While the former University of Washington standout would gladly trade any victory for an Olympic medal, he will face in Gateshead the silver and bronze medalists in the Olympic pole vault final, Yevgeniy Lukyanenko (RUS) and Denys Yurchenko (UKR).

Walker is looking to avenge a loss to Lukyanenko the last time the former Husky stepped on British soil, as the Russian world indoor champion defeated the American at the London Grand Prix meet in late July.

Here's a meet preview, courtesy of the IAAF.

Former Washington State University standout and 2007 double world champion Bernard Lagat, who was hampered by a sore Achilles tendon in Beijing, will run in the men's 1000 meters at Gateshead. Like Walker, Lagat did not look sharp in his last outing on British soil, losing over one mile at the London Grand Prix meet.

American viewers can watch the meet on a subscription basis at universalsports.com. Please check their website for details of the meet.

Usain Bolt & Asafa Powell dance off in Beijing...

Before Usain Bolt left for Zurich, where he won the 100 meter dash at the Weltklasse meet Friday night, he and countryman Asafa Powell had a dance off at the Puma party in Beijing.

Here it it, courtesy of Puma & chasingbolt.com...enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Post Olympic thoughts from Kara Patterson (part one)...

EDITOR'S NOTE: After things settled down, paulmerca.blogspot.com caught up with Vancouver's Kara Patterson (left/photo by Victah Sailer, The Running Network/photorun.net), who threw 54.00m/177-2 on her first attempt in the women’s javelin, finishing 21st in her flight at the Olympics in Beijing.

Kara, who is finally back in school at Purdue University in Indiana, was kind enough to share her thoughts on the competition, and the entire Olympic experience.

In part one, she talks specifically about the competition and what it meant to have her family and friends in the stands at the "Bird's Nest".
Part two will be posted in a few days...

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE COMPETITION:

I felt fantastic coming into the competition. I was relaxed and confident, but really excited to be in the position I was; about to throw in the qualifying round of the real Olympics.

Attending events at the National Stadium (the Bird's Nest) in the days prior to my event really prepared me for the size of the crowd and the atmosphere of the venue, so I definitely knew
what I was getting myself into.

I felt good on the runway and felt strong technically; the javelin just didn't go as far as it felt like it should. I know what I did wrong (and Coach Rodney Zuyderwyk agreed that I almost got things right), and I'm ready to build on the amazingly fun season I've had this year in the coming
collegiate season. I was really upset after my last throw, and the disappointment I feel about my performance is simply affirmation that I'm extremely competitive and demand success from myself. In other words, I'll be back on this stage, more prepared and very hungry for a better result.

Coach Zuyderwyk is the only person I would ever be happy with as my coach right now. The competitive streak that he possesses mirrors my own; I know that he's as excited about my last collegiate season as I am, and experiencing the disappointment that we both did here is now just something to use as motivation.

ON HAVING FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN BEIJING:

I could not have experienced anything better in terms of having people here that care about me and my athletic endeavors. I really can't say thank you enough to everyone in Vancouver and across the nation that took the time to send me words of encouragement.

Southwest Washington has made it known that they are excited about what I'm attempting to accomplish in the javelin and I truly could not be more grateful. I cannot wait to get back home at some point and hug everyone I see, because it really feels like I heard from everyone I know once they found out I was on my way to Beijing. THANK YOU.

My family is amazing!!! My parents and brother came to China to watch me throw, and I'm so happy with the way they support me in athletics. It was so comforting to have them here after I didn't have the success I wanted to; instead of dwelling on it, we could go sightseeing and really experience what Beijing has to offer from a cultural standpoint. I know that they understand
my disappointment, but they know me well enough to simply be there for me.

I had a surprise spectator in Beijing as well! My boyfriend, recent graduate of University of Idaho and stellar shot putter Russ Winger (he finished fifth at the Olympic Trials) , flew to China Sunday night to watch me throw on Tuesday morning.

My family, coach, roommate, friends back at home, and others all knew he was coming, but I had absolutely no idea. If there were any nerves about throwing Tuesday lurking in me, his presence erased them; having someone fly literally around the world to support you gives you a little boost of confidence! That is the best present I've ever received.

John Porter, a former Purdue pole vaulter, also made the trip to Beijing! He's a pilot now, so all he has to do is hop on a plane. It was awesome to have a Purdue contingent in China; John is one of the more excitable people I've met, and the enthusiasm he brought to our sightseeing adventures was really fun to be around. :) John made it seem absolutely normal to be trekking
around the largest city I've ever been in!

IN PART TWO: The Olympic experience...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Usain Bolt on track Friday in Zurich...

It's hard to believe, but there's life after the Olympics!

Here's a link to an article on Usain Bolt and his intent to compete in the Zurich Weltklasse meet in the Swiss city on Friday.

"Track and field is my job. This is what I do, I work," Bolt said Wednesday ahead of the Weltklasse meet. "Right now I'm just trying to get my blood pumping pretty much. I've been doing a little bit of training."

Bolt broke world records in the 100 meters (9.69 seconds), 200 meters (19.30) and 400-meter relay (37.10).

He'll run the 100 in Zurich, the first of three European meets before he returns home for an inevitable hearty welcome in Jamaica.

Here's the IAAF preview of Friday's Zurich meet...

Speaking of the Zurich meet, don't forget that you can watch it live online on Friday...visit trackshark.com for the details!

Finally, sports marketing reporter Darren Rovell lists Bolt as the #2 most marketable Olympian after swimmer Michael Phelps. You can read the list here...



Sunday, August 24, 2008

Post race thoughts from Brian Sell...

Courtesy of Flotrack, here's a post race interview with Brian Sell after his 22nd place finish in the Olympic marathon in Beijing Sunday morning,where he ran 2:16:07.

In an interview I did with Jesse Williams at Brooks headquarters in Bothell, Jesse pointed out that Brian does not wear socks when he runs...you'll see Brian's T6 racing shoes and what happened.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 10 of the Olympics-Men's Marathon

6:50 pm--It's hard to say goodbye, but we want to thank all of you who have clicked your mouse to this web site for live blogging of the Olympic track & field and marathon competition over the last ten days.

If any of you have any feedback on how we can do this better, please fire away using the comments section.

Again, thanks to all those who helped us in Beijing and in Seattle--we think we got everyone in Beijing on our day 9 post.

6:43 pm--
Kebede 3rd & Menga 4th. Lel will finish 5th. Ritzenhein and Hall are in the stadium, 9th and 10th. 2:11:59 for Ritzenhein. Hall 2:12:33. Sell 22nd, 2:16:07.

6:40 pm--
Wanjiru wins in 2:06:32, crushing the Olympic record of 2:09:21. Gharib 2:07:16.

6:34 pm--
Wanjiru has an 18 second lead at 40k, crossed in 1:59:55, a last 5k of 15:18!

He is running a 2:06:30 projected final time! For the conditions, this is phenomenal! Ritz is 9th in 2:04:50, and Hall one place back in 2:05:30.

6:28 pm--
Wanjiru has opened up a 5 second lead on Gharib!

In case you have not noticed, Wanjiru is on sub 2:06 pace! Merga is now 45 seconds down!

6:24 pm--
And now it's Merga in trouble! Wanjiru starts to put the hammer down!

Sell was 1:50:27 in 20th, a last 5k of 16:17.

6:18 pm--
At 35 k, it's the group of 3 at 1:44:37, with the last 5k in 15:44, with a bit of an incline in that last stretch, according to the TV pictures. Gharib is actually 1 second back of Merga & Wanjiru.

For whatever odd reason, the Beijing website spells Wanjiru as Wansiru.
Meanwhile, Ritz & Hall are 10th and 11th now in 1:48:23 & 1:48:33, 16:24 & 15:58 respectively.

6:15 pm--
Parker writes, "Wanjiru, Merga and Gharib are still the lead pack of three, and all three appear to be suffering from the heat and the pace. Gharib's head is back and he's still lagging behind Merga and Wanjiru."

6:10 pm--
Ritz is in 10th at 1:31:47; Hall goes through 30k at 1:32:35 for 13th; and Sell 1:34:10 in 18th. Last 5k-Ritz 15:50; Hall 15:52; Sell 15:40!

6:02 pm--
Gharib looks like he's about to get dropped; meanwhile, the world feed showed Luke Kibet stopping to stretch. Is he done?

30 k will be crossed in 1:29:13 with Merga and Wanjiru leading; Gharib gets back in it and is 4 seconds down; Lel is 9 seconds down, and Kifle 15 seconds behind.

Last kilometer covered in 15:15.

5:53 pm--
Splits for the Americans: Ritz 1:15:57 (11); Hall 1:16:43 (15); Sell 1:18:30 (31). The last 5k was 15:27 for Ritz, 16:15 for Hall, and 17:26 for Sell.

5:47 pm--
The gang of five remains the same at 25k, crossed in 1:13:58, or 14:48 for the last 5k.

5:40 pm--
Amby from Runner's World writes, "Merga from Ethiopia has run 2:06:38. Kifle from Eritrea has run 2:07:34. Gharib from Morocco is a veteran marathoner who won the World Championships in 2003 and 2005 and has run many fast Londons. Best time of 2:07:04 four years ago.

Now the Ethiopian Merga is surging! What do these guys think this is, a tempo run in the park?"

5:36 pm--The half-marathon was covered by the gang of five in 1:02:34. That's 2:05:08 pace if you are keeping score at home!

BTW, Sell went thru 20k at 1:02:44. about 2:12 pace.

Ritz was 12th at 1:03.54, and Hall 18th at 1:04:29.

5:30 pm--
American Ryan Hall is running strongly but he's picking up stragglers so far. We will be coming up on 20k, and its down to five, at 59:10. Group is still the same suspects.

Ritz is in 13th at 60:30, Hall 18th in 61:04.

5:25 pm--Just as soon as we write, the group's now down to five! The pack at 53 minutes is Wanjiru, Lel, Kifle, Merga and Gharib. "After their brief rest after the 10km split, the pace is scorching again. This is the kind of pace we would expect to see at 30km or 35km at a major city marathon", writes Parker.

Amby Burfoot writes, "
What we have here is a replay of London last April, with the 3 top London finishers in the lead pack. But Ryan Hall is missing. He was 5th at London, but ran with this pack essentially all the way.

Wanjiru ran his first marathon last December, a 2:06:39. Then he followed up at London with a 2:05:24. That left him 9 seconds behind his teammate Martin Lel, who's running with him now. Lel has won his last 3 marathons, all majors, London-NY-London."



5:17 pm--
Coming up on 15k, and the group of eight will go through in 44:36. Yonas Kifle and Yared Asmeron of Eritrea is in that lead group, along with Deribu Mergu of Ethiopia and Jaouab Gharib of Morocco. dos Santos of Brazil and Viktor Rothlin of Switzerland are about 16 seconds back. These guys are on 2:06 pace.

Ritz is 35 seconds back at 45:11, with Hall at 45;32, about 2:07 pace.

Martinez is getting dropped; Parker says he's a good barometer of the pack right now; his position indicates how much pressure is being applied in the front. Goumri and Kebede of Ethiopia. It's seven in the lead pack now.

The seven (sorry, we miscounted earlier) are Wanjiru, Lel, Kibet, Asmerom, Kifle, Gharib, and Merga.


5:03 pm--
Martinez of Spain leads the group of eight at 29:25 through 10k. Dathan's 33 seconds down at 29:58, with Hall at 30:11. Sell is at 31:23.

These guys are rolling...are these guys gonna come back when the weather gets hotter?

By the way, if you're on the west coast and want to watch it live on the internet, go to:
http://www.aelling-online-tv.dk/, then click on the "Online TV..." box. Select Sport TV > Italy - Rai Sport - Beijing Olympics - 600 kb.

Note that if you're using a Mac, it only works with Firefox as your browser.

4:55 pm--
A group of eight are leading, including Wanjiru and Martin Lel from Kenya. Also world champion Luke Kibet, the reigning world champ is up there. Kibet replaced Robert Cheruiyot who was injured before the Olympics.

Amby Burfoot of Runner's World writes, "
The leaders are running something like 2:06 pace now. I doubt they can hold that. I think Hall and coach Terrence Mahon calculated that this is not a 2:06 day, and Hall is running the pace he hopes to maintain to the end. About 2:10 pace. Just guessing".

4:50 pm--
Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya leads through 5k at 14;53, which is an honest pace. Ritz was clocked at 15:00, with Hall at 15:04.

4:35 pm--
We'll also refer you to runnersworld.com's blog as well...you can catch it here...

Here's a list of folks to watch with their lifetime marathon PR.
  • Martin Lel, Kenya, 2:05:15
  • Sammy Wanjiru, Kenya, 2:05:24
  • Abderrahim Goumri, Morocco, 2:05:30
  • Ryan Hall, U.S., 2:06:17
  • Deriba Merga, Ethiopia, 2:06:38
  • Tsegay Kebede, Ethiopia, 2:06:40
  • Jaouad Gharib, Morocco, 2:07:02
  • Atsushi Sato, Japan, 2:07:13
  • Mbarak Shami, Qatar (born Richard Yatich, Kenya), 2:07:19
  • Viktor Rothlin, Switzerland, 2:07:23
  • Gusida Shentema, Ethiopia, 2:07:34
  • Luke Kibet, Kenya, 2:08:52
  • Brian Sell, U.S., 2:10:47
  • Dathan Ritzenhein, U.S., 2:11:07
If you are looking for the USA runners, they are wearing the white jerseys instead of the blue the rest of the US track team has worn, or the red jerseys the 4 x 400 relay teams wore last night.

The marathon will begin at Tian'anmen Square and end at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest.

The route will pass Tiantan (Temple of Heaven), Yongding Gate, Zhongguancun, Peking University and Tsinghua University, then work its way to the Bird's Nest.

4:20 pm--Ni hao! This is the final live blog of the Olympic track & field competition--the men's marathon.

Team USA will line up Ryan Hall (c), Dathan Ritzenhein (r) & Brian Sell (l) this morning.

The start list should be posted shortly on nbcolympics.com.

For those of you watching on the east coast, NBC is airing the marathon live. We will also drop in on the IAAF's blog for updates as well...their blog is here...

At the moment, the temperature is around 72 degrees.

Northwest Runner article on Olympic gear...

With a little bit of time before the final track & field event of the Olympics, the men's marathon, we'd like to share a piece we wrote for Northwest Runner on the gear that you've seen on many of the athletes competing in Beijing.

Read this document on Scribd: N-12-13 08 18 08 9pm

Post Olympic thoughts from Usain Bolt...

Courtesy of ESPN.com, here's some clips of a press conference Saturday featuring Usain Bolt at Puma's hospitality center, where he states that he won't let Olympic glory get to his head:



While we're on Bolt, here's an editorial cartoon we'd post courtesy of the Jamaica Observer and its internet edition:


Bolt is scheduled to run next week in the Zurich Weltklasse meet, then the meet in Lausanne, Switzerland.

You can read about Bolt's entry in the Zurich meet here, and the Lausanne meet here...

Day 9 of the Olympics--evening session...

6:30 am--This concludes the Olympic track & field competition, except for the marathon, which gets underway at 7:30 am Beijing time/4:30 pm Saturday in Seattle.

Before signing off, we'd like to thank several people for their help, including Parker Morse from the IAAF, Larry Eder & photographer Victah Sailer from The Running Network, and Brian Russell, who were on site in Beijing. Others include Jill Geer of USA Track & Field and Mathieu Gent├Ęs from Athletics Canada. Walt Murphy, Carol Lewis, and Adam Geller of NBC Sports also provided key information in Beijing.

Martin Rudow from Northwest Runner and Northwest Runner/Running Network web producer Chuck Bartlett also must be thanked for their help.

From the shoe companies, Jacie Prieto, Jill Zanger and Heidi Burgett of Nike, Jesse Williams from Brooks, Heather Moening, and Vanessa Asell from Asics all were helpful with information leading up to the Olympics. Freelancer Matt Taylor, who produced the "Chasing Bolt" video clips for Puma, helped with video content for the site.

We're sure we missed several others who were helpful, so apologies are in order.

Most importantly, thanks go to the athletes and their support personnel (agents, managers, coaches, PR folks) that were of great help as well. Without the athletes, there is no show to watch. We must send a big shout out to those athletes who have personal Facebook/Myspace pages, as it was helpful in procuring background information...believe it or not, those are valuable assets in the Internet era!

We'll see you later for the men's marathon...we hope to put up some content before the marathon.

6:26 am--
Vlasic misses her third attempt, so in a mild upset, Hellebaut wins the high jump, as the bespectacled Belgian breaks through in the biggest meet with her national record clearance. Vlasic has her 29-meet winning streak snapped.

Chicherova will get third at 2.03m/6-8.

6:24 am--
Hellebaut is the World Indoor Champion in the pentathlon, which she won largely on the strength of her very high clearance in this event. Vlasic, of course, is the World Indoor and Outdoor Champion in this very event.

Vlasic has missed twice at 2.07m/6-9.5, with Hellebaut missing once, and passing. Parker notes that her Achilles tendon is taped.

6:15 am--
While we were away with the relay, Parker writes, "We had two more misses for Chicherova, so it's Vlasic and Hellebaut at 2.07m. Hellebaut leads, Vlasic second. The OR is 2.06m, set in Athens by Slesarenko."

Hellebaut cleared 2.05 in her first attempt, with Vlasic over on her second attempt. 2.05m is 6-8.75.

The 4 x 4 team missed the world record by .10.

6:11 am--
After a 44.01 opening leg by Merritt, Angelo Taylor ran 43.98, then handed off to David Neville, who ran 44.17.

Jeremy Wariner pushed the anchor, running 43.23, as Team USA set a new Olympic record of 3:55.39.

The Bahamas finished second in 2:58.03, and Russia was third in a national record 2:58.06. Belgium, who was second for most of the race faded to fifth in a national record 2:59.37.

6:05 am--
Team USA will start in lane 7, with LaShawn Merritt leading off, and Jeremy Wariner on the anchor. Angelo Taylor, and David Neville will run legs 2 & 3. Since 1984, the USA has won every 4 x 4 (but they were DQ'd for 2000 a few months ago after the Jerome Young/Antonio Pettigrew doping cases).

In the high jump, it's now a battle between Hellebaut & Vlasic.

The USA are wearing red tops again.

5:55 am--
The men's 4 x 400 teams are on the track. Usain Bolt is not on the track, as some suspected.

In the high jump, Vlasic & Chicerova have cleared 2.03m/6-8. Tia Hellebaut of Belgium and Elena Slesarenko of Russia stand 3rd & 4th. Chaunte Howard of the USA will get 6th in 1.99m/6-6.25.

5:44 am--
After Mary Wineberg led off, Allyson Felix got the USA back into contention.

For a moment, we were not sure what team it was, as they were wearing red tops instead of the blue.

Monique Henderson lost the lead on the third leg, but it was Sanya Richards who reeled in the Russians on the anchor with a 49.49 split according to CBC to get the Americans the win in 3:18.55.

The Russians hold on to second with a time of 3:18.82, and Jamaica third in 3:20.40.

The high jump is now down to Blanka Vlasic and Anna Chicherova of Russia--check that, four have cleared 2.01m/6-7.

5:40 am--
Parker Morse from the IAAF writes, "We haven't mentioned that it's warm tonight - 30 C (92 degrees)- and that, as usual, the Bird's Nest is packed. We can't see any empty seats; usually we can find some up at the top of the third deck."

5:30 am--
While the 5000 was going on, Andreas Thorkildsen won the javelin, defending his title in an Olympic record 90.57m/297-1, with Ainars Kovals of Latvia second at 86.64m/284-3. Pitkamaki gets third at 86.16m/282-8.

In the high jump, five competitors are left, with the bar at 2.01m/6-7.

Women's 4 x 400 teams are now on the track.

5:25 am--With the last 1200 in 2:53, Kenenisa Bekele wins the 5000 in an Olympic record 12:57.82, with Eliud Kipchoge & Edwin Soi from Kenya 2-3 in 13:02.80, and 13:06.22.

Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Victah Sailer/Photo Run/The Running Network) finishes ninth in 13:26.89, and Matt Tegenkamp was 13th in 13:33.13.

5:20 am--
It's down to 5 guys, as the other 2 Ethiopians are dropped. Now it's Lagat that's getting dropped.

5:18 am--
The 3k is at 8:01, with Lagat in sixth, now moving up to fourth.

5:15 am--
In the women's high jump, the bar's at 1.96m/6-5.

5:12 am--
2:45 through the first kilometer...the Bekele brothers are up front, going through 1600 around 4:21. 5:22 through 2k, with all three Ethiopians up front.

5:10 am--
The next event on the track is the men's 5000, with world champ Bernard Lagat from WSU, and Kenenisa Bekele. Others include Matt Tegenkamp, Tariku Bekele, & Alistair Craig.

4:58 am--
Nancy Langat of Kenya dropped a 58 second last lap after a relatively modest pace with Jamal up front to win, taking off with about 270 to go, winning in 4:00.23.

Ukrainians Iryna Lishchynska & Nataliya Tobias go 2-3, picking off a fading Jamal, running 4:01.63 & 4:01.78. Rowbury, who was fourth with 300 to go, faded to seventh in 4:03.58.


4:55 am--
This is turning into a 600 meter race! The leaders go through 800 at 2:13.70.

4:50 am--
Next on the track is the women's 1500 with world champ Maryam Jamal from Bahrain, and San Francisco's Shannon Rowbury.

4:35 am--
With a relatively modest first 400 at 53.35, the pace accelerated down the backstretch to 1:19.17 at 600m. Wilfred Bungei of Kenya took the victory at 1:44.65, followed by the other Sudanese runner, Ahmed Ismail in 1:44.70, with reigning world champ Alfred Yego of Kenya third in 1:44.82.

Just missing out in 1:44.94 was world championship bronze medalist Gary Reed from Victoria, BC. Afterwards, he told CBC that "They ran tough, but that's that. I left it all on the track--no regrets."

Women's high jump is at 1.96m/6-5; in the men's javelin, defending champ Andreas Thordkilsen of Norway currently leads at 85.91m/281-10, with Tero Pitkamaki of Finland, the reigning world champ stalking him along with countryman Tero Jarvenpaa.

4:25 am--
800 meter runners are getting on the track but they won't start until the women's 4x100m relay medal ceremony's over. They're running through a few more ceremonies for last night's winners! The bar in the women's high jump is at 1.93m/6-4.

Getting back to the 800m, the top two finishers in Athens did not qualify for the finals, along with the current world leader, Kaki from Sudan.

4:10 am--
Ni hao from the Bird's Nest! Events are going fast and furious, with tonight being all finals--on the field, it's the men's javelin, and women's high jump; the men's 800, the men's 5000 with Bernard Lagat, the women's 1500, and both men's and women's 4 x 400 relays!

This is the final night of track & field; however, it is not over for us, as we'll have the men's marathon in about twelve hours time.

In the women's high jump, it's Croatia's Blanka Vlasic versus the world--if you have not seen her in action, she's heads and shoulders above the field. You'll love her little dance when she wins! Here's her bio, courtesy nbcolympics.com.

Friday, August 22, 2008

STICK! STICK! STICK!

In honor of the Jamaicans' 37.10 world record in the 4 x 100 meter relay in Beijing tonight, we thought we'd post a series of commercials that Puma ran in Jamaica featuring a young Usain Bolt...enjoy!

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

7:45 am--Steve Hooker from Australia will win the pole vault, with a clearance of 5.96m/19-6.75. Yevgeniy Lukyanenko will get second at 5.85m/19-2.5, and Denys Yurchenko of Ukraine will get third at 5.70/18-8.5, with Derek Miles fourth at the same height.

The only question remains what height will Hooker go for? Turns out, he's done!

I've been told by someone in Beijing that Usain Bolt will
most likely run on the 4 x 400 relay team for the Jamaicans tomorrow night...stay tuned.

On that note, our coverage is done for tonight. We'll be back tomorrow for seven finals, including Bernard Lagat in the men's 5000, and the two 4 x 400 meter relays.

7:11 am--
37.10 for the Jamaicans, with Usain Bolt handing off to Asafa Powell--a world record, by 3/10th of a second!

Trinidad & Tobago gets the silver in 38.06, and Japan, running 38.15 gets the bronze.
The Canadians run 38.66, good for sixth.

Afterwards, Anson Henry said to the CBC that they thought they ran well, but "they didn't gain any ground through the zone."


The old OR and WR are both 37.40, run by USA teams in 1992 and 1993, respectively.

7:05 am--
Men's 4 x 100 relay on the track...in the pole vault, Lukyanenko of Russia leads.

In the 4 x 100, WSU Cougar Anson Henry is running the second leg. Donovan Bailey on CBC states there's no reason for them not to get a medal.


6:50 am--
Bryan Clay (above/file photo by Paul Merca) runs 5:06 and change, but he's the Olympic champion! It's 5:06.59 for 522 points, and a final score of 8791 points.

6:40 am--
Decathlon 1500 is under way, with the first of two heats. Athletes are seeded based on current standings, with places 13-26 running now. The leaders will run in the next heat.

6:35 am--
In the pole vault, the bar's at 5.75m/18-10.25 with six athletes left.

6:25 am--
Some projections for Clay--he needs to run 4:48.04 (631 points) to get 8900, and 4:32.15 (731 points) to get 9000 points.

6:15 am--
The Jamaicans botch the second exchange in the women's 4 x 100 meter relay. Russia takes advantage, winning in a modest 42.31, with the Belgians second in 42.54, with Kim Gevaert on the anchor. Nigeria gets a gift medal in third at 43.04.

6:05 am--
In a minor upset, Maureen Maggi of Brazil wins the long jump in 7.04/23-1.25 over Russia's Tatyana Lebedeva (7.03m/23-0.75).

Taking advantage of
Lyudmila Blonska's suspension, Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare was third in a personal best of 6.91m/22-8.

Brittney Reese was fifth at 6.76m & Grace Upshaw eighth at 6.58m, with Fumni Jimoh 12th at 6.29m.

In the decathlon javelin, Bryan Clay threw 70.97m/232-10 to get 904 points. With one event to go, he has 8269 points. Krauchanka at 7790 has just thirteen points on Pogorelov of Russia (7777) and Suarez, currently tied in third. Sebrle, in fifth, has 7620.

The decathlon web site ergorej.net projects Clay to finish with a score of 8882, or 50 points better than his PR of 8832.

5:57 am--
With a last 800 of 2:03, and a last 400 of 59.54, Tirunesh Dibaba wins the 5000 to add to her 10000 gold medal, winning in 15:41.40. Former Ethiopian Elvan Abeylegesse, now of Turkey, gets her second silver of these Olympics, running 15:42.74, and Meseret Defar of Ethiopia gets third in 15:44.12.

Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan are 9th & 10th, in 15:49.39 & 15:50.80. Jen Rhines gets 12th in 16:34.63.

5:51 am--
Less than 2000 to go. No one really wants to commit. Twelve women still in it, and Samitova, the steeple winner is leading.

5:48 am--
2 kilos goes through in 6:45.41. We've had laps of 67, 77 & 90 seconds.

5:44 am--
This first kilometer is brutally slow--3:39.2--90 seconds for the last 400. It's playing out as a 3000 meter race, as David Moorcroft observes on CBC.

5:35 am--
Clay's thrown 68.71m/225-5 on his first attempt, which is worth 870 points. He is on a projected pace of 8848 points.

The women's 5000 runners are on the track. We are watching three different feeds right now.

5:15 am--
The Angelo Taylor anchored American squad wins their heat of the 4 x 400 meter relay, running 2:59.98.

4:55 am--The US team, with Sanya Richards on the anchor, won heat 2 of the 4 x 400 relay in 3:22.45.

On the infield, they are introducing the competitors in the men's pole vault. This is a tough one to watch, without Brad Walker.

4:05 am--
Ni hao, and welcome back to the Bird's Nest!

After eight events, Bryan Clay has extended his lead in the decathlon, with a score of 7365 points. He's followed by Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus with 7049, then Alexander Pogorelov of Russia with 6979. Outside the current medal positions is Oleksiy Kasyanov with 6874.

The first of two flights in the javelin is underway; however, the major contenders are in the second flight. Kasyanov and Maurice Smith of Jamaica (currently fifth with 6860 points) are the best-ranked decathletes in this flight.

Women's long jump will get underway in 15 minutes with Brittany Reese, Fumni Jimoh, and Grace Upshaw, while the pole vault with Derek Miles starts at 7:55 pm, local time.

First event on the track is the first semi in the women's 4 x 400, followed by the men's 4 x 400.

Other track finals include the women's 5000 with Shalane Flanagan & Kara Goucher, the two 4 x 100 relays, with Canada and ex-WSU Cougar Anson Henry, and the decathlon 1500.

In doping news, heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska, who was second in that event, has been stripped of her Olympic silver medal in the heptathlon for doping.

The Ukrainian athlete has been disqualified and kicked out of the Beijing Games by the International Olympic Committee.

Blonska tested positive for a steroid after finishing second in the heptathlon last Saturday.

Blonska was slated to compete in the long jump finals starting shortly. This marks Blonska's second doping violation, and she faces a lifetime ban.

You can read the full story here.

This will move Hyleas Fountain up to the silver medal.

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 ergorej.net/beijing, 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.

Hot video clips...

Here are three video clips, courtesy of Reuters News Agency:

The first is of the press conference featuring the Netherlands Antilles' Churanday Martina, a former University of Texas/El Paso sprinter, after his disqualification in the 200 for a lane violation:



The next video is of Michael Johnson's reaction to Usain Bolt's 19.30 at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. Gianni Merlo, an Italian who is one of the officers of AIPS, a trade group for sports journalists, is the moderator. Note also on stage is Jamaican all-time great 200 meter sprinter Donald Quarrie, a medalist in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics:



The last video is on the publicity that Puma is receiving after Usain Bolt's double world records in the track and field competition at the Olympics, featuring a sound bite with their chief executive officer:

Day 7 of the Olympics--evening session...

8:00 am--This does it for day seven...we'll be back around 8 am (5 pm Thursday on the West Coast) for the Friday morning session.

As stated earlier,
Canada's team of Hank Palmer, former Washington State Cougar Anson Henry, Jared Connaughton, and Pierre Browne, finished 2nd in heat 2, in 38.77, and qualified for the final Friday night.

With the carnage of dropped batons from the two heats, the Canadians, who are coached by Atlanta relay gold medalist Glenroy Gilbert, are now seen as a bona fide medal threat behind Jamaica. The only real threat to the Jamaicans are themselves--remember, several of them had a tiff with their federation before the start of the Olympics over a mandatory relay camp. when those athletes felt that they were better off working with their personal coaches.

7:45 am--
After the rest break for the decathletes, the 400s are over now.

In heat one, Clay's 400m of 48.92 gives him 865 more points and a total 4521 at the end of day one, and the lead ending day one.

In heat 5, Trey Hardee runs 47.75, worth 921 points, giving him a score of 4428, keeping him in third, 5 points behind second place Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus.

In the men's triple jump, Portugal's Nelson Evora adds the Olympic title to his world championship, winning with a season best 17.67/57-11.75. Phillips Idowu of Great Britain gets silver at 17.62/57-9.75, and Levan Sands of the Bahamas third at 17.59/57-8.5.

Seven athletes jumped 17 meters or better tonight (55-9 1/4).

6:55 am--
In the decathlon high jump, which just finished, Bryan Clay cleared 1.99m/6-6.25, worth 794 points. Trey Hardee jumped 2.05/6-8.75, worth 850 points. Clay still leads with 3656 points. Hardee stands third with 3507 points.

6:50 am--
Dayron Robles of Cuba wins the 110 hurdles decisively, as the world record holder ran 12.93. American teammates David "King of" Payne and David Oliver went 2-3 in 13.17 and 13.18.

Triple jump is still going on, as is the decathlon high jump.

6:45 am--
The 110m hurdles, from lane 2 to 9, will be Wignall, Phillips, Noga, Payne, Robles, Oliver, Doucoure, and Quinonez. Robles, of course, is the World Record holder.

6:40 am--
In the women's javelin, reigning world champ Barbora Spotokava of the Czech Republic wins with a toss of 71.42/234-4 on her final toss. Maria Abakumova of Russia was second at 70.76m/232-2, with Christina Obergfoll from Germany third at 66.13m/216.11

6:26 am--
LaShawn Merritt (43.75) wins the 400 in a minor upset over Jeremy Wariner (44.74). What's more amazing is the distance he beat Wariner...Wariner looked horrible.

David Neville gets the bronze with a dive (44.80), and a face first slide into home!

From an American perspective, looks like this is the only thing that's going right tonight.

We will get caught up with the field events soon, as we were knocked offline for a few minutes, and spent some time with technical issues.

6:10 am--
The relay woes continue on the women's side as the pass from Torri Edwards to Lauryn Williams was a disaster. It's a clean sweep for the final turn!

5:45 am--
Catching up on the relays--the third exchange has been the death of numerous teams...it's screwing with people's speed on the track and hence their exchanges.

The Canadians got the baton around the track, running 38.77, with Anson Henry on the second leg. They will advance to the finals.

5:26 am--
The train wreck that is the US sprint relay team is now done. Parker writes, "Patton just couldn't quite get the baton into Gay's hand; it was almost there but Gay didn't have it when Patton let go, and it fell to the track.

"Massacre on the third exchange, apparently; it looks like only four teams finished. Nigeria, Poland, South Africa and the USA all went down on the third exchange."

Interesting to see what the guys on Team USA have to say in the mixed zone afterwards.


5:20 am--
The United States will run a team of Rodney Martin, Travis Padgett, Doc Patton & Tyson Gay in the first of two heats. Top 3 plus 2 fastest advance to tomorrow night's finals. Team USA is positioned in lane 7.

The Canadians are in the second heat, with ex-WSU Cougar Anson Henry running the second leg. The Canadians are on the inside in lane 2.

Will be interesting to see how the passes go with the wet conditions.

5:10 am--
Gary Reed of Victoria, a world championship medalist runs 1:45.85 to get second and advance. The biggest shocker is that Abubaker Kaki, the teenaged Sudanese sensation was dead last in 1:49.19.

5:00 am--
The second heat all but guarantees that Borzakovskiy is not advancing, as the top 3 are under 1:45.

Just as soon as we say the rain has stopped, it starts again.

4:55 am--
Nick Symmonds runs 1:46.96 in heat 1 of 3 (top 2 + 2 advance). Wilfred Bungei of Kenya wins the heat in 1:46.23. Defending Oly champ Yuriy Borzakovskiy was third in 1:46.53, and in danger of not making the finals.

Temperature is close to 78 degrees. Rain's stopped, but track's still wet from this morning.

4:40 am--
Catch up time; in the 200, Marshevet Hooker was fifth in a personal best 22.34.

In the women's 1500, Christin Wurth-Thomas ran 4:09.70, and Erin Donahue 4:16.05, and didn't advance.

Campbell is now the fourth Athens gold medalist to defend, according to Parker Morse of the IAAF.

They are finally handing out the men's 200 medals, after the DQ's from last night. The crowd goes nuts as Frankie Fredericks hands Usain Bolt his medal.

4:33 am--
Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown quickly made up the stagger on Allyson Felix to win the women's 200 in 21.74. Kerron Stewart bronze in 22.00, just ahead of a late-charging Muna Lee with 22.01.

In the decathlon high jump, the bar is at 1.84m/6-0.5, worth 661 points. The women's javelin finals are under way.

4:25 am--
We've been in scramble mode tonight, due to some technical difficulties. Women's 200 finals, men's 400, & 110 hurdles are finals tonight, along with women's javelin, and triple jump on the field.

Decathlon continues, along with the women's 1500, and semis in the 4 x 100 meter relay, and men's 800. We'll get you caught up.

In the women's 1500, only Shannon Rowbury has advanced out of the semifinals, running 4:03.89.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 7 of the Olympics--morning session...


11:05 pm--Amazingly enough, they started the decathlon shot put on time 55 minutes ago. We signed out, but took a peek, and lo & behold, Bryan Clay threw a personal best in the shot put 16.27m/53-4.5 worth 868 points. He now has 2862 points, and still leads the competition.

Hardee threw 13.49m/44-3.25, worth 697 points, giving him a score of 2657 points, putting him in third.

Tom Pappas withdrew, apparently hurting himself in the long jump. Confirmation on what happened will be posted when competition resumes at 7 pm, Beijing time, or 4 am in Seattle...see you then!

9:40 pm--
Clay wins his second event, long jumping 7.78m/25-6.25 worth 1005. Hardee jumps 7.72m/25-4, worth 990 points.

Pappas jumps 7.41m/24-3.75, worth 913 points.

Clay & Hardee are still 1-2 overall with 1994 points, and 1960 points, respectively. Pappas is 12th at 1747.

Fifteen jumpers will advance to the finals, with 1.93 the magic qualifying mark (6-4). Chaunte Howard is the only American to qualify, as both Amy Acuff and Sharon Day go out at 1.89 & 1.85.

In group B of the javelin, Leigh Smith
(76.55m/251-1) and Mike Hazle (72.75/238-8) continue the trend of US non qualifiers in the throws.

8:15 pm--
In the javelin, Breaux Greer took one throw at 73.68m/241-9, and two passes, so he won't advance (no surprise). The rain has picked up.

Parker notes
that Greer was throwing with a broken finger after shutting it in a door two weeks ago.

The blogger at nbcolympics.com writes, "
Just a note, Breaux Greer is still sporting the black, white and pink Breaux-hawk from Trials. Right now he looks like a soaking wet cat that has been spray-painted in a demented act of graffiti."

Did notice Sergey Makarov of Russia slip as he planted to throw.

In the women's high jump, the bar's at 1.85m/6-0.75. Amazed that no one's gotten hurt with the slick runways.

6:52 pm--
After the 100, Bryan Clay is the early leader, winning the 100 in 10.44, worth 989 points. Trey Hardee is second with 970 points, as he finished second behind Clay in 10.52. Tom Pappas is tied for 19th with 834 points, running 11.12 in his heat.

Readers, it's going to be a while, especially if you're following the decathlon.

6:05 pm--
Parker writes, "The men's javelin qualifying has been delayed an hour. The decathlon long jump has also been delayed thirty minutes. Women's high jump delayed an hour. The men's javelin group B is also back an hour; the decathlon shot put is delayed fifty minutes."

With the rain, they are trying to clean up the field event area.

5:40 pm--
Can't believe it's day 7 of the Olympic track & field competition already at the Bird's Nest...

The first day of the decathlon with Team USA's Bryan Clay will highlight the morning session, as he runs the 100, long jumps and throws the shot.

Other events going on include the finals of the women's 20-kilometer walk, along with qualifying in the women's high jump, and men's javelin.

From an American perspective, the javelin offers an interesting proposition, as 2007 world championship Breaux Greer will throw. Greer, who did not even make the finals of the US Olympic Trials, was added to the team on the basis of holding an "A" standard, as no other Americans beyond Leigh Smith and Mike Hazle had the requisite mark.

Greer revealed at the Trials that he had "Tommy John" surgery on his rotator cuff, an injury he suffered in the first round of the finals at the world championships.

While healing up, he's appeared on the NBC television series, "American Gladiators" under the stage name of "Hurricane".

Greer will throw in flight 1.

Going back to the decathlon, I encourage followers of the event to download the media guide for this event at www.decathlonusa.typepad.com. Most of the information is compiled by decathlon guru Frank Zarnowski, who is one of the world's leading experts on this event.

Tom Pappas will be in heat 2, while Clay and Trey Hardee are in heat 3 of the decathlon 100.

Parker Morse, who is blogging as usual for the IAAF writes, "It has been raining buckets most of the morning, and if we had much wind we would call the conditions "Helskink-esque." It's warmer here in Beijing, though." It's currently 70 degrees in the Chinese capital...

Summary of Washington state affiliated athletes competing at the Olympics...

Aretha Thurmond (above) finished tenth in the women's discus finals (photo courtesy Victah Sailer/Photo Run/The Running Network)

Here’s a summary of how the nine track & field athletes with Washington state connections have fared so far at the Olympics in Beijing:

ANSON HENRY (Canada/Washington State)—Finished fourth in heat 7 in the first round of the men’s 100. In the second round, he finished fifth in 10.33, and did not advance to the semi-finals.

“I got out well, but it just didn’t happen. I’ll deal with this tonight, then my focus will be on the relay.”

MART ISRAEL (Estonia/University of Washington)—Missed the finals of the discus by two places in qualifying, placing 14th overall with a toss of 203-4 (61.98m).

BERNARD LAGAT (USA/Washington State)—Finished fourth in the first round of the men’s 1500, running 3:41.98. In the second round, he finished sixth with a time of 3:37.79, and did not advance to the final.

"It was so close going into today. I had my strategy going in but things didn't fall into place. There was a lot of pushing, a lot of boxing. I thought I had to dig deep to get in. I didn't make it, though. Life goes on. As long as I gave my best, my friends, my family -- I didn't let them down. I gave my best. I knew it would be competitive. I warmed up really good. Sadly, it didn't work out."

Lagat won his heat of the men’s 5000, running 13:39.70, finishing with a last lap of 55.1, and 1:52.3 over the last 800m to advance to the finals on Saturday.

After the 5000 semis, he said, "It went alright. Today was slow, and I knew that at some point if I don't get to top four, I might was well go away again like in the 1500m. I didn't want it to happen like the 1500m. I wanted to run aggressively even though it was slow and I did. I am happy I won. It wasn't a very good win. It felt really good."

"I've had a few problems with my left Achilles after the trials, and that is why I lost a few weeks of training. That resulted in not making the finals in the 1500m. But now, I am good. We have a really good medical staff with Team USA over here, and they have been taking good care of me. I'm feeling strong right now."

HALEY NEMRA (Marshall Islands/Marysville-Pilchuck HS)—Nemra ran 2:18.83, a distant seventh in her first round heat of the women’s 800.

After the race Haley told KING 5 "It was incredible!! It took my breath away walking into that stadium!" She went on to say the race was hard, but that the atmosphere was something she will never forget and is looking forward to trying to make it to the Olympics again in four years.

KARA PATTERSON (USA/Skyview-Vancouver HS)-- Kara Patterson threw 54.00m/177-2 on her first attempt in the women’s javelin, finishing 21st in her flight.

"I was kind of surprised at the tears that came into my eyes after my third throw. I can't be disappointed with being in the Olympic qualifying round, but that emotion shows me how competitive I am. I'm really excited to do a lot better in the future. I felt really good today, really good on the runway. It just didn't work out."

DIANA PICKLER (USA/Washington State)—Dropped out of the women’s heptathlon after the first event-the 100 hurdles, where she ran 14.28, more than a full second off her personal best, set last month at the Olympic Trials. In that first event, Pickler strained her left hamstring, a problem she’s had since early spring.

ARETHA THURMOND (USA/University of Washington-Renton HS)—Earned a spot in the finals of the women’s discus, throwing 61.90 (203-1), significant, as this was the first time the three-time Olympian had made a final.

In the finals, Thurmond finished tenth, with a toss of 59.80 meters/196-2.

"I gave it my all today. I'm not going to be disappointed. It is disappointing to know I had a legitimate chance for that podium. My last throw, I set it up, I did everything I wanted to do and the disc just got away from me. I just came up short. It's always a learning experience. Getting to the second day is an accomplishment for me.”

BRAD WALKER (USA/University of Washington-University HS Spokane)—The 2007 world champion no heighted in the pole vault qualifying at 5.65m/18-6.5.

IAN WALTZ (USA/Washington State University)—The Olympic Trials champion only managed to throw 60.02m (196-11) on his first attempt, followed by two fouls, thus failing to advance to the finals.

“I just didn't throw really good at all. I've been fighting some injuries. I didn't have any rhythm. It kind of stinks, I've had a really good year. It's unfortunate it didn't work out."

ATHLETES REMAINING—Anson Henry will run in the semifinals of the men’s 4 x 100 meter relay, running the second leg on the Canadian squad at 8:20 pm (Beijing time) on Thursday August 21st, with finals the following day at 10:10 pm.

By winning his heat of the men’s 5000, Bernard Lagat advances to the finals, scheduled for 8:10 pm (Beijing time) on Saturday August 23rd.

Beijing is 15 hours ahead of Seattle and the Pacific time zone, and 12 hours ahead of the Eastern time zone.

NOTE: Quotes courtesy Athletics Canada, KING 5, & USA Track & Field.

Day 6 of the Olympics--Evening session...



9:35 am--A very interesting night of track & field at the Bird's Nest, with a world record in the 200 by Usain Bolt (video courtesy ESPN), winning his second Olympic gold medal and his second world record of the meet, and a very bizarre ending, with the disqualification of Martina and Spearmon.

That ends the live blog of day six of Olympic track & field. See you tomorrow morning (6 pm in Seattle).

9:20 am--
Word from Beijing is that Churanday Martina has been disqualified for a lane violation as well...so, it's Bolt, then Shawn Crawford, then Walter Dix. Crawford 19.96, Dix, 19.98. nbcolympics.com confirms this on its live scoring site as well.

Here is the IAAF recap of the men's 200, updated with the announcement of the disqualification.

8:55 am--
Brad Walker no heights! Ouch...Parker writes, "Hartwig has a third miss, so he'll join Walker, Lobinger, Averbukh, and Mesnil as part of the massacre of former medalists in tonight's preliminary".

8:40 am--
A second miss for Brad Walker in the pole vault.

8:20 am--
There is apparently another protest in the 200. Apparently it involves Martina, and a claim he also stepped on the line in the curve...stay tuned.

8:00 am--
Brad Walker's opened with a miss at 5.65m/18-6.5.

Meanwhile, there's a protest by the US contingent on Spearmon's apparent DQ.

7:55 am--
In the men's pole vault, Brad Walker and Steve Hooker of Australia still have not jumped. The bar's at 5.55m/18-2.5.

7:40 am--
In the scramble on the Bolt superlatives, there's still one more event on the track, the 400 hurdles.

Parker writes, "Melaine Walker in 52.64 for yet another Jamaican gold. Sheena Tosta silver in 53.70. Danvers from Great Britain for Bronze, a PB 53.84." Walker's time is a new Olympic record.

Tiffany Ross-Williams, who had the second fastest time in the world this year, was dead last in 57.55.

7:20 am--
19.31 WR!

It's been adjusted to 19.30 into a headwind, as Bolt actually runs through, with no showboating! Wind gauge shows a 0.9m/s HEADWIND!

The crowd is serenading "Happy Birthday" to Usain Bolt; meanwhile, Wallace Spearmon's (15.95) been dq'd for a lane violation, after finishing third. So right now, it's Bolt-Churanday Martina (19.82)-Shawn Crawford (19.96).

David Moorcroft on CBC says it's the first time a runner's won the 100/200 double at the Olympics winning in WR time. This is the first time the 100/200 double's been accomplished since Carl Lewis turned the trick in 1984!

7:18 am--
From the inside (2-9), this will be Kim Collins (2003 100m World Champion), Christian Malcolm, Shawn Crawford, Bolt, Brian Dzingai, Churandy Martina, Walter Dix, and Wallace Spearmon, Jr.

Spearmon's put himself in this spot, with his shoddy running on the turns in the rounds. He's coached by his father, Wallace, Sr.

7:07 am--
Allyson Felix & Marshevet Hooker go 1-2, with Felix looking very easy and relaxed, cruising in 22.33, and Hooker on her outside running blind in lane 9 at 22.50.

It's deja vu all over again--like the 100, three Americans and three Jamaicans in the final tomorrow night.

Speaking of Jamaicans, it's Usain "Lightning" Bolt time coming up! 19.32 is the world record set by Michael Johnson in the Atlanta Olympics. Will we see something special?

Donovan Bailey is pointing out that Bolt's running his eighth race of these Olympics. Bailey, the 1996 Olympic champ at 100, thinks Bolt will run around 19.5. "The only person who can beat Usain is Usain", Bailey states on CBC.

Bar is at 18-2.5 or 5.55 meters in the vault.

6:55 am--
"It's Campbell-Brown in 22.19, with Lee close on her inside. On the outside, though, Stewart gets second in 22.29. Lee also 22.29 in third. Ferguson-McKenzie takes the fourth automatic spot", writes Parker Morse on the IAAF site.

6:50 am--
Next on the track is the first of two semis in the women's 200. Muna Lee is in heat 1, with fellow Americans Allyson Felix & Marshevet Hooker in the other heat. Top four advance to the finals.

6:42 am--
David Oliver wins heat 2 in 13.31. Shi Dongpeng of China is out, finishing fifth in 13.42, disappointing the 90000 Chinese fans in the Bird's Nest

No changes in the pole vault...still at 5.45m.

6:32 am--
Dayron Robles of Cuba, the world record holder runs 13.12, with David "King of" Payne from Team USA second in a season best 13.21. Robles is the hurdles' equivalent of Usain Bolt. Robles made this heat look so easy.

Parker informs us, "At 5.45m (17-10.5), there are twelve clearances in the pole vault. Thirteen: Burgess of Australia just got over as well.

6:25 am--
Next on the track are semis in the 110 hurdles, then semis in the women's 200. Top 4 advance in the hurdles to the finals Thursday.

6:12 am--
Lagat wins the third heat in 13:39.70, running a last lap of 55.1, and 1:52.3 over the last 800m, according to our man in Beijing, Parker Morse of the IAAF.

Nothing of significance going on in the pole vault qualifying...polevaultpower.com has jump-by-jump coverage going on now here...there are 38 vaulters entered, so it could be a while. The nbcolympics.com live scoring says that Brad Walker will open at 5.65m/18-6.5, about the same height he opened at in Eugene (actually, he jumped 18-4.5/5.60m).

5:55 am--
Things are getting hot & heavy, with the pole vault qualifying going on. Bernard Lagat will line up shortly in the third heat of the 5000, a heat that has 10000 winner Kenenisa Bekele, and Australia's Craig Mottram.

While the Bahamian TV feed has been choppy at best, we can tell you that Lagat's comfortably tucked in around sixth place in the main pack, with Bekele & Mottram a few steps behind after 2000m, crossed in around 5:32.

The pole vault qualifying has begun at the north end of the stadium. It will be 5.75m/18-10.25 for the automatic qualifying height, or the 12 best clearances, and the bars are at 5.30m/17-4.5 now.

5:45 am--
Aksana Miankova of Belarus wins the hammer in an Olympic record 76.34m/250-5.

5:30 am--
Matt Tegenkamp, who will be moving to Portland after the Olympics, wins the first heat of the 5000! The results are now up, and Teg finishes in 13:37.36. Pretty much stayed out of trouble for the race, staying in contact with the lead group, then getting in the mix in the last 300 meters.

5:20 am--
Getting underway with the first of three heats in the men's 5000. Top 4 plus 3 advance to the finals on Saturday. Bernard Lagat's in heat 3.

5:00 am--
Only Nick Symmonds moves on to the semifinals.

4:55 am--
Andrew Wheating, the sophomore from the University of Oregon, was fourth in his heat in 1:47.05 in a blanket finish...gonna be dicey for him to move on. A quick eyeballing of the previous heats has him in eighth or ninth, with one heat to go.

4:43 am--
Christian Smith was fourth in his heat, running 1:48.20, splitting 55 seconds thru 400. Don't think he's moving on.

4:25 am--
Nick Symmonds wins heat 4 in 1:46.01, splitting 53.1, & 1:19.6, looking comfortable doing so. Thought he ran smart, staying up front and out of trouble.

4:00 am--
Ni hao! Eight heats of the men's 800 starts off day 6 of track & field at the Bird's Nest, with only the top 2 & the eight fastest advancing on time. Guys are gonna have to move!

Nick Symmonds, Christian Smith & Andrew Wheating are running in heats 4, 6 & 7. Also happening in the first hour is the final in the women's hammer throw.

World champions Bernard Lagat & Brad Walker are in action tonight, as qualifying gets underway in the men's 5000 and pole vault, which starts in about an hour.

Two other finals are on the docket tonight, and that's in the men's 200, and the women's 400 hurdles. Will Usain Bolt be the first since Carl Lewis to take the 100-200 double? The odds are in his favor, as the 200 is his better event!

Certainly, the focus of the coverage tonight will be on Walker and Lagat, so sit back and enjoy the coverage!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sports marketing, Liu Xiang, etc., at the Olympics...

Here's a link on the sports marketing bonanza that is the Olympics:

*First, here's a piece from the New York Times, which focuses primarily on the uniforms that Nike is outfitting several national track & field teams;

*Here's another link to an article written by Larry Eder of The Running Network on what some of the stars are wearing at the Olympics;

*Here's a video shot by Matt Taylor of Chasing Kimbia fame of Usain Bolt a few days before the Olympic 100 meter finals, courtesy of pumarunning.com;



*Here's the first of several on Liu Xiang--the first is from the New York Times, apologizing for pulling out of the meet;

*
A blog post from the Seattle Times titled, "Liu Xiang drops out",

*Finally, a video post from the Seattle Times' Kristi Heim on the impact of Liu's sore Achilles tendon on 1.3 billion Chinese...



See you later!


Day 5 of the Olympics--Evening session...

8:00 am--Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain wins in 3:32.94...the pace was fast from the start, going through 400 in 56.5, a slow next lap at 1:57, then they picked it up, splitting 1200 in 2:53.

Asbel Kiprop from Kenya, who was among the leaders early, was second in 3:33.11, then Nick Willis of New Zealand was third in 3:34.16, nosing out Mehdi Baala of France.

This was a great night of track. There's no morning session tomorrow, so we shall see you Wednesday night at 19:00 Beijing time for men's 800m heats.


We will put up links to stories later today. See you then!

7:48 am--
The men's 1500 runners are now lining up. Interesting to see if this will be a tactical slow race, or if it's going hard from the start.

In the mens discus, world champion Gerd Kanter from Estonia wins with a toss of 68.82m/225-9.

7:30 am--
LoLo Jones was en route to winning, when she hit hurdle 9. Harper wins in a PR 12.54. In an upset, Sally McLellan of Australia second in 12.64, and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep third in the same time. Jones looks devastated. Deja vu of Gail Devers.

The long time track & field writer, Jim Dunaway, says,
"That's what comes of running too fast" .

Wow.

7:25 am--Women's 100 hurdles lining up now. Team USA has LoLo Jones, Damu Cherry & Dawn Harper.

7:18 am--
Britain's Christine Ohuruogu wins the 400 in 49.62. Shericka Williams of Jamaica silver in 49.69, and Richards bronze, 49.93. On the CBC feed, we had Richards crossing 200 in around 22.3--way too fast!

7:05 am--
In the 400, Jeremy Wariner (44.15) and LaShawn Merritt (44.12) win their semis. David Neville gets second in his heat at 44.91. Looks like a big battle between Merritt and Wariner in the finals.

6:40 am--
Coming up to the climax of day 5. In the 200, no surprises...Usain Bolt looked sooo easy in winning heat 2. All three Americans--Shawn Crawford (20.12), Wallace Spearmon (20.14) , & Walter Dix (20.19) advance to the finals.

Three semis in the men's 400 (top 2 + 2 to the finals), then finals in the women's 400 with Sanya Richards, the women's 100 hurdles with LoLo Jones, and the men's 1500 are the last four events left on the track. The men's discus has been underway, with the Pole, Malachowski, in the lead.

6:30 am--
They just had the medal ceremony for the women's pole vault. Jenn Stuczynski doesn't look too happy even though she's only been vaulting for four years, and got beat by the world record holder. Interesting take on Jenn at letsrun.com...

Meanwhile, Andrey Silnov just jumped into the stands after his win in the high jump.


Two semis in the mens 200 on the track now.

6:20 am--
With the second round of the 110 hurdles over, no real surprises. Americans David (King of ) Payne and David Oliver win their heats in 13.24 & 13.18, respectively. No real surprises unlike the first round with the loss of Trammell, and Liu Xiang.

Anyone want tickets to the finals of the 110 hurdles? The word is that folks are wanting to get rid of their tickets after Liu's injury.

6:05 am--
Parker writes, "The medals are decided: Silnov, Mason, and Rybakov in that order."

5:50 am--
David Payne just won the first of four second round heats in the 110 hurdles. Meanwhile in the high jump, Stefan Holm has a second miss; he missed at 2.34, then passed to 2.36 (7-8 3/4) to keep himself in the medals. He's in fourth, in a battle with Silnov and Rybakov of Russia, and Germaine Mason of Great Britain. As we type, Silnov's over 2.36 and into the lead!

5:30 am--
High jump's at 2.34m/7-8, with eight jumpers left. Stefan Holm of Sweden & Russia's Andrey Silnov are the only ones who are all clean with no misses.

5:22 am--
Parker Morse from the IAAF writes, "Defar sprints for the win. Cheruiyot next. 14:56.32 for Defar. Shobukhova third, Cherono fourth, Abeylegesse, Flanagan (14:59.69) advance automatically. Goucher 15:00.98 will advance on time. Metcalfe at 15:11.23 and Rhines from the first heat will advance as well.

5:15 am--
Looks like heat 2 of the women's 5000 is going to be a hair quicker. Kara Goucher has kept herself near the front, while Flanagan's content to tuck behind. Meanwhile, the bar's at 2.29/7-6 in the high jump.

4:55 am--
While we wait for heat two, here's a link to a blog post by Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times on Federal Way's Aretha Thurmond, who finished tenth in the discus in her first final...

4:51 am--
Heat one of the women's 5000 is now over, and Jen Rhines gets the last auto qualifier, finishing sixth, in 15:15.12. Thought she ran a smart race, making sure she had room to run, positioning herself in the front on the outside, and defending her space.

4:25 am--
All three Americans in the women's 200--Allyson Felix (22.74), Muna Lee (22.83), and Marshevet Hooker (22.76) advance out of the second round.

In the high jump, the bar is at 2.20m/7-2 1-2.

Women's 5000 heats are next--Jenn Rhines will be in heat one, while Shalane Flanagan & Kara Goucher are in heat 2. The top 6 and the three fastest go to the finals.

4:05 am--
Welcome to the evening session of day 5 of Olympic track & field. Finals tonight include the men's high jump, men's discus, women's 400, women's 100 hurdles, and the men's 1500 meter runs.

They just completed the first of four heats of the second round women's 200m with Allyson Felix. Top 3 athletes plus four advance to the semifinals.

While the 200s are going on, they are introducing the finalists in the men's high jump, of which there are no Americans.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 5 of the Olympics--Morning session...

8:40 pm--No improvement for Kreiner on either of her two remaining throws, as she threw 53.81/176-6, and 53.48/175-5.

This ends coverage of the day 5 morning session. We will see you tonight.


8:10 pm--
Women's long jump is over, and all three Americans--Brittany Reese (6.87m/22-7), Grace Upshaw (6.68m/21-11), and Funmi Jimoh (6.61m/21-8 1/4), qualify for the finals.

They are halfway through round 2 in flight B of the javelin, and American record holder Kim Kreiner has thrown only 55.13m/180-10 so far.

We will update her marks upon the conclusion of the event.

7:17 pm--
All three Americans in the women's 200--Allyson Felix (23.02), Muna Lee (22.71), and Marshevet Hooker (23.07) won their first round heats in the 200 very easily. There are three more rounds to go, with the top four plus the next eight fastest advancing to the quarterfinals.

From an American perspective, all that's left competing this morning are the three long jumpers--Brittany Reese, Grace Upshaw, and Funmi Jimoh, along with javelin thrower Kim Kreiner.


7:05 pm-
-Some housekeeping items in order...finals tonight include the men's high jump, men's discus, women's 400, women's 100 hurdles, and the men's 1500 meter runs.

Distance geeks will love the semis of the women's 5000, with Portland's Kara Goucher, and Olympic 10000m bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan.

The first round of the javelin is over, and Patterson was bumped down to 22nd in her flight.

6:57 pm--
No improvement for Patterson in round 3, as she threw 54.39m/178-5. She's in 21st, so she will not advance to the finals, but gains valuable experience in her first real big international meet.

On the track is the first of six heats in the women's 200, with Allyson Felix.

6:35 pm--
Not a good throw technically in round 2 for Patterson, who is wearing the black and orange weight belt that she's worn all season at Purdue...Bahamian TV says it's about 4 meters short of her first round throw...waiting for confirmation from the live scoring feed, which pops up at 50.35m/165-2. Kara's in 20th now.

Only four people have thrown over 60 meters-196-10 so far...


6:10 pm--
Kara Patterson threw 54.00m/177-2 on her first attempt...she's in eighth about halfway through round one...

5:40 pm--
Ni hao! Welcome to day 5 of Olympic track & field...this will be a pretty short session, with qualifying in the women's javelin starting up in 20 minutes, featuring Kara Patterson from Skyview High School in Vancouver, who won the javelin at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Kara will be in flight 1, with 26 other throwers. With only one javelin runway, she will have to wait a while to find out if she advances to the finals two days later.

The automatic qualifying mark is 61.50 meters, or 201-9, which is just slightly under Kara's personal best of 202-0 or 61.56m.

She will be the twelfth thrower in this flight...women's long jump and first round action in the women's 200 is on the docket.

If you're looking for first round action in the women's 1500, it's not happening, as the first round's cancelled. They will all go to the semifinals on Thursday.

Day 4 of the Olympics--Evening session..

7:23 am--World record for Yelena Isinbayeva! (left/file photo by Paul Merca) How about that?!? Two straight Olympics, and two straight world records at the Games!

Parker writes on the IAAF site, "New World Record of 5.05m for Isinbayeva! She back-flipped on the mat to celebrate, and is now taking a lap of honor with her flag."

This is the third straight night that a world record's been set at the Bird's Nest.

We are going to sign off...In the Tuesday morning session, Kara Patterson of Vancouver competes in the women's javelin qualifying at 9:00 am in Beijing (6:00 pm Monday night in Seattle).

7:15 am--
Correction; Isinbayeva passed to 5.05m/16-6 3/4, which is a world record if successful. She's missed once already.

By the way, after our post early, we neglected to tell folks that the rain stopped after the first few events.

7:05 am--
Looks like the Bubba Thornton curse may be over, as Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement, and Bershawn Jackson sweep the 400 hurdles!

Eight years after winning his first title, Taylor wins it in 47.25, a personal best, with favorite Clement running 47.98, and Jackson 48.06.

Isinbayeva's made 4.95m/16-2 3/4 on her third attempt, a new Olympic record. The bar's going to 5.00/16-4 3/4.

6:50 am--
The long jump is over-reigning world champ Irving Saladino wins it with a mark of 8.34m/27-4 1/2.

6:40 am--
Pamela Jelimo of Kenya wins the 800 in a world junior record of 1:54.87, with reigning world champ Janeth Jepkosgei second in 1:56.07, a season best. The Russians were never a factor, as Hasna Benassi of Morocco, last year's second place finisher at worlds, grabbed third in 1:56.73. The great Maria Mutola of Mozambique runs 1:57.68 for fifth in what is probably her final Olympics.

In the pole vault, Jenn Stuczynski will finish second with a best jump of 4.80m/15-9. Yelena Isinbayeva will win, as she leads with a mark of 4.85m/15-11. How high does she want to go? We'll find out.

6:25 am--
In the steeple, the Kenyans, in a bit of an upset, go 1-3 after being projected to sweep. Brimin Kipruto wins in 8:10.34, with Richard Matelong third at 8:11.01. Mekhissi from France splits the Kenyans, running 8:10.49.

Meanwhile back at the pole vault, Jenn Stuczynski will be assured of second place...the bar's at 4.90m/16-0 3/4, with her and Yelena Isinbayeva still left.

Wonder if the Kenyan federation regrets putting in Paul Koech, who tripped in the Kenyan trials? There was talk that they would add him anyway...


6:05 am--
Two of the three Americans, Sheena Tosta (54.07) and Tiffany Ross-Williams advance to the finals in the 400 hurdles (54.99). Pole vault's at 4.75m/15-7, and we're down to five athletes.

Men's steeplechase finals are next up on the track.

5:25 am--
In the pole vault, the bar's at 4.65m/15-3. Only two athletes have been eliminated.

Pole vault fans can check out polevaultpower.com for live updates.


5:15 am--
The discus is over, and in a mild upset, Stephanie Brown Trafton's first round throw holds up for the win. She's been the world leader, but folks thought that her lack of experience at the world level would go against her.

5:10 am--
Usain Bolt looked very smooth in running a very casual 20.29 to win heat 1 of the 200m second round. Shawn Crawford was second.

Other finals tonight include the men's steeple, the men's long jump-of which there are no Americans in an event that's historically a strength of the USA; the women's 800, and the men's 400 hurdles.

Maybe the 400 hurdles gets Team USA back on track with Kerron Clement, Angelo Taylor, and Bershawn "Batman" Jackson...


4:50 am--
Another favorite goes down in the 100 hurdles, as Susanna Kallur of Sweden fell over the first hurdle. Damu Cherry and Dawn Harper go 1-2 in 12.62 & 12.66...

4:40 am--
Lolo Jones just ran 12.43 to win heat 1 of the semis of the 100 hurdles. It's the fastest time in the world this year. Priscilla Lopes of Canada was third in 12.68.

They just showed a shot of the four discus throwers that didn't make the finals, and Thurmond was one of them. She'll finish tenth with her second round throw her best.

4:35 am--
Thurmond's been bumped down to ninth about halfway through round 3. She won't make the finals.

4:30 am--
57.99/190-3 for Aretha in round 3. She's in eighth, and on the bubble to miss the opportunity to get three more throws...

4:15 am--
Thurmond throws 59.80/196-2. She doesn't look particularly good or pleased. On the Bahamian TV feed, they panned to her coach Jerry Clayton in the stands, and he's not too pleased either.

Here's a link to a story on runblogrun.com on the fallout from Liu Xiang's injury...

4:00 am--We're getting things started quickly. First events underway are the women's discus featuring Aretha Thurmond from Federal Way, and the women's pole vault.

Aretha throws second in the order, and she spins the platter 56.72 (186-1). Her teammate Stephanie Brown Trafton's not messing around, as she goes into the lead at 64.74 (212-5).

Parker Morse informs us that there's a light rain at the stadium. It's about 81 degrees at the start of tonight's session.

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