Wednesday, 13 September 2017 12:49

New Zealand relay runners changing techniques to compete with the best

A standing start, a push-pass technique and don't look to the past - those are the keys to relay running success.

Ex-Commonwealth Games athlete Kerry Hill ran a regional relay clinic that focuses on teaching new techniques for a handful of athletics personnel from around the Waikato at Porritt Stadium last weekend.

Hill, who is the technical lead for the Athletics New Zealand relay programme, backs the push-pass method of baton-passing and also promoted a standing start as being crucial to success.

He also said that too many international teams are focused on copying others based on past successes.

"Everyone copied the United States because they used to get all of the golds, but why would they do that now when they're the most disqualified team in relay running?" 

"The fastest team doesn't always get the medals, not if they don't have the technique that goes with it," he said.

Hill has visited 20 countries in almost as many years, observing teams' techniques and collating data to determine which were the most successful. He made graphs and charts out of his statistics to make a PowerPoint presentation that he showed to attendees.

"Everyone's accepting it because it's common sense and it shows that these countries are copying each other just for the sake of it," Hill said.

"It seems like a good idea to them, but the data is showing that it isn't."

Hill specifically mentioned the New Zealand under-20s women's team, who adopted the new methods and finished a world championship heat in the third fastest time in the world.

It didn't stand as the team were ironically disqualified for poor technique in another area, after one of the runners stood on the line and Hill said that they'd be a massive focus if that hadn't happened.

Andrew Langman, chairperson of the Cambridge Athletics Club, said the clinic was insightful.

"It was quite technical, but it was aimed more at the senior side and high performance side of things, so that's to be expected," he said.

Langman is a volunteer who teaches more than 100 3-6 year olds and said that he learned a lot at the clinic.

"Before it was a case of just trying to shove the baton in their hand and also, they've always been looking behind," he said.

"Now I can get them more into looking for a target and then aiming for that target."

 - Stuff


Star Barshim eyes 2018 Indoor Worlds

World champion Mutaz Barshim yesterday arrived home to a rapturous welcome but the track and field star wasted little time in announcing he has his eyes on next year’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

Barshim last month grabbed the world high jump title in London with a winning leap of 2.35 meters. At the same venue five years ago, the affable Qatari had won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.

In August 2016, Qatar’s most celebrated athlete had won the silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games.

Barshim’s historic feat in London was followed by a series of top performances, including a world leading 2.40-metre jump at the Birmingham Muller Grand Prix just a week later. He also went on to finish as the top star of the 2017 Diamond League season with five wins.

Later in Eberstadt, Germany, he once again cleared the 2.40m mark for the 11th occasion in his career.

“It was an amazing feeling. I was so determined to win and I am happy with my performance,” Barshim said yesterday after being welcomed home by the Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) officials and Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) representatives.

Barshim, 26, said it was time to rest but the tall athlete added the coming weeks will be spent analysing his targets for the 2018 track and field season
“I need to stay focused because there are so many challenges coming up. Next season we have the World Indoors so I am looking forward to it,” Barshim said.

Barshim, who beat Russian Danil Lysenko (silver) and Majd Eddin Ghazal of Syria (bronze) to the gold medal in London, said competing under pressure brought out the best in him.
“You know there is pressure but it is a pressure to do better,” Barshim explained.

“It is a different kind of pressure. I am not talking about pressure where I can’t perform. That’s the pressure that brings you down. I am talking about the pressure that you can deal with in a positive way.

“This is the pressure that you can take you forward. I think I did something like that. The thing is I pressure myself. I don’t allow other athletes to put pressure on me,” he added.

Barshim said he would get the chance to better Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s world best mark of 2.45.

“It was the championship season. The best thing I contested was the medal. The (world) title was important,” Barshim said about his London feat.

“When you have the title you can focus on other things in the coming seasons. Next summer (after the Indoor Worlds) we have no major championships so we can focus on other things (like improving the world mark),” he said.

Barshim said he intends to stay low for the next month or so before launching bid for the 2018 season.

“I have no plans for now. I just want to spend time at home. I have nothing until January (2018),” Barshim said.

“I have one month off and then I start preparations for the next season. I think I will spend 10-15 days here and then I may travel. I will try to recover from what has been a long season. I need to recover so that I don’t have any injuries and stuff for next season,” the Qatari star added.


London decathlete Damian Warner discards illness-stricken worlds, focuses on final event

Damian Warner is taking — for all you golfers out there — his mulligan.

The Canadian track and field star couldn’t stomach his under-the-weather fifth-place decathlon finish at the world track and field championships last month in London, England, as the final chapter of his 2017 season.

So this week he’s in Talence, a city in southwestern France about the same size as Woodstock, to win the last fairly big combined events competition on the calendar. The Decastar runs Saturday and Sunday.

“If London (England) went the way I thought it would, I don’t think I would’ve done another decathlon,” the 27-year-old Londoner said Tuesday. “Since it didn’t go too well there and I was pretty upset, I didn’t want to end my season like that.

“I want to go out here and show people London was a fluke and it’s not going to happen again.”

Warner was the golden favourite at worlds, but he became ill a few days before go-time and ended up quarantined due to the norovirus, which swept through Canada’s medal-less ranks.

Funny thing is, he was already a bit of a germophobe.

“I was doing everything — hand washing and staying away from people in London,” Warner recalled. “I thought there was no chance I would get (the bug) and somehow I got it anyway. I’ll still always do whatever I can to avoid getting sick. But now, I know anything can happen.”

Quarantine was no picnic, either.

“It’s not the most fun,” he said. “Jen (his girlfriend Jen Cotten) arrived the day I got sick. You hope you could try to go out for a dinner with her, just for something to do because most of the other athletes are already competing.

“But I didn’t end up seeing her until after it was over.”

Warner gutted his way to 8,309 points -- well-back of the 8,768 posted by newly minted world champion Kevin Mayer of France.

“It didn’t indicate where I was in the season,” he said. “It was disappointing to do all the training, take care of your body and make sure you’re not injured, then come up with this illness you can’t plan for or control.

“The first day, in general, with a lot of speed and power stuff, that was a big shock on my body. Running (and winning) the 100 metres, usually I run and don’t see anybody in the race (because he’s so far ahead).

“That time, I saw everybody in the race. The whole experience was frustrating. I kind of wished it was over a lot of times during it.”

So the Montcalm grad went to Paris at the end of it and took a week to recover.

“I told myself I would see how my body felt and if things were feeling a little bit better, I would come here,” he said. “I got back into training (at base in Calgary) and it went really well. It’s a good field and you never know what will happen, but at the very least, I’ll do a lot better than I did in London.”

At last count, eight of the top 10 decathletes from worlds will be at Decastar, including home hero Mayer. They are taking part in a season-long combined events points challenge and everyone needs to get three decathlons in to qualify for the title.

Warner, boosted by his early triumph at Gotzis, Austria, can still win -- and he calculates he needs 8,700 points (five points better than his current Canadian record) for it.

“It’ll be difficult since I didn’t score too well in London,” he said, “but it’s another incentive. I’m healthy and feel like I’m in good shape. I did a lot of pole vault, discus and javelin leading up to this, so those are the three things I’m looking forward to this week.”

In the past few weeks, he has been able to draw some positives from his English trials.

“I was able to finish fifth with things going pretty rough, so that’s encouraging,” he said, “and even though I didn’t feel well, I still had a couple of solid marks in a few events. Pretty frustrating, but all you can do now is laugh and joke about it.

“And I know now whatever happens in any decathlon, I can always finish, no matter how I’m feeling. And that’s a big thing to learn.”


Sifan Hassan’s high hopes for Birmingham 2018

After her record-breaking run last winter, Sifan Hassan is looking for more of the same when the IAAF World Indoor Championships take place in Birmingham

Sifan Hassan may believe she’s “no good at indoors” but her performances on the boards, including a world 1500m title in Portland last year, tell a different story.

Despite her apparent misgivings, the 24-year-old is a fan of indoor competition – especially in Birmingham where she ran a Dutch 3000m record earlier this year – and now she’s looking forward to the chance of returning to Arena Birmingham and securing further global success.

Not achieving what she had hoped for in the 1500m at the IAAF World Championships in London has left Hassan even more motivated for when major competition returns to the UK next March by way of the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

“I can’t wait,” smiles the 2015 European indoor gold medallist. “I’m so disappointed with my outdoor 1500m so I can’t wait to race indoors.”

Speaking after her bronze medal-winning 5000m run in the UK capital last month, Hassan said she would wake up every night thinking, ‘That was a nightmare’ about her 1500m performance. “But it was reality,” she added of her fifth-place finish which came two years after she claimed bronze over that distance in Beijing.

But it has added fuel to her fire.

“I’m no good at the indoors but two years ago I won!” she says. “I can’t wait to race. I’m really motivated.”

Born in Ethiopia, Hassan moved to Netherlands as a 15-year-old refugee. After acquiring Dutch citizenship in 2013, she went on to compete at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade and won under-23 gold.

Since then five other European medals – indoor and outdoor 1500m golds in 2015 and 2014 plus silver medals in 2014 and 2016 over 5000m and 1500m respectively and a senior cross country gold – have followed, along with her three global medals.

Hassan has a series of Dutch records to her name, too, including that one clocked earlier this year during the Müller Indoor Grand Prix held at the very same stadium as will be hosting next year’s World Indoor Championships.

“I like Birmingham indoors,” she explains. “This year I ran 8:30 for 3000m, a national record, so when I come to Birmingham I always run a PB!”

The smiley middle-distance star will be hoping for more of the same in six months’ time.


Thomas Bach defends IOC's reputation

Thomas Bach has defended the International Olympic Committee's reputation amid allegations of bribery ahead of the Rio 2016 games.

The IOC president claimed there is "no collective responsibilty" and that the credibility issues facing the organisation are the fault of individual members. 

"There is no collective responsibility whatsoever on the IOC," Bach said at a press conference in Lima, where a tripartite agreement between the IOC, Paris and Los Angeles for the 2024 and 2028 Games will be signed.

"There are crystal clear rules on granting the Olympic Games. Those who have been violating these rules will be sanctioned when we have the evidence.

"What can be expected from an organisation is to have the rules and necessary instruments to address these issues.

"This is why there is no collective responsibility whatsoever. Actions have been committed by individuals and this is why we will be sanctioning as soon as we have evidence."

It was revealed on Monday evening that the IOC has instructed lawyers to contact Brazilian authorities over their investigation into alleged vote corruption.

A French probe into corruption at the International Association of Athletics Federations was last week extended to allegations of bribery ahead of the 2009 vote which awarded the 2016 Olympics to Rio.

France's financial prosecutor has also been investigating former IAAF boss Lamine Diack and his close circle of advisers and family members since 2015.

It had already announced it is looking into claims of corruption related to the 2013 vote, which gave Tokyo the right to stage the 2020 Games, as well as bribery linked to IAAF events.


Sally Pearson a chance for third Don award

Awards: World champion hurdler Sally Pearson is in line to become the first three-time winner of the Don award, following her stunning comeback this year.

Pearson’s successful return to elite athletics has put her among seven nominees for the prestigious honour, awarded for the year’s most inspiring performance by an Australian athlete.

She is among the favourites for the annual Sport Australia Hall of Fame honour, named after Sir Donald Bradman, after overcoming major injuries to win the 100m hurdles world title in London last month.

She previously won the award in 2013 and 2015, while pole vaulter and fellow Olympic champion Steve Hooker took it out in 2008-09.

Pearson knows what it’s like to stand on the stage in front of the who’s who of Australian sport at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards.

“The Don Award is the pinnacle of Australian sports awards,” Pearson said. “To be named as one of the finalists is a huge honour. That being said, the night is also very special because all the superstars of Australian sports across many decades are gathered under one roof and I look up to them all.”

Boxer Jeff Horn has been nominated after upsetting Manny Pacquiao in July, along with NRL star Johnathan Thurston for his matchwinning conversion to hand Queensland victory in State of Origin II.

World surfing champion Tyler Wright, AFLW best and fairest Erin Phillips and world swimming champion Emily Seebohm are also short-listed.

The Matildas are also in contention after beating Brazil 6-1 to win the Tournament of Nations last month.

The 2017 winner will be announced on October 12.

AAP


Usain Bolt considers Mayweather-style comeback

 

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist said that although he is enjoying putting his feet up, he could be coaxed back on the track

The sprinter’s final race last month at the World Athletic Championships was not the fairytale ending he had hoped for

He’s the fastest man in the world who hung up his spikes last month, but Usain Bolt has no plans to come out of retirement unless it’s guaranteed to be as big as an ordeal as Floyd Mayweather’s recent comeback to defend his title against Conor McGregor.

Speaking to Fairfax Media from Sydney, where he is spending time as ambassador of Optus, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist said that although he is enjoying putting his feet up, he could be coaxed back on the track.

Sprint champion Usain Bolt opened up about his next career move at a charity event in Japan.

“It’s not on the cards right now … I just want to be a bum and I have sponsorship work to do … but you never know, if a big bout comes up, you never know where I might show up,” he laughed.

“If it is something like a Floyd Mayweather comeback, I’ll be back.”

At the age of just 31, the Jamaican is open to moving from athletics into another sport, but there’s no point in McGregor rubbing his hands together in glee with dollar signs in his eyes over another potential cross-sport dust-up.

“Not fighting, no, the sport it could be is football as a massive Manchester United fan, we’ll see,” he said.

The sprinter’s final race last month at the World Athletic Championships was not the fairytale ending he had hoped for his stellar career when he took a dramatic tumble during the 4x100m relay with a torn tendon in his hamstring.

But he said it doesn’t define him as he focuses on recovery.

“For me, I am definitely happy, it doesn’t change anything, so for me I am trying to relax now and take it easy and do some work outside of track and field.

“I can’t do anything physical for the next month, but by the end of the month, I’ll be fine to start moving around again – playing football and running and stuff.”

He’s been to Australia “many times” but said he was looking forward to “chilling” for a few days and getting to see the sites – mainly the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour.

(SUN)


Allora star inspired by home-grown hero

ALLORA State School P-10 student Jake Ainsworth is off to compete at the Queensland state athletic titles in October in a sport he took up only a month ago.

Jake wants to follow in the footsteps of his hometown hero, Olympian Matt Denny.

Jake is already on his way, having recently qualified for the Darling Downs team in the hammer throw with a personal best of 32.94m.

The 15-year-old has been throwing the javelin, discus and shot put with success for several years, but it was a recommendation from his coach that set the keen athlete on a different path.

In those earlier days it was indeed Denny's inspiring feats that spurred the youngster on.

"I saw video of him when I first started throwing and I thought it was so cool,” he said.

"Then I saw his school records here in Allora and knew then that I wanted to throw like that.”

While Jake's size and talent saw him achieve some good results in the throwing events early on, he was still without a coach and while searching for someone to guide him, relied on hours of YouTube videos for instruction..

"I'd get home and get my jobs done as quickly as I could and head out to the paddock to practise,” he said.

"I'd watch the professionals' videos and try to mimic what they were doing. It really helped and made a big difference to my distances.

"My mum and stepdad were both a huge help as well, really supportive, and mum spent hours helping when she could have been doing her own thing because she knew I loved what I was doing.”

Jake said others had also helped him on his path.

"My dad bought me a discus and the principal here at school would come and supervise my lunchtime training sessions,” he said.

At an athletics event in Tenterfield, Jake was spotted by coach Susan Bright, who offered her services. Together they trained on all throwing events before taking the leap to hammer throw in August.

"The first time I had a go I threw 28m,” Jake said.

"We've had three training sessions with the hammer. Family finances have been really tight, so I train when we can afford it.”

After making his first Darling Downs team, Jake is confident of a bright future. Just this week he smashed his PB at training with a hammer throw of 35.57m.


National record in Nelson's sights

Australian sprinter Ella Nelson says she has moved past the health concerns that plagued her 2017 campaign.

And she will have Melinda Gainsford-Taylor's Australian 200m record in her sights at next year's Commonwealth Games.

The sprinter shot to fame at Rio's Olympic Games when a personal best time of 22.50 seconds placed her ninth and just 0.01 seconds away from a berth in the final.

But the 23-year-old has struggled to replicate that form ever since, a last place in her heat at London's World Championships in August capping a torrid season.

She was not able to run under 23 seconds all year, while her time in London was more than 1.5 seconds slower than her Rio semi-final in 2016.

Enjoying some down time on the Gold Coast, Nelson said she was confident of rediscovering the speed she showed in Brazil when the Queensland city hosts the Commonwealth Games next April.

"It wasn't just a dip in form, I had a lot of health issues," she said.

"My body let me down in ways that I hadn't experienced before and it was really new to me.

"This year provided a lot of lessons for me, so I'm really excited to work on those."

She said the World Championships had still benefited her, despite all signs pointing to another slow time in the lead up.

"We kind of new a few weeks out that something was seriously wrong with my health," Nelson said.

"I was just told to really soak it up.

"I could hear the locals cheer so loudly for the British girls ... knowing that will be me on the Gold Coast next year, it's exciting."

Nelson will soon return to Phoenix in the United States, where she will train alongside Canada's Olympic bronze and silver medallist Andre De Grasse.

Nelson said eclipsing Gainsford-Taylor's Australian record of 22.23 seconds was the ultimate goal.

"Yeah, of course I can (go faster)," she said.

"I think I can PB again, absolutely, and I want to get that national record, whether it's next year, or the year after.

"This year could have been amazing, but it went the other way and I'd rather it happen this year than next."

AAP


Mo Farah secures another title for his brilliance on the track

Track legend Mo Farah is the runaway winner of Liontrust's Sporting Hero award for August

Farewells rarely go to plan. Just ask Usain Bolt, whose dejection after failing to top the podium at last month’s Athletics World Championships was inescapable.

For a few fleeting moments Mo Farah experienced a similar malaise as he lay on the London Stadium track with head in hands and his six-year unbeaten record at global events broken. And then, quite rightly, it passed.

That a silver medal behind Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris in the 5,000m could possibly be deemed something of a failure is a mark of Farah’s recent dominance. Indisputably the greatest British distance runner in history, Farah arrived at the final major track championships of his illustrious career with nine successive Olympic and world titles. That quickly became 10.

The track career of Britain’s most successful athlete is over. What a way to finish
Carrying the weight of the home nation on his shoulders (he won Britain’s only individual gold of the entire championships), Farah triumphed in the 10,000m on the opening night of competition and he did so in scintillating fashion – his bloodied left leg requiring stitches after a bruising encounter in which his rivals tested his stamina to the limit.

Eight days later, he failed in his attempt to complete a gold medal double over the shorter distance. Conceding 11 years to his younger rival Edris – who was fresh after opting not to contest the 10,000m – Farah was pipped at the post. A silver medal, a fleeting feeling of disappointment and then an overwhelming sense of joy.

He rose to his feet, waved to the crowd and drank in the adulation of his adoring fans. Victory followed in Birmingham in his final track race on British soil, before a lung-busting thriller to exact revenge over Edris in Zurich. That signalled the end. A move to marathon running beckons but the track career of Britain’s most successful athlete is over. What a way to finish.


RIP: Anti-Doping Pioneer Dr. Gary Wadler, 78

Gary Wadler, the Long Island physician and early authority on performance-enhancing drugs in sports whose extensive resume of titles, appointments, memberships and honors included the International Olympic Committee’s President’s Prize, died Tuesday morning. He was 78.

Nancy Wadler said her husband had been suffering from Multiple System Atrophy, a rare neurodegenerative disorder, for more than five years and most recently had been in hospice care at their Port Washington apartment.

“He was a great physician,” Nancy Wadler said. “He never saw a patient for 15 minutes; he saw them for an hour. And he never told a patient bad news on a Friday because he didn’t want to ruin anybody’s weekend.”

Wadler’s 1989 book, “Drugs and the Athlete,” was a seminal work in its field and was followed by scores of articles, and regular participation in international conferences, dealing with sports doping. When the World Anti-Doping Agency was founded in 2000, Wadler became the only American on the organization’s committee to determine the official list of banned substances. The 1993 IOC president’s award was in recognition of his work in that area.

After 16-year-old Texas high school pitcher Taylor Hooton’s 2003 suicide, which his parents believed resulted from steroid withdrawal depression, it was Wadler who encouraged Hooton’s father to create a foundation to raise steroid awareness among young athletes, coaches and parents. In 2005, Major League Baseball formed a $1 million partnership with the Taylor Hooton Foundation to further that cause.

Wadler also created a drug treatment center at North Shore University Hospital and a drug-education program for Nassau schools. In July, North Shore named its dialysis center for Gary and Nancy Wadler.

Beyond his private practice as an internist in Manhasset, Wadler served as associate professor of clinical medicine at NYU, as medical advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, as a trustee for the American College of Sports Medicine and chairman of the American Ballet Theatre’s medical advisory board. In 2008, he edited the book, “The Healthy Dancer” as an ABT guideline.

Gary Irvin Wadler was born Jan. 12, 1939, in Brooklyn, the second of three boys. His father, an immigrant from Austria with no formal education, was a window trimmer in small shops throughout the metropolitan area. His mother was a part-time teacher. Wadler graduated from Samuel Tilden High School, Brooklyn College and Cornell Medical School.

Never a competitive athlete, Wadler nevertheless became a key player in the elite sports world after volunteering to serve as U.S. Open tennis tournament physician in 1980.

In his role with the Open, he made two especially newsworthy diagnoses — of the mysterious toxoplasmosis, a viral infection caught from her pet cat that derailed No. 1 Martina Navratilova’s 1982 title bid, and the solution of Jimmy Connors’ cramping from dehydration by prohibiting Connors’ soda intake, augmenting Connors’ surprising run to the 1991 semifinals at 39.

But it was an unexpected 1986 request by representatives of the pro men’s tennis tour, that Wadler submit to a urine test to demonstrate that no one associated with the Open was exempt from drug screening, that triggered his curiosity in doping issues.

Wadler also was board chairman and president of the Nassau County Sports Commission which, among other activities, won the 12-city bidding that placed the Women’s Sports Foundation at Eisenhower Park in 1993. In the mid 1990s, in a rare Wadler project that didn’t materialize, he worked to relocate the Mets to Nassau County, with a new stadium envisioned adjacent to Belmont Racetrack.

Along the way, Wadler met Jackie Robinson, who had lost his son to a drug-related death, worked closely with tennis great Billie Jean King, and became so widely known during his global travels that he once got a Christmas card from Sweden’s Queen Silvia.

Besides his wife, who works in intellectual property law, Wadler is survived by his son David, daughter Erika and two grandchildren. Funeral services will be Thursday at 11:30 at Riverside Nassau North Chapels in Great Neck.


Writer Asks If Jamaica Fed Is Fit To Serve The Sport

Two weeks ago, Foster's Fairplay wrote an open letter to the President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

It urged him to have his organisation conduct an in-depth investigation, not only into the country's surprisingly disappointing performance at the recent IAAF World Championships in London, but also with respect to some disturbing news which had filtered through from the event. A face-off by two female athletes, which led to serious dislocation in plans for their 4x400m relay heats, was highlighted.

Apart from the occasions when anything about the super star Usain Bolt is published, the responses from the column's readers have never been as robust as those following the call for the London probe. They were encouraging.

Coming out of the public space, the reactions vindicate Foster's Fairplay's several on-going efforts to have the administrators of the nation's most successful sport do the right thing. A hands-off attitude will not cut it, especially since scathing comments are raging about athletes' attitude and behaviour while representing the country.

A few of the readers' comments will be revisited in part. The one that drove home a point that this columnist has always endorsed came from Colin, who commended and then lamented, "Bless you for your article. I spent six nights in that stadium in pain! The last two nights were excruciating. Imagine, British fans saw my long face and took turns shaking my hand and consoling me! I really hope we learn from this and ensure that such a showing does not happen again - at least not "just so."

Foster's Fairplay's interpretation is that here is an ardent supporter of Jamaica's athletes, who either lived in the Mother Country or travelled thousands of miles to give support. He was hurt in a significant way by witnessing from ringside, the mishaps on the track, totally ignorant to what was taking place behind the scenes that could be causing the athletes to miss out on medal opportunities.

Colin's comment also serves as a reminder, if one was needed, that Jamaica's athletes and their activities in competition, mean a whole lot to those who expend energy and precious earnings to follow the sport. They are exalted in the victories and medal accomplishments and conversely agonise in their defeats. To go away from an event where there were unexplained failures, is not rewarding these fans for their efforts to afford the support on which the athletes thrive.

Then there was Leon, who responded, also in commendation, saying a little more, "So very well-put. Direct Diplomacy at its best! Thank you for representing us!!"

There are those, like this reader, who consider themselves voiceless in these matters. They crave the journalist who is willing to express his or her thoughts in an effort to get the answers for which they yearn when things do not go according to plan. They need honest explanations. Should a governing body continue to deny them this right?

Carole, a professional, was terse in her endorsement of the sentiments outlined in the column. Her input, "I support the call for the full report from the JAAA (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association)," left no doubts as to her wishes to let the people know what happened in London. In saying this, she was showing no sentiments for the view in certain circles, that matters concerning the adverse performances of our athletes, should be kept secret. Too many rumours are circulating about what happened. The situation takes on a more serious note when there is an accompanying decline in performance levels.

Of the points raised by reader Neville, the hardest to hit was, "If Elaine did suffer some medical issue prior to her finals, the medical staff was apparently tardy concerning the issue, I support the call." Again, this is seen as a thorny issue on which the track and field family should be hearing more. Very little has come across about the effectiveness of the team doctors.

The impression is given that they are subject to different rules than other officials.

All these responses add up to a conclusion that the JAAA is gagged.

If that is the case, is the body fit to serve the sport?


The Best HS-Only Boys Miles Ever

For a high schooler to run a fast mile against collegiate or pro competition is one thing, but to do it against only other high schoolers is a bit tougher proposition. Here’s the 42 fastest all-prep miles ever.

The Fastest All-Prep Miles Ever
3:58.3 Jim Ryun (East, Wichita, Kansas) ’65 State
3:59.53 Michael Slagowski (Rocky Mountain, Meridian, Idaho) ’16 Jesuit Twi
3:59.71 Lukas Verzbicas (Sandburg, Orland Park, Illinois) ’11 Dream
4:00.16 Cooper Teare (St Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda, California) ’17 Mt Sac
4:01.09 Rob Finnerty (Burnsville, Minnesota) ’08 Midwest Gala
4:01.29 ———Teare ’17 Sacramento MOC
4:01.32 Bernie Montoya (Cibola, Yuma, Arizona) '12 Dream
4:01.67 Grant Fisher (Grand Blanc, Michigan) '15 State
4:01.69+ German Fernandez (Riverbank, California) ’08 State
4:01.73 ———Fisher '15 Dream
4:01.75 Brodey Hasty (Brentwood, Tennessee) ’17 Music City
4:01.81 Alan Webb (South Lakes, Reston, Virginia) ’01 Arcadia
4:01.83 Austin Mudd (Center Grove, Greenwood, Indiana) ’11 Dream
4:01.92 ———Teare ’17 Summer Series
4:02.01 Sharif Karie (West, Springfield, Virginia) ’97 Nat’l Scholastic
4:02.02 ———Fisher '14 Dream
4:02.04 Sam Worley (Comal Canyon, New Braunfels, Texas) ’17 Brooks
4:02.08 Elias Gedyon (Loyola, Los Angeles, California) ’11 Dream
4:02.0 ———Ryun ’65 HS Inv
4:02.23+ Jantzen Oshier (Trabuco Hills, Mission Viejo, California) '11 State
4:02.36 Drew Hunter (Loudoun Valley, Purcellville, Virginia) '15 Dream
4:02.4 Richard Kimball (De La Salle, Concord, California) ’74 Sectional
4:02.56 ———Teare ’17 Brooks
4:02.6 ———Kimball ’74 San José Inv
4:02.64 Luis Grijalva (Armijo, Fairfield, California) ’17 Summer Series
4:02.70 Andrew Springer (Westerly, Rhode Island) ’09 Midwest Gala
4:02.72 Ben Saarel (Park City, Utah) '13 Dream
4:02.73 Jacob Burcham (Cabell-Midland, Ona, West Virginia) '12 Dream
4:02.90 Mac Fleet (University City, San Diego, California) ’09 Portland Fest
4:02.90 Casey Clinger (American Fork, Utah) ’17 Brooks
4:02.98 Josh Lampron (Mansfield, Massachusetts) '12 Dream
4:02.99+ Steve Magness (Klein Oak, Houston, Texas) ’03 District
4:03.12 Brannon Kidder (Lancaster, Ohio) '12 Dream
4:03.18 Marcus Dickson (White River, Buckley, Washington) '12 Dream
  Mike Brannigan (Northport, New York) '15 Dream
4:03.23 Matthew Maton (Summit, Bend, Oregon) '14 Dream
4:03.21 Austin Tamagno (Brea-Olinda, Brea, California) ’16 Mt SAC
4:03.27 Gabe Jennings (East, Madison, Wisconsin) ’97 Nat’l Scholastic
4:03.29 Edward Cheserek (St Benedict’s, Newark, New Jersey) ’11 Dream
4:03.33 ———Webb ’00 Invt
4:03.33 Samuel Borchers (Yellow Springs, Ohio) ’07 Nat’l Scholastic
4:03.49 Robby Andrews (Manalapan, New Jersey) ’09 Portland Fest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+ = time converted from 1600m using a multiplier of 1.0058. No converted 1500 times are considered here

 


Athletics SA salutes Simbine for achievements

Athletics South Africa takes the opportunity to congratulate national 100m record holder, Akani Simbine on his graduation with a Bachelor of Information Science degree from the University of Pretoria last week.

“We applaud Akani for his great academic achievement and we take note of the difficult challenge of managing his time as an elite athlete and as a university student,” said Aleck Skhosana, the president of ASA.

“His commitment and achievement is also an important example to others that education is essential as it offers life after athletics as a sport has a lifespan."

“We also congratulate his parents and his coaches including the support staff, for making it possible to juggle his sport and books with equal commitment.”

The 23-year-old Simbine was a finalist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Jainero, Brazil and 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England where he finished an impressive fifth position, respectively.


Pearson Nominated For Top Aussie Sports Award

Two-time world hurdles champion Sally Pearson (Qld) has been honoured as one of seven finalists nominated for ‘The Don’ Award after her remarkable victory to win the world 100m hurdles title at the world athletics championships in London in August.

Twice a winner of The Don (2013 and 2015) Pearson was selected from a long-list of over 20 potential candidates, as one of seven finalists to mark one month to go to this year’s ceremony.

Producing a remarkable comeback from a career threatening wrist injury in London, Pearson’s feat was recognised as one of the top Australian sporting moments of the past twelve months.

Competing in her first major championship since 2015 after missing the defence of her Olympic title in Rio, the 30-year-old coached herself and produced a spectacular display of hurdling to claim her second world title last August.

The Don Award is widely regarded as Australia’s leading contemporary sporting award and is named in honour of Australian sporting legend and first Sport Australia Hall of Fame Inductee, the late Sir Donald Bradman AC.

Introduced in 1998, only two athletes have twice been awarded ‘The Don’ – with Olympic champions Sally Pearson (2013 and 2015) and Steve Hooker (2008 and 2009) both laying claim to dual victories. Pearson knows what it’s like to stand on the stage in front of the who’s who of Australian sport at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards.

“The Don Award is the pinnacle of Australian sports awards,” Pearson said.

“To be named as one of the finalists is a huge honour. That being said, the night is also very special because all the superstars of Australian sports across many decades are gathered under one roof and I look up to them all.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee chair Rob de Castella AO MBE said 'The Don' is awarded annually to the athlete or team who, through their performance and example over the past year (September 2016 - September 2017), has most inspired the nation. The criteria for the award is inspired by the words of Sir Donald at the time of becoming the first inductee in the SportAustralia Hall of Fame in 1985.

“The Don Award is not an award for the most popular or the best performance of the year, but much more,” de Castella said

“The Don Award seeks to capture, celebrate, recognise and reward the individual or team who has ‘most inspired the nation’ through their performance,” de Castella said.

In accepting his inaugural induction, Sir Donald said “When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his or her life with dignity, with integrity, courage and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.” Hard work and dedication remain essential for all individuals who must embrace, with equal fervor, opportunity and responsibility”.

De Castella said these words encompass the spirit in which the selection committee determines the annual finalists and winner.

“The Don has become the ultimate recognition of this ideal and indeed the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon an athlete or team during their competitive career,” de Castella added.

Joining Pearson as a nominee for the award is a stellar cast of Australian sporting performances in 2017 including, Jeff Horn’s stunning defeat of Manny Pacquiao, to the Matildas demolition of Brazil in the Tournament of Nations, Olympic basketballer Erin Phillip’s domination of the inaugural AFLW, Emily Seebohm’s world title in the pool after Olympic disappointment, surf queen Tyler Wright’s world championship and Johnathan Thurston’s incredible State of Origin effort with an injured shoulder.

The Don award for 2017 will be presented at the sold out 33rd Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner – presented by Etihad Airways – on Thursday, 12th October 2017 at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.


Will there be another surprise package in the Cape Town Marathon?

CAPE TOWN - Who would have predicted that a tennis player who started the year with a ranking in the nine hundreds would be holding the winner’s trophy at the US Open? Even at the start of the tournament when Sloane Stephens held a ranking of 85, few would have tipped the unseeded player for the title.

Predicating outcomes of city marathons is one of sport’s high risk occupations, even when proven Kenyans line up at the start. And expect Sunday’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon to again deliver surprises before the podium dust has settled.

The reason for the marathon’s unpredictability is not hard to fathom. The many variables in road racing - including training, nutrition, motivation, equipment, physical and mental wellbeing, externalities including weather, past results against the same competitors, race tactics and many others are multiplied by the 42km on the road.

Blistering due to poor shoe selection, for example, might be inconsequential in a 10km race, but will be of paramount importance in a marathon. Stomach complaints due to sub-optimal pre-race diet could be ignored for twenty or thirty minutes, but never over the two hours and more which are needed to complete a standard

Over the past three years, there have been three major surprises in the outcomes of the senior title races at Cape Town, namely Shadrack Kemboi’s victory in 2015, Lungile Gongqa’s superb second place in the same year and Tish Jones’ amazing victory over Ethiopian and Kenyan rivals last year.

The 29-year-old Kenyan, Kemboi, had been based in Johannesburg for some time leading up to the 2015 race and not been a part of the invited elite squad of athletes from East Africa, Japan and Europe, but had the motivation to prove his worth and won in 2:11:41 - five minutes faster than his previous best.

Another shock that year was the stellar performance of South African marathoners, with Gongqa, Michael Mazibuko (3rd) and Sibusiso Nzima (6th) shutting out the more favoured invited foreign athletes, who were surprisingly off the pace in the second half of the race.

At last year’s marathon Cape Town celebrated when their “adopted daughter”, British athlete, Tish Jones, powered through to victory in the women’s competition, winning in a huge personal best time, but who would have predicted the demise of the favoured Ethiopians who were unable to match Jones’ strong finish on the day?

One of the biggest, and heart-warming, marathon surprises in recent years was Josia Thugwane’s 1996 Olympic Marathon gold medal. The diminutive Mpumalanga athlete still bore the scar on his chin from a bullet from an attempted hi-jacking a few months earlier when he crossed the finish line to win by five seconds.

In addition, he had required medical treatment for a back injury sustained while jumping from the moving car to escape.

Will the seeded runners prevail on Sunday, or will the honours go to the “unknown soldier”, like Sloane Stephens looking for an opportunity to break into the big time?


CAS to hear appeal in Bolt Olympic relay case in November

An appeal case involving the 2008 Olympic title stripped from Usain Bolt and the Jamaican relay team is going to court in November.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it set Nov. 15 for sprinter Nesta Carter to challenge his disqualification by the International Olympic Committee. A verdict is expected weeks later.

Carter tested positive last year for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine in re-analysis of a urine sample from the 2008 Beijing Games.

He and Bolt were teammates on the 4x100-meter relay team, which won in a world record of 37.10 seconds.

Carter ran the opening leg, and Bolt took the baton third in a team that also included Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.


Seb Coe: The fight against doping is a war of attrition — but we can win it

As testing improves, athletes and national federations also  have a role to play in keeping sport clean

The most graphic depiction in Greek mythology of the last moments of Icarus are captured on canvas by Flemish artist Jacob Peter Gouwy. The Flight of Icarus hangs in Madrid’s Prado gallery. Icarus’s attempt to escape from Crete with wings of feather and wax came to grief when, failing to heed his father’s warning, he flew too close to the sun. The wax melted and he drowned at sea.

A few days after the close of London’s World Athletics Championships last month I managed to grab a few days with friends in Wales. I watched Icarus the film with them. Bryan Fogel, a more than useful amateur cyclist and modest playwright, was the driving force behind the film, and its director. I say it’s a film but it’s really a docu-drama, in which Fogel shows that the application of a cocktail of banned substances would have a profound impact on his performance in the saddle. 

This alone would not have been particularly spectacular material. Doping in cycling was common as far back as the 1920s. Long-distance running in Victorian times was beset by the same abuse, and some of the marathon runners in the 1908 Olympic Games in London were known to have played around with small doses of strychnine.  A relatively modern phenomenon? Not really. There is evidence from the ancient Games that competitors were consuming bulls’ testes to up their testosterone levels. 

Icarus became more interesting with unexpected events. Among Fogel’s team of co-conspirators was Grigory Rodchenkov, who, when not advising on dosages and how to evade the testers, was discharging his duties as head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory. Halfway through all this, the World Anti-Doping Agency published its report into wide-scale and systemic drug abuse in Russian sport. This not only hit the International Association of Athletics Federations hard, leading to the Russian federation being suspended from international competition, it also shone an uncomfortable and uncompromising light on Russian performances in their home winter Olympics in Sochi and the industrial scale of cheating.

The clean athletes have to recognise they need to shine a light on the darkest areas of  the sport- Seb Coe

 

 

 

The film ends with Rodchenkov in a witness-protection programme, probably somewhere in the United States, and the sports world reeling. The Rio Games took place without Russian track and field athletes. Only the International Weightlifting Federation followed suit. And an IAAF independent task force chaired by Norwegian Rune Andersen is overseeing the reinstatement criteria that needs to be met before the new Russian Athletics Federation is eligible to take its place in international competitions. If Gouwy’s Icarus drowned at sea because he flew too close to the sun, Fogel’s depiction of Russian sport shows it perishing in the flames of hell.

At our congress in London a few days before the World Championships opening ceremony, the new president of the re-engineered Russian Athletics Federation addressed the other 212 nations. It was a sober and, it has to be said, a candid summation of where Russian athletics had found itself and the challenge that still lay ahead for them and us. 

I welcomed it at the time and remain optimistic that both sides can settle on lasting change. I also remain of the view that the changes we seek and those we have already made would not have been possible had the IAAF not made tough decisions two years ago. There are two stories being played out here. The first is the very public one that I’ve just described. But for us to get where we need to be there has to be another story, and that is a recognition by athletes, federations, sponsors, agents and managers that they too have a role to play.

Over the past two years I have sat down with hundreds of athletes of all ages and all disciplines in every continent. They will be our game-changers. Yes, we can advance our technology, which we are doing. Yes, we can make our testing systems more independent now that we have the Athletics Integrity Unit in place. Yes, we have a portal available to athletes where they can, and do, communicate their fears and concerns and provide invaluable intelligence that allows us to feel the collar of the malign influencers. But above all, the clean athletes have to recognise they need to shine a light on the darkest areas of the sport. Intelligent testing rather than the “never mind the quality feel the width” approach of some sports is proving more effective in catching those who cheat — evidenced in getting World Championship medals back to their rightful owners at the recent championships this summer.

But intelligent testing starts with intelligence from people on the ground and within the sport. Clean athletes need to need to speak out and trust that when they do, they will be heard. Federations, too, need to be mindful of relaying mixed messages to athletes. They cannot turn a blind eye to suspicious coaching. And their leadership cannot chastise athletes from other countries’ federations who have served bans, only to be ushering their own suspended athletes back into team duties as quickly as possible to meet funding targets. 

The fight against doping remains a war of attrition. Prevailing technology is closing the gap but utopia is a far- away land. In an interview I gave before the championships to the BBC’S Andrew Marr, I was asked whether I could guarantee that every athlete competing in London would be clean. He hammed up synthetic shock when I, of course, said I couldn’t and explained that a few in any walk of life will always make a judgment to step beyond moral boundaries. 

That is probably part of the human condition but our ambition beyond the confines of that dismal interview is to rally our troops and unerringly head for the sunlit uplands accompanied by every clean athlete on the planet, which of course the majority are. 

Lord Coe is president of the International Association of Athletics Federations


Foster's Fairplay | Is The JAAA Gagged?

Two weeks ago, Foster's Fairplay wrote an open letter to the President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

It urged him to have his organisation conduct an in-depth investigation, not only into the country's surprisingly disappointing performance at the recent IAAF World Championships in London, but also with respect to some disturbing news which had filtered through from the event. A face-off by two female athletes, which led to serious dislocation in plans for their 4x400m relay heats, was highlighted.

Apart from the occasions when anything about the super star Usain Bolt is published, the responses from the column's readers have never been as robust as those following the call for the London probe. They were encouraging.

Coming out of the public space, the reactions vindicate Foster's Fairplay's several on-going efforts to have the administrators of the nation's most successful sport do the right thing. A hands-off attitude will not cut it, especially since scathing comments are raging about athletes' attitude and behaviour while representing the country.

A few of the readers' comments will be revisited in part. The one that drove home a point that this columnist has always endorsed came from Colin, who commended and then lamented, "Bless you for your article. I spent six nights in that stadium in pain! The last two nights were excruciating. Imagine, British fans saw my long face and took turns shaking my hand and consoling me! I really hope we learn from this and ensure that such a showing does not happen again - at least not "just so."

Foster's Fairplay's interpretation is that here is an ardent supporter of Jamaica's athletes, who either lived in the Mother Country or travelled thousands of miles to give support. He was hurt in a significant way by witnessing from ringside, the mishaps on the track, totally ignorant to what was taking place behind the scenes that could be causing the athletes to miss out on medal opportunities.

Colin's comment also serves as a reminder, if one was needed, that Jamaica's athletes and their activities in competition, mean a whole lot to those who expend energy and precious earnings to follow the sport. They are exalted in the victories and medal accomplishments and conversely agonise in their defeats. To go away from an event where there were unexplained failures, is not rewarding these fans for their efforts to afford the support on which the athletes thrive.

Then there was Leon, who responded, also in commendation, saying a little more, "So very well-put. Direct Diplomacy at its best! Thank you for representing us!!"

There are those, like this reader, who consider themselves voiceless in these matters. They crave the journalist who is willing to express his or her thoughts in an effort to get the answers for which they yearn when things do not go according to plan. They need honest explanations. Should a governing body continue to deny them this right?

Carole, a professional, was terse in her endorsement of the sentiments outlined in the column. Her input, "I support the call for the full report from the JAAA (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association)," left no doubts as to her wishes to let the people know what happened in London. In saying this, she was showing no sentiments for the view in certain circles, that matters concerning the adverse performances of our athletes, should be kept secret. Too many rumours are circulating about what happened. The situation takes on a more serious note when there is an accompanying decline in performance levels.

Of the points raised by reader Neville, the hardest to hit was, "If Elaine did suffer some medical issue prior to her finals, the medical staff was apparently tardy concerning the issue, I support the call." Again, this is seen as a thorny issue on which the track and field family should be hearing more. Very little has come across about the effectiveness of the team doctors.

The impression is given that they are subject to different rules than other officials.

All these responses add up to a conclusion that the JAAA is gagged.

If that is the case, is the body fit to serve the sport?


London 2012 a mixed blessing for Olympic area's residents

LONDON

Five years on from the 2012 Olympics, the area of London where they were held has a new train station, a luxury shopping centre and vast green spaces.

A swathe of post-industrial land in Stratford, east London, was given a new life but for local residents, the reality is a lot less perfect.

Penny Bernstock, an expert in housing and regeneration at the University of East London, said there were now "two worlds that co-exist" — the old, poor, Stratford and a new, wealthy one.

But Hugh Robertson, Britain's sports minister at the time of the Games, told AFP the legacy of 2012 is clear: "The area around Stratford has been completely transformed."

The aim for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) going into the Games was to regenerate the area — once deprived and blighted by high unemployment — by ensuring the infrastructure would have a life after the Olympics.

According to the LLDC, it's job done after billions of pounds were poured into the area.

The 2012 organisers were determined they would leave none of the white elephants that have littered host cities of past Olympics.

The Olympic stadium has been leased to Premier League football club West Ham for the next 99 years — and hosted the World Athletics Championships in August.

The futuristic Aquatics Centre designed by the late award-winning architect Zaha Hadid was scaled down after the Games and is now a popular facility for locals that can still host international events.

The Olympic Village, where athletes stayed during the competition, has been turned into thousands of flats.

"This is heaven! Look around you; look at this garden," Richard, a 29-year-old local resident, told AFP before making his way into the Olympic Park for his daily jog.

The LLDC plans for 10,000 new homes to be built in the area by 2030.

London seems to have avoided the fate endured by Athens — where the Games are synonymous with financial ruin — and Rio, where just over a year since the Olympics took place, the feel-good factor has vanished amid scandal and rotting venues.

In the Greek capital, little of the infrastructure has been reused, while in Rio, the Olympic Park is closed, the swimming pool has been drained and the Village, which was meant to be transformed into high-end housing, is still awaiting residents.

'AFFORDABLE FOR WHOM?'

Many Stratford locals though feel they have not benefited from the huge sums spent on the Olympics.

Regeneration has prompted house prices to soar, pushing many of its former residents out.

"When an area has been comprehensively regenerated, property prices will rise which, obviously, benefits anyone who owns a property," Robertson argued.
One result of rising prices has been homelessness.

Bernstock told AFP that homelessness in Newham — the borough where Stratford is located — increased by 51 percent between 2012 and 2015, compared to 32 percent for London as a whole.

Mary Ridley and her husband are part of that "new" Stratford.

The couple settled into the area two years ago, after eight years spent living in west London.

"We came here because it was a bargain! It's green, you have the Tube, shops, and it's very quiet," the 34-year-old told AFP.

"It was more affordable than where we used to live," she said.

But Bernstock asked: "Affordable for whom?"

"In 2012 Newham found only 12 percent earned more then £50,000 ($65,000, 55,000 euros, Sh6.5 million) per year, yet a two-bedroom affordable intermediate unit on the (Olympic) park costs £1,425 per month," she said.

"We should redefine what affordable housing is."

Organisers also put great emphasis on another Olympics legacy — the goal of making Britain fitter.

Robertson, the former sports minister, says at least 1.5 million more British people are taking part in sports than before the Games, although it is a figure that is impossible to verify.


Refugee team to compete in Indoor Athletics track events

The refugee team of five athletes taking part in Ashgabat 2017 has been named and will compete in the Indoor Athletics track events.

The delegation’s Chef de Mission is Kenya’s legendary marathon runner Tegla Loroupe, who will be joined by two more officials and a coach.

The five athletes – Paulo Amotun Lokoro (entered in 1500m), Wiyual Puok Deng (400m), Gai Yang Tap (800m), Ukuk Uthoo Bul (3000m), and Yiech Pur Biel (800m) – were selected for Ashgabat 2017 after trials organised by the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation in Nairobi.

All are refugees from South Sudan, and with their four accompanying officials, will form one of the 65 delegations participating in the multi-sport event to be staged in Central Asia. Of the five, Lokoro and Biel competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, while the other three will be competing at their first international event.

The Ashgabat 2017 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games are the fifth edition of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and will take place in Turkmenistan from September 17–27.

There will be 21 sports at Ashgabat 2017 across 15 venues over 12 days of competition. The 21 sports are 3x3 Basketball, Belt Wrestling, Billiard Sports, Bowling, Chess, DanceSport, Equestrian Jumping, Futsal, Indoor Athletics, Indoor Tennis, Ju Jitsu, Kickboxing, Kurash, Muaythai, Sambo, Short Course Swimming, Taekwondo, Track Cycling Traditional Wrestling, Weightlifting and Wrestling.


Hayward Field Renovation Pushed Back Again

The planned renovation to Hayward Field has been delayed again, according to multiple sources.

The project now is expected to begin next summer -- two years after the start date on the original timeline.

Sources say the renovation is expected to take more than a year and not be complete until some point in 2020.

The stadium is expected to be closed during renovation, which sources say could force the 2019 Prefontaine Classic, the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships and the 2019 OSAA Track & Field Championships to relocate.

If the latest timeline holds, the Oregon Ducks would not have a home schedule in 2019, and probably be forced to practice elsewhere.

TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna said concern about the big meets in 2019 is premature.

"The timeline has not been finalized," Lananna said.

Lananna has been a prime mover behind staging big meets in Eugene such as the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and the World Junior Championships in 2014. He led the team that successfully bid for the 2021 World Outdoor Championships.

The renovation is necessary to bring the University of Oregon's iconic track stadium up to specifications for the world championships.

Eugene received the bid with the proviso the stadium be modernized and its capacity expanded to 30,000 permanent and temporary seats. Hayward Field's current listed capacity is 10,500.

Original plans called for construction crews to begin immediately after the conclusion of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. The renovation was supposed to result in approximately 14,000 seats. At the time, the projected cost was $68 million.

The project has been delayed several times since, and blueprints for the renovated stadium altered. The current revision calls for approximately 10,000 permanent seats, sources say.

Nike executive Todd Van Horne reportedly spent time in Europe this summer examining similar-sized track stadiums.

It's unclear whether Nike will have any direct involvement with the project. But Nike co-founder Phil Knight, a former UO mid-distance runner, is expected to donate to it.

Under the project's original timeline, construction was to stop temporarily in 2017 to allow Hayward Field to stage the Prefontaine Classic, the state high school championships and the NCAA Championships, and then resume.

Sources say they believe there will not be a similar pause in 2019 on the new timeline.

The Prefontaine Classic, the only U.S. meet on the elite Diamond League track circuit, is known to be looking at other sites for the 2019 meet.

Meet officials are said to be investigating in-state locations such as Lane Community College, the Whyte Track & Field Center at Oregon State, Mt. Hood Community College and Griswold Stadium at Lewis & Clark College. Moving the meet out of state also is a possibility.

No matter where it is held, the 2019 Pre Classic is expected to move from late May to late July or early August because of changes in the international schedule.

The NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships have been awarded to Eugene through 2021. The NCAA website lists Eugene as the 2019 site.

Brad Garrett, OSAA assistant executive director, said Oregon high school officials are aware there could be possible conflicts between the state meet and the renovation at some point.

But, Garrett said, "we have not been informed by the University of Oregon that Hayward Field is not a viable site for us in 2019."

-- Ken Goe


Team USA Wins 10th DecáNation Title

Angers, FRANCE -- For the tenth time in 13 years of participation, Team USATF earned top honors at France’s international decathlon event, DecáNation. Twenty elite athletes competed for the U.S. on Saturday, totaling 122 points for the U.S. France took second with 103 points, followed by Poland in third with 95.

American women finished first in the 100m, 200m and 400m (both by Courtney Okolo), 2,000m and 100m hurdles. On the men’s side, Team USATF dominated the 200m, pole vault, long jump and shot put. Jesse Garn made his national team debut and finished second in the men’s 800m.

Olympic medalist and 2017 World Champion Sam Kendricks capped off his undefeated season with a final win at 5.75m/18-10.25.

The 13th annual DecáNation was established in 2005 by the French Athletics Association. Click here for full results.

2017 DecáNation Team USATF Roster - Women

Event

First Name

Last Name

Hometown

100m

Barbara

Pierre

Orlando, FL

200m

Courtney

Okolo

Carrollton, TX

400m

Courtney

Okolo

Carrollton, TX

800m

Kenyetta

Iyevbele

Charlotte, NC

2000m

Shannon

Rowbury

San Francisco, CA

Triple Jump

Andrea

Geubelle

University Place, WA

High Jump

Elizabeth

Patterson

Rowlett, TX

Discus

Gia

Lewis-Smallwood

Champaign, IL

100mH

Kristi

Castlin

Douglasville, GA

Hammer

DeAnna

Price

Old Monroe, MO

2017 DecáNation Team USATF Roster - Men

Event

First Name

Last Name

Hometown

100m

Beejay

Lee

West Covina, CA

200m

Beejay

Lee

West Covina, CA

400m

Vernon

Norwood

Morgan City, LA

800m

Jesse

Garn

Marcellus, NY

2000m

Donald

Cabral

Glastonbury, CT

Long Jump

Michael

Hartfield

Manchester, CT

Pole Vault

Sam

Kendricks

Oxford, MS

Javelin

Riley

Dolezal

Stanley, ND

110mH

Aleec

Harris

Atlanta, GA

Shot Put

Ryan

Crouser

Boring, OR


Track star from LI honored with key to Hempstead village

The Hempstead Village board of trustees presented Charlene Lipsey, a Hempstead High School graduate and track star, with the key to the village last week.

Lipsey, a 2009 high school graduate who went to Louisiana State University, ran 800 meters in 1:57:38 in July, the sixth-fastest women’s time in U.S. history, according to village officials.

She holds eight records in women’s track and field at Hempstead High School, officials said, and set four Nassau County high school women’s records. 

Several people in the packed audience last week wore blue T-shirts emblazoned with her last name as Mayor Don Ryan handed over the key.

“When Charlene runs, she runs for all of us,” said Michael Higgins, her high school track coach and guidance counselor. “She represents Hempstead.”

Lipsey said she thinks of the village when she’s running in events across the globe.

“When you see your community support you, it’s no better feeling,” she said.


Does Track & Field Have a A Money Problem?

Stuart McMillan outlines why he think athletics has "a problem" when it comes to money including prize winnings

Stuart McMillan, the coach of Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, posted his thoughts regarding prize money in the sport of track and field to social media on Sunday. “Our sport has a problem,” he says.

He compares winnings in athletics to those of tennis, specifically the IAAF Diamond League Final and the U.S. Open. The Arizona-based coach has mentored Andre De Grasse since the 22-year-old joined ALTIS, a high-performance training group, back in late 2015. De Grasse went on to win three medals at the Rio Olympics and was a medal favourite for the 2017 IAAF World Championships before withdrawing due to injury.

“I started writing this a couple of weeks ago,” the Canadian coach says. “Some recent twitter interaction has motivated me to finish, and post it.”

Full post

“Our sport has a problem.

On August 24, in Zurich, [Switzerland], 23-year-old British sprinter CJ [Chijindu] Ujah won the finale of the most elite competitive series that this sport has to offer – the IAAF Diamond League.

In perhaps the most competitive event, in perhaps the world’s most competitive sport, at what is supposedly the year’s premier Series Final, CJ [Chijindu] took home $50,000 for winning.

Second place finisher, Ben Meité, won [US]$20,000.

For finishing fourth, World Champion Justin Gatlin won $6,000.

Fourth place…

In arguably the world’s most competitive event in the most competitive sport; the event which – along with the Heavyweight Champion in boxing – has historically captured the imagination of the entire world like no other…. $6,000.

In the currently finishing US Open of tennis – one of four yearly Major Series competitions in the sport – 23-year-old Japanese player Taro Daniel lost to Rafael Nadal in the second round. Daniel is ranked number 121 in the world in men’s singles. The US Open was his first ever. In his young career, he has won 14 ATP matches (the ATP World Tour is the tennis equivalent of the IAAF Diamond League – but with FAR more competitors in a FAR less competitive sport, played in FAR less countries, by FAR less people), while losing 29. He has won zero career titles, and has never advanced past the 2nd round at a Major.

For winning a total of one match at this year’s US Open, Daniel won $50,000.

The 4th place finisher won $920,000 – 150 times that won by Gatlin.

Our sport has a problem.”


Bolt Foundation To Organize Marathon In Jamaica

Jamaican multiple Olympic and World Champion Usian Bolt got associated with the Jamaican National Association in a fusion to organize the 3rd edition of the marathon for ˜Athletics for a Better World'', powered by the IAAF, which is part of a campaign called ''Heroes in Action''.
The Usain Bolt Foundation will join forces with Athletics for a Better World to inspire positive social change through education, cultural development and sport.

'Athletics for a Better World' is the IAAF's social responsibility programme, which provides organizations and people with a platform to use the universality of athletics to make a positive difference around the world.

As part of 'Athletics for a Better World', the Usain Bolt Foundation will be able to utilise the IAAF's global reach, marketing channels and sporting credibility to spread their message and reach more young people than ever before.

The event will feature a central motto 'Run for our Heroes,' and proceeds collected will go to the Trelawny Elderly Hospital in the northern town of Falmouth to update and renovate the facility housing 62 seniors.

'Our elders should be appreciated; without their sacrifice we would not do these initiatives today,' Usain Bolt said in a statement.

Saffrey Brown, general manager of the Association, said that the alliance with the founding of the Olympic and World Champion will be a success, as both institutions promote cultural development for a positive change in society, through educational opportunities.

With the support of the Ministries of Health and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the race-walk will be held on October 15 from the Falmouth cruise port, with a scheduled start at 07:00 local time.


Will Kiryu's Be The 1st Of Many Japanese Sub-10s?

Yoshihide Kiryu, a 21-year-old Toyo University student who became the first Japanese sprinter to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds on Sept. 9, was renowned for his speed from an early age.

His swiftness of foot earned him the nickname “Jetto Kiryu,” which is pronounced the same as the Japanese word for “jet stream.” It’s a pun on the word “kiryu,” which also means "air current."

But he was not overwhelmingly faster than other children of his age, and he once finished second in an elementary school race. Surprisingly enough, he was a goalkeeper for the soccer club he belonged to.

Kiryu started devoting himself to sprinting after he entered junior high school.

His high school had such a small training field that it was impossible to run 100 meters in a straight line. But he surprised the nation when he was a third-year high school student by running 100 meters in 10.01 seconds, the second best ever for a Japanese sprinter.

Until it was broken by Kiryu on Sept. 9, the best Japanese 100-meter time was 10.00 seconds, set in 1998 by Koji Ito.

For the almost two decades after that, many talented Japanese sprinters strived to set a new record without success: The 10-second wall seemed unbreakable for Japanese sprinters.

In the track and field world, Japan used to be known for its penchant for a “rocket start,” or an explosive initial spurt, in sprints, according to Senshi Fukashiro, a 62-year-old University of Tokyo professor who is well-versed in running theories.

That approach involves putting the most energy into the first of the three phases of the 100-meter sprint--acceleration, maximum velocity and speed maintenance.

Until the end of the 1960s, the “rocket start” strategy was regarded as the “most Japanese way of losing” in 100-meter sprints.

Theoretically, a sprinter’s speed is not determined solely by his or her physique. One vital factor for a sprinter’s performance is how well he or she can use the muscles that are important for acceleration and deceleration.

Japanese sprinters could log world-class performances depending on the “sharpness” in the ways they move their waist, according to the expert.

In the Western track and field community, running one mile under four minutes was once considered a “brick wall” and humanly impossible.

In 1954, however, British athlete Roger Bannister became the first runner to pull off the feat in a transcendent moment in sports history. Then, more than 20 runners swiftly followed him in running the mile in less than four minutes.

Now that the 10-second barrier for Japanese sprinters has been broken, many others could overcome the challenge in a short period of time.

I have the gut feeling that Kiryu’s great achievement will usher in a great season of blossoms for Japanese sprinters.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 10

 

* * *

Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.


Usain Bolt Says He Would Beat Aussie Icon Ian Thorpe In Swim Race

We were already treated to a much-hyped clash of the titans in the form of 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps racing a Great White Shark to kick-off this year’s Shark Week on the Discovery Network. But another unexpected, high-profile battle may indeed be brewing.

While at an ‘Optus Speed Of Bolt’ party event in Sydney, Australia over the weekend, Olympic icons Ian Thorpe and recently retired track star Usain Bolt were speaking to the crowd when Bolt decided to throw out his hypothetical racing predictions. The Jamaican sprinter and reigning fastest man in the world told the audience that he can swim faster than 5-time Olympic gold medalist Thorpe, the man who owned 3 world records at one time and still owns two Australian long course national records in the 200m and 400m freestyle.

“First of all, I can swim faster than you,” Bolt said. “Are you ready for this? Let me say something, let’s analyse this. First of all, I’m taller than him which means my legs are longer than his, my shoulders are broader than yours and my hand reach is longer than yours, that’s three things that prove I can swim faster than him.

“You can probably do freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, whatever, but I can run on water, easy.” (The Sunday Telegraph)

Thorpe, along with the 400 VIP guests in attendance, reportedly responded to the statements with silence, which led the MC to comment, “Ian Thorpe came here to interview Usain Bolt, but Usain Bolt ended up interviewing Usain Bolt.”


De Grasse's Coach Says Track Has A Money Problem

Stuart McMillan outlines why he think athletics has "a problem" when it comes to money including prize winnings

Stuart McMillan, the coach of Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, posted his thoughts regarding prize money in the sport of track and field to social media on Sunday. “Our sport has a problem,” he says.

He compares winnings in athletics to those of tennis, specifically the IAAF Diamond League Final and the U.S. Open. The Arizona-based coach has mentored Andre De Grasse since the 22-year-old joined ALTIS, a high-performance training group, back in late 2015. De Grasse went on to win three medals at the Rio Olympics and was a medal favourite for the 2017 IAAF World Championships before withdrawing due to injury.

“I started writing this a couple of weeks ago,” the Canadian coach says. “Some recent twitter interaction has motivated me to finish, and post it.”

Full post

“Our sport has a problem.

On August 24, in Zurich, [Switzerland], 23-year-old British sprinter CJ [Chijindu] Ujah won the finale of the most elite competitive series that this sport has to offer – the IAAF Diamond League.

In perhaps the most competitive event, in perhaps the world’s most competitive sport, at what is supposedly the year’s premier Series Final, CJ [Chijindu] took home $50,000 for winning.

Second place finisher, Ben Meité, won [US]$20,000.

For finishing fourth, World Champion Justin Gatlin won $6,000.

Fourth place…

In arguably the world’s most competitive event in the most competitive sport; the event which – along with the Heavyweight Champion in boxing – has historically captured the imagination of the entire world like no other…. $6,000.

In the currently finishing US Open of tennis – one of four yearly Major Series competitions in the sport – 23-year-old Japanese player Taro Daniel lost to Rafael Nadal in the second round. Daniel is ranked number 121 in the world in men’s singles. The US Open was his first ever. In his young career, he has won 14 ATP matches (the ATP World Tour is the tennis equivalent of the IAAF Diamond League – but with FAR more competitors in a FAR less competitive sport, played in FAR less countries, by FAR less people), while losing 29. He has won zero career titles, and has never advanced past the 2nd round at a Major.

For winning a total of one match at this year’s US Open, Daniel won $50,000.

The 4th place finisher won $920,000 – 150 times that won by Gatlin.

Our sport has a problem.”


Appeal set for Usain Bolt relay teammate’s doping case

Nesta Carter, whose 2008 doping case caused Usain Bolt to be stripped of an Olympic gold medal in January, will have his appeal against that disqualification heard Nov. 15.

The case — Carter v. the International Olympic Committee — is set for the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On Jan. 25, it was announced that the Jamaican sprinter was retroactively disqualified from the Beijing Games after retests of his 2008 doping samples came back positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

In accordance with doping rules, that meant the entire Jamaican 2008 Olympic 4x100m team was stripped of its medals, since Carter was part of the quartet. It brought Bolt’s Olympic gold-medal tally down from nine to eight, one shy of the track and field record shared by Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi.

The stimulant methylhexaneamine was not named on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list in 2008 (it is now), but, according to the IOC:

Methylhexaneamine fell within the scope of the general prohibition of stimulants having a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect as the listed stimulants. Under the then applicable system, stimulants which were not expressly listed, were presumed to be Non-Specified Prohibited Substances.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) has confirmed that the presence or use of substances falling within the scope of generic definitions of the Prohibited List, can be used as a basis of establishing anti-doping rules violations.

In June 2016, “Carter alleged that he had never ingested or taken a substance known as or containing methylhexaneamine,” and later claimed that a retest of a 2008 sample in 2016 was “unduly late,” according to the IOC. The IOC can order to retest samples for up to 10 years after an Olympics, upped from eight years in 2015.

Bolt said in February that if he was stripped of the gold medal before the Rio Games, he might have considered continuing his career through Tokyo 2020 rather than retire in 2017.

“Even if I lose all my relay gold medals, for me, I did what I had to do, my personal goals,” Bolt said. “That’s what counts.”

Carter’s attorney said he first appealed the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February.


Edinburgh A Future Street Meet Site?

Andy Butchart insists it is time to bring street racing to Princes Street after he rounded off his summer campaign at Saturday’s Great CityGames in Gateshead.

Conceived originally for television, the concept has been lauded by IAAF supremo Seb Coe as a means to expand athletics appeal beyond its traditional audience, with Butchart seventh over a mile at the traditional season finale by the banks of the Tyne. And the world 5,000m finalist believes there are suitable spaces in Edinburgh and Glasgow that would provide the perfect backdrop to export the idea northward.

“It would be so good to have this down Princes Street. It would be ‘wow’. And it means a lot to me to run at home.”

There have been trials before with the pole vault staged in Glasgow’s George Square as a separate attraction when a Diamond League meeting was held at Hampden Park in 2014.


Silas Kiplagat To Highlight Aussie Street Mile

The lure of $1 Million to break the world mile track record has attracted a record international field for this Sunday’s Lottoland Mitchell Street Million Dollar Mile.

Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss, today confirmed the men’s elite mile race will be a world-class field with Kenyan champion, Silas Kiplagat, set to line up.

“We are thrilled to announce Commonwealth Games 1500 metres gold medallist, Silas Kiplagat will be travelling to Darwin for the 2017 Mitchell Street Million Dollar Mile,” said Ms Moss.

“Kiplagat has a personal best of 3 minutes 27.64 seconds for 1500 metres and will be joined by Kazuyoshi Tamogami and Ryunosuke Hayashi from Japan, ensuring the men’s elite mile race will be the most competitive ever.

“We are also excited to announce the women’s elite race will also have an international flavour with New Zealand’s Camille Buscomb to create some trans-Tasman rivalry with our Aussie champs.

“This record number of international athletes will help put the Mitchell Street Mile on the world stage while showcasing our vibrant Darwin CBD to potential overseas visitors.”

Major sponsor, Lottoland is offering $1 Million for any elite athlete who can break the male or female track mile world records during this year’s event on Sunday 17 September.

For the men that time is 3:43.13 set by Hicham El Euerrouj in 1999 while the women’s is 4:12:56 set by Svetlana Masterkova in 1996.


Sprinter Kiryu's long, hard journey to breaking 10-second barrier

On Sept. 9, Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu successfully managed to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters -- setting a new Japanese record of 9.98 seconds in an intercollegiate race at Fukui Prefectural Athletic Park in Fukui Prefecture.

However, in the years building up to this impressive milestone, Kiryu has had to overcome a number of obstacles and hardships.

For example, in June this year, the sprinter failed to qualify in the individual 100-meter race for the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London in August, after finishing fourth at the National Athletics Championships in Osaka. The result was hugely disappointing for Kiryu, and for a week afterward he couldn't even bring himself to train.

Yet driven by a hatred of losing, he soon managed to pick himself up. He was back on the running track before long, working on an intensive training program sprinting 50 meters 70 times per day. "If you're weak, just come back stronger. No matter how much criticism I might have to face, the goal of rising to the occasion in three years' time (for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics) is much stronger," Kiryu says.

Despite failing to qualify as individual runner for the World Championships in London, there was compensation for Kiryu as he managed to earn a bronze medal as one of the runners in Japan's 4x100-meter relay team.

However, soon after acquiring the bronze medal in London, there was another twist. A spasm in his left hamstring meant that his training program prior to last weekend's intercollegiate meet became somewhat restricted. Still, Kiryu managed to fit in some training, explaining, "My summer ended on a frustrating note, but in a way, that made me even more determined to train."

Kiryu first became interested in athletics when he was in the fifth grade at elementary school. He was inspired by the sight of his older brother running a 100-meter race, and thought to himself, "I want be a fast runner like my brother."

After entering junior high school, he took up sprinting seriously. At the time, he was slightly smaller than the other pupils, and wasn't even the fastest runner in his year. Nevertheless, driven by a loathing of defeat, he tried harder than the other students, and his efforts began to pay off. As his mentor at the time, 49-year-old Akihiko Okuda, recalls: "In relay races, Kiryu would always try to catch up with any runners in front of him, no matter how big the gap."

Following a growth spurt, his performances improved considerably and he began running at unprecedented speeds. However, this could only be done by imposing a tremendous burden on his body, and injury issues surfaced.

He pulled a thigh muscle and incurred a chip fracture in his lumbar spine during junior high school, and developed plantar fasciitis and lumbar spondylolysis in high school. He even took part in one tournament after having inserted suppositories.

In 2013, while in the third grade at Rakunan High School, Kiryu became injured soon after recording the second fastest time in Japanese running history of 10.01 seconds, and missed out on selection for the national team in 2014 and 2015. He remembers being pointed at one day outside a convenience store with the person saying to him: "Hey, it's the guy who used to be fast."

Being referred to in the past tense was a difficult thing to hear. But Kiryu did not give up. He set about improving his condition by eating vegetables that he hated, and enhanced his body strength by running up steep hills in such an intensive manner that fellow athletes would often end up vomiting.

Since 2016, Kiryu has had no major injuries, and managed to achieve a silver medal in the 4x100-meter relay race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

On Sept. 9 he became the first Japanese person to run the 100 meters in less than 10 seconds. Immediately after the race, which was the last of his university years, Kiryu said, "I feel all kinds of emotions after achieving this kind of time. Since entering university, lots of things have not gone well. But I'm happy to have recorded this sort of time at this tournament."

With his positive disposition, Kiryu is referred to by his friends as a "Latino," and after his historic milestone on Sept. 9, his cheerful expression was present once again.


Usain Bolt mulls Mayweather-style comeback

He’s the fastest man in the world who hung up his spikes last month, but Usain Bolt has no plans to come out of retirement unless it’s guaranteed to be as big as an ordeal as Floyd Mayweather’s recent comeback to defend his title against Conor McGregor.

Speaking to Fairfax Media from Sydney, where he is spending time as ambassador of Optus, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist said that although he is enjoying putting his feet up, he could be coaxed back on the track.

Sprint champion Usain Bolt opened up about his next career move at a charity event in Japan.

“It’s not on the cards right now … I just want to be a bum and I have sponsorship work to do … but you never know, if a big bout comes up, you never know where I might show up,” he laughed.

“If it is something like a Floyd Mayweather comeback, I’ll be back.”

At the age of just 31, the Jamaican is open to moving from athletics into another sport, but there’s no point in McGregor rubbing his hands together in glee with dollar signs in his eyes over another potential cross-sport dust-up.

“Not fighting, no, the sport it could be is football as a massive Manchester United fan, we’ll see,” he said.

The sprinter’s final race last month at the World Athletic Championships was not the fairytale ending he had hoped for his stellar career when he took a dramatic tumble during the 4x100m relay with a torn tendon in his hamstring.

But he said it doesn’t define him as he focuses on recovery.

“For me, I am definitely happy, it doesn’t change anything, so for me I am trying to relax now and take it easy and do some work outside of track and field.

“I can’t do anything physical for the next month, but by the end of the month, I’ll be fine to start moving around again – playing football and running and stuff.”

He’s been to Australia “many times” but said he was looking forward to “chilling” for a few days and getting to see the sites – mainly the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour.

Despite being offered many global sponsorship roles, he chose Optus because it was most like him.

“Innovative, very competitive and the fastest,” he said. (NAN)


Farah to run London Marathon as new adventure starts

LONDON (Reuters) - British track great Mo Farah said he wants to start “a new adventure” after confirming on Sunday he will compete in next year’s London Marathon.

Farah, who won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and won six world titles at those distances, ended his track career this year to concentrate on road running.

He will compete in the London Marathon for the third time.

“I can’t wait to start a new adventure racing on the roads in 2018, starting with the world’s greatest marathon,” Farah said after winning the Great North Run for a fourth time.

“The London Marathon is my home race and it is so special to me. The previous times I have taken part (in 2013 and 2014) were amazing.  The atmosphere on the course was unbelievable.”

“When I decided to concentrate solely on the roads from 2018 I knew that I wanted this to be my first marathon. I can’t wait for next April and will be training as hard as ever over the coming months to ensure I‘m in the best shape possible.”

The 34-year-old ran only half the race in 2013 to gain experience but completed the whole distance a year later when he finished eighth in two hours eight minutes 21 seconds. He has not run one since, although he is the British record holder at the half marathon distance.

Farah delighted crowds on the north east coast near Newcastle on Sunday when he claimed victory in the Great North Run in a thrilling finish, edging out New Zealand’s Jake Robinson to win in one hour six seconds for the 13.1 mile route.

London Marathon winner Mary Keitany of Kenya won her third victory in the women’s race in 1:05:59.


Rasmussen: Place needed for remembering great feats

Let’s not place blame here, but let’s place a huge question mark.

Nobody seems to care that the world’s fastest man of 1926 grew up in North Platte and once sat in a classroom here as a student at North Platte High School.

Yes, he was destined to hold that title when Roland “Gip” Locke sat here in the classrooms of the local high school then perfected his craft in the 100-yard and 220-yard sprints on the cinder track of NPHS.

They say Locke’s best moment as a three-sport athlete came at the 1926 Drake Relays where he ran a world record 9.5 second, 100-yard dash on a cold wet day. A couple clocks had him at 9.4. He also owned the world record for the 220-yard dash at 20.5 seconds, which he set on May 1, 1926.

Before I started writing about him — before I put his name out there about 40 times over the past several years — there weren’t five people in this city who knew who Roland “Gip” Locke was and his name was fading fast.

Surely any sports-minded person any place in the world knows the name Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter, who until very recently was considered to be the world’s fastest man and the greatest sprinter of all time.

Back then it was Locke. Today it’s been Bolt.

In his day, Locke would have held those acknowledgments, although Bolt has had cyberspace and the Olympics and Locke had neither.

With due respect to officials at North Platte High School and the North Platte superintendents office I’m puzzled that there seems to be no interest whatsoever in maintaining any kind of remembrance of Roland Locke and his world class accomplishments.

It’s not as if they are not aware. I presented a plan many months ago showing a simple design on the walls of the high school hallway along the gym corridor where stand-alone accomplishments never equaled since by other student-athletes could be displayed.

Let’s call it a Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition to Gip Locke I suggested:

» Cindy Tatum, who collected nine all-class gold medals at the state tournament. At the time of her graduation, she held state records in the 50-, 100- and 220-yard dashes. That stands alone among NPHS grads for 40 years.

» Zane Smith, who pitched for 13 years in the major leagues and won 100 games over that span, and led the Atlanta Braves with 15 wins in 1987. Thirteen years in the majors stands alone among NPHS grads.

» Val Skinner who won six tournaments on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour. That stands alone among NPHS grads.

» And this: The great sprinters, turned relay team of Newton, Parks, Reed and Drost were strong competition in every meet they attended and their reputations continued to accelerate as they attended the Five State Track and Field Meet in Des Moines in April 1936. High school hot shots from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois wrangled for spots in the show.

Fifty-seven high schools and numerous colleges were there for the event they called the Olympic Meet of the United States. Newton, Reed, Parks and Drost took home the gold in the 440-meter and 880-meter relays with times that had only been equaled three times in the 27 years of competition in that exceptionally talent-laden event. Take a minute to absorb that accomplishment by those Bulldog athletes.

When athletes at the high school accomplish something that has never been done before and likely will never be done again shouldn’t they have a place of honor for posterity so their legacy will not be forgotten?

Shouldn’t there be a NPHS Sports Hall of Fame for these athletes?

I offered to go to Lincoln and sort out a good photo of Locke, pay for the photo and the framing and donate it to the high school.

School officials replied to my letter, said they would run it through the system and keep me in the loop.

That’s been many months ago and it seems the project has gone nowhere within the school system.

Friends, I blame nobody. School officials have many important projects to deal with.

I just ask the question again that I’ve been asking for the past many years: Why is there no recognition on the walls of North Platte High School for this world champion sprinter, the world’s fastest man.

I’m 15 months away from 80 years old and I’m the only person who ever talks about it. Obviously I’m the only person who cares. It’s obviously OK for Gip’s memory and his title as the world’s fastest man to pass with me, never to be mentioned again.

Well, I guess there’s this: In the far southwest corner of the North Platte cemetery right off the corner of the road, Gip was buried there at the age of 49, back in 1952 — 65 years ago — with his world-record times on his grave stone.

Gip, it looks like your people are the only ones who cared to remember you.

Well, I’ve decided I can’t give up on Locke’s legacy without doing something, so even without the authorization of the school I’m going to go to Lincoln, find a proper photo of Locke, have it framed, prepare a text message to tell his story and have it framed with the photo. Then, I’ll take it to the school and request they find a prominent place to hang the photo.

I expect the size of the photo to be prominent, and any help with the cost of the photo and framing will be welcome. Does anyone know where to locate Joe Odegard?

Then I’ll deliver the framed photo to the office of the activities director and request the director find a prominent place to display the photo so all students can become familiar with the great, once-in-a-lifetime member of the North Platte High School student body (1921), the one-time world’s fastest man: Roland “Gip” Locke.

If for some reason they have no interest in putting that on the wall in a prominent place, then maybe they can explain that to me.


Jenny Simpson wins and Laura Weightman‏ runs British road mile best in New York

American races to a record sixth victory at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, while Nick Willis takes men’s title ahead of Chris O’Hare

Jenny Simpson and Nick Willis claimed victory at Sunday’s New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, where Laura Weightman ran a big PB to break the British road mile best.

USA’s multiple global 1500m medallist Simpson clocked 4:16.6 for a record-extending sixth win, her time matching the course record run by PattiSue Plumer in 1990, while New Zealand’s two-time Olympic medallist Willis won his fourth men’s title in 3:51.3.

Behind them, British athletes claimed both runner-up spots, with world sixth-placer Weightman running 4:17.6 for the fastest ever road mile by a British woman and world finalist O’Hare clocking a PB of 3:52.0.

“What a finish to the what has been an amazing season …. 2nd in @nyrr 5th Ave mile 4:17.62. British road mile best,” Weightman wrote on Twitter.

Simpson said: “I thought the course record would have been out of reach for my whole career, so I’m really proud to have equaled it.

“I’ve had all the range of emotions before on 5th Avenue. I’ve finished this race before and cried because the season felt so long. I’ve finished this race before and hoped there was another race the next week. I feel so appropriately in the middle of those two emotions right now.”

Behind Weightman and O’Hare, other British athletes also impressed as Jessica Judd ran 4:18.3 to place third and move to second on the UK all-time list, while Eilish McColgan finished fifth in 4:19.20. Sarah McDonald was 15th in 4:29.

Jake Wightman was eighth in 3:52.90.


Olympic sprint legend Usain Bolt is rated a 75 in PES18… but has 99 for pace

Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 have made the Olympic sprinter faster than Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

USAIN BOLT will be the fastest player in Pro Evolution Soccer 2018.

The Olympic gold medalist has been included in the game despite not being a professional footballer.

Fans who pre-order the game will be able to select Bolt, who has the max score of 99 for speed and explosive power.

The Olympic sprinter is ahead of the second fastest player: Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang has 97 for his score of speed along with 96 for explosive power.

Bolt, 31, has always been a massive football fan and has often expressed his love for Manchester United.

Bolt was set to shock the world just last year when he considered hanging up his running shoes in favour of lacing up a pair of football boots to train with Borussia Dortmund.

Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms said: “If you ask him he will want to play football and because he has said that we have had a dozen clubs who would like him to go for a trial with them.

“I don’t want to name names but he will go to Dortmund because the CEO of Puma, who is a good friend of ours, is on the board at Borussia Dortmund. He will go to train with them.”

Bolt completed his last race at the the World Championships in London last month before retiring.

Yet it wasn’t the sending off Bolt had hoped for as American Justin Gatlin beat him to gold in the 100 metres.

Yet since the Jamaican superstar has retired the rumours of him trying a potential career in football haven't stopped.

And PES could be influencing him to make that dream reality as he now features on the game.

PES 2018 is set to be released in England on September 14.


UPDATE: Athletes In Early Morning Hope Road Crash Identified

The athletes involved in a crash early this morning on Hope Road, St Andrew in which one died and the other hospitalised in serious condition have been identified.

Dead is Jordan Scott who attended the University of Technology (UTECH). He previously attended the Petersfield High School in Westmoreland.

Michael Campbell, who was a member of the 4x100m relay team in London, has been hospitalised in serious condition.

Head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Calvin Allen, said the two persons were travelling in a Honda Civic towards Papine on Hope Road about 4:45 a.m. when on reaching near the intersection with Lady Musgrave Road, the driver reportedly lost control of the motor car.

Allen said the Honda Civic crashed into the concrete median and then burst into flames after hitting a wooden utility pole.

Both persons in the ill-fated car were rescued from the inferno where one was pronounced dead at hospital and the other one admitted in serious condition.

Investigations continue.


Jamaican athlete dies in car crash

A Jamaican athlete is dead after a fiery crash on Hope Road in St Andrew this morning.

Reports reaching OBSERVER ONLINE are that the athlete is Jordon Scott, who was travelling with MVP clubmate Michael Campbell.

Campbell, who represented Jamaica’s 4×100 relay team in the heats of the World Championships earlier this year, survived the crash and is currently in hospital.

The police are reporting that 21-year-old Scott was the driver of a white Honda Civic, which spun out of control about 4:45 am today. The former Petersfield and Manning’s High athlete, who hailed from Savanna-La-Mar, was a student of the University of Technology (UTech).

Scott’s coach, Machel Woolery, says his most memorable moment was him leading Petersfield to victory in the 4x400m relay over favourites St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) in 2015. The 400m runner had a personal best of 48.01.

The vehicle reportedly crashed into a utility pole before being engulfed in flames. Scott’s body was severely burnt.


Simpson & Willis Win 5th Ave Mile Yet Again

Jenny Simpson Races to Record-Extending Sixth Win at New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, as Nick Willis Grabs Record Fourth Victory

Record-number 7,664 total finishers race in 23 heats throughout the day

New York, September 10, 2017—The USA’s Jenny Simpson raced to her record-extending sixth win – matching the event-record time of 4:16.6 in the process – and New Zealand’s Nick Willis took the tape in 3:51.3, tying the men’s record with his fourth event title, at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on Sunday, September 10.

In the world’s largest and longest running road mile race, 31-year-old Simpson won for the sixth time – the fifth time consecutively – with her time of 4:16.6 matching PattiSue Plummer’s event record from 1990. It was also new personal-best time for Simpson, who ended her 2017 season on the top of the podium after having already won silver over 1500 meters at August’s IAAF World Championships in London.

“I thought the course record would have been out of reach for my whole career, so I’m really proud to have equaled it,” Simpson said. “I’ve had all the range of emotions before on 5th Avenue. I’ve finished this race before and cried because the season felt so long. I’ve finished this race before and hoped there was another race the next week. I feel so appropriately in the middle of those two emotions right now.”

Great Britain’s Laura Weightman, 26, took second in the women’s race in her second appearance on 5th Avenue, clocking in at 4:17.6. Her compatriot Jessica Judd, 22, was third in 4:18.3 in her event debut. Both times were personal bests for the British women.

Willis, 34, won his fourth event title to add to his victories from 2008, 2013, and 2015. The-four time Olympian, who trains in Ann Arbor, MI, is now tied with Spain’s Isaac Viciosia for the most men’s 5th Avenue Mile titles.

Great Britain’s Chris O’Hare, 26, finished as the men’s runner-up for the second time in three years, clocking in at 3:52.0. Ben Blankenship, 27, was the top American finisher on the men’s side, finishing third overall in a personal-best time of 3:52.3.

In total, 7,664 finishers crossed the finish line at this year’s New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, the most ever in the 37-year history of the event. The previous record number of total finishers was 6,330, set in 2015. Twenty-three races took place throughout the day, including specialty heats such as the Youth Wheelchair Invitational, George Sheehan Memorial Mile for seniors, the Media Mile, the NYPD/FDNY Mile and the New Balance 5 Borough Mile, which brought together teams of 20 runners from each of New York City’s five boroughs in a race to prove which borough is the fastest. Brooklyn was the winning borough of the first-ever New Balance 5 Borough Mile, while NYRR Team for Kids Ambassadors Tiki Barber, Sam Ryan, and Nev Schulman all participated in the Media Mile and will be racing the TCS New York City Marathon later this year.


Youth Sports In A Crisis?

WASHINGTON -- Between skyrocketing costs, sport specialization and coaches needing training, youth sports is in the midst of a crisis, according to new data published Wednesday by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and the Aspen Institute.

Athletic participation for kids ages 6 through 12 is down almost 8 percent over the last decade, according to SFIA and Aspen data, and children from low-income households are half as likely to play one day's worth of team sports than children from households earning at least $100,000.

"Sports in America have separated into sport-haves and have-nots," said Tom Farrey, executive director of Aspen's Sports & Society program. The group released its research at its annual Project Play Summit on Wednesday in Washington. "All that matters is if kids come from a family that has resources. If you don't have money, it's hard to play."

Almost 45 percent of kids ages 6 to 12 played a team sport regularly in 2008, according to Aspen data. Now only about 37 percent of kids do.

Experts blame that trend on what they call an "up or out" mentality in youth sports. Travel leagues, ones that can sometimes cost thousands of dollars to join, have crept into increasingly younger age groups, and choose the most talented kids for their teams.

The kids left behind either grow unsatisfied on regular recreational teams or get the message that the sport isn't for them, Farrey said.

One of the conference's main goals is to enable informal play and encourage kids to play more than one sport. Aspen, a nonprofit think tank, introduced a partnership with Major League Baseball, the NBA, Nike and a dozen other industry groups to pursue those strategies.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the keynote speaker, said he had spoken with the NBA, NFL and NHL commissioners and they agreed, "the best athlete is a kid who played multiple sports."

But pursuit of a college athletic scholarship has "reshaped" the youth sports landscape, Farrey said, and placed an earlier emphasis on winning and elite skill development that often forces children to select one sport at an early age.

That has pushed hypercompetitive selection processes into younger age groups - some basketball analysts rank the nation's best kindergartners - and ravaged traditional recreational leagues whose purpose is to get kids playing rather than winning games.

That has caused major losses for the "big four" American youth sports: baseball, basketball, soccer and football (both tackle and flag). All four sports have suffered the most severe losses of any of the 15 team sports SFIA and Aspen surveyed.

The only sports that saw growth over the past eight years were golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, and track and field.

Those declines have sent leagues and the nonprofits that support them scrambling to attract kids' attention - often away from video games - and sweeten the deal for parents who sign their kids up for sports.

"We go out and we have to sell our program whether we charge or not," said Lawrence Cann, founder of Street Soccer USA, a nonprofit that develops local soccer clubs.

"You can't stick a kid in right field and he touches the ball once or twice a game," Farrey said. "That's not the same level of excitement as you can get on a video game."

But money, measured in average household income, is the largest indicator of whether a child is going to be physically active or play sports, the data shows.

And whether children are physically active, Farrey said, is another of the largest indicators as to what kind of adult that child will become.

"There's reams and reams of research on this," he said. "Kids who are physically active are less likely to be obese. They're better in the classroom. They go to college. They're more likely to be active parents. And because of that, their kids are more active."

Children from households making less than $25,000 a year are half as likely to have played a day's worth of team sports as kids from households making at least $100,000, according to Aspen and SFIA's data.

Youth sports make up a $15 billion industry, according to a recent Time Magazine cover story, between costs for equipment, uniforms, travel, lodging, registration fees and so much more. And as elite travel teams reach into younger age groups, coaching often becomes privatized, too.

"There's been this presumption that youth sports are exploding in this country and private clubs and trainers will pick up the slack," Farrey said. "For kids with resources, they have. But families without resources are getting left behind."

And those travel teams and private skills coaches can also drive up costs for traditional rec leagues, experts say.

Teams are in a constant fight for practice space, especially in urban areas, and affluent leagues often outbid rec leagues for use of the best fields in the most convenient locations, said former San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza. He is also the president of the Urban Soccer Leadership Academy.

Another of youth sports' largest challenges: finding qualified coaches. According to SFIA and Aspen data, seven in 10 youth sports coaches are not trained in six core competencies required to be a qualified coach. Those competencies are general safety and injury prevention, effective motivational techniques, CPR and basic first aid, physical conditioning, concussion management, and sport-specific skills and tactics. At the summit, Aspen described the issue as a public health concern.

There is also barely any diversity in the youth coaching ranks. More than 70 percent of youth coaches for both boys' and girls' sports are male. Half of all coaches' households make at least $100,000 per year.

Farrey said those kinds of trends make sports look like they are for some kids, those with enough money and superior skill, and not everyone. He hopes Aspen's new coalition of sport organizations will help more kids gain access to fun athletic experiences.

"Success looks like every kid in this country having the opportunity to play sports," he said, "and develop habits of physical activity for their lifetime."

-- The Washington Post


Coaches, athletes put sports aside as Irma approaches

Growing up in Fort Pierce and on the Treasure Coast, Florida State cross country runner Caleb Pottorff has experienced his share of severe weather. Last year, Hurricane Matthew brushed to the city's east by 35 miles.

Pottorff is now bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, a storm known for his ravaging power and unpredictability.

Irma, once projected to head up Florida's east coast, is expected to batter Tallahassee with sustained tropical force winds and hurricane strength gusts from midnight through Monday afternoon.

"I definitely wasn't planning on a hurricane," Pottorff said Sunday afternoon.

Though Pottorff and many FSU student-athletes live off campus, the former high school state champion in cross country and track & field says the university, athletics program, coaches and support staff have remained in constant communication with student-athletes.

The university is closed through Friday and all athletic events have been canceled.

"Knowing no matter what happens - and if something goes way wrong - we know we have places we can go," said Pottorff, who has remained in touch with teammates and family members.

"Everyone feels comfortable no matter how worse it can be."

The Tucker Civic Center was scheduled to open as a shelter at 6 p.m. Sunday for students and athletes. FSU athletic facilities may also be utilized as shelters for student-athletes.

Pottorff also was among the many student-athletes who picked up an emergency packet of food, snacks and bottled water Saturday morning at the Moore Athletic Center.

Coaches across all sports have detailed lists on the whereabouts of all their athletes.

"We (teammates) been hanging out and texting each other to make sure everyone is good and everyone knows we have each other's back," Pottorff said. "That really helps."

Florida A&M sophomore pitcher Jake Lister's immediate thoughts Sunday were on his family in Bradenton.

Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm over the Florida Keys Sunday morning and continued its steady progress toward Bradenton and the Florida peninsula.

"They are sticking it out, and it's crazy right now; we are just praying for the best," said Lister, a four-year starter in baseball and basketball at Bradenton Christian who lives off-campus with his brother Sam.

Lister also has experienced his share of severe weather. He recalls as a child living in Kansas and taking shelter in the basement when a tornado was near.

Lister said FAMU has kept athletes and students updated on the status of Irma to ensure their safety.

On Saturday, the university informed students they were welcome to remain in the Rattlers' residential facilities and registered off-campus students with an ID could receive lodging and boxed meals at the Foster-Tanner Rehearsal Hall.

Lister said he and teammates have remained in contact vial a group text message and on social media. Lister said some players returned to their homes in south Florida last week.

"As of right now, we are doing to stay here (apartment)," Lister said.

"Each day it seems as if it (hurricane) has switched routes. But (the university) has made us a aware of what's going on, right off the bat."

Florida High football coach Jarrod Hickman sent out a text message to his assistant coaches and players Sunday morning to make sure everyone was accounted for and safe.

It's uncertain when area football teams will be able to resume practice in the aftermath of Irma. Florida High also is closed through Friday.

"The safety of everyone is first and foremost," Hickman said.

"Last year (after Hurricane Hermine hit the Big Bend) it took us a couple days before we could get back on the field. You first want to make sure everyone is okay and able to get there."


Can Usain Bolt Swim Faster Than Ian Thorpe?

WHEN Olympic legend Ian Thorpe was asked to interview Usain Bolt on stage in Sydney on Friday night, he didn’t think he would end up being challenged to race the track star in the pool.

The recently retired Jamaican sprinter and fastest man in the world wasted no time in telling Thorpey, a five-time Olympic gold medal winner, that he didn’t stand a chance.

“First of all, I can swim faster than you,” Bolt said, leaving the crowd of 400 VIPs at the Optus Speed Of Bolt party in shock.

“Are you ready for this? Let me say something, let’s analyse this. First of all, I’m taller than him which means my legs are longer than his, my shoulders are broader than yours and my hand reach is longer than yours, that’s three things that prove I can swim faster than him.

“You can probably do freestyle, back stroke, breaststroke, whatever, but I can run on water, easy.”

Thorpey was rendered speechless as Bolt took over the interview, leading MC Danny Clayton to later comment: “Ian Thorpe came here to interview Usain Bolt, but Usain Bolt ended up interviewing Usain Bolt.”

The 31-year-old, who made the most of the free-flowing Mumm champagne, took to the decks alongside The Avalanches, before returning later to command the stage with his dance moves, eyeing off women in the crowd.

“Sydney girls are so hot, so much hot,” he said. “There are very beautiful women here. I see you.”

Bolt then headed to the Ivy nightclub with a crew of men — and women — where he continued the party well into the night.


The Fastest Miles Annually In The Sub-4:00 Era

In ’16 Matthew Centrowitz won the slowest Olympic 1500 final in 84 years but
he also ran the fastest mile of the year at the Millrose Games (see below).
Centro became the first U.S. miler to lead the list since 2007. ’16 was the
first year of the "sub-4" era in which the fastest mile was run indoors.

  World Leaders Since The First Sub-4:00 In 1954

View American Best Chart | View U.S. Soil (All-Comers) Chart | Return To Archive
1954 3:57.9 WR John Landy AUS Turku 6/21/54
1955 3:59.0   Laslzo Tabori HUN London 5/28/55
1956 3:58.6   John Landy AUS Melbourne 1/28/56
      John Landy AUS Melbourne 4/7/56
      Jim Bailey AUS Los Angeles 5/5/56
1957 3:57.2 WR Derek Ibbotson GBR London 7/19/57
1958 3:54.5 WR Herb Elliott AUS Dublin 8/6/58
1959 3:56.5   Siegfried Valentin GDR Potsdam 5/28/59
1960 3:57.0   Herb Elliott AUS Dublin 9/23/60
1961 3:57.6   Dyrol Burleson USA Eugene 5/24/61
1962 3:54.4 WR Peter Snell NZL Wanganui 1/27/62
1963 3:54.9   Peter Snell NZL Modesto 5/25/63
1964 3:54.03 WR Peter Snell NZL Auckland 11/17/64
1965 3:53.6 WR Michel Jazy FRA Rennes 6/9/05
1966 3:51.3 WR Jim Ryun USA Berkeley 7/17/66
1967 3:51.1 WR Jim Ryun USA Bakersfield 6/23/67
1968 3:53.8   Bodo Tummler FRG Karlskrona 8/22/68
1969 3:55.9   Jim Ryun USA Los Angeles 6/7/69
1970 3:56.3   Roscoe Divine USA Eugene 6/5/70
1971 3:54.4   Kip Keino KEN Stockholm 7/6/71
1972 3:52.8   Jim Ryun USA Toronto 7/29/72
1973 3:52.17   Ben Jipcho KEN Stockholm 7/2/73
1974 3:53.2   Tony Waldrop USA Philadelphia 4/27/74
1975 3:49.4 WR John Walker NZL Goteborg 8/12/75
1976 3:53.07   John Walker NZL Stockholm 8/9/76
1977 3:52.0   John Walker NZL Dublin 7/11/77
1978 3:52.50   Thomas Wessinghage FRG Stockholm 7/3/78
1979 3:48.95 WR Seb Coe GBR Oslo 7/17/79
1980 3:48.8 WR Steve Ovett GBR Oslo 7/1/80
1981 3:47.33 WR Seb Coe GBR Bruxelles 8/28/81
1982 3:47.69   Steve Scott USA Oslo 7/7/82
1983 3:49.21   Steve Scott USA Berlin 8/17/83
1984 3:49.54   Said Aouita MAR Zurich 8/22/84
1985 3:46.32 WR Steve Cram GBR Oslo 7/27/85
1986 3:48.31   Steve Cram GBR Oslo 7/5/86
1987 3:46.76   Said Aouita MAR Helsinki 7/2/87
1988 3:48.85   Steve Cram GBR Oslo 7/2/88
1989 3:49.90   Abdi Bile SOM Oslo 7/1/89
1990 3:49.31   Joe Falcon USA Oslo 7/14/90
1991 3:49.12   Noureddine Morceli ALG Lausanne 7/10/91
1992 3:48.80   William Kemei KEN Berlin 8/21/92
1993 3:44.39 WR Noureddine Morceli ALG Rieti 9/5/93
1994 3:48.67   Noureddine Morceli ALG St. Petersburg 7/26/94
1995 3:45.19   Noureddine Morceli ALG Zurich 8/16/95
1996 3:48.15   Noureddine Morceli ALG Oslo 7/5/96
1997 3:44.90   Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Oslo 7/4/97
1998 3:44.60   Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Nice 7/16/98
1999 3:43.13 WR Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Roma 7/7/99
2000 3:45.96   Hicham El Guerrouj MAR London 8/5/00
2001 3:44.95   Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Roma 6/29/01
2002 3:48.28   Hicham El Guerrouj MAR Roma 7/12/02
2003 3:48.17   Paul Korir KEN London 8/8/03
2004 3:49.84   Paul Korir KEN London 7/30/04
2005 3:47.97   Dahame Bashir QAT Oslo 7/29/05
2006 3:50.32   Alex Kipchirchir KEN Oslo 6/2/06
2007 3:46.91   Alan Webb USA Brasschaat 7/21/07
2008 3:49.38   Andrew Baddeley GBR Oslo 6/6/08
2009 3:48.50   Asbel Kiprop KEN Eugene 6/7/09
2010 3:49.56   Asbel Kiprop KEN Oslo 6/4/10
2011 3:49.09   Haron Keitany KEN Eugene 6/4/11
2012 3:49.22   Asbel Kiprop KEN Oslo 6/7/12
2013 3:49.48   Silas Kiplagat KEN Eugene 6/1/13
2014 3:47.32   Ayanleh Souleiman DJI Eugene 5/31/14
2015 3:51.10   Ayanleh Souleiman DJI Eugene 5/30/15
2016 3:50.63i
3:51.48
  Matthew
Asbel
Centrowitz
Kiprop
USA
KEN
New York
Oslo
2/20/16
6/9/16
2017 3:49.04   Ronald Kwemoi KEN Eugene 5/27/17

Farah To Run The 2018 London Marathon

LONDON (Reuters) - British track great Mo Farah said he wants to start "a new adventure" after confirming on Sunday he will compete in next year's London Marathon.

Farah, who won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and won six world titles at those distances, ended his track career this year to concentrate on road running.

He will compete in the London Marathon for the third time.

"I can't wait to start a new adventure racing on the roads in 2018, starting with the world's greatest marathon," Farah said after winning the Great North Run for a fourth time.

"The London Marathon is my home race and it is so special to me. The previous times I have taken part (in 2013 and 2014) were amazing.  The atmosphere on the course was unbelievable."

"When I decided to concentrate solely on the roads from 2018 I knew that I wanted this to be my first marathon. I can't wait for next April and will be training as hard as ever over the coming months to ensure I'm in the best shape possible."

The 34-year-old ran only half the race in 2013 to gain experience but completed the whole distance a year later when he finished eighth in two hours eight minutes 21 seconds. He has not run one since, although he is the British record holder at the half marathon distance.

Farah delighted crowds on the north east coast near Newcastle on Sunday when he claimed victory in the Great North Run in a thrilling finish, edging out New Zealand's Jake Robinson to win in one hour six seconds for the 13.1 mile route.

London Marathon winner Mary Keitany of Kenya won her third victory in the women's race in 1:05:59.


Relaxed style wins the race

A passion for running and not taking life too seriously has been the secret to success for Warnbro athletics veteran Trevor Scott.

The 58-year-old continues to add to his trophy cabinet each year despite occasionally being struck down by injury.

Recently he overcame a calf injury to win a gold, silver and bronze in the Masters Athletics Nationals in Darwin, before heading home in July to take out the 10km Wally Cairns Cross Country in Kings Park.

The winning ways didn’t stop there, with the dedicated runner winning his age category at the City to Surf last month.

Trevor has spent many years running competitively and has won prestigious races around the world.

But while his career has been littered with praise and awards, it has also had its moments of drama.

In 1990 he was running in the Penang International Marathon.

Trevor remembers feeling good at the start of the race despite being up against some talented competitors.

“There was this Belgium guy who had come seventh in the Olympics,” he said.

“They’d pretty much pencilled him in for the win and I remember waking up in the morning feeling pretty good.

“He was obviously really fit but he looked absolutely stuffed before he started because it was so hot up there and he was used to the chilly weather in Europe.

“I thought ‘I’m going to stick it to him right at the start’, and gave myself a bit of a lead, but coming to the finish line I was buggered. I stepped on to the finish line where there was a red carpet and this Indonesian bloke passed me at the last second to stream through the banner.”

Trevor was taken away on a stretcher suffering from exhaustion and was later told he had won the race after the stewards realised the banner had been placed after the actual finish line.

In 1992 he returned to the event and finished 14 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. In his long and storied career the distance legend has competed in England and America, won two international marathons and come second in the World Masters cross-country event.

He also recently took out the 8km run at the Masters State Championships.

After overcoming debilitating asthma and posture problems at a young age, Scott said it was a carefree approach to the sport that gave him the edge.

“It’s about getting yourself fit and running the best you can. It’s a good feeling when you train hard and you get a result for all the work,” he said.

“You’ve also got to have fun with it too because there’s been a few events where people have been so high strung that it slows them down.

“People tell me I’m a bit laid-back but I think it works for me.”

Trevor now divides his time between teaching at Hillman Primary School and training with his two dogs.


Are American Runners Slowing Down?

The World Championships in Athletics organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in London, from 4 to 13 August, saw the US come third in the women's marathon, and 16th in the men's marathon. The overall race participation and performance of US runners on the world and Olympic stage belies a deeply disturbing trend, brought forth by the latest research. American marathon runners, on an average, have never been slower — across gender, and distance. The only ones not slowing down are the top elite runners.

The research study, which claims to be among the most exhaustive ones tracking running race results, analysed 34 million race results from 28,732 different races, across distances of 5 km, 10 km, half marathons, and full marathons, from 1996 to 2016. Released on a Danish website — RunRepeat.com on 4 July — the study was led by Jens Jakob Andersen, a former competitive runner and statistician from Copenhagen Business School; and Ivanka Andreeva Nikolova, who holds a PhD in Mathematical Analysis.

The study also found that the intuitive answers for the slowdown circulated via hearsay, blogposts, and forum comments, are far from true: No, the increase in proportion of women participants; increase in percentage of people with inappropriate fitness level who just walk the race; or just an increase in new participants who are slower than others — are not valid arguments.

"The persistence of those myths is due to the fact that they make sense," says Nikolova. The data does show that women are slower and the number of female participants is on the rise; older people are generally slower, and the average age of participants is increasing; and that the total number of participants is rising. "But when we dig deeper, the reality is a bit more complex," she adds.

The data showed that the slowdown is at every level — fast runners, slow runners, everyone is slowing down. Moreover, the slow participants are slowing down at a much higher rate than the faster ones, such that the fast ones cannot compensate. "A very real possibility is that the rise in the number of participants is a downside for the faster runners," the study states.

When Mindy Solkin, 65, a running coach based in Philadelphia started running 30 years ago, she trained properly, and was committed to the sport. But now, she says, she sees a rise in social or lifestyle runners, whose focus is not fitness or competition. "There is apathy about proper training with mostly the newer runners. They just don't take it seriously," she says. "It's not like they are being mean about it, it's just that that's not what they are there for."

The research also showed that the rise in the numbers of female participants has less effect (46 percent), in the slowing of pace than the decrease in the speed of men (54 percent). "This is so because men are becoming slower much faster than the number of women participants is rising," the researchers state in their study.

he average rate of slowdown for the slowest men over the last 17 years has been 21.2 percent, while for women it is 13.4 percent. The fastest male participants have slowed down on average with 9.94 percent over the last 17 years, while females are at 9.87 percent.

The researchers say that any comment on the reasons for men slowing down at faster rate than women would be speculation. "It could be that women generally prepare more; or that they are more health conscious than men, mostly because of pregnancy and motherhood."

The study estimates that if this trend continues, female and male runners will have the same pace by 2045.

But they are quick to note that "due to physiological differences between men and women, this is not likely to happen."

"Women are mostly shorter, with shorter legs. Our centre of gravity is lower, so to avoid injury we take smaller strides. Women also consider the possibility of osteoporosis. Also, our legs are heavier compared to men with similar height and weight. Our lung capacity is also different and so on," explains Nikolova.

People I talked to say that the physiological differences play smaller role here, because it differs from person-to-person, rather than gender-defined. For example, a recreational runner since 2007, 58-year-old Mary Post finds summer heat and exercise-induced-asthma as her biggest struggles. She dropped back in her age group in Fremont, Ohio's Camelback 10K run in which she came first the year before, because it was extremely hot. "I accept my limitations. I know I do not perform well in the summer heat so I do my best and take it into account," she says.

Like everything, marathon running is a neat combination of training, preparation, skill and the cards you are dealt as body shape and genetics, believes Nikolova. Post agrees, saying that many factors like weather conditions, outdoor temperature, time of day, nutrition, sleep, hydration, energy level, stress etc come into play.

As for social prejudice or negativity that women might feel on the ground, Solkin tells of the time in 1998 when she was taking classes to earn her Level 2 certificate from USA Track and Field, which is a national governing body for the sports. She felt disrespected by fellow colleagues because she was one of the few female coaches at the time, and because she was developing her own business by becoming a club coach, and not a high school or college sports teacher, or training competitive or elite runners which was a more popular choice then. "It was discouraging at the time, I did not appreciate it," she says. "But I am an entrepreneurial person, so I did not let it stop me. I moved forward," she says, taking credit for starting club coaching in America which did not exist before (it is coaching for people who are not in school, and aren't professionals, but fitness runners).

Nikolova says that linear trends have their inherent limitations; and are most useful for only short to mid-term predictions. "For the long term they provide interesting considerations and thinking points, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously – nothing in life goes up or down forever."

With regards to the myth that there is an increase in people with inappropriate fitness level who just walk the race, the proportion of “runners” finishing slower than with the average walking pace is rather consistent over the last 16 years.

While participation of old people is increasing, Solkin says she find running a very inclusive sport age-wise. "The beauty of the sport of running is that there are age groups. I never felt as a runner or a coach that my clients' age or mine, was a barrier."

Post has slowed down over the years in the 26.2 marathon and longer miles. "Distance takes a toll on my body because muscles break down, legs fatigue and there is a high risk for injury," she says, "This can be disheartening... It's so important to listen to your body."

The study found the slowdown is directly correlated with an increase in obesity, diabetes, hypertension and average annual medical expenditure. However, these are just correlations, and the study points out: "It is important to note the lack of evidence for a causal relationship".

"If you are obese, and you want to lose weight, it is best to start with walking," says Solkin. People should gradually increase their speed, or there are high chances of causing injury, she adds.

To keep fit and healthy, Post runs both outdoors and on an indoor running track; rides a Townie 7-speed bike; works out on an elliptical; rides an indoor recumbent bike; lift weights and if at a hotel in the winter, she will run on a treadmill.

In general, from the people I talked to, I found the running community to be positive and optimistic.

"I guess statistics for speed may go to the wayside as statistics for effort rise," says Post.

When asked about what she thinks about the research study's findings debunking the common assumptions behind the slowdown, Post says, it does not faze her one bit, because she "commend(s) any person who gets up off the coach and out the door! I am not concerned with speed nor am I judgmental at all."

"We need to give credit to the runners doing the actual running as it is not an easy sport," she adds.


Not easy, but Akani Simbine graduates with degree

It took Akani Simbine a long five years, but on Friday, the South African sprinter finally got his degree.

Graduating from the University of Pretoria at Rembrandt Hall, the SA 100m record-holder proudly stood on stage and received his Bachelor of Information Science degree.

An elated Simbine said his journey had been a strenuous one filled with many challenges and obstacles.

But it had been through his determination and hard work that he had managed to achieve his goal.

“It hasn’t been an easy journey at all. There were challenges, difficulties and a lot going on outside of school, which prevented me from finishing on time. I failed a couple of subjects, but I came back and did it,” he said.

The IAAF Diamond League gold medallist said his athletics career had been the reason why he had failed some subjects.

“Having to manage my time between my studies and training was difficult. I would go to bed late working on my assignments and wake up early the next day for training.

“There were times when I would leave the country for months, and miss semester tests and exam seasons.”

The 23-year-old said he had sometimes submitted assignments online when he was out of the country at sports events.

But now that he has his degree, Simbine has decided to take a break from varsity. “I haven’t decided yet when exactly I’ll be going to school again, but maybe in two or three years’ time.”

Simbine thanked the university and the sport faculty for their support.

Last year, the sprinter made history when he finished fifth in 9.94 seconds in the 100m final of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


Record breaker Farah wins fourth Great North run

Britain's Mo Farah claimed a record fourth successive victory in the 37th Great North Run.

The 34-year-old overcame New Zealand's Jake Robertson in a thrilling duel to win in one hour six seconds.

London Marathon winner Mary Keitany of Kenya surged to her third victory in the women's race in 1:05:59.

Three-time runner-up Simon Lawson won the men's wheelchair race and Manuela Schar broke the course record by over a minute in the women's wheelchair event.

Farah equals the number of victories in the race by Kenyan Benson Masya, who won in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist, who ended his track career with victory in the 5,000m in Zurich last month, timed his push for the line to perfection to pass Robertson and finish six seconds clear.

"That was really, really tough," Farah told the BBC. "I think it was a lack of training really.

"With four miles to go I was hanging on - but I managed to believe in myself and know that at the end I can sprint.

"The kick worked for me and I'm really enjoying myself and living the dream. I'm so pleased with how the season has gone."

Keitany, meanwhile, broke clear of the pack in the opening stages and set a tough pace as she finished one minute and 45 seconds clear of fellow Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, who won last year.

Caroline Kipkirui, who pushed hard to keep pace with compatriot Keitany up until the eight-mile mark, finished third in 1:09:52.

Britain's Sammi Kinghorn, competing in the women's wheelchair race, finished second in her first half-marathon in 52:47.


Foster Says Farah Has Earned Right To Walk Away

  • The four-time Olympic champion is taking part in Sunday's Great North Run
  • Farah became the first man to win the race for a third consecutive year in 2016
  • Athletics chiefs would like him to be consider competing at 2020 Olympics

Mo Farah will start the second and, probably, final chapter of his career in Sunday's Great North Run but his decision to opt out of major championships — even over his new default distance of the marathon — has been defended by the race’s founder, Brendan Foster.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist, who signed off his track career two weeks ago in Zurich, has refrained from forecasting what he might accomplish by focusing his energies fully on the road.

Even at the age of 34, many within UK Athletics would prefer Farah to leave the door ajar to competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Yet, argues Foster, he has earned the right to pursue other goals.

‘Mo Farah is the expert in Britain at winning gold medals,’ Foster said. ‘He’s won 10 global titles on the track and he’s decided it’s enough for him.

‘He’s getting older. He wants to run further — and that means the marathon and half-marathon.

‘Now whether he’s as good at that as he was at the 10,000 metres is another thing. Like everyone, I’m going to wait and see.’

Foster will be the official starter in Newcastle, just weeks after he retired from the BBC commentary box.

Para-athletics star Jonnie Peacock won the T44 100m at the Great North City Games before taking a year off from sport.

The Briton is taking part in Strictly Come Dancing and said: ‘Hopefully I’m a bit more graceful.’


Bolt Wants To Organize Prince Harry's Bachelor Party

The Jamaican sprint king hit it off with the royal after they met in 2012.

Now he has revealed he is desperate for the party-loving Prince to marry Meghan Markle, so he can plan his own send-off for Harry.

“He has been my friend for many years – but this year at a wedding was the first time I have seen him with Meghan and I have never seen him have such a big smile on his face” -Usain Bolt

He said: “I have big congratulations for Prince William that he will be having his third child – now it is time for Prince Harry to get married.

“He has been my friend for many years – but this year at a wedding was the first time I have seen him with Meghan and I have never seen him have such a big smile on his face.

“I am sure that the Royal Family are praying he gets married soon – he has always been the wild one of the family!

“All I ask is that I get to organise the bachelor party.

The pair became pals when Harry visited Jamaica in 2012 and they struck the runner’s famed “lightning bolt” pose together.

Usain gave the couple his seal of approval after meeting Meghan, inset, when she visited the Caribbean in March for the wedding of his pal Tom “Skippy” Inskip.

He said: “Harry’s really cool. He’s a really nice guy. I really enjoy hanging out with him.

“Every now and then we see each other because we travel around, so I see him sometimes. I think everybody is happy because he’s always the wild one of the royal family, but he’s really cool.

“She’s definitely a nice girl.”


Sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu offers Japan 2020 hopes by dipping under 10

Yoshihide Kiryu gave Japan's burgeoning sprint reputation another hefty boost when he became only the second Asian-born athlete to run under 10 seconds for the 100 metres on Saturday.

The 21-year-old, who won a 4x100m relay silver at the Rio Olympics and a bronze at the World Championships last month, ran 9.98 at an intercollegiate meet in Fukui to become the first Japanese to dip under the barrier.

"I'm thrilled to have done it in my last 100 race of the season," Kiryu told the Kyodo news agency. "I'd been stuck for four years and I managed to rewrite my own record at last.

"I'm on the starting block of the world now that I've run a nine. I'm so grateful to my coach and trainer. It still hasn't sunk in yet."

China's Su Bingtian was the first Asian-born athlete to run under 10 seconds when he clocked 9.99 in Oregon in May 2015, while the Asian record of 9.91 is owned by Nigerian-born Qatari Femi Ogunode.

Kiryu ran a wind-assisted 9.87 as a teenager at the Texas relays in March 2015 but his previous best legal run was the 10.01 he ran as a schoolboy in 2013 and again last year.

"Everyone remembers the first person to do anything," he added.

"Even though I never said it, ever since I ran the 10.01 in high school, I wanted to be the first to do it. I don't think I would have been able to do it if I didn't believe it."

Japan's growing strength in sprinting is such that Kiryu failed to make team for the individual event at last month's World Championships in London after finishing fourth in the trials.

With the Tokyo Olympics only three years away, Japan Association of Athletics Federations head of development Koji Ito said he thought Kiryu's breakthrough could prove a watershed for the country's sprinters.

"It was more about pride than technique, I felt," said Ito, whose 1998 Japanese record of 10.00 seconds Kiryu bettered on Saturday.

"Only when you run a nine have you earned the right to talk about being able to compete on the world stage. I think we're going to see more of them to come."

Ryota Yamagata, another member of the relay team in Rio and London, also suggested Kiryu's run would inspire his fellow Japanese sprinters.

"It kind of stings that he beat me to it, but hopefully I can rewrite the next Japan record," he told Kyodo.

Recently retired Jamaican Usain Bolt holds the world record for the blue riband sprint with the 9.58 seconds he ran at the Berlin World Championships in 2009.


Mo Farah and Vivian Cheruiyot ready to defend Great North Run titles

A look ahead to the action at the world’s biggest half-marathon

Mo Farah and Vivian Cheruiyot return to defend their titles at the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday but are set to face some tough opposition at the world’s biggest half-marathon.

The 10-time global track champion Farah has now switched his attention to road racing and is aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive win on the Newcastle to South Shields course, while Olympic 5000m champion Cheruiyot will be looking to repeat her success of last year.

Farah has competed in every Great North Run since 2013, finishing second on his debut and winning in 2014, 2015 and 2016, when he held off the challenge of American Dathan Ritzenhein to become the first male runner to win three consecutive editions of the event.

Ritzenhein also returns this year and after some solid training he hopes to go one better this time.

“I’ve been training reasonably well, the field is quite loaded on Sunday so it’s going to be hard. I’m just out to enjoy it,” said Farah.

“I’m looking forward to it, it should be quite exciting. It’s the end of the season and I like to end it in Newcastle.”

Joining them on the start line will be Ethiopia’s Olympic marathon silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa, who is making his debut at the event as he works towards the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8.

Lilesa has a half-marathon PB of 59:22 run in 2012, while he won the United Airlines NYC Half earlier this year as he out-sprinted Britain’s Callum Hawkins, 60:04 to 60:08. Farah’s best for 13.1 miles also stands at 59:22 from the 2015 edition of the Great North Run.

Entries also include the evergreen Bernard Lagat of USA, New Zealand twins Zane and Jake Robertson and Japanese duo Hiroyuki Yamamoto and Daichi Kamino, plus Britons Chris Thompson, Dewi Griffiths and Tsegai Tewelde.

Joining Cheruiyot in the women’s field are her fellow Kenyans Mary Keitany, the all-women’s marathon world record-holder and two-time Great North Run winner, plus Great Scottish Run winner Betsy Saina and Great Birmingham 10k winner Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui.

Keitany had been said to be eyeing a time of under 65 minutes but speaking ahead of the race the 35-year-old preferred not to state a target time and said a lot would depend on the weather conditions.

World and Olympic marathoner Alyson Dixon, fresh from racing on the global stage in London, has said a PB might be possible, and she will be joined by her fellow Britons Gemma Steel, Lily Partridge and Katrina Wootton.

Canadians Josh Cassidy and Brent Lakatos plus Britain’s Simon Lawson are among those racing the men’s wheelchair event, while the women’s field includes Britain’s Sammi Kinghorn as she works towards making her marathon debut in Chicago.


Perri Shakes-Drayton wins 500m in photo finish at Great North CityGames

Former 400m hurdler impresses over 500m, while Dina Asher-Smith and Lorraine Ugen are also among the winners on Gateshead Quayside

Perri Shakes-Drayton has had her fair share of battles over the past few years but her latest ended in a thrilling victory as the sprinter stormed to 500m success at the Great North CityGames on Saturday.

Just one hundredth of a second was in it as the former 400m hurdler pipped her fellow Briton Anyika Onuora on the line, 66.69 to 66.70, with Dutch sprinter Lisanne de Witte third in 67.19.

“It means a lot to me,” said Shakes-Drayton, who has experienced injury problems since the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow where she sustained a posterior cruciate ligament tear and cartilage damage to her knee. “I don’t think I was a favourite but the strength that I have came through.

“I’ve never done this event before and I’ve been out for so many years so I’m glad I got the opportunity to run today and I got the win.

“I’m in a good place,” added the 28-year-old, who formed part of GB’s world silver medal-winning 4x400m squad at the World Championships in London last month. “After what I’ve been through in terms of injury and stuff, I’m grateful even to get a lane in a meet.”

While the finish saw a fight between 400m specialists, it was 800m runner Lynsey Sharp who had pushed the pace in the early stages. The race started on the road on the Gateshead Quayside, but as athletes reached the pop-up track with 150m to go, Shakes-Drayton, Onuora and De Witte began to move past.

Onuora had a powerful burst but tiring towards the end she was caught and had to settle for second. Sharp finished fourth in 67.48.

Two more world relay silver medallists were also in winning form at the street athletics meet on the banks of the River Tyne, with members of GB’s 4x100m team in London – Dina Asher-Smith and Desiree Henry – victorious in the 150m and 100m respectively.

British 100m and 200m record-holder Asher-Smith is another to have worked her way back after injury, with the 21-year-old having broken her foot in February, and she was on the hunt for a PB. Clocking 16.70 she achieved it, improving on her mark of 16.82 run in Manchester in 2015. Bianca Williams was second in 17.00.

“I’m happy to have put together a good performance for the crowd up here and I’m very, very happy to now be on my break!” said Asher-Smith. “It’s been a long season.”

It was also a GB top two in the 100m, as Henry ran 11.61 (-1.4) ahead of Asha Philip with 11.65.

Melissa Courtney was a delighted winner of the mile, the Welsh runner clocking 4:33.83 to beat Kenya’s world 1500m semi-finalist Winny Chebet who ran 4:34.42. British steeplechaser Rosie Clarke also impressed in third in 4:34.96.

Over on the other side of the river, the long jump win was decided on countback as not two but three athletes all shared the top mark.

British champion Lorraine Ugen backed up her 6.46m (0.3) from the third round with 6.43m (-0.1) from the first to triumph ahead of Estonia’s Ksenija Balta (0.5) and Jazmin Sawyers (-0.4).

“It was nice to end the season with a fun competition outdoors with close crowds,” said Ugen. “It was super close but it made it fun and a bit more exciting.”

School-age athletes had earlier taken to the track for the Great School Sprint 100m finals, followed by English Schools 150m races. Milly Gosling won the 100m in 15.25 (-1.5), while the 150m B final was won by Mair Edwards in 18.43 (-1.7). English Schools and School Games champion Amy Hunt again stormed to victory, winning the 150m A final in 17.31 (-0.2).


Jepkosgei smashes 10 km road world record

(Reuters) - Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei broke her own 10 km road world record in Prague on Saturday, becoming the first woman to run the distance under 30 minutes off the track.

The 23-year-old ran 29 minutes 43 seconds at the Birell Prague Grand Prix to eclipse her previous record of 30:04 set in the Czech capital in April.

“I‘m so happy, I thank God for making me the winner today and... (breaking) the world record,” Jepkosgei told Czech Television.

The current women’s 10,000m world record is 29:17.45, a record which Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana set at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Track and road racing records are kept separately by the IAAF, the world’s governing body.

Jepkosgei has now broken five records this year, having set new marks for the 10km, 15km, 20km and half-marathon at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon on April 1.


Living In Iowa City Keeps Erik Sowinski Grounded

Eugene, Oregon is the mecca for track and field in the United States. It is Tracktown USA. It is where Nike was created by Oregon’s hall of fame coach, Bill Bowerman.

Many of the track and field athletes sponsored by Nike live in Eugene and Portland, Oregon, or Boulder, Colorado, or Flagstaff, Arizona or Boston, Massachusetts — but not all of them.

In fact one of Nike’s best and most consistent athletes lives and trains in Iowa City.

Erik Sowinski, now 27 years old, was a 1:54 2008 state champion 800 meter runner at Waukesha West High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Running 800 meters in 1 minute and 54 seconds may win you a state title, but very seldom does it get you an offer from a Division I program. Sowinski had no D-I scholarship offers and was ready to walk on at Wisconsin when he was asked to make a visit to Iowa City and the University of Iowa campus.

The Iowa coaching staff, then headed up by longtime coach Larry Wieczorek, offered Sowinski a 10 percent scholarship. That 10 percent grew into a full ride when the five-time All American became a senior.

Under the tutelage of then-UI assistant, now head coach Joey Woody, Sowinski has grown to be one of the country’s best 800 runners, ever, and Iowa City is his home.

When Sowinski was approached by Nike about becoming a professional, one of his personal stipulations was that he wanted to stay in Iowa City and be coached by Woody. It became apparent quite early that the folks at Nike made the right decision by allowing this to happen.

Sowinski has taken that 1:54 high school personal best to 1:44.58.

“I am very thankful and very grateful to not only Nike, but to Coach Woody and the University of Iowa for allowing this to happen five years ago,” Sowinski said. “Iowa City has become home to me. I can’t imagine living and training anywhere else.”

Sowinski has made the final at both the indoor and outdoor USA Championship each of the last five years. That is 10 for 10. No other current American middle distance runner has that on their resume.

Another aspect of Sowinski’s career that might be hard for most to fathom, is that his training is done solo. Just him, Woody and a stopwatch. Whether it is at the UI’s outdoor track, new indoor track, the trails in Solon or the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, Sowinski trains in total solitude and it has served him well.

He has won three U.S. titles (two 800 meter and one 600), has represented the U.S. at three World Championships (winning bronze in the 800 at World Indoors in 2016), is on two U.S. indoor record holding relays (4×800 and Distance Medley) and once held the U.S. record in the 600.

Sowinski has had his share of heartbreak too. By finishing fourth at the 2016 Olympic Trials and the 2017 U.S. Championships, he missed coveted spots on those U.S. teams by mere fractions of a second.

But he is still training and looking ahead.

“Traveling the world to compete in track and field has allowed me to meet many people, see lots of things and make some great friends, that I otherwise would not have been able to do,” Sowinski said.

“Living and training in Iowa City since coming here as a freshman in 2009, has been huge in keeping me grounded, healthy and focused.”

“I hope to be in the mix at the 2020 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles as well as the 2021 World Championships in Eugene, and Iowa City is where I plan to live and train to make that happen.”


The legend of Steve Prefontaine lives on

It’s been 42 years since Steve Prefontaine passed away in a car accident, but his legend lives on.

And while his presence is certainly felt during every track meet held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, he’ll always remain one of the favorite sons of his native Coos Bay, Oregon. The small seaside village is honoring the American distance running legend with new murals being painted on a city-owned building in the heart of its downtown. Coos Bay city officials say the area long known as “Pedway” will now be known now as “Pre Way.”

Selection of the mural design was made by his sister, Linda Prefontaine, and the Prefontaine Foundation, along with input from the City Council, after renderings were presented by Erik Nicolaisen of Old City Artists. The goal is to finish the mural in time for the Prefontaine Memorial Run on September 16.

Steve Prefontaine started his running career at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay before going on to win seven NCAA championships and set numerous records at the University of Oregon. He placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. At the time of his death in May 1975 at age 24, Prefontaine held every American outdoor track record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters.


Webb & Asher-Smith Take 150 Victories In Newcastle

Victories by Dina Asher-Smith and Ameer Webb in the 150m dash were among the key highlights of the Great North CityGames street athletics competition in Newcastle on Saturday (9).

In the women's race, Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams, both members of the silver medal-winning 4x100m relay team from IAAF World Championships London 2017 last month, were head to head over the rarely-raced distance.

Asher-Smith continued her remarkable recovery from a broken foot to win in 16.70 from Williams who clocked 17.00 while Dutchwoman Naomi Sedney was third in 17.40.

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, the anchor in the 4x100m men’s relay team who won the gold at the World Championships, was denied victory in the men’s 150m with the 23-year-old finishing second to Webb of the US who clocked 15.24. Mitchell-Blake finished in 15.26 ahead of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey who clocked 15.38.

There was a rare occurrence in the women’s long jump after the top three all recorded the same distance of 6.46m.

Lorraine Ugen took the win on countback with her second best jump of 6.43m superior to that of Latvian Kseninja Balta and Jazmin Sawyers who finished second and third respectively.

"I’ve never seen that before, with everyone jumping the same distance," Ugen said. "I kind of like these because they’re quite fun, you just get to bring the crowd in and have a fun competition.

“I wasn’t expecting everyone to jump the same distance! I think it makes it a bit more exciting when it’s like 'ooh what’s going to happen'.”

Desiree Henry got the afternoon off to a fine start with victory in the women’s 100m, finishing 0.04 ahead of 4x100m relay teammate Asha Philip, Henry clocking 11.61 for the win. South Africa’s Carina Horn was third with 11.78.

Henry said: “This 2017 season has absolutely been amazing for me. Just to come away with a win on my last race of the season.”

In the first mile of the day, Jordan Williamsz won in 4:05.88, the Australian ahead of Brit Elliot Giles in 4:06.17 and Marcin Lewandowski in 4:06.67.

"It’s my first time here," Williamsz said. "I wasn’t too sure what to expect - I thought it was more built around the half marathon but that was awesome, such a good atmosphere the whole way around, there’s nothing like it, it was nothing like I’ve ever run. It certainly blew the expectations I had out of the window.”

With Aries Merritt pulling out of the men’s 110m hurdles in midweek, the path was cleared for Czech Petr Svoboda to win in 13.62, with American Jarret Eaton second in 13.69 and Koen Smet third in 13.80.

Perri Shakes-Drayton earned a surprise victory in the women’s 500m, clocking 1:06.69 ahead of Anyika Onuora in 1:06.70 with Lisanne De Witte third with 1:07.19.

"This wasn’t in my plan in terms of being here, because usually after my championships I’m done," Shakes-Drayton said. "I’ve never done Gateshead before, it’s my first time. Today to get the win, I’m in a good place.”

Nijel Amos won the men’s 500m in 59.26 from Guy Learmouth in 1:00.73 and Dwayne Cowan third in 1:01.01.

Melissa Courtney held off the threat of Kenya’s Winny Chebet to win the women’s mile in 4:33.83, with Chebet second in 4:34.42 and Rosie Clarke third in 4:34.42.

In the men’s pole vault, Urho Kujanpaa took victory with 5.45m, the Finn finishing ahead of France’s Stanley Joseph and Finland’s Tomas Wecksten with 5.30m apiece.

Organisers for the IAAF


Athletics champion Bosse 'much better' after attack

Angers (France) (AFP) - World 800 metres champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse said Saturday he was "much better" after a vicious assault that left him with "multiple facial fractures" although he had still not resumed training.

Bosse, 25, was victim of a late night attack in a casino car park in his one-time training base of Gujan-Mestras in southwestern France.

French police have since arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the assault, which forced Bosse to put an early end to his season.

"I'm much better. I wasn't like that two weeks ago. Things, on the surface, have quite quickly subsided because the human body, when you're fit, works hard," Bosse said at a press conference at the DecaNation athletics event in the western city of Angers, which he is attending as a spectator.

"The DecaNation is an event I could be doing. What's frustrating is to come here out of form. There were meetings in which I was due to take part."

Bosse added: "My attackers? I knew one of them. It's not a personal history, it's more the fact that there are dangerous people who have to understand that they're dangerous.

"They hit my head. They put my life as an athlete in danger. I am a non-violent person.

"There are lots of people who've supported me. What's really marked me is the people who have gone through things much more traumatic than me and who tell me things they don't even tell their shrinks."

Bosse, who produced a stunning burst with 150m to go to give France their first-ever gold in the 800m at last month's world championships in London, refused to put a date on when he might start training again, all the while confirming that he would again spend the coming winter in Australia, as he did last year.

"At the moment, I tire quickly. I have no spark, I have no desire to do any sport," he said, adding: "I haven't even picked up my gold medal."


Bolt Won't Rule Out A Mayweather-Style Comeback

"It's not on the cards right now … I just want to be a bum and I have sponsorship work to do … but you never know, if a big bout comes up, you never know where I might show up," he laughed.

"If it is something like a Floyd Mayweather comeback, I'll be back."

At the age of just 31, the Jamaican is open to moving from athletics into another sport, but there's no point in McGregor rubbing his hands together in glee with dollar signs in his eyes over another potential cross-sport dust-up.

"Not fighting, no, the sport it could be is football as a massive Man[chester] United fan, we'll see," he said.

The sprinter's final race last month at the World Athletic Championships was not the fairytale ending he had hoped for his stellar career when he took a dramatic tumble during the 4x100m relay with a torn tendon in his hamstring.

"For me, I am definitely happy, it doesn't change anything, so for me I am trying to relax now and take it easy and do some work outside of track and field.

"I can't do anything physical for the next month, but by the end of the month, I'll be fine to start moving around again – playing football and running and stuff."

He's been to Australia "many times" but said he was looking forward to "chilling" for a few days and getting to see the sites – mainly the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour.

Despite being offered many global sponsorship roles, he chose Optus because it was most like him.

"Innovative, very competitive and the fastest," he said.


"Relay Big Show, Not So Much Substance"

By Len Johnson – Runner’s Tribe

Watching one of the post-world championship Diamond Leagues, something jarred in the commentary.

Specifically, it was the introduction to the sprint fields. At one meeting – the Birmingham IDL, I think it was – the announcer kept referring to the competitors as “gold medallists”. Seeing there was not even a world championship sprint finalist in the field, I wondered what I could have been missing.

Then, the penny dropped. The announcer was referring to relay gold medallists. Both the men’s 100 and 200 metres fields contained two of the winning British London 2017 4×100 relay team C.J.Ujah and Adam Gemili in the 100 metres, Daniel Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the 200.

No disrespect, but relay medals are for team effort, not individual effort. They also go to all members of the squad who run either a heat or final, so some relay gold medallists are not even adjudged to be in their nation’s best four.

None of the men’s world championships 100 medallists – Justin Gatlin, Christian Coleman and Usain Bolt – were in the Birmingham 100 field. Individual 200 champion Ramil Guliyev was in the 200, but minor medallists Wayde Van Niekerk and Jereem Richards were not.

Of course, gold medal relay teams commonly include the individual champions. Jesse Owens, Betty Cuthbert, Marjorie Jackson, Carl Lewis, Donovan Bailey and Usain Bolt are among the many individual sprint champions to have augmented their medal haul with relay gold. And, of recent times, the Jamaican men’s 4×100 has included multiple individual medallists and finalists.

But it’s still a team medal, a tribute to talent in depth rather than individual excellence. As the USA has learnt over and over in the recent past, it’s of little use having some of the fastest runners if they can’t get the baton safely around the track.

In any case, having the world’s fastest man or woman in the relay team doesn’t make their lesser teammates any better as individual sprinters. One of my learned colleagues – British journalist and blogger Pat Butcher – pointed out in a post-London column that where a superbly drilled relay team made up of ‘ordinary good’ sprinters wins a gold medal the credit should probably go to the coach rather than the athletes.

While conceding that relays are usually great entertainment, Butcher reckoned they had no place in the Olympics or world championships.

I would not go that far. My dream is that relays would be comprised of randomly-selected teams. Put the names of all who want to run into a pot and draw out teams of four. Maybe seed the fastest runners so they are spread as evenly as possible. Team Bolt would run against Team Gatlin, Team Thompson against Team Felix, etc, etc.

It’s only a crazy dream which I acknowledge is unlikely ever to be realised, but there are straws in the wind.

Athletics is already half-way towards adopting this principle with the introduction of mixed relays which have been seen this year at Australia’s Nitro Athletics, the world cross-country and the world relays, among other competitions. The IOC seems to be ahead of the IAAF on this one, announcing the addition of a mixed 4×400 as an extra 4×400 to the Tokyo 2020 program, though at the same time slashing track and field’s competitor quota by 105 athletes. Other Olympic sports are falling over each other in their rush to come up with mixed competitions.

Anyway, back to the worth of relay medals. As a distance runner, it has always stuck in my craw that Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis with their ‘four’ gold medals in Berlin 1936 and Los Angeles 1984, respectively, are regarded as having had a greater single Olympics than Emil Zatopek with his distance treble in Helsinki in 1952.

My take is that all three of these great Olympians are equal. Each won three individual gold medals. Owens and Lewis were then afforded a luxury unavailable to Zatopek – the anchor runner for relay teams which only had to get the baton around to add a ‘fourth’ gold medal. My argument is, and always has been, is that this is a different category of ‘gold medal’ and should not be counted in an individual comparison.

Allyson Felix perfectly illustrates the case for considering relay medals as a separate category. I don’t have to say, but I will, that Felix is one of my favourite athletes. Her performances over a long career speak for themselves.

But one the consequences of the final two days’ competition in London was that Felix broke out of a tie with Usain Bolt to become the greatest medal winner in world championships history. The USA’s gold medals in both women’s relays, along with Felix’s bronze in the individual 400, took her tally of medals to 16. Bolt’s bronze in the 100 took him to 14.

Felix has amassed 11 world championship gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze; Bolt 11, two and one, respectively.

That’s overall; the individual event statistics tell a different story. Bolt has seven individual world championship gold medals; Felix, four. Bolt has one individual silver and one bronze; Felix, one and two.

The greatest gold medal winner in women’s world championships history is Tirunesh Dibaba with five. Felix is one of six with four, the others being Gail Devers (100/100 hurdles), Valerie Adams (shot put), Vivian Cheruiyot (5000/10,000), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (100/200), Jackie Joyner Kersee (heptathlon/long jump) and Brittney Reese (long jump).

On the men’s side, Bolt has seven gold medals, Mo Farah (5000/10,000), Sergey Bubka (pole vault) and Michael Johnson (200/400) have six, and Carl Lewis (100/200/long jump), Kenenisa Bekele (5000/10,000) and Lars Riedel (discus) all have five.

When the tally is confined to individual gold medals, all event groups come into play – sprints, distance, hurdles, jumps and throws, and we get a broader picture of our sport’s highest achievers than a medal count inflated by relays.

End


Ritz Says Marathon Focus Will Bring Results For Farah

American Ritzenhein believes success awaits Farah over 26.2 miles, but first comes the Simplyhealth Great North Run

Dathan Ritzenhein expects Mo Farah to excel at the marathon, now that the Briton is about to make the 26.2 mile distance his sole focus.

The four-time Olympic and six-time world champion over 5000m and 10,000m is now moving to the roads after bringing his glittering track career to an end and will be looking to finish another incredible year on a high note as he bids to secure his fourth consecutive victory at this weekend’s Simplyhealth Great North Run.

American Ritzenhein, who finished runner-up to Farah in last year’s event and has the long-term goal of running the marathon for his country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, will be looking to challenge all the way again.

But he knows he will have his work cut out against a man he believes will do well in the next phase of his career.

Farah’s first attempt at the marathon distance came in London in 2014, when he finished eighth in 2:08:21, and Ritzenhein says: “He’s physically talented and capable of doing really well. When he ran the London Marathon he had that ‘out’ in that he could always go back to the track but he doesn’t have that now and when you switch over mentally 100 per cent sometimes I think that helps.

“He’s got a few years and you can learn so much from each marathon. Some people were down on his first marathon but a lot of people would take that as a pretty good one for the first go.

“I think there’s a lot of room for improvement there and he might not be as dominant as he was on the track right away but I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t be one of the best in the world at the marathon, too.”

Ritzenhein, who will be joined in the Simplyhealth Great North field by the likes of fellow American Bernard Lagat, Ethiopian Olympic marathon silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa and the Robertson twins Zane and Jake, adds: “It’s just such a different thing. You’re not kicking, you’re surviving and at some points it’s almost like just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Physically it’s not like on the track where you’re kicking and you’re looking to reach a point and then using another gear. In the marathon there are no more gears and when you get to that point it’s really just a metabolic race. Either you’ve got the fuel and the energy to keep moving or you don’t.

“It’s an event where you can take back a lot of time or you can lose a lot of time at the end. Whereas on the track if you get dropped then you’re done, in the marathon someone can come back a minute or two in the last few miles and then it’s all about what happened earlier in the race, how the preparation was and it’s amazing when that happens.

“A lot of it is about competing against yourself, really. It’s about what you can handle and what you can do. You do want to win the race but you can only do what you’re capable of.

“Sometimes it’s just about minimising mistakes in the training and in the race. There are so many variables.”

As for the challenge which awaits this weekend on the famous route between Newcastle and South Shields, Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run 10k winner Ritzenhein says: “The half-marathon is my bread and butter event and that gives me confidence but, having Mo there kills off any excess confidence. He’s won the last three times and been the best distance runner in the world for the past few years so you know it’s going to be a difficult race.

“I was in incredible shape and pushed really hard last year so I know that I’m going to have to give it my all again this year and hopefully have a little bit extra because, if he’s there towards the end, good luck!”


Houston's Tonye’cia Burks Back From WUG Trip

Under just about every conceivable notion, Kilgore’s own Tonye’cia Burks’ recent trip to Taiwan, to represent the United States in a track competition, was a complete success.

Burks, a Kilgore High School alumni and a record-setting member of the University of Houston’s track and field team, returned Sunday from the 2017 Summer World University Games. The UH track program, one of the most tradition-rich in college sports, were selected to represent the U.S. by the United States International University Sports Federation.

Tony and her teammates spent about 2 ½ weeks in Taiwan, and she told the News Herald on Friday it was the time of her life.

“The experience itself was incredible,” she said, “and opened a lot of doors to meet new people and make new friends. It gave me a more broad view of the world and other countries, and how individuals that are so different can become so close and have so much in common. I wouldn’t change anything about that journey. It’s definitely something I would love to do again, really soon.”

According to a description on its own website, the Summer World University Games, which is held every two years, is an international sporting and cultural event second only to the Olympic Games. It normally showcases 14 sports and as many as three optional sports chosen by the host country. The 2011 games featured 10,622 competitors, a record.

The record figures are 10,622 participants in Shenzhen, China, in 2011 and 174 countries in Daegu, Korea, in 2003.

Burks, the UH record-holder in the women’s triple jump, was an NCAA West regional qualifier and is the defending American Athletic Conference women’s TJ champion. She and the other triple jump athletes had to compete in the rain in Taiwan, though, and while she didn’t do her best – she finished 12th overall – she’ll use it to motivate herself to get ready for indoor track season in December, the next big event on her athletic calendar.

Adjusting to the time change in Taiwan – about 13 hours from U.S. Central time, Kilgore time – might have been the biggest problem, she noted.

“I struggled with adjusting for about four days,” Burks laughed. “But I always seemed to wake up every morning at 4 a.m. over there. And as of now, I’m still adjusting to our time difference. I fall asleep around 7 p.m. and wake up at 3:30, 4 in the morning and stay up for the whole day. It’s crazy.”

Burks didn’t hesitate naming the most positive portion of the trip.

“My favorite part was being able to walk around and enjoy the city and the culture of Taiwan, and how they’re so friendly and love Americans so much. They made us feel so welcome that we could not believe it.”

Burks moves on into offseason training for the indoor season, and she’s already got a driving point: strong start, she said, and strong finish.

There was one other thing. The Cougars were delayed in their return by the mess that was Hurricane Harvey. Fortunately, though, Burks’ off-campus apartment is on the third floor – she avoided damage to her place, but not her car.

“The only thing that got messed up was the carpets in my car,” she said.

Burks is one of several athletes from Kilgore High School that have gone to UH – and she’s one of three in major programs there now. Cooper Coldiron will be a senior in the Cougars’ baseball program in spring, and currently, former KHS running back Kevrin Justice is on the Cougars’ football team, slated to open its season tonight at the University of Arizona.


Warholm & Baji Aim For Hurdles Heroics At '18 Euros

With the 2017 track season about to come to an end, many of Europe’s top athletes have already set their sights on next summer and the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

The championship, part of the first multi-sport European Championships being held in conjunction with the Scottish city of Glasgow, will be the biggest event on the sport’s 2018 calendar for European athletes, and none more so than for two hurdlers who made a significant breakthrough over the barriers this year and stood on the podium at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Norway’s 400m hurdles gold medallist Karsten Warholm knows now that instead of being the underdog, in the German capital he is likely to have a target on his back.

“I feel really good about Berlin but the thing is now I need to calm down and get my feet on the ground. I have to remember that there is going to be a very good competition there and I will have to be at my best to even take a medal there,” said the 21-year-old former world U18 octathlon champion who has made an immediate impact in his first serious season hurdling.

“But that’s what I like about it [the European Athletics Championships]; and with two Europeans on the podium for the 400m hurdles in London, I think it will be a good competition for the crowds, hurdling is very crowd-friendly.”

Turkey’s world championships silver medallist and reigning European champion Yasmani Copello will no doubt be aiming to defend his continental crown with vigour so, as Warholm suggested, the 400m hurdles in Berlin could be one of the highlights of the six days of competition there

However, the Norwegian hopes to have some time relax and enjoy the six sports being staged in Glasgow, not least golf especially as the 2018 European Championships will see the European Golf Team Championship staged for the first time.

“I like golf and if Norwegians are doing well in the other sports, I hope I will have the time to be watching what they are doing on the TV but, regardless, I hope the multi-sport European Championships is a successful project and goes from strength-to-strength.”

Hungary’s world championships 110m hurdles bronze medallist Bálazs Baji has his sights set on leaving Berlin with a gold medal around his neck as well.

“After silver at the 2016 European Athletics Championships] in Amsterdam last year and bronze in London this summer, I am starting to think about taking the gold finally and I believe I have the potential to win in the European Championships but the field in the 110m hurdles is really strong so just making the podium is tough.

“It [the Olympic Stadium in Berlin] is a beautiful stadium, full of history. It’s got nice facilities for athletes, old and new at the same time. I’ve really enjoyed competing there anytime I have been there in the past and the crowd is amazing.

“I am also going to enjoy watching the other sports in the European Championships as well.

“Hungary has got some great swimmers, so I hope I have the time to watch them. Obviously, as we are in Berlin and they are in Glasgow, I will be watching them on TV but I am sure I will feel the vibes,” added Baji, who also won the World University Games 110m hurdles gold medal in August.


‘London 2017 has given athletics the opportunity to believe again’ claim organisers

Ed Warner, co-chair of London 2017, claims the combination of spectacular performances, unpredictable races and drama has resurrected the sport

As the curtain fell on Sunday night on the world championships, and athletics waved a painful goodbye to Usain Bolt, its greatest sprinter and showman, there was a cautious confidence in London among its power brokers. Against expectations, a sport that has been on its knees appeared to have just received the kiss of life.

Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF, the governing body of athletics, said: “The theatre that has been provided by those full houses has been incredible. We have had more people in 10 days across a world championship than ever before. And I genuinely can’t remember a time when the sport was so competitive and the stories around them so rich.”

It is not just that 700,000 people have come through the gates over the past 10 days, filling out the London Stadium night after night. Or that 9.9 million people tuned in to watch Bolt’s and Mo Farah’s farewell on BBC1 on Saturday night. It was that a combination of spectacular performances and unpredictable races, plus a steady patter of controversy and conspiracy theories has kept the sport on the nation’s front and back pages.

Ed Warner, co-chair of these championships, was even more succinct than Coe. “The London 2012 Olympics gave the nation its self-belief back,” he said. “London 2017 has given athletics its belief back. It has given the sport the opportunity to believe again.”

It was understandable why the sport wants to stare forward rather than look over its shoulder. It was only last year that several senior figures in the IAAF, including its former anti-doping director Gabriel Dollé, were banned for their part in a scheme in which they extorted the Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova of £378,000 to keep results of her positive drug tests secret.

Separately Russia was banned from the 2016 Olympics after a report by Wada’s independent commission found the country was guilty of “state-sponsored doping”, while the low crowds at the Rio Games did nothing to alter the appearance of a sport on the wane.

London, though, was rich with vivid moments. Home eyes naturally gravitated to Mo Farah winning his 10th successive Olympic and world championship medal in the 10,000m on the opening night – and then losing his first 5,000m for four years on the penultimate evening.

Meanwhile Bolt, to stunned silence and venomous boos, not only lost to the sport’s ultimate villain Justin Gatlin – who has failed two doping tests – in the men’s 100m but then pulled up with cramp in a thrilling 4x100m men’s relay.

But quite often other surprising stories gripped the nation too. Who would have thought that the Botswanan Isaac Makwala would get one of the biggest cheers of these championships? Yet when he ran a 200m heat on his own in the lashing rain, having been barred from entering the stadium a night earlier when he was meant to be in quarantine for norovirus, the stadium roared in delight.

Yet a few days later there was a twist as the South African Wayde van Niekerk, supposedly athletics’ new superstar, broke down in tears before claiming he had been disrespected by a wild conspiracy theory that Makwala had been kept out of the 200m in order to make life easier on him.

Yet no matter how much Coe wanted the issue of doping to stay in the background, it was always bubbling under the surface. On Sunday morning Farah went as far as to accuse parts of the media of having a vendetta against him for questioning his coach Alberto Salazar, who is under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Salazar denies any wrongdoing.

“It’s like a broken record, repeating myself,” said Farah. “If I’ve crossed the line, if Alberto’s crossed the line, why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it,” said Farah, following his last race on the track at a major championships.

“So many times you guys have been unfair to me. If you say Mo Farah has done something wrong‚ prove it.”

For most of the championships British athletes enjoyed limited success. But a glorious final weekend in which Farah took silver in the 5,000m, along with four relay medals, meant they hit their UK Sport target of 6-8 medals in London.

Some wonder whether athletics will be able to maintain the momentum given its credibility issues and the fact that the next championships in 2019 will controversially take place in Doha in Qatar, the Gulf state that will also host the 2022 World Cup.
Coe, however, argues that, despite his sport’s lingering issues, it has turned a corner. “There is a growing confidence within the sport,” he insisted last night. “We took tough decisions and reforms to make the sport better. There is still a long way to go. But people are proud about being involved in the sport.”

“What we have witnessed this week will inspire a generation of young people. We have shown that, when we get it right, this sport is unassailable.”

The verdict is still very much out on that. But after a desperate and suffocating few years for the sport, athletics might just have room to breathe – and hope – again.


Watch: Ameer Webb wins the men's 150m | Great City Games 2017

American Ameer Webb wins the men's 150m ahead of Brits Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey


Jenny Simpson's "Old-School" Training

The American on the training approach that has helped her claim multiple global middle-distance medals

Jenny Simpson’s career has been long and illustrious and is one in which she has shown herself to be competitive on the world stage from 800m to 5000m and on the track, road and cross country.

Here the American shares some insight into the training that has helped her claim multiple global middle-distance medals.

Simpson describes her approach to training as “old-school and as normal as it gets”, while admitting that she runs high mileage for a 1500m athlete.

“Throughout the season I typically run between 60 and 80 miles per week, so I train more like a distance runner than a traditional middle-distance runner,” she explains. “I do a long run every week like 5 or 10km runners – by long I mean 12-15 miles. I really love long, aerobic work. That is tempo runs in the middle of the week, repeats on the track of distances longer than 400m – mile repeats on the track and stuff like that.

“Throughout the season I typically run between 60 and 80 miles per week, so I train more like a distance runner than a traditional middle-distance runner”

“I really like the longer, harder stuff,” adds the 31-year-old Heather Burroughs-coached runner. “What surprises people, coming from a 1500m runner, is that my least favourite workout in the entire world is when I am assigned 200m intervals. When I have to go on the track and run really fast, 30 seconds at a time, that is my least favourite thing to do.

“That typically surprises people because it’s such a bread and butter 1500m workout and the stuff you have to be good at for shorter distances. But if I was ever given that assignment with the option to do a long run instead, I would probably prefer to do the long run.

“I am in the gym twice a week but I just do it primarily for injury prevention. I think it is really good to ensure that you have a really strong foundation so that your body can really support the work that you are putting it through. But I don’t go into the gym with the intention of getting stronger and faster in the gym, I do that on the track. Primarily the gym is just rehab and injury prevention.”


Taryn gets traction in wet, wins bronze

Rain, hail, or shine, nothing was going to stop Bundaberg's Taryn Gollshewsky.

The 25-year-old was intent on making up for a disappointing IAAF World Championships with a good performance at the University Games in Taipei.

She responded in the perfect way.

Battling wet and windy conditions, Gollshewsky delivered a textbook throw at the end of the competition to claim bronze with a distance of 58.11m.

"The conditions weren't ideal,” she said.

"The final was held at 7pm and it started to pour with rain.

"My first few attempts were horrible.”

Gollshewsky, with her first attempt of 53.82 metres, did enough to qualify for the next round and three extra throws.

That's when she made her mark.

"The rain eased which made it easier,” Gollshewsky said.

"I then pulled it off when it counted.

"I was stoked, over the moon and had plenty of relief I achieved what I wanted to.”

It was Gollshewsky's first medal on the international stage.

"I've won medals at Asian championships but this was the biggest,” she said.

"It's a phenomenal feat and I'm part of the top athletes in the world.”

Gollshewsky said it made amends for her World Championships debut where she finished 27th.

"It was tough, I had two weeks notice and was tapering for late in August,” she said.

"My second throw was 61m and it would have been good enough for the final but it was a foul.”

Gollshewsky will take a break before the summer athletics season in Australia..


new biography celebrates Bolt

Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, last month called time on a sprint career that has seen him win eight Olympic gold medals including the 100m and 200m at London 2012.

While Bolt’s final races at the IAAF World Championships did not result in the gold victories that have been a prominent factor in his illustrious career, his past sporting achievements and his gracious humility will be remembered by many athletics fans across the globe.

Bolt’s life story and domination of men’s 100m and 200m sprint is the subject of a new biography produced by Ian Randle Publishers and journalists from the Jamaica-based newspaper The Gleaner.

The book, Usain Bolt – Legend, charts the prolific sprinter’s life story in pictures, from his childhood in the small Jamaican town of Sherwood Content, through his emergence as an up-and-coming sprinter, to his Olympic and World Championship victories which include breaking 100m and 200m world records.

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“She Will” to encourage female athletics

“She Will,” a series of athletic events promoted by the Women’s Center and the athletics department, encourages attendees to learn about the strides women make in sports.

The series will give the public a chance to meet female athletes.

The first event of “She Will” was the women’s soccer game Sept. 7.

Cassie Pegg-Kirby, interim director of the Women’s Center, described what she hopes the “She Will” events will accomplish.

“We’re not talking about women’s athletics taking away from what men’s athletics have, but unfortunately, women’s athletics don’t have the same attendance, celebration and support in most places,” Pegg-Kirby said.

Information on issues within gender equity and Title IX will be provided during the events.

According to the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Women in sports have faced a long-term battle against equal pay and representation against male-dominated sports.

Five members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Rebecca Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, filed a complaint in 2016 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the U.S. Soccer Federation over wage discrimination issues.

According to Time, the women’s national team players make 40% of what the male national team players make.

Despite the pay disparity, the U.S. national women’s soccer team is expected to bring in more than $17 million in revenues as well as as a $5 million surplus for 2017 according to a budget report from the U.S. Soccer Federation. The men’s national team is estimated to earn half that and run a deficit.

This disparity at a national level encouraged Pegg-Kirby to help inform others on the issue occurring in Kent.

“This is about raising awareness for women’s athletics, not just for other women to celebrate women in athletics. I think it’s a two-fold,” Pegg-Kirby said. “(We want to) highlight these amazing athletes who accomplish so much on the field and in the classroom and are often thought of as secondary to the male athletic teams.

One of the ideas Pegg-Kirby has to help solve the disparity issue is to show children strong female athletes who can influence them in the future.

“I think it’s an opportunity to reach out to the local schools,” she said. “We need to be making sure the message is getting out, not just to the women, but to the young men.”

The upcoming events a part of “She Will” include a volleyball game on Oct. 27, a field hockey game on Oct. 28, a gymnastics meet on Jan. 19 and a women’s basketball game on Feb. 3.


Nel finishes Eigth in IAAF Diamond League finale

Wenda Nel settled for eighth position in the 400m Women Hurdles race on Friday night, bringing the Track and Field season to a close at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, Belgium.

Though she got off to a good start, Nel crossed the line in 56.30 seconds, well off the pace of Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States who won in 53.89.

Nel nonetheless, enjoyed a solid 2017 campaign, clocking a Season Best of 54.58 in Rome in June, just 0.21 outside her two-year-old Personal Best in her specialist discipline.

After reaching the semifinals at the IAAF World Championships in London last month, the 29-year-old African champion missed out on a place in the final by 0.37.

She also set PBs in the 200m (23.39) and flat 400m (52.03) events during the domestic season earlier this year.


Russian high jump star hits out at slow pace of reforms

Russia's only reigning athletics world champion said Friday that the country isn't moving fast enough with reforms that could see its doping ban lifted.

High jumper Maria Lasitskene accused Russian officials of not doing enough to end a sanction which caused many athletes to miss the 2016 Olympics and last month's world championships.

"Unfortunately there hasn't been any visible progress in two years from the All-Russian Athletics Federation" toward reinstatement, she said in comments to Russian news agencies.

Russia has been barred from international track and field since November 2015, when a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation alleged widespread drug use and official cover-ups.

The IAAF, track's world governing body, wants Russia to reform its anti-doping procedures and accept responsibility for past failings.

A few dozen Russians, including Lasitskene, have been allowed to compete as neutrals after applying to the IAAF with details of their drug-testing history.

When Lasitskene won world championship gold in London last month, the Russian flag wasn't displayed and the IAAF anthem was played. The 19 Russians who competed won five silver medals, but Lasitskene said the country's athletics federation officials shouldn't claim the credit.

"I don't want them to use our results as cover and say it's a step forward," Lasitskene said. "We'd have been jumping anyway."

Lasitskene had no right to criticize officials, said federation head Dmitry Shlyakhtin, who took office in January 2016, shortly after Russia was banned.

"Judging the federation's work is the prerogative of the IAAF taskforce and the Russian Sports Ministry," he told Russian agency R-Sport. "Athletes should do their job, whether it's jumping or running on tracks."


Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Dina Asher-Smith set for 150m showdowns

The world relay medallists are looking forward to ending their seasons with a strong street sprint at the Great North CityGames

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Dina Asher-Smith have both impressed over 100m and 200m this summer and now the world relay medallists are looking forward to finding out what they might be capable of over the distance in between.

Saturday’s Great North CityGames offers the stage for the pair to end their seasons with a strong street sprint, as they both contest 150m races on the Gateshead Quayside.

Mitchell-Blake became just the second British athlete to achieve both sub-10 second 100m and sub-20 second 200m PBs at the start of the season, before going on to form part of GB’s world gold medal-winning 4x100m team in London and finish fourth in the 200m final.

British 100m and 200m record-holder Asher-Smith also placed fourth in the world 200m final and secured world silver alongside her 4x100m team-mates in the UK capital, despite breaking her foot in February.

Mitchell-Blake has never run 150m competitively, nor raced in a street athletics event, while Asher-Smith is seeking an improvement of her 16.82 PB clocked at the Great CityGames Manchester in 2015. Her relay team-mate Desiree Henry ran a European best for the straight-run distance of 16.57 at last year’s Great North CityGames, while USA’s world 100m champion Tori Bowie ran the world best of 16.30 in Boston earlier this year.

The men’s world best is 14.35, run by Usain Bolt in Manchester in 2009.

“It’s kinda like the perfect distance!” said 9.99 100m and 19.95 200m man Mitchell-Blake, who goes up against Ameer Webb, Kim Collins and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey this weekend.

“In training I love running 150m, I feel like it’s the distance where I can actually fire it, all guns blazing. But that’s with a curve, I’ve never ran it in a straight. I’m going out to execute and hopefully it can be a fast time.”

On her own 150m challenge, Asher-Smith – who lines up alongside Bianca Williams, Naomi Sedney and Estela Garcia – said: “It’s going to be really interesting. I know I can do a decent 150m, but often in training you run it with a bend. I’m hoping to run faster than my PB and pace it well.”


Usain Bolt has ‘a lot of offers’ from soccer teams

A torn hamstring will apparently not keep Usain Bolt from his long-talked-about pursuit of soccer.

“We have a lot of offers from different teams, but I have to get over my injury first and then take it from there,” Bolt said while in Sydney this week, according to the Daily Telegraph in Australia.

What those offers entail, and who extended them, are not clear.

Separately, Bolt spoke with former longtime Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson while attending a United-Leicester City match on Aug. 26.

“I said, if I get fit, will you give me a trial, and he said give me a call and we’ll see what happens,” Bolt said, according to Australia’s 9 News. “So, we’ll see how that works out.”

Bolt has been linked to possibly practicing with his favorite Premier League club or playing in a United exhibition-type match for years.

Bolt also said last year that he expected to train with German club Borussia Dortmund soon after his retirement from track and field after last month’s world championships. Bolt and Dortmund already have a tie-in with apparel sponsor Puma.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the most skilled football player, but I notice that it doesn’t take a lot of skills nowadays,” Bolt said, according to 9 News. “I think I’ll have to learn a lot more passing and control and seeing the game at a different level, but I play a lot of football with my friends, and I think I’m pretty good.”


‘The biggest lie in the history of world sport’: Diack dismisses corruption allegations

• Son of former IAAF president accused of taking payments for votes 
• ‘My job was to help the IAAF identify countries to organise sporting events’

Papa Massata Diack has described accusations he was part of a large corruption racket involved in determining the location of the Olympic Games as “the biggest lie in the history of world sport”.

France’s financial prosecutor said this week that investigations had revealed a corruption scheme centred on Diack, the son of the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack.

The prosecutor said there were indications that payments were made in return for the votes of IAAF and International Olympic Committee members over the designation of host cities for the Olympics and other major sporting events.

“This accusation is the biggest lie in the history of world sport,” Diack said in Senegal on Friday. He blamed the accusations on a smear campaign to tarnish his father’s reputation.

“Sometimes I accompanied my father to assist in his personal work but to say I organised votes … my job was to help the IAAF identify countries to organise sporting events,” he said.

Lamine Diack was the president of the IAAF from 1999-2015. He was the first African head of athletics’ governing body and an influential member of the IOC. His son was a former marketing consultant to the IAAF.

Brazilian investigators said this week that politicians and the head of the national Olympic committee arranged a $2m bribe for Lamine Diack’s vote and for him to convince other IOC members from Africa to bring the 2016 games to Rio de Janeiro.

The elder Diack is being detained in France as investigations continue. His son said that if investigators want to speak to him they will have to come to Senegal.


Kiryu becomes 1st Japan sprinter to break 10-second barrier

TOKYO (AP) -- Yoshihide Kiryu became the first Japanese sprinter to break the 10-second barrier, winning a 100-meter race in 9.98 seconds on Saturday.

Running in an intercollegiate meet, the 21-year-old Kiryu took .02 seconds off the Japanese national record set by Koji Ito in 1998.

Kiryu was a member of Japan's silver medal-winning men's 4x100 relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In 2013, Kiryu ran 10.01 seconds at the Oda Memorial meet in Hiroshima, but the IAAF later rejected the time as an official record due to the use of unapproved wind-speed measurement equipment on the track.


How A Small Group Changed U.S. Distance Running

Warmed up and stripped down, 15 blade-thin runners milled on the track, game-faced, gathering themselves. A few words between them, Swahili and English—“20 seconds ... 10 …”—and the amorphous group coalesced into a single-file line, shuffling. Scott Simmons had not finished saying, “Go!” when the first in line clicked his watch, ducked his head, and sprang forward, the same sudden animation rippling down the line.

A lap every two minutes, 25 times, all between 61 and 64 seconds. “Let’s go guys … 58, 59 …” and the train left the station again. After the sixth 400, there was no talking between laps. Breathing. Feet tapped the red track. “58, 59 ...” Laps 19 and 24 were hammer sessions—all out, 51 to 54 seconds per, same rest. A phantom bond between them—keep up, one more. A steeplechaser ran out in lane two, covering hurdles while maintaining pace. All this, in the thin blue air of Colorado Springs.

Some of the bodies strewn around the infield after the workout were members of the American Distance Project (ADP), and some were from the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). When Scott Simmons established ADP six years ago, the training group was mostly made up of Colorado Springs locals, individual runners looking for training partners and a coach. WCAP, an Army recruiting perk and public relations strategy, had produced only one world class runner since its start in 1997. Neither group had any runners on the 2012 Olympic team.

Over the next four years, ADP and WCAP joined forces and grew, in number and pedigree, and transformed from U.S.-born locals to predominantly Kenyan-American men, runners who’d originally come to the U.S. on track and cross country scholarships. Suddenly, the combined group was a powerhouse in the distances.

In 2016, four WCAP runners made the Olympic team, including Paul Chelimo, who earned a silver medal at 5,000 meters. The last time an American man medaled at 5,000 meters was in 1964. One year later, seven runners from ADP/WCAP earned a spot on Team USA for the Track and Field World Championships in London, more than from Nike Oregon Project, more than from any other training group aside from Bowerman Track Club. 

“Now the U.S. won’t be embarrassed, we won’t be lapped anymore,” Chelimo told me. “We don’t need people who quit when it gets hard.”

 5-feet-11, 126 pounds of intensity, Chelimo’s earned the right to talk smack. ADP/WCAP has raised the level of competition, and they’ve done so without a war chest of shoe company dollars. U.S. distance running has been dominated by corporate-sponsored groups—Nike Oregon Project, Bowerman Track Club, Oregon Track Club, NAZ Elite, Hoka NJ-NY Track Club, Brooks Beasts, and the like—since the early 2000s. ADP/WCAP’s success comes despite offering little in terms of athlete support—no group-wide sponsorship, no stipends (WCAP members get regular Army pay along with regular Army responsibilities), no housing, no state-of-the-art gym facilities or dedicated medical teams.

So how did it become a powerhouse? I went to Colorado Springs to find out.

Other than Dan Browne in 2004, WCAP has had few distance runners, and those few didn’t make much of a ripple at the national, much less international, level. That’s probably because joining the Army—a decision that brings with it a 40 hour-a-week job, infamous bureaucracy, and the very real possibility of front-line action—has never been an attractive option for a U.S. citizen who’s capable of, say, a 3:39 1,500. (That’s the WCAP qualifying standard for 1,500 meters)

That changed in 2009. Joining the Army has always been a path to U.S. citizenship, but that year the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program made it possible for non-citizens with certain skills or language ability to dispense with getting a green card before applying for citizenship, shortening the process to about six months. Due to Army missions in Africa, MAVNI focused on enlistees who could speak English and Swahili, which is to say, Kenyans. Starting with 1,500 spots per year for non-citizens, MAVNI expanded to 3,000 spots in 2015, and again to 5,000 in 2016, then was abruptly suspended in 2017, a victim of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. So starting in 2009, the Army had quite a few soldiers, mostly Kenyans, who could and did hit WCAP’s qualifying standards. All of the distance runners now in WCAP joined the Army through the MAVNI program between 2010 and early 2017.

 
 
To be clear, MAVNI enlistees are not “given” citizenship; each soldier is responsible for submitting all of the required paperwork after attending basic training. Once in the Army, acceptance to the WCAP program is neither guaranteed nor permanent, even if the candidate has posted the stiff qualifying standards. And WCAP athletes are not paid to run for the Army in the same way that Galen Rupp is paid to run for Nike. They get more time to train than regular soldiers, but not all day, every day. They’re paid according to their rank, and get time off to train and compete, but are still expected to perform their Army job part-time (Hillary Bor went from the track workout I watched to his job in accounting), attend ongoing military school, and deploy with their unit if necessary. WCAP does confer some immunity to deployment, but it’s not a guarantee. Elkanah Kibet, for example, has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and Julius Bor, a sub-four-minute miler, recently returned from a year in Afghanistan. He was training in the base exercise yard when a suicide bomber attacked, killing three of the other soldiers in the yard at the time.
 

WCAP coaching had been a bit patchwork prior to 2012—on a year-to-year basis they contracted Scott Simmons in 2013 and 2014, but Dan Browne took the reins in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics. Browne brought Leonard Korir, Paul Chelimo, Shadrack Kipchirchir, and one other WCAP runner to Portland, Oregon, while the rest were working out with Simmons in Colorado Springs. It was confusing.

ADP/WCAP working out in Colorado Springs

“The former secretary of the Army went to Rio and was amazed how few people knew we had four Olympians,” said WCAP co-coach Sean Ryan. As a result, changes were instituted: All WCAP runners were brought to Colorado Springs, with Ryan and Simmons collaborating on coaching, and Ryan handling budget, paperwork and PR. He’s a natural for the job. A career Army guy without the drill sergeant demeanor, Ryan grew up in Colorado Springs, ran in high school (the same one that Adam Goucher attended) and college, and eventually posted back in the Springs with Special Forces. Having a dedicated, high-ranking officer who knows something about distance running and can advocate for the athletes, Simmons said, has been vital to WCAP’s expansion and success.

“If Biya [Simbassa] wants to run in Monaco, Scott can call the race director the week before and arrange it,” Ryan said. “That’s not the case with WCAP.” To release the WCAP soldiers from duty, he has to get legal paperwork from the race director saying exactly what they will pay for and what WCAP will pay for, and get that approved on all levels of command. That requires he submit paperwork about a month in advance. “World Cross Country was held in Uganda this year, where Boko Haram is active. You can imagine trying to get security clearance for five U.S. soldiers to travel to Uganda.”

The expansion of WCAP in the last eight months was a concerted effort to build a “powerhouse” team. “I sat down with Scott and said, ‘Where’s our bench?’” Ryan said. In addition to injuries that other groups have to deal with, WCAP soldiers may be taken off the active roster for extended periods for ongoing military training or deployment.

Ryan and Simmons’s plan is to build up the team, ideally to three athletes at every distance, so they can cover absences that occur. They’re looking for these other WCAP members amongst the regular Army by publicizing the distance running team, searching their own ranks more aggressively, and promoting from within. “Maybe they missed the [WCAP] qualifying time by a few seconds, then they were deployed or got married, and life got in the way,” Ryan said. “We want to bring those people to WCAP, let them train with the team for 18 months and see what they can do.”

Simmons writes workouts for the whole group. His training philosophy is pretty basic—two main workouts and a long run per week; the hard stuff hardand the recovery very easy. Simmons talked about the organization of the workouts, the specificity, the volume and intensity, and the distance of the long run as being what made this training program so effective. But all elite runners train hard and take easy days. They’ve all got a killer workout like 25 x 400, so when members of ADP/WCAP uniformly credited hard work and dedication with their success, I wondered what was different about their hard work and dedication. Isn’t it that the athletes are better, more able to accomplish faster workouts and greater volume, rather than the training program being better? 

They all said they’re running more volume, and faster, with less rest between intervals than in their previous programs—whether college or a previous professional group—and that the level of training has further increased in their time with ADP/WCAP.

For example, they hit the 400 workout every month or five weeks, but even earlier this year, the laps were slower, and fewer runners were able to complete all 25. Simmons said earlier in 2017, this same group could not do the workout I witnessed.

Coaches Scott Simmons (left) and Sean Ryan (second from right)

“I’ve never seen a workout like that 25 x 400, not at that level,” Simmons said. “But it’s been a progression—as they get better, they train better. I don’t believe these guys are especially talented—they’ve avoided injury and have progressed to that point.”

 

So there’s a feedback loop—as they get better, they train better. Simmons’s workouts are tailored to continue to challenge the athletes in the group. As their fitness improves, his workouts have become longer, faster, with less rest. And those workouts, in turn, have helped them win races and raise the group’s profile, which has attracted higher-caliber athletes. 

Sam Chelanga, an NCAA champion, and Stanley Kebenei, who signed with Nike right out of University of Arkansas, had been training in Tucson with coach James Li. They visited ADP after both failed to make the 2016 Olympic team. Simmons said, after participating in some workouts, they realized the hard workouts they had been doing were not the right kind of hard. To be fair, though, Kebenei said he’d been unable to give Li’s program a chance because it was simply too hot in Tucson.

Haron Lagat, a WCAP steeplechaser, joined the group this past April after training alone for nine years. Though he was a professional runner during that time and no doubt training with intensity, he struggled to stay with the others for weeks after he joined the group, such was the jump in level of training.

Hillary Bor was unequivocal about crediting Simmons’s support and the training program with his Olympic berth. “The key is in trusting the coach and the training process,” Bor said. “The reason I made the [2016 Olympic] team is because of Scott Simmons. He kept telling me I had the ability, even though I’d never run under 8:32.”

Though he was a standout at UNC-Greensboro, Paul Chelimo’s training was interrupted by injuries. He went from good college runner to Olympic silver medalist, Simmons said, because he’s been injury-free for two years. That points to smart training.

Michael Jordan—“Same name, different game”—was a little more specific about what made Simmons’s version of “hard” different from what he experienced at his previous home with the NJ-NY Track Club. “We did 1,000s but with like eight minutes rest in between. I got faster, but then when I got in a race, I was looking for that big rest. Here, I’m running faster with less rest. [This program] makes you grittier, and that’s what it takes to race well.”

Jordan is a testament to the effectiveness of Simmons’s program. He did not grow up in Kenya; he grew up in Gary, Indiana. Shortly after joining ADP, he discovered he’d be training with several Olympians and some NCAA champions. And he’d never been at altitude before.

“I was a D-II guy to begin with, and out of shape on top of it,” Jordan said. “I was like, Are you serious? I can’t train with those guys! But Simmons told me, ‘Do as much as you can. As long as you progress, that’s all that matters.’”

He ran for the first two months with ADP member Elvin Kibet, who is married to WCAPer Shadrack Kipchirchir, then joined the lads, hanging on a little longer before being dropped every week. It took him a while to realize he’d get faster by running super slow on easy days, “like 8:50 for the first mile and 7:50 by the end.”

Nine months ago, Jordan said, he couldn’t have dreamed of doing the 25 x 400 workout. Every workout he’s done this summer has been a personal best, and his steeple time has dropped by five seconds since he joined ADP.

In fact, Simmons said, every member of WCAP/ADP has improved since joining the group, through a combination of better and more consistent training, which is to say, avoiding injury. Improvement, by every athlete, every season, is how he measures the effectiveness of the training. Improvement by NCAA champions and pretty good D-II runners points to a better training program rather than more talented athletes.

Biya Simbassa graduated from the University of Oklahoma before he’d come close to his potential at 10,000 meters. His modest best of 28:42 limited his post-collegiate choices, and the quality of races he could gain entry to. Simbassa joined Team USA Minnesota where he started building his mileage and fitness. Seeking altitude and more training partners, he joined ADP in November 2016. Within seven months, he’d improved by over a minute to 27:45.

Simbassa’s experience highlights a key ingredient in ADP/WCAP’s training success: critical mass. One of the hallmarks of Kenya’s running culture, and a factor in its success, is the sheer number of hopefuls taking part in the Thursday tempo run or Tuesday track session. On any given day on the dirt roads of Kenya, 40, 50, 60 runners show up for workouts. Big names and no names—there’s always someone who will push the pace, always someone faster to chase. There’s motivation to show up and keep up, lots of brethren to share the pain and the victories. At any given time, some will be injured or traveling or taking a break, but there are plenty to take their place. 

Stanley Kebenei clears hurdles on a lap of 25 x 400 workout

In the U.S., the few pro runners—and this term is used loosely by some who are only getting $5,000 worth of clothing and shoes in a year—try to separate themselves from amateurs. Individuals and groups, many with less than 10 members, are spread around the country. Corporate-sponsored groups are not generally open to local folks, those who aren’t official members, joining the workouts. With widely scattered, exclusive groups, it’s rare to have six or seven athletes doing the same workout. Then, if some of that number are injured or traveling or on a different schedule, runners end up working out alone. Motivation is tough, and improvement tougher. The proven power of the group is lost.

With 26 core members bolstered by friends, relatives, or Army regulars trying to make the WCAP standards, ADP/WCAP has hit critical mass. There were four marathoners doing a marathon-specific tempo workout when I was there. The seven going to the World Championships pulled each other along, and those doing a shorter workout stayed and cheered on the ones grinding out six or seven miles. Even Joe Gray, the only mountain runner of the group and self-described lone wolf, said he has benefited from having plenty of people to push him in workouts, and “learning not to train when I’m tired.”

Augustus Maiyo, a WCAP marathoner, said this training style is familiar to most Kenyans. “It’s hard, but this program suits most Kenyans because this is what they do in Kenya,” he told me as we talked in his backyard. “Local guys, most of them will get injured because they haven’t done it before. This program isn’t for everyone.”

Simmons chose Colorado Springs as strategically as he plans the workouts: It’s at altitude (no need for altitude tents or expensive travel), there are a plethora of soft trails (easy on the mind and the body), and the temperate weather allows outdoor training year-round (no treadmills or indoor facilities). They do drive the 20 miles up to Woodland for super-altitude training—9,000 to 9,500 feet. Simmons doesn’t advocate much strength work or cross training; he’s not big on gadgets or supplements. None of the group has been found to have asthma or thyroid problems, nor have they filed for any Therapeutic Use Exemptions (a waiver that allows an athlete to use a banned substance if medically necessary).

“They’re successful because they’re American,” Simmons said, not just to be contrarian. “When I was in Kenya, I saw how starkly different naturalized Americans were from Kenyans living in Kenya.” Kenyans living in Kenya, he said, lacked the national infrastructure and discipline to be successful in Kenya. A lot can go wrong in Kenya, and a lot does go wrong—roads become impassable, electricity is not a given, officials take bribes and pocket athletes’ funds. As Americans, members of the ADP/WCAP group all have undergraduate degrees, many have Master’s degrees. They’re making salaries (WCAP) and enjoying a standard of living that, though modest by U.S. standards, is almost unimaginable in Kenya. The discipline and commitment they’ve learned in American universities and in the Army has made them better athletes, Simmons believes. “I don’t mean to sound exceptionalist, but we’re very lucky as Americans to have reliable electricity, clean water, transportation, a high-quality education,” he said.

“We all came for a better life. It’s the land of freedom, of free speech—everybody wants to come here,” said Biya Simbassa, who came to the U.S. at age 14 with his entire family, refugees from the violence and oppression of Oromos in Ethiopia. 

 

The success of the group and the realization of his American dream are closely intertwined for Stanley Kebenei. One of nine children, Kebenei cleaned carpets and bathrooms while going to college and running at his first stop in the U.S.—Iowa Central Community College.

“Now I’m living the dream,” he said. “Despite challenges, I could come here and train and work tirelessly with this group, and win medals for the U.S. That’s been my focus since I was a child.”

Chelimo said he loved the U.S., loved the lifestyle and the support he’d gotten in college. His brief experience running for Kenya prior to becoming a U.S. citizen made him appreciate the U.S. even more: He ran in the University Games for Kenya and had to share a singlet with his brother. The best way to repay that debt he thought was to join the Army. He bristled at the suggestion he was not fully American: “I could have gone to any other country and been rich, but I love America. When I put on that [Army] uniform, I’m ready to die for this country. Many people here are not ready to do that.” He said winning medals for the U.S. motivated his 110-percent effort.

Leaving family and moving to another country is by any measure a traumatic experience. Everything is different—the language, the culture, the food, the social structure—and that’s hard. Being around people who share your culture and language, who’ve also experienced the struggles of immigration, is easier. It’s more comfortable.

Though they regularly communicate with each other in Swahili, Simmons downplayed the group’s shared experiences and cultural similarities: “I don’t think familiarity or shared immigrant experience is the draw. It’s helped their transition from a social standpoint. They’ve facilitated their own Americanization, but that’s not what drew them to this group.”

 The athletes though, credited their common experiences with a sense of belonging, and a level of comfort that influenced their decision to join and stay with ADP/WCAP.

“There are some things about your culture I don’t understand. Sometimes I’m afraid of saying something wrong, so I keep it to myself,” Augustus Maiyo told me. “With others, we’re careful about what we say because we don’t know the boundaries. With the guys, we can say anything. We can talk freely.”

Biya Simbassa said of his visit with ADP/WCAP before joining: “They’re great runners but humble guys. We all came from the same area; we all went through the same struggle. They know all about brotherhood. We just clicked.”

Haron Lagat said, “My agent encouraged me to go to NOP but they only wanted me as a pacer, so I didn’t want to go there. I knew these guys—joining this group was like coming home. I feel comfortable here.”

“We’re not only friends, we’re like family,” Stanley Kebenei said. We visit each other when we’re back home in Kenya.

“Racism is part of what we have to deal with. It’s usually anonymous, but it’s there,” Simmons said.

For example, Simmons pointed out, white South African runners Mark Plaatjes and Colleen De Reuck, who became U.S. citizens, weren’t subjected to the African-born prefix, nor was Alberto Salazar referred to as Cuban-born during his competitive days. But ADP/WCAPers are often qualified in the media asKenyan-born or African-born.

ADP/WCAP members and others provide lots of camaraderie

“I have friends who call it the African Distance Project,” Michael Jordan said. “No one calls Kyle Merber Irish-American but they call me African-American, and my teammates Kenyan-American. You’re in this weird place with this label in front of American, like a subcategory of American. Not fully American.” Jordan said the naturalized Americans in the group feel some pressure to prove their American-ness, and have been criticized, usually anonymously, for speaking Swahili.

It’s hard to imagine anyone would care too much about so many Kenyan-born runners finding a place with ADP/WCAP if the group wasn’t having so much success. And success, in such short order, ruffles feathers, as three-time U.S. cross country champion Chris Derrick pointed out: “When things change quickly, there’s always some confusion, borderline resentment. People talk about genetic advantage or that it’s somehow unfair that these guys can run for the U.S.”

Eighteen of the total 26 ADP/WCAP athletes are naturalized Americans, born in Kenya. A quick look at the IAAF world records and world bests year to year for distances 1,500 meters to the marathon will show a preponderance of Kenyan athletes. Although circumstantial evidence for some kind of Kenyan superiority in distance running is strong, trying to scientifically tease out genetic advantage from the many other factors that influence distance running success is a fraught business, for which I turn to South African sport scientist Ross Tucker. He’s written extensively on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:

Within the Kenyan population, and specifically, the Nandi sub-tribe of the Kalenjin tribe (this group, incidentally, makes up 3% of the Kenyan population, but almost half of their great international runners), there will be a higher prevalence of favorable gene variants or genotypes than in a population from another country.

The result is that the application of the same training stimuli, plus the environmental factors and culture, will result in a greater emergence of international caliber runners from this population. For every 100 people, there exists a greater probability that an elite athlete will emerge from the Kenyan population than a similarly aged population in say, Australia or America.

On top of this, add the fact that the environment in Kenya (and East Africa) is uniquely suited to distance running. The people, the culture of running, the history of success, the altitude, diet, economic factors and ‘system’ ensure that in Kenya, the training environment is unlike any other in the world.

Kenyan dominance...is the result of BOTH genetic and training related factors, but it is unlikely to be a unique gene that is found only in Kenya. The rest of the world therefore is not destined to be beaten (as Galen Rupp and a number of Americans have shown), but they have to work a lot harder on a system-wide level to identify those athletes with the potential to be competitive, and to expose them to the right environment (without a host of other distractions, which arguably compromise the success of runners).

[...]

There is evidence for early life factors [in Kenyan running success], and one of them is multi-generational ancestry at altitude. It’s not enough to just be born at altitude yourself. There’s some advantage, it seems, from having parents whose parents whose parents were born and raised at altitude too. So even sending a batch of US kids to live at altitude for fifteen years may not bridge the gap to Kenyans.

Not all Kenyans are talented runners, but the Kenyans that American sports fans see—in the NCAA, in road races, and the Olympics—are. Those who earned a scholarship to a U.S. university demonstrated significant talent for running, but the high-profile successes of a few have imbued all Kenyan athletes with an aura of invincibility. Stanley Kebenei talked about the Kenyan reputation: “Other athletes haven’t actually said, You’re just good because you’re Kenyan, but I think some feel that way. You know what? That person has lost to me by thinking that—he’s weak mentally.” Kenyans, he said, can be challenged, but competitors have to think they can do it.

Chris Derrick has been racing the ADP/WCAP runners since his days at Stanford. “This question lingers over running specifically—are Kenyans so genetically superior that no one can compete with them?” he asked. Though he’s aware of the circumstantial evidence that keeps the idea of genetic advantage alive, Derrick’s own experience doesn’t support it. He feels his record against the ADP/WCAP runners has been good, and that he has lost to them more in the last two years because he struggled with injuries during that time while they were healthy and training consistently. “I don’t plan on retiring because these guys are running well,” he said.

Derrick also doesn’t buy into the idea that athletes switching national allegiance is unfair. “When you drill down, the whole structure of the sport is unfair,” he said. In 2012, he ran 27:31 for 10,000 meters and 13:19 at 5,000, had the Olympic A standards, and still didn’t make the Olympic team. He was fourth. There are only five or six countries in the world, he said, that would have that kind of depth at the distances, and the U.S. is one of them. “If I’d been born in almost any other country, I’d have made the Olympic team with those times. It’s not fair but that’s the way it is.” 

He does think athletes switching allegiances is an image problem for a sport that gets most attention at Olympic or World Championship events, competitions based on nationality. “If it becomes too common to switch countries, just because it’s easier to make an Olympic team, fans become cynical. It might harm the sport as whole. You’ve got Bahrain and Qatar explicitly buying athletes who never set foot in the country. To the casual observer who doesn’t know the specifics, WCAP may look the same,” he said. (IAAF announced a ban on changes of allegiance in February of this year while they review their policies). 

Kebenei saw the infusion of Kenyan athletes as an integral and healthy part of the American melting pot. “I think we’re doing something positive in this country; ADP/WCAP has lifted all of American running,” Kebenei said. “Now everyone is working hard.”

Simmons coached college level track and cross country for 21 years before establishing ADP, and built a reputation for shaping non-existent programs into national title winners, average runners into champions. Because of this history, or in spite of it, he’s inordinately optimistic—he responded to my sarcastic description of his post in Minot, North Dakota as a vacation destination with startling sincerity: “Yeah, it was great!”

 

Simmons is a purist. He looks for people who want to run for the love of running, just as he wants to coach for the love of seeing people improve. He said he’s never recruited in his entire career. “If you do a good job, athletes will want to be part of the program. With this group, the opportunity to train with the best is motivation; there’s no need to recruit.”

Not recruiting is fine; NOP and Bowerman TC don’t recruit either. But unlike most elite training groups, ADP offers little aside from coaching, training partners, and an ideal location. Again, Simmons has purist ideals. “Too much in our sport is about getting compensated for what you’ve done in the past,” he said. “A lot of people who ran well in college come to training groups asking for shoes or a contract. ‘Can you give me housing or travel?’ They’re asking for things in advance, and then are not motivated once they get there.”

Simmons’s philosophy of neither recruiting nor offering many perks attracted runners from two ends of the post-collegiate spectrum: Those who had, for whatever reason, under-performed in college and couldn’t get sponsorship or support from a sponsored group; and those with a college or post-collegiate record impressive enough to score a shoe company contract such that they were self-sufficient.

Mattie Suver, Michael Jordan, and Biya Simbassa fell into the first category. They’ve cobbled together part-time jobs and prize money to pay the bills while they work to get to the level at which they can score a professional contract.

Suver, a charter member of ADP, said, “The big draw for me was the passion Scott had, and the other athletes had, for running. Everyone was there because they wanted to be there, not because they were getting paid.” She’s still sold on Simmons’s coaching and his idealism: She improved dramatically, and within three years, she and her husband were able to buy a house in Colorado Springs.

 

Those in the group who have more to share, do so—a rent-free place to stay, shoes, clothing. Simmons doesn’t ask those who are less financially secure to pay him for coaching.

Sam Chelanga, Stanley Kebenei, and Joe Gray all arrived at ADP with professional contracts—coaching, a favorable location, and top-notch training partners were all they required.

Simmons’s philosophy means that he too doesn’t expect to be compensated for past achievements. He makes a modest living from various sources—the Army contract, books, DVDs, coaching clinics, occasional grants, and at one point, a craft beer taproom. He paid his own way to the U.S. Olympic Trials and to the Rio Olympics, and was only allowed a coaching credential to get into the Olympic stadium when Chelimo and Bor made the finals of their respective events.

WCAP runners, with their Army paycheck and health insurance, gear from Nike (until a recently signed contract, the Army purchased Nike singlets and applied the Army logo after market) and some travel expenses, are a self-sufficient bunch. All they needed was coaching and an Army fixer to manage travel.

On paper, ADP/WCAP’s selling points look slim compared to state-of-the-art fitness facilities, first-class accommodations in Park City and St. Moritz, salaries, housing, contracts, dedicated physio and medical teams that other training groups offer, and yet, the group has managed to attract two NCAA champions—Chelanga and Korir—three college standouts—Chelimo, Kipchirchir, and Lawi Lalang—the 2016 World Mountain Running champion—Joe Gray—and two up-and-comers—Stanley Kebenei and Biya Simbassa.

To Biya Simbassa, a shoe contract, stipend, housing—none of those were factors in his decision. “When you can train at altitude, be outside all year, and have good teammates, someone to push you every day—what more can you ask for?”

From right, Paul Chelimo, Stanley Kebenei, Haron Lagat, Hillary Bor and Leonard Korir, tempo run

“When I graduated, ADP/WCAP had very few athletes and almost no profile,” said Chris Derrick, who joined Nike Oregon Track Club right out of college, and now runs with Bowerman TC. “It’s only in the past 18 months, with the WCAP athletes, that it has produced athletes competing at a high level on the track. This is really the first college class that has graduated with ADP being a big name, and getting proven results.”

When WCAPer Shadrack Kipchirchir made the World Championship team in 2015, ears perked up, mostly non-U.S. citizen ears. Then Bor, Kipchirchir, Korir, and Chelimo made the 2016 Olympic team, and magnetically, the group attracted Haron Lagat, Susan Tanui, and Lawi Lalang to WCAP, but also non-Army arrivals Simbassa, Chelanga, Jordan, and Kebenei.

 

“I didn’t think about joining another group because this is the best,” Kebenei said. “If you want to get better, you go with the best. I wanted to be part of that—that’s why I came here.”

As the 2017 crop of collegiate runners became post-collegiate hopefuls looking for a winning team to join, ADP/WCAP showed up at the U.S. National Championship and filled seven spots for the World Championships. They looked like winners. Top NCAA graduates who used to look to the Portland area—NOP, Bowerman, Oregon TC—suddenly have another viable option. 

Kipchirchir recently posted a personal best 27:07.55 at 10,000 meters. That makes him the third fastest U.S. 10,000 meter runner of all time. In the same race, Lenny Korir ran a personal best 27:20.18, making him the fifth-fastest U.S. 10,000 meter runner of all time. Chelimo won a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships. Nine of the top 10 U.S. steeplechase times have been run by Evan Jager, with Bowerman Track Club. The lone interloper in the top 10 performances is Stanley Kebenei, with ADP. The top three places at Peachtree 10K U.S. Championship were taken by WCAP/ADP runners. Joe Gray placed fourth at the World Mountain Championships in July. That drumbeat of success does not go unnoticed. 

Army programs, Scott Simmons’ idealism, 26 athletes, and the American dream came together to create a different model for a training group. As a result, distance running in this country looks different. It looks more competitive.


Longtime Track and Field Coach Xavier Samuels Died in Hurricane Irma

Xavier "Dag" Samuels, a veteran track coach in the British Virgin Islands who most recently worked with Kyron McMaster, reportedly died as Hurricane Irma moved through the territory. 

Sports Max reported the news Thursday and passed along confirmation from former British Virgin Islands Athletics Association president Dean Greenaway.

"Several people in my community today were expressing condolences, so yes, I can confirm," he said, before noting additional details were unavailable due to destruction from the storm. "In my area cell towers have fallen down so you can't get communication."

Saint Kitts and Nevis track and field also released a statement Thursday on social media expressing “deep regret and profound sadness” about the coach's death.

"Dag was an IAAF Level 5 Chief Coach and a close friend of track and field in St.Kitts-Nevis. He was also the coach of international hurdling sensation Kyron McMaster of the BVI," the statement read. "We will forever miss him. His work is an inspiration and will continue through those he has touched. Our love and sympathies are with the family and friends of veteran coach Xavier 'Dag' Samuels."

McMaster, a 20-year-old rising star in the 400-meter hurdles, used Samuels' guidance to qualify for the 2017 World Championships at Olympic Stadium in London last month. He was disqualified during the preliminary heats due to lane infringement, however.

Further information about Samuels' death wasn't immediately released.


Untold stories: why we should know more about East African runners

Jemal Yimer finished fifth in the 10,000m at the world championships and Tim Cheruiyot came second in the 1,500m, yet their stories barely rated a mention. It’s symptomatic of a wider problem

On the first night of the World Athletics Championships, the Ethiopian Jemal Yimer finished fifth in the 10,000m. He had judged his effort to perfection, riding the surges from the Kenyan runners and sprinting past World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor in the last lap before lunging desperately for the line, squeezing every fraction out of a 14-second PB in 26.56.11. As the camera focuses on Mo Farah, we can just see Yimer in the background, hands on hips, looking up at the screen as if to say: “Did I really just break 27 minutes?” As Farah jumps up and down, Yimer wanders off the track. He gets no mention in the BBC commentary at all.

On the final night of the championships, the Kenyan Tim Cheruiyot finished second in the 1,500m behind his teammate, Elijah Manangoi. In the press conference afterwards, he gestured to Manangoi and Asbel Kiprop, and said: “I sacrificed myself to uphold the honour and dignity of Kenya,” deferring to his more charismatic team-mates.

Yimer is back in Addis Ababa now, re-acclimatising to the altitude and quietly preparing for a 10km race in the Czech Republic. Cheruiyot is preparing for a big party to celebrate his achievements this year – he also won the Diamond League title for 1,500m – in his hometown of Bomet, Kenya. Both run for prison clubs in their respective countries, meaning they are technically employed as prison guards but are paid to run in domestic races for the prison team. But they take time out of training to learn to fire a rifle or to take part in marching drills. Both have burst on to the scene fairly dramatically over the past couple of years.

That we know next to nothing about them should surprise us, but doesn’t. Fans of athletics – and specifically of long-distance running – have become used to a lack of knowledge on the part of commentators that would be shocking in any other sport. The collective term “the East Africans” is used to describe a group of individuals diverse in both culture and personality. During the BBC coverage of the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow last year, Liz McColgan repeatedly referred to Moses Kipsiro, the Ugandan Commonwealth 10,000m champion from 2014, as “the Kenyan” when he raced against the Scot Callum Hawkins. In distance running, this hardly raises an eyebrow. Just before the World Championship 10,000m final, I received a WhatsApp message from a friend: “Ten phrases the commentary team are guaranteed to say in the next half hour.” We had ticked them off after 15 minutes.

Given that long-distance races go on for quite a while, you would think that the people paid to commentate on them would do their research, and find something out about the main protagonists. And yet we routinely watch 27 minutes of running (or more than two hours in the case of a marathon) and learn literally nothing at all. Part of the reason for this, I think, is the mythologising of the “loneliness of the long-distance runner”. Why else would a film about Kamworor – already World Junior Cross Country champion – be named The Unknown Runner’? We like to hold on to a romantic image of East African runners as enigmatic figures, spirit-like in their light-footedness, who strides down from the high-altitude plateau to race, before disappearing back into the mountains, silent and mysterious. We assume they have little to say, that their approach to running is simple – childlike, even. We know infinitely more about the US and European runners who toil in their wake.

This is not all the commentators’ fault. When Steve Cram has a few details about an athlete, he does tend to say them; he mentioned that Cheruiyot trained in the Rongi hills during the commentary of every Diamond League race he ran this year. Yimer and Cheruiyot are both represented by Moyo Sports management, whose athletes I did research with last year. Malcolm Anderson, Moyo’s director, thinks the problem is one of communication across the board, and that managers have a big role to play in keeping commentators, journalists and governing bodies in the know about the best runners. While managers are in a “unique position”, with direct access to the athletes they represent, Anderson says they have “failed to prioritise media, PR and education” when it comes to East African athletes. He describes this as a “dereliction of their duty over the last 20 years”. But the managers are only partially responsible. When the IAAF was tweeting about events in the World Championships it used the Twitter handles of the US and European athletes, but Anderson had to contact them to ask them to use Cheruiyot’s.

Last time I sat down with Yimer in Addis Ababa, I asked him if he had any funny stories from his training. I was thinking of the times I’d been out running in the forest and encountered hyenas, or got lost and had to shelter with farmers. “Oh yes,” he said, laughing. “It was rainy season and we were in a bajaj (a small motorised rickshaw) coming back from training. The road was wet and the wheels slid and the bajaj fell off the road and started sliding down the hillside. The driver and my friend Ibrahim managed to get out but my leg was stuck between two pieces of steel. I shouted: “My leg, Ibrahim, my leg!” as I slid down the hill. But, thanks to God, I survived and since the surgery I’ve been enjoying my running.” I stared at him open mouthed as he continued to laugh. Hyenas are also a minor concern for both Yimer and Cheruiyot. “We train in the national park,” Tim told me. “Often we see hyenas. Buffalo are the problem. Absolutely no way are we running through them. Simply we stop and turn back.”

Hailye, Moyo Sports’s sub-agent, has been telling me for a while that Yimer is “special”, and it is this single-minded focus that sets him apart. If you have lived in the training camp of the Amhara Prisons club for two years, training morning and evening. eating a simple diet in the club canteen and surviving on US$50 a month, it can’t be the easiest thing in the world to suddenly see $6,000 in your bank account and to leave it there. But that is what Yimer did when he received his very first prize money. As he sees it, the money can wait, but his running can’t.

When I ask him what he wants me to write about him, Yimer repeatedly shakes his head and tells me to write about the camp, and his coach there, Habtemariam. The camp is a simple one – grass track, barracks-style shared rooms – but it is surrounded by the perfect distance-running environmen, according to Yimer: rolling hills at 2,800m above sea-level, kilometre upon kilometre of forest, and hills of varying severity for hill sprints. “Compared with Debre Marqos,” he says, “Addis Ababa is easy.” This is why he prefers to return to the club between races. Debre Marqos is where people who live at 2,500m above sea-level go for altitude training.

Cheruiyot took home $50,000 for winning the Diamond League this year, but intends to continue living in a one-room house in a compound outside Nairobi. Like Yimer, he puts his upward trajectory down to patience and consistency, and doesn’t want to change a formula that’s working. His “first flight”, as he puts it, wasn’t until 2015, for the distance medley race in the World Relays championships in the Bahamas. Team Kenya’s aim was nothing short of a win and a world record. Cheruiyot was on the anchor leg. Expectations couldn’t have been higher for his first race. He was nervous, and took off to run an astonishing 51-second opening lap of his 1,600m leg, and was caught by American Ben Blankenship in the final lap. Since then, though, his improvement has been remarkable; he got a PB in every Diamond League he ran this year except for the final in Zurich, which he won.


It is difficult to relate to someone who can run under 27 minutes for 10,000m, or three and half minutes for 1,500m. It is hard to imagine what it would be like to be among the five best in the world. As David Foster Wallace put it: “Athletes are in many ways our culture’s holy men; they give themselves over to a pursuit, endure great privation and pain to actualise themselves at it, and enjoy a relationship to perfection that we admire and reward […] and love to watch, even though we have no inclination to walk that road ourselves.”

For an Ethiopian or Kenyan long-distance runner, years of this sacrifice happen before they even get a chance – if they even get a chance – of actually running abroad. Both Yimer and Cheruiyot know their time in the top echelons of the sport won’t last forever.

The cliche that runners like to let their legs do the talking is sometimes true. In the cult-classic book Running with the Buffaloes, the coach, Mark Wetmore, frustrated with requests from journalists, tells his star runner, Adam Goucher: “If you run fast enough, one day you can go on Letterman and just sit there.” Yimer and Cheruiyot both have plenty to say, though, if journalists had the patience and inclination to sit and talk to them. If athletics is to remain popular in the post-Bolt/Farah era, we need to make more of an effort to engage translators, journalists and managers in getting to know the top East African athletes a little better.

Track and Field Announces 2017-2018 Schedule

FORT WORTH, Texas – Track and field head coach Darryl Anderson announced the indoor and outdoor track and field schedules for the 2017-2018 school year. Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, the Horned Frogs will travel to meets hosted by Big 12, SEC, and Pac-12 schools and compete against programs from all five Power Five conferences.

“We were looking at the level of competition,” Anderson said. “We want to see every power five conference before the postseason and run against the best of the best. So, when we get to conferences, regionals, and nationals, it’s nothing new to them.”

For Anderson, the positioning of men’s and women’s teams played a role in scheduling. The men’s team returns most of the roster from a year ago, while the women’s team features many talented newcomers.

“Our men’s team is almost 99% intact from last year with some additions,” Anderson said. “We should be pretty good on the men’s team and with that being said, we want to see higher levels of competition. On the women’s team, we’ve got some younger girls coming with some good credentials and we want to get them started immediately. So, they understand being at TCU, being at a Power Five, being in the Big 12, and what that level of competition will entail.”

The indoor season will begin Dec. 9, with a meet at Texas A&M, the first of two meets in College Station. TCU will also compete at Texas Tech in their new facility and return to New Mexico, where they competed last season as well.

Indoor postseason starts Feb. 23, at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Iowa State. Two weeks later on March 9-10, the indoor season will wrap up in College Station for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

The outdoor season starts in Fort Worth with the Horned Frog’s lone home meet of the year. The TCU Invitational is scheduled for March 16-17. Throughout the spring, TCU will travel to several Power Five schools, including the Texas Relays, Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic, Florida’s Tom Jones Memorial, and the Arkansas Invitational.

The Horned Frogs open outdoor postseason in Waco, Texas, for the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scheduled for May 11-13. Following the conference meet, NCAA Outdoor Regionals are scheduled for May 24-26 in Sacramento, Calif. The season concludes in Eugene, Ore., with the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Last season, four Horned Frogs and three relays represented TCU at the national championships. This year, nationals are scheduled for June 6-9.

British Putter Still Fighting Life Ban From '97

Britain's double Olympian shot putter Paul Edwards, banned for life in 1997 after a second positive doping test, has launched a Facebook page as part of his longstanding efforts to be cleared from charges that took place long before social media existed.

Edwards, 58, who competed at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and won bronze for Wales at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, continues to dispute his first positive test in 1994, which earned him a four-year ban, and the findings from an out-of-competition test undertaken while he was still banned which led to his lifetime ban.

"I'm Paul Edwards, a former GB international and Olympic shot putter who wrongly received a life ban from athletics after an incorrect out-of-competition test for testosterone in 1997," he says in a video recording on his page, entitled Paul Edwards Victim of Deceit and Deception.

"I am not guilty and will continue as I have done for 20 years to fight to prove my innocence."

Edwards, who competed for both England and Wales, was sent home on the eve of the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria along with fellow athlete Diane Modahl after the emergence of doping charges against them.

The shot putter had failed two tests, the first having been conducted during the European Championships in Helsinki earlier in the year, and the second two days after he returned from competing there.

Modahl returned to athletics in 1996 after being cleared on appeal by both the British Athletic Federation and the international body for athletics, then known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation, following evidence that her sample had materially degraded following serious failures in the chain of custody and storage.

Edwards, who has alleged numerous faults with the findings for his 1997 sample, and has challenged the chain of custody, made use of the Freedom of Information Act in 2009 to obtain information on his tests from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College, London.

In November 2013 UK Athletics, UK Sport and the Doping Control Centre at King’s College, London, obtained a summary judgement in their favour from the High Court ruling that Edwards' claim for damages was "statute barred".

That means it is beyond the statute of limitations of six years set for such appeals.

Edwards continues to seek redress, concluding on his video recording: "My case has still not been reconsidered.

"I have received a lifetime ban which has marred my life even though guilty athletes are constantly being reinstated after agreed periods of time.

"I am not guilty and I will continue to fight."

"Brilliant Career Advice" From Ato Boldon

Here's how to succeed -- and how to make the journey towards success seem almost easy.
One thing we all share is a desire for success -- however we chose to define "success," of course. (Your definition of success is the only one that matters.) Success, or at least the pursuit of success, transforms what would otherwise simply be hard work into something much more meaningful and fulfilling.

So how did Ato Boldon, the four-time Olympic medalist (only three other people, Usain Bolt, Frankie Fredericks, and Carl Lewis, have won as many individual sprint medals), coach, IAAF Ambassador, and track and field and NASCAR broadcast analyst (he's outstanding on TV), achieve success in such disparate pursuits?

His process comes down to two powerful pieces of advice. The first is to see the end first.

"I have always had an ability to see the end before I even start," Ato says. "I tell my athletes that all the time. See the end first. If you see the end, then the steps that it takes to get to your goal don't seem as hard, as rigorous, or as time consuming."

Ato told me a quick story to illustrate the point:

"Say I told you that you have to drive 100 miles every day. On the 10th day you would probably want to quit.

"But then what if I also told you that on the 90th day you will find the Hope diamond lying on the side of the road? Now your outlook would totally change -- on the 10th day you would be saying, 'Great! Only 80 more days to go!'

Approach it that way, and no matter how much effort you put in, it doesn't feel like work. For me, I welcomed whatever came because it didn't matter how hard I trained or if I got injured... because I truly believed that at the end of the journey I would win an Olympic medal.

"Always start at the end and work your way backward. But don't 'work your way' backwards. Start at the end totally confident in what the end of the destination will be. Then each step you take, small though it may be, will not seem nearly so hard."

Many people dream of making a living by doing what they love, but for most that dream stays a dream. Huge goals often seem too hard, or too scary, or too farfetched, because the distance between here and there looks impossibly wide. Yet if you start at the end and know you will do what it takes to get there, you'll welcome the journey -- because it will take you where you want to go.

But when you're tantalizingly close to reaching your goal -- especially if it's an incredibly challenging goal -- you might start to feel the pressure to perform. That's natural. Everyonefeels pressure.

So how does Ato deal with pressure?

"I bury myself in preparation," he says. "People often say, 'Oh, you don't want to over-prepare.' There is no such thing as being over-prepared. You can only be under-prepared.

"When I started to feel nervous, my solace lie in the fact that I had done every single thing possible. Lots of people get nervous and anxious because they think, 'I should have done A or B or C.' My confidence came from how much I prepared."

So when he went into broadcasting, he used the same approach that made him a great athlete to become a great broadcaster.

"The reviews from my first Olympics were really good," Ato says, "and I realized that the things people liked about my broadcasting were things I had planned for. I had already figured out Bolt was going to crush everyone, so I subscribed to the Al Michaels and Bryant Gumbel school of sports broadcasting. I know how much those guys prepare.

"I also know how iconic 'Do You Believe in Miracles' is in this country, and I knew Bolt was going to win big in Beijing... so I wanted to be ready to say something that stood the test of time."

So he locked himself in his office for two weeks, considering every possible scenario and how he could put those scenarios into historical context. Of course he especially focused on Bolt, sure he would run the great 100 meters ever run.

"I knew once he crossed the finish line he would have to run around the turn, and I wanted the audio to go with the visual, so I came up with, 'The 100 meter dash is run in a straight line, but Usain Bolt has just turned the corner and the line starts behind him. ' I'm not smart enough to think something like that up in the five seconds after he's run. Instead I visualized the ending and then figured out how to get there."

"No one remembers the work you put in ahead of time," he says, "but accolades -- and more importantly, how you feel about your own performance -- are there forever."

See the end first. Then bury yourself in hard work and preparation.

Granted, you may not be smarter than everyone else. You may not be as talented. You may not have the same connections, the same environment, or the same education.

But you can always rely on your effort, your perseverance, and your preparation. You can always substitute effort for skill and experience, secure in the knowledge that, over time, incredible effort will absolutely result in skill and experience.

You can always, always, always work harder than everyone else. And you will work harder... if you genuinely believe that what you want is waiting at the end of your journey.

McIntyre, Thomas, Ryce golden for T&T Masters *

Inga McIntyre and Joyce Thomas led the charge as Trinidad and Tobago enjoyed a successful campaign at the 2017 North and Central America and Caribbean Masters Athletics (NCCWMA) Track and Field Championships in Toronto, Canada, last month.

McIntyre and Thomas earned two gold medals apiece. And Philbert Ryce was in winners' row too, T&T ending the Championships with five gold medals, eight silver and four bronze for a grand total of 17.

McIntyre captured the women's 35-39 sprint double. The US-based athlete topped the 100 metres field in 12.73 seconds. And in the 200m, she got home first in 26.15.

Thomas emerged victorious in the women's 70-74 shot put, the veteran athlete throwing the iron ball 7.93 metres. Thomas also won the discus, beating her rivals with a 21.76m effort.

Chandigarh’s 101-Yr-Old Sprinter Nominated For Prestigious International Sports Award. Vote For Her Now

Centenarian sprinter Man Kaur, who has featured among the nominees for the prestigious 'Laureus World Best Sporting Moment of the Year 2017' Award, has sought the support of countrymen and sports enthusiasts around the world to vote for her in a global online poll.

The 101-year-old Chandigarh-based Man Kaur is among the six contenders. She had won the 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland earlier this year.

Kaur, who had earlier said that age was no bar to realise one's dreams, said today she was feeling happy to be featured in the category for the award.

"I feel thrilled. I am feeling the same way as any youngster would. Now, I need support of my countrymen and sports enthusiasts around the world. Vote for me," Kaur said on Wednesday.

Kaur's 79-year-old son Gurdev Singh said he had received a communication from the Laureus recently informing him that his mother was going to be featured in the new category --'Best Sporting Moment' which will highlight the power of sport in changing the world.

"My mother has been featured in a new category by the Laureus World Sports awards called 'Best Sporting Moment'. She is one of the six contenders," Gurdev said.

"We appeal to people to vote for her by clicking on mylaureus.com and follow necessary instructions for voting. We need full support of our countrymen as their votes are crucial," he said, adding people can cast votes over the next couple of weeks.

Kaur, who won her first medal in 2007 at the Chandigarh Masters Athletics meet, is now eying to compete in Asia Masters Athletics Championship at Rugao in China later this month.

Kaur took up athletics at the ripe age of 93 years "just for the heck of it" after seeing Gurdev run a race at Patiala.

By winning the medal in Auckland, New Zealand, in April, Kaur added the 17th gold medal in her kitty. She had clocked one minute and 14 seconds as a small crowd cheered her on.

In the run-up to the competition, Kaur left no stone unturned in her preparation doing five sprints of 50m each, one of 100m and one of 200m every alternate day.

"I will continue to run and take part in competitions as long as I can. It gives me a lot of happiness when I run. I believe that age is no bar to chase and realise your dreams," said Kaur, who is also called as 'Miracle Mom from Chandigarh'.

Besides Gurdev, Kaur has a 60-year-old daughter Amrit Kaur and a son named Manjit Singh, who is 72 years old.

"I feel great that I am getting to travel places at this age," she said with a smile.

Gurdev said his mother also ran a non-stop 3km long race along with centenarian marathon runner Fauja Singh at Mohali a few years back.

Kaur and Gurdev have taken part in dozens of Masters Athletics meets around the globe.

She said that during her childhood she used to accompany the royal family of erstwhile Patiala state in summers to Chail in Himachal Pradesh and tend to their kids and the sick.

Talking about her daily diet, she said, "I take boiled vegetables, wheat bread. I take healthy food, if you take junk food, then how can you run. I avoid fried food."

Watch: Chiefs Wide-Receiver's Speed Compared To Usain Bolt After 75-Yard TD Bomb

The NFL came back with a bang on Thursday night as the New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in what became the type of shootout to get you bursting with excitement for the new season if you weren't already.

The Patriots started strong but Kansas City held in before taking the lead in the 3rd quarter thanks to a big play from second-year wide-receiver Tyreek Hill, and then running away with it in the 4th ending up 42-27 winners. Last season Hill emerged as one of the most promising young players in the league largely due to his ridiculous pace which comes from his background in athletics and it soon showed.

When Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith connected with Hill on a 75-yard touchdown bomb in the third quarter, the commentators were given sufficient time to roll a clip that demonstrates just how fast he is.

When Hill was in high school he set a 200m personal best of 20.14 seconds. That is so fast that if he ran it in the final of the 2016 Rio Olympics he would have placed in 5th. This incredible stat was put into perspective by a clip of that final with Hill's time for comparison.

 

With that type of speed, Tyreek Hill probably should be an Olympic sprinter, but he just happens to be able to catch exceptionally well in addition to that, making him a pretty lethal weapon in the NFL. In fact, that score set a record at five consecutive regular season games with a 60+ yard touchdown reception.

Impressive stuff, although the best American football parody account on Twitter sums it up best.

This would have been very good news for those of you who drafted Tyreek Hill in fantasy, as the Patriots defence did a decent job of holding Hill and tight-end Travis Kelce in the first half, but he still managed to put up big numbers... However, he did limp out of the game in the 4th quarter. Hopefully it's not too serious.

The reigning Superbowl champs upset in the season opener.

All In For Devon Allen

During the IAAF World Championships, the internet fell in love with Devon Allen. And quite frankly, who can blame them? We catch up with the hottest property in athletics since the invention of all-weather tracks.

“Don’t be a fanboy, Devon”

Aged five, Devon Allen started playing football, but always enjoyed “pretty much every other sport”. It wasn’t until “fourth or fifth grade” that a volunteer at YMCA, where he’d spent his summers, discovered his speed during a game of kickball and asked him to join her dad’s track club. His first couple of years were “a bit wishy-washy”, but during his third year in the sport the Arizona-native won youth state titles in the 100m, 200m and 400m and realised, “ok I can handle this”.

During a pentathlon, he first encountered obstacles, but it took him another couple of years to discover his talent for the hurdles.

“I watched [the Olympics in] 2012. That’s the year I started hurdling,” Allen recalls. “I was watching Aries Merritt and those guys – now I am practically on the same level as them. You don’t want to be a fanboy, but it’s really cool to run against guys like Sergey [Shubenkov] and Aries, Orlando Ortega. I was studying them when I started with the hurdles.”

Double trouble

Allen made a name for himself as a two-sports guy at the University of Oregon where he studied for a business degree with a focus in sports marketing. During spring, he’d be bringing home collegiate hurdles titles for the Ducks, in the fall he’d be one of the most talented wide receivers in the PAC-12 Conference.

After a standout 2014 season – with a 13.16 PB and a US outdoor title under his belt – a right ACL injury ruined his 2015 season.

2016 was better. In June he won the collegiate 110m hurdles title, set a 13.03 PB on his way to victory at the US Trials in July and in August placed fifth in his Olympic debut in Rio. Shortly after his return to the Autzen Stadium in the fall, he tore his left ACL. It prompted the decision to put an indefinite halt to his football career and solely focus on track. In March 2017 he signed pro with Nike.

Hey there, Houdini

With football on the back burner, Allen had more time to focus on nurturing his other talents. At the IAAF World Championships he dazzled the crowds by casually pulling off a little magic trick during race introductions, before clocking 13.27 in the semi-final.

He missed the final by just three thousandths of a second – the fastest time any hurdler in history had run and not made a world champs final. Yet, the internet declared him the real champion of London 2017.

Magic tricks before big races might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Allen insists his pre race antics help him when toeing the line.

“You can be too focused and then it’s going to have the opposite effect of not being focused at all,” he explains. “I try to find a middle ground between that. Not that it has to be funny all the time, but I try not to focus on a race until it’s actually about to start.”

Luckily for the fans, he’s got some other ideas up his sleeve, “they include a little bit of props.”

Rookie no more

Despite his premature exit in London, Allen’s first full season as a pro has been overall satisfying. The circuit was a new experience for the 22-year-old, but spending time with more seasoned athletes made life on the road easier – although he is yet to master the art of packing.

“That’s one thing as a rookie I can adjust to next year, learn how to pack efficiently,” he laughs.

“I think I’ve always been good with meeting new people just because when I was younger I moved around a lot. I went to a new school every year. Being friendly and making an effort [on the circuit], sitting with some people that I don’t know at dinner and talking to them and learning stuff from them helps.”

New year, new challenge

Next year will be strange season for some athletes, Americans in particular, with no major outdoor championships to compete in.

Just like this season, speaking to more experienced athletes gave him an idea in how to approach the ‘off-year’.

“I talked to Christian Taylor and he said next year is a year where he is just going to run in every meet,” he recalls the conversation with the world and Olympic triple jump champion.

“He was like ‘if they have high jump, I’m gonna high jump’, and it made me think and I agree.”

Allen’s initial plan is “to focus on the on the indoor 60 hurdles” with the aim of a medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Then things get a little more interesting: “I also want to supplement that with a bit of decathlon. I’d like to break the world record in the 110m hurdles decathlon [currently 13.44 held by Damian Warner].”

It’s not his first stab at the multis. In 2013, aged 18, he competed in his last decathlon. “My first six events were good,” he says. “The javelin I struggle with, I just don’t know how to throw, and pole vault I really struggle with – I vaulted like 10 feet, that messed up my score.” He still racked up 6478 points (with junior implements).

For Allen, the challenge is more than just a bit of fun. Decathlon training, he says, will benefit him mentally as well as physically: “There’s something about doing quality training for different things.

“I think one of the reasons why I became a good athlete is because I was playing football half of the year. You just become a better athlete, more aware. Certain events make you think how you’ve got to put your body in the right position. You gain more control over your body in your specialist event.”

Making history

While the 110m hurdles will remain his priority, he’s also planning to fit in a few 400m hurdles races. Focusing on track alone for a full season for the first time in his life and without injuries, running sub-13 “should be a shoo-in” for 2018, but there’s one other goal Allen has set himself.

“Omar [McLeod] was the first guy to run under 13 and under 10 [in the 100m],” he explains. “I want to be the first hurdler to run under 20 in the 200m.”

It sounds like a tough ask – his current 200 PB is 20.63, but it’s nothing compared to the challenge he set himself further down the line.

“I do have a magic trick set up for like four or five years from now,” he hints with a grin.

“The best trick in the history of all tricks. If I win an Olympic or a world championship final, people will be like ‘wow this is awesome’.”

No pressure, mate.

Team USA Heads To France's DécaNation

Angers, FRANCE -- Olympic medalists and a newly crowned World Champion headline a well-rounded Team USATF at the 2017 DecáNation, a one-day international meet in Angers, France where ten athletes complete one decathlon, on Saturday, September 9 at Stadium du Lac de Maine.

The men’s team is highlighted by 2017 World Champion Sam Kendricks in the pole vault and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser in the shot put. They will be joined by renowned athletes such as 2017 USATF Outdoors 110m hurdles champion Aleec Harris and 2016 World Indoor 4x400m relay gold medalist Vernon Norwood in the 400m.

On the women’s side, 2016 bronze medalist Kristi Castlin will represent in the 100m hurdles, as will 4x400m relay Olympic gold medalist Courtney Okolo in the 400m. Three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury will compete in the 2000m and 2017 Diamond League finalist DeAnna Price in the hammer throw, among others.

The 13th annual DecáNation was established in 2005 by the French Athletics Association. Seven countries, including the U.S., will vie for the title on Saturday: France, China, Japan, Balkans, Poland and Ukraine.

Team USATF has won 9 times out of 12 years of participation. Women’s discus thrower Gia Lewis-Smallwood broke the American record at the 2014 DecáNation, when the event was last held in Angers.

2017 DecáNation Team USATF Roster - Women

Event

First Name

Last Name

Hometown

100m

Barbara

Pierre

Orlando, FL

200m

Courtney

Okolo

Carrollton, TX

400m

Courtney

Okolo

Carrollton, TX

800m

Kenyetta

Iyevbele

Charlotte, NC

2000m

Shannon

Rowbury

San Francisco, CA

Triple Jump

Andrea

Geubelle

University Place, WA

High Jump

Elizabeth

Patterson

Rowlett, TX

Discus

Gia

Lewis-Smallwood

Champaign, IL

100mH

Kristi

Castlin

Douglasville, GA

Hammer

DeAnna

Price

Old Monroe, MO

2017 DecáNation Team USATF Roster - Men


Event

First Name

Last Name

Hometown

100m

Beejay

Lee

West Covina, CA

200m

Beejay

Lee

West Covina, CA

400m

Vernon

Norwood

Morgan City, LA

800m

Jesse

Garn

Marcellus, NY

2000m

Donald

Cabral

Glastonbury, CT

Long Jump

Michael

Hartfield

Manchester, CT

Pole Vault

Sam

Kendricks

Oxford, MS

Javelin

Riley

Dolezal

Stanley, ND

110mH

Aleec

Harris

Atlanta, GA

Shot Put

Ryan

Crouser

Boring, OR

Kara Goucher's 5 Tips For Recovering Like A Pro

As a professional distance runner, Kara Goucher competed at the Olympics three times and is a World Championships silver medalist (NBD). And today, the 39-year-old formerly Nike-sponsored fan favorite can also add fashion designer to her resumé: her five-piece Kara Collection for Oiselle launches today—and best of all, it’s all about recovery. (You learn how to give your body the TLC it needs when you spend years chasing new PRs.)

“These are things you can wear to brunch or the grocery store, but that you’ll also want to pull on after a workout.”

“I wanted items that would be really comfy, but would also be functional and more tailored than a typical sweatshirt,” says Goucher, whose favorite item in the collection is the $82 sleeveless hoodie. “These are things you can wear to brunch or the grocery store, but that you’ll also want to pull on after a workout.” So once she’s slipped into her (self-designed) sweats, how does Goucher recover from a hard workout?

1. She starts refueling as soon as she stops running—but not with solid foods

“The first thing I do when I’m done running is think about rehydrating my body and getting some calories in there,” she says. Her favorite post-workout drinks are Nuun and shakes made with Vega protein powder. “But I don’t just sit there and chug them,” she says. “If you do that, your body can’t absorb all the nutrients you’re trying to give it. So I sip them slowly while I’m stretching or driving home.”

2. She takes brunch very seriously

“My stomach isn’t usually ready for hardcore food right after a workout, which is why protein shakes are good for me,” Goucher says. “But after 30 minutes or an hour, my stomach starts waking up and is ready to eat—and that’s when I go to brunch.” Her go-to order is eggs, any style. “I love eggs and avocado, plus some toast and potatoes on the side. And I’m not discriminatory about my eggs—I’ll take a good omelet, I’ll eat them over veggies, or I’ll have them scrambled.” Then in the afternoon, she snacks on toast with almond butter, avocado, or coconut oil.

3. She swears by stretching and foam rolling

You won’t find Goucher lazily lounging in front of the TV while trying to touch her toes. “My routine is all dynamic stretching,” she says. “I do lots of leg swings, walking and pulling my knees in to my chest, or pulling my foot up to my butt, and I finish with some balance work to remind my tired body what it needs to remember as it gets fatigued at the end of a workout or race.” She also foam rolls every night before bed. “It doesn’t take long, but it makes a huge difference, I promise.”

4. Her goal is to get off her feet ASAP—which means speedy showers are a must

Some runners swear by long, luxurious showers. Goucher is not one of them. “I really like a quick shower,” she says. “And I hardly wash my hair. It’s always in a bun or a braid, so I use dry shampoo and only wash it in the shower around once a week.”

5. She loves sleep—but admits she doesn’t get enough of it

“Before I had my son, I would sleep so much,” she says. “When I wasn’t training, I was sleeping. But that’s harder with a child!” Now, Goucher says she takes a 20-minute nap to recharge during the day, or she’ll meditate for a few minutes. “Sleep is super important,” she says. “The more you sleep, the more your body can handle. It’s just amazing what sleep does as far as repairing. Even if you can’t sneak in a nap, try to take a mental break from everything for a few minutes.”

Usain Bolt targets soccer giants Man U now athletics career is over

THE world’s fastest man says he’s yet to hit full speed on his sporting career and is set to start training to become a Manchester United football star next month.

Superstar sprinter Usain Bolt told The Saturday Telegraph he was fielding offers from the world’s biggest football sides and would begin training when he recovers from a hamstring injury.

The 31-year-old Jamaican, who retired from athletic competition last month, said he had a plan and a team in place to prevent him from falling into the post-competition implosion that’s seen other athletes suffer mental health problems and drug and alcohol abuse.

“One of my biggest dreams is to try to play for Manchester United and play football, it’s something that’s on my mind,” Bolt said.

“We have a lot of offers from different teams but I have to get over my injury first and then take it from there.

“My big dream would be to play for Manchester United because it’s my favourite team since I was young, but if there are other teams in the Premier League I’d definitely want to try. It’s something I’ve always said I’d be good at and something I feel I should try post-retirement.”

This year the Saturday Telegraph revealed the Australian Olympic Committee program to prepare younger athletes for injury and post-sporting careers.

It followed the post-retirement public meltdowns of former stars, including Olympic swimmers Grant Hackett and Geoff Huegill.

But the world-record setting Bolt, who visited Sydney to launch the flagship Optus store on George St, said he was unfazed about missing competition and would keep pushing himself in sport until he decided to start a family.


“I push myself in everything I do so I know in any ­aspect of life I move onto I will push myself to be the greatest and the best, ” Bolt explained.

“I think when I finally have kids I’ll slow down, but right now I still live life at the speed of Bolt.”

Jamaica to Celebrate Marathon Organized by Usain Bolt Foundation

Jamaican multiple Olympic and World Champion Usian Bolt got associated with the Jamaican National Association in a fusion to organize the 3rd edition of the marathon for ‘Athletics for a Better World'', powered by the IAAF, which is part of a campaign called ''Heroes in Action''.

The Usain Bolt Foundation will join forces with Athletics for a Better World to inspire positive social change through education, cultural development and sport.

'Athletics for a Better World' is the IAAF's social responsibility programme, which provides organizations and people with a platform to use the universality of athletics to make a positive difference around the world.

As part of 'Athletics for a Better World', the Usain Bolt Foundation will be able to utilise the IAAF's global reach, marketing channels and sporting credibility to spread their message and reach more young people than ever before.

The event will feature a central motto 'Run for our Heroes,' and proceeds collected will go to the Trelawny Elderly Hospital in the northern town of Falmouth to update and renovate the facility housing 62 seniors.

'Our elders should be appreciated; without their sacrifice we would not do these initiatives today,' Usain Bolt said in a statement.

Saffrey Brown, general manager of the Association, said that the alliance with the founding of the Olympic and World Champion will be a success, as both institutions promote cultural development for a positive change in society, through educational opportunities.

With the support of the Ministries of Health and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the race-walk will be held on October 15 from the Falmouth cruise port, with a scheduled start at 07:00 local time.

Maryann Gong named 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30 honoree

Gong becomes third MIT student-athlete to be named to Top 30.

Former MIT All-American cross country/track standout Maryann Gong, from Livermore, California, has been named as a Top 30 honoree for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Gong is just the third student-athlete in MIT history to be honored as a Top 30 selection, joining Margaret Guo '16 (swimming and diving) and Lisa K. Arel '92 (gymnastics). Guo captured the 2016 Woman of the Year award and became the first MIT student-athlete to earn the honor.

This year, the NCAA received a program-record 543 school nominees, which were then trimmed to 145 female student-athletes that were nominated by conferences and an independent selection committee. Gong was one of 53 Division III student-athletes to advance to that stage, and she is now among the final 10 from Division III.

“It’s kind of hard to believe because there are so many people, so to be one of the top 30 is really an honor and I’m really grateful about it,” Gong says. “It’s definitely a great way to end my undergraduate career at MIT.”

Named as the CoSIDA Division III National Academic All-America of the Year for a second straight season, Gong is a 15-time All-American and one of the most decorated female student-athletes in MIT history. In 2016-17, she was a three-time indoor track and field All-American as she anchored the distance medley relay team that finished as the national runner-up. Posting a perfect 5.0 GPA as an undergraduate at MIT, she is currently pursuing her master’s degree at MIT in engineering with a concentration in artificial intelligence. A former NCAA champion in the 3,000 meters, Gong was the recipient of the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Elite 90 award.

“The Top 30 honorees are remarkable representatives of the thousands of women competing in college sports each year,” says Sarah Hebberd, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and director of compliance at Georgia. “They have seized every opportunity available to them on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community, and we are proud to recognize them for their outstanding achievements.”

The selection committee will name nine finalists, with three from each division, in late September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2017 Woman of the Year. That ceremony will take place on Oct. 23 at a ceremony in Indianapolis.

SA athletics in a good space

Reflecting on a remarkable season by far, Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana believes this is the best time to grow the federation. For many years, ASA has been shunned by the corporate world.

"We can sell ASA now," maintained Skhosana, who used the success of athletes at international competitions in the just-concluded season to argue his case.

"There is a lot happening behind the scenes in terms of attempts to draw potential sponsorship, but I can't reveal the details as talks are ongoing."

Apart from the record medal haul - boosted by double medallists Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya - at the recent IAAF World Championships, SA senior track and field stars smashed 10 national records, with seven finishing among the top 10 in the world rankings in their disciplines.

There were also unique milestones that saw Van Niekerk, Clarence Munyai (300m) and Semenya (600m) record three world-best times in rarely-run events.

Semenya and jumper Luvo Manyonga added the Diamond League trophies to the mix.

Skhosana again defended ASA's stringent qualifying criteria and selection policy that shrouded the federation in controversy on the eve of the London World Championships.

"Surprisingly, the amount of negativity generated did not equal the amount of positivity that Team SA generated [in London]," he said.

ASA has already started the process of engaging its members to comment on, among other aspects, the criteria for next year's events. ASA this week announced preparation squads for the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Spain in March.

Looking ahead to the new season, Skhosana said they have already engaged SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee to kick-start the preparations for the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia in April.

O'Hare Dedicates Long Island Win To David Torrence

The HOKA One One event was renamed the David Torrence Mile in honour of the Olympic 5000m finalist who died last month

Chris O’Hare was among the winners at the Hoka One One Long Island Mile on Wednesday and, after the race, the Briton dedicated his win to David Torrence.

The elite men’s race had been renamed the David Torrence Mile in honour of the Olympic 5000m finalist and two-time Hoka One One Long Island Mile champion, who died the week before he had been due to defend his title at this year’s event.

After claiming victory in 3:56.22 in very wet conditions, O’Hare paid further tribute to Torrence, who had been found dead in a swimming pool in Arizona at the age of 31.

Prior to the race, O’Hare had written: “No better way to remember our good friend than doing what he loved most – racing hard and fast. You’ll be sorely missed.”

In Long Island, world 1500m finalist O’Hare – who won over that distance at the Müller Anniversary Games and British Championships – held off New Zealand’s two-time Olympic medallist Nick Willis, who clocked 3:56.41. USA’s John Gregorek was third in 3:57.50.

It was a Team B.A.A. double, as Emily Lipari won the women’s mile in 4:28.84 from Brenda Martinez with 4:28.96.

New London Office Building Has Rooftop Track

Fancy a spot of altitude training in the city? This is London's highest running track.

White Collar Factory opened earlier this week and we at SPIKES HQ have major office envy. Located overlooking Old Street Roundabout, right at the heart of London’s Tech Belt, and designed by renowned architectural practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), it features a 150m rooftop running track.

The track loops around the building, is protected by a 2 metre high glazed wall – so you're not missing out on the amazing view – and even has some corners for stretching and other exercises.

There's no all-comers record for the track in place yet, but for reference, Usain Bolt holds the 150m world best with 14.35. He didn't have to negotiate his way round several tight corners mind.

Who's up for a quick 5 miler at lunchtime tomorrow? That's just under 54 laps. Easy.

 

Simpson & Coburn Excited To End Season On 5th Ave

NEW YORK (07-Sep) -- For most elite middle distance runners, the 2017 track and field season has ended. But a group of 45 athletes --including 29 who competed at the IAAF World Championships in London last month-- will have their final race down one of the most famous roadways in the world. Sunday's 37th running of the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile features four medalists from London, including Americans Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn, who are looking to put an exclamation point on an already superlative year.

Both athletes admit that they are looking forward to crossing the finish line, skipping their standard cool down and heading into the off-season.

"That's always been part of the fun of coming to the 5th Avenue Mile, knowing that this is the last stretch before you get to put a seal on the sason and turn the page and celebrate for a minute," Simpson told reporters on a conference call Thursday from New York, where she arrived earlier in the week.

As a five-time winner of the race (2011; 2013-2016), she savors the event as her season finale. And coming off a silver medal in the 1500m at the world championships --her 4th podium finish in a global championships since 2011-- Simpson is eager for one last chance to toe the line.

"London was such an incredible experience and it was such a high," she said. "But when you cross the finish line and you medal, it's not this deep breath of, 'I finally did it and now I can relax.' It's this excitement that all of your work has paid off. I get a real surge from those experiences wanting to experience that again. So the motivation is, how long can I take that motivation and race at this level?"

Coburn returns to Manhattan for the second year, fresh off a gold-medal performance in the 3000m steeplechase in London, leading a thrilling 1-2 showing for Team USA with Courtney Frerichs (who will be making her Fifth Avenue debut).

"The excitement you get when you win a medal, it definitely makes you fired up to try to keep racing at a high level," she said by telephone from Boulder, Colo., as she prepared to travel to the Big Apple. "Hopefully I can bring one more performance out for 5th Avenue."

Simpson recorded her best time in the event (4:18.3) last year, and if conditions cooperate, the course record of 4:16.68 (set by PattiSue Plummer way back in 1990) could be in jeopardy. "Having so many medalists in the field and so many people [who] are still sharp at the end of the season, that's really the recipe for a course record, so I certainly think it's possible," she said.

And while the forecast in New York looks to be ideal for racing, it's the weather in another part of the country that is of greater concern to Simpson. With Hurricane Irma currently battering the Caribbean and looking to make landfall in the U.S. shortly, her home state is very much on her mind.

Simpson attended high school near Orlando and has relatives who still live in Florida and Georgia, which are expecting to be hit by the category 5 storm this weekend and early next week.

"This really hits home because in 2005 when I was graduating from high school, five different hurricanes hit land in Florida and it was a real memorable experience for me and it left a strong impact," she recalled. "We left for at least one of the storms and stayed in a shelter for several days. And we rode out one of the storms in our home. Just having those experiences really solidified for me the power of people coming together and the power in numbers. It left a love for me of the people of Florida and while they prepare I know they are totally capable of getting through this and making smart decisions. And we'll be watching and supporting them as they go through it."

The New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile takes runners from East 80th Street in Manhattan down to East 60th, and the course drops about nine meters.

Other top women racing Sunday include Great Britain's Laura Weightman, who finished 6th in the London 1500; American Brenda Martinez, a 2016 Olympian in the 1500; and New York native Emily Lipari, who won the Hoka One One Long Island Mile on Wednesday evening.

The men's field also features this week's Long Island champ, Chris O'Hare of Great Britain, along with two-time Olympic 1500 medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand (a three-time winner on Fifth Avenue); Norway's Filip Ingebrigtsen, the bronze medalist in London; and top Americans Robby Andrews, Johnny Gregorek, Craig Engels and defending champion Eric Jenkins.

The races will be televised live nationally on NBC this Sunday, September 10, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, and also streamed at nbcsports.com, on the NBC Sports app and via NBC Sports Gold's Track and Field Pass subscriptions service.

USATF Athlete Of The Week: Darrell Hill

Darrell Hill (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) won the Diamond League shot put title at Brussels with a massive 22.44m/73-7.5 throw that moved him to #8 on the all-time U.S. performers list, and was an improvement of almost two feet on his previous lifetime best.

Hill usurped the lead from 2016 Olympic champion and fellow World Championships teammate Ryan Crouser on his final throw. Hill’s win clinched the series trophy and $50,000 prize.

At the beginning of the season, IAAF Diamond League announced a new winner-takes-all system where athletes accumulated points to make it their event’s final meet. Click here for full results.

Other notable performances:

Kent State senior Reggie Jagers was the only U.S. gold medalist at the World University Games in Taipei, taking discus gold with a throw of 61.24m/200-11. Jagers was the runner-up at the NCAA Championships.
Lorraine Jasper broke the W55 American record in the mile by over 2 seconds at the Potomac Valley Games, taking down the 2015 record in 5:39.46.
Noah Lyles stormed to victory in the Diamond League 200m at Brussels, clocking 20.00 and turning back world champion Ramil Guliyev in the process.
Kathy Martin set a W65 world record in the 3000m at Potomac Valley Games, running a superb 11:42.2 to break the previous Masters record.
Dalilah Muhammad the Olympic champion in the 400m hurdles won her discipline at the Diamond League final, too, running 53.89.
Christian Taylor earned his sixth Diamond League trophy in the men’s triple jump at Brussels with a best of 17.49m/57-4.75. 

Now in its 16th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2017 Winners: January 5, Miranda Melville; January 12, Leonard Korir; January 19, Jordan Hasay; January 26, Keni Harrison; February 2, Michael Wardian; February 9, Mikey Brannigan; February 16, Ajee’ Wilson; February 23, Kathy Martin; March 2, Keturah Orji; March 9, Noah Lyles; March 16, Christian Walker; March 23, Allen Woodard; March 30, Bob Lida; April 6, Anna Rohrer; April 12, Sydney McLaughlin; April 19, Ben True; April 26, Jordan Hasay; May 3, Clayton Murphy; May 10, Gwen Berry; May 17, Christian Coleman; May 24, Joe Kovacs; May 31, Christian Taylor; June 7, Sydney McLaughlin; June 14, Christian Coleman; Tianna Bartoletta, June 21; Ryan Crouser, June 28; Sam Kendricks, July 6; Allyson Felix, July 12; Julia Hawkins, July 19; Ajee’ Wilson, July 26; Kayla Davis, August 2; Justin Gatlin, August 9; Emma Coburn, August 16; Jarrion Lawson, August 23; Kevin Castille, August 30; Darrell Hill, September 6.

VIDEO: Christopher Taylor (JAM) 45.27 New Age-15 World Record 400m World Youth Champs 2015

 

Kendell Williams Reflects On Her Eventful Summer

Kendell Williams had quite the summer.

A whirlwind of emotions encapsulated a two-month period, including excitement upon qualifying for the World Championships in London, to disappointment, as Williams sprained her ankle four days before the competition.

That excitement in her performance is nothing new to Williams, who captured her third NCAA Heptathlon title this past spring to finish up her college eligibility.

But Williams, who will graduate from Georgia this December, is not used to dealing with injuries. Her experiences this past summer were all new, but probably the biggest one was dealing with a setback via injury, and learning how to acclimate to a new challenge.

“I think that was new territory for me to have to explore that,” Williams said. “I think it just tells me that I’m not invincible, and injuries can happen to me. I just have to learn to focus and push through.”

The injury is a minor blip in Williams career, as she recently was released from a walking boot and the swelling and pain has reduced drastically.

“It’s a part of life, its part of sports and athletics and you know injuries will come,” Track and Field head coach Petros Kyprianou said. “Part of her career and her life is to find the specialists out there that can keep her healthy and help her come back from minor injuries so that minor injuries don’t become major injuries, that’s something where her and I need to find better solutions so she can last longer.”

Now with about month left before she can train again, Williams is able to reflect on a summer that she considers a great learning experience.

Williams earned the Honda Collegiate Women’s Sports Award on June 16, which was just one of her many accolades from a dominant spring season.

She was flown out to LA to accept the award just days after helping Georgia finish as runner-up at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, coming within 1.8 points of the title. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, she got to sit in the studio and walk on stage with several other wildly successful collegiate women athletes. The event was broadcasted by CBS.

While the recognition was great, Williams was focused on her performance at the US. Outdoor Trials in Sacramento, which she won with the best heptathlon score of her career at 6,564 points.

“I think that was the real confidence booster,” Williams said. “That was a big deal, because that was with pros and everything. I feel like I do belong here and I can compete.”

Following a top showing in the trials, Williams qualified for the World Championships in London. Even with her ankle injury, Williams was able to finish 12th in the heptathlon.

Kyprianou believes that it has not quite yet hit Williams that what she accomplished this summer is a big deal. She is no longer a college-athlete and now is approaching the professional stage, which will take some transitioning.

“Once she starts competing as an professional, where you depend on yourself and your coach only, I think that’s when that survival instinct will kick in.” Kyprianou said. “That’s when the great performances and the self accountability will come into play."

Williams will wrap up her time at Georgia by graduating in December. In the meantime, she will resume her training within the next month, alongside Kyprianou and the Georgia track and field team.

Her training will be more intense now that she is considered a professional. But the training will all be with the end goal in mind: The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

That’s always been the goal of both her and her brother Devin Williams, who also finished his eligibility this past spring.

The two have typically grouped together in the conversation involving track. But while their end goal is the same, the processes to get there are different.

“He likes to cut distractions out and I like to hang out with my friends and if you go in his house he has all his goals posted everywhere where as I like to keep mine internally,” Williams said. “I think we both have our own individual goals and we both have different ways of accomplishing that goal.”

Kyprianou told Williams that she could train anywhere she wants. She has earned multiple invites to train with Olympic coaches, but she chose to stay at Georgia, finish her degree, and train with the team.

“Having her around as a true bulldog and around these kids is tremendous,” Kyprianou said. “It brings that aura of success and the younger ones need to have that.”

Photog Wins Award For Rio 4x1 Picture

Mainichi Shimbun reporter Naotsune Umemura has won a 2017 Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association Award for his impressive action shot of sprinters Usain Bolt and Japan's Aska Cambridge at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Umemura, 40, now working in the Mainichi Shimbun's Hokkaido News Department Photo Group, was in Rio covering the Olympics as a photographer from the newspaper's Tokyo Head Office. He received the award in the editorial category, marking the first time for a sports photo to win such an award.

It is also the second year in a row for the Mainichi Shimbun to win in the editorial category, bringing the company's total number of awards to date to a record 29.

Titled "Bolt's surprise, Japan's first ever relay silver," the photo captures Japanese sprinter Cambridge and Jamaican sprinter Bolt as they compete against each other during the last leg of the 4x100-meter relay final at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Bolt eventually beat Cambridge in the race, but Japan shocked the world with its unexpected superb performance in the event.

Specifically, Umemura managed to capture the surprise on Bolt's face as he glances over and sees Cambridge running next to him in the final straight.

"The technique and judgment behind this well-positioned and well-timed photo, as the two runners head for the finish line is remarkable. This is a brilliant case of photojournalism that will go down in history," the association said in praising Umemura's work. The announcement was made by the association on Sept. 6. Three other news organizations were also awarded the prize in the editorial category.

Mo Ahmed Second-Guesses His Zürich DL Tactics

Canadian vows to improve after tactical error in legendary distance runner's final track event

A fresh-looking Mo Ahmed darts to the front of the pack and appears in control just past the halfway mark of the men's 5,000 metres in Zurich. The Canadian can taste victory as he holds off Mo Farah, seeking to steal the spotlight from the legendary distance runner in the latter's final track race.

They take turns at the front, with Ahmed looking back at Farah after 4,200 metres as the 10-time global champion sat on his shoulder.

A great tactician, Farah surges with 600 metres remaining, takes the lead at the bell lap and fights off a furious push from American Paul Chelimo and 2017 world champion Muktar Edris in the final metres to win the Diamond League Trophy to go with his four Olympic gold medals and six world titles.

​"I look back at the video where my body and torso were, my hands and arms, and you can tell I'm kind of fighting my forward momentum," Ahmed said over the phone earlier this week from his Phoenix residence.

The Somalia-born, St. Catharines, Ont.-raised runner finished sixth that Aug. 24 evening at Letzigrund Stadium, but was later awarded fifth following Chelimo's disqualification for pushing Farah and Edris across the finish line.

"Tactically, I wasn't savvy at all, and stupid in a lot of ways," Ahmed recalled. "I'm leading the race and I think I could have pushed. I kind of hesitated. We went through the 3,000 [metre mark] at 7:51 and I was with the rabbits [pace-setters] and the other guys were right on me.

"I could have said, 'Be brave, attack the race and run as hard as you can four or five laps out.' I just let the race go and pace go, and made it slow. I gave [the race] to the other guys.

"I'm probably better off at a long-drawn-out kick. It's one of those things I'm still focusing on and learning."

At the Boston University Last Chance Meet in February, Ahmed squeezed through the gaps of the opposition over the final 600 metres to crush the indoor Canadian record in the 5,000 in 13 minutes 4.60 seconds. In early July, he also displayed a devastating finishing kick in defending his Canadian championship at Ottawa.

"I'm still learning about myself," said the 26-year-old Ahmed, who finished sixth in the 5,000 at the world championships last month in London after placing 12th in 2015. "I have a lot of international experience … but in winning those races, you don't just go there one time, experience something, come home and do it perfectly the next time. I think I'm figuring it out."

Ahmed's season would be deemed a success by many, given his five personal-best times, national records in the indoor two-mile, indoor 5,000, outdoor 3,000 and 10,000, plus his two top-10 finishes at worlds.

Personal bests set in 2017

Indoor 2-mile: 8:13.16 — Feb. 11, New York
Indoor 5,000m: 13:04.60 — Feb. 26, Boston
10,000: 27:02.35 — Aug. 4, London, England
Mile: 3:56.60 — Aug. 20, Birmingham, England
3,000: 7:40.49 — Aug. 29, Zagreb, Croatia
However, Ahmed views the Canadian milestones as "participation awards" since he only won one of the aforementioned races.

"The bar is set at winning and getting a medal, at the very least. I think I did 12 races [on the season] and they were good performances, but I didn't have anything that … I could smile at and really celebrate," said Ahmed, who ended his season on Aug. 29 by breaking Kevin Sullivan's nine-year-old national mark in the 3,000 at the IAAF World Challenge in Zagreb, Croatia.

During the off-season, in between playing basketball and relaxing — "waking up and not having anything planned is kind of fun" — Ahmed plans to work with Bowerman Track Club coach Jerry Schumacher to get physically stronger, identify his weaknesses, increase the volume of his training and run beyond 161 kilometres (100 miles) on a weekly basis.

"Not being brave enough [to take a chance in a race] is some sort of weakness," said Ahmed, who doesn't plan to run cross-country or a marathon in the near future. "I'm kind of missing something in a race because I feel like I'm doing everything I can outside of the track.

"The way I attack and look at a race needs to be fixed. I'm not strong enough yet to hang on and have enough to finish the race and win."

UK Athletics to mark Black History Month with special photographic exhibition

UK Athletics has announced plans for an exhibition next month in celebration of Black History Month.

The event, due to be held in London on October 25, will focus on celebrating Black History Month through a photographic exhibition, with the aim of continuing to inspire the next generation to get into athletics for years to come.

It will be led by former athlete and now UK Athletics’ vice-president and equality, diversity and engagement lead Donna Fraser,

An annual celebration in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States – though celebrated in differing months based on location - Black History Month exists with the purpose of recognising the history, experiences and accomplishments of black people.

Athletics, both for men and women, is widely recognised as a sport which has provided many Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) role models.

The exhibition - entitled "COACH" - will deal with the contribution of past and present black and Asian athletics' coaches in the UK from grass roots to elite level, and will highlight those who were athletes themselves and want to share their experiences and expertise with emerging stars.

"It is with great pride that we can formally announce our finalised plans for the ‘COACH’ exhibition in less than two months’ time," Fraser, a double World Championship bronze medal in the 4x400 metre relay and fourth in the 400m at the 2000 Olympics, said.

"As an organisation there are several key messages we want to deliver, with the crux of the exhibition being to promote positive BAME role models, especially females, while inspiring BAME communities to get involved in athletics, whether that be through participation, coaching, officiating or volunteering.

"Athletics is the most diverse and inclusive sport globally, and UK Athletics respects the time and effort all coaches give to the sport to produce quality athletes at all levels."

Photographer Ernest Simons said: "I love sport and love taking shots of athletes at all levels even more.

"A photograph can tell a story of emotions, whether that be pain, happiness, disappointment; the list is endless.

"Working with UK Athletics for Black History Month has given me the opportunity to tell the story of that unique coach-athlete relationship through photography, which many people do not get the chance to see, and so I wanted to ensure this exhibition tells many stories for everyone from any background to engage with and be inspired."

Lennox Graham Joining Clemson Coaching Staff

AFTER spending the past 10 years as head track and field coach at Johnson C. Smith, a Division II college in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lennox Graham has left to join fellow Jamaican Mark Elliot at Division I outfit Clemson University in South Carolina.

In his 10 years at Johnson C. Smith Graham had a lot of success guiding 27 athletes to NCAA Division II championships titles, both indoor and outdoor. Five set Division II records in 60 metres hurdles, 200 metres, 400 metres hurdles and 4x100 metres.

Graham, a member of the national coaching staff at the recent IAAF World Championships in London, has also had some success with athletes at the international level. At the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China he coached sisters Danielle and Shermaine Williams to the 100m hurdle final, where Danielle won gold in 12.58 seconds and Shermaine placed seventh in 12.91.

Winning Record

Danielle also won the sprint hurdles gold medal at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea in 2015.

He has also coached many-time national 400 metres hurdles champion Leford Green who participated at the 2012 Olympic Games, and he is currently the coach of Canadian standout, Kendra Clarke, who competed at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Elliott, the head coach at Clemson, is very excited that Graham is joining his programme.

"I am very happy to have Lennox (Graham) as a part of my coaching staff at Clemson as he has proven over the years that he is one of the better coaches around.

He has proven at every level that he can coach and when I lost my top assistant who moved to the University of Georgia, I aggressively pursued Lennox to be a part of my programme.

When you lose one of your top coaches you definitely want to get someone who is just as good as a replacement and being in a powerful division I knew then that Lennox would have been the right fit. I did not recruit him because he is a Jamaican, but because of his excellent track record," Elliot told The Gleaner yesterday.

In a farewell message on the Johnson C. Smith website, Graham said: "I wish the track and field programmes, the athletic department and Johnson C. Smith University nothing but great success in the future."

Anyika Onuora: From malaria to Olympic medallist in 10 months

When British sprinter Anyika Onuora took some time off to visit family in Nigeria in October 2015, she expected it to be like every other holiday.

But the 32-year-old contracted malaria and unable to walk, her Rio Olympic dream was left hanging in the balance.

Just 10 months later the Liverpudlian stood on the Olympic podium, with a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay hanging round her neck.

Not even her team-mates knew about the life-threatening ordeal she had endured just to be there. Now 13 months on from the Games, she tells her story...

A holiday to Nigeria

There was a pause and the consultant just gave me the look - the look of uncertainty. He didn't know whether I'd make a full recovery.

"You're lucky to be alive," he said.

But all I could think was 'can I leave? I've got an Olympics to train for'. I felt like my dream was being taken away from me and it was heart breaking.

It all started when I was in Nigeria - I contracted malaria but I didn't know I had it. I went to the Dominican Republic for another holiday and that was when my symptoms started to get really rough.

I emailed the doctor at British Athletics and I told him my urine was dark, really really dark.

"Are you sure it's not alcohol or you haven't been drinking and staying hydrated?" he asked. But I was hydrated and it was getting quite worrying.

Even with the symptoms, I got home from the Dominican Republic and I went back to training at Loughborough. I was in denial for a long time. But I knew I wasn't running properly and I felt weird. That's when I realised it was something much more serious. As soon as I stopped that session, the fever kicked in.

I went to get a urine and a blood test and within 12 hours the chief medical officer got back to me. "There's something wrong with your kidneys, you need to see a specialist," he said.

I had no way to get to London other than to drive myself, with a raging fever, to St John's Hospital.

Learning to walk again

I sometimes complain about doing a tough workout but the symptoms I had were beyond anything I could have imagined.

I had a fever, I had vomiting, stomach cramps and headaches. I was going from hot to cold, shivering, and waking up in a pool of sweat without knowing why it had happened or where it had come from.

By the time they diagnosed me and told me I had malaria my fever was reaching 40C and they said "we need to throw you in an ice tub", but I couldn't move, I could barely breathe. The nurse had to put bags of ice around the bed because I couldn't get to the tub - I was in so much pain.

I was then put in quarantine and I wasn't allowed to leave. I couldn't even go outside and I remember gazing out the window and thinking how amazing London looked. I didn't know if I was ever going to see fresh air again.

I also had to learn to walk again. When I was moved to the ward I tried to do laps and I was fighting with the nurses because they said I should be in bed resting. But I needed to walk, I needed some sort of movement, I needed to be active - this was my winter training, I should have been out on the track.

The day I got released from hospital, it was my birthday and as soon as I walked outside I took a deep breath of air. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to do that, because not many people are able to survive it.

I think if I was a regular person I wouldn't have known it was malaria. I would have just taken some tablets and thought it was a cold.

They told me if I'd have left it a day or two days later it could have been fatal. I'm thankful that I caught it as early as I did.

Getting back on track

I went through the absolute worst in that hospital and I nearly had everything taken away.

But as soon as I could walk again, I started running. No matter how much the training sessions killed me, I was just so grateful to be there.

Originally the European Championships weren't in my plans before the 2016 Rio Olympics, but because of the circumstances that led to my performances at the national championships - the Olympic trials - I had to go to the Europeans in Amsterdam to get a medal.

So nine months after contracting malaria I won my first global individual medal - a bronze in the 400m before gold in the 4x400m relay.

That didn't get me an individual place at Rio 2016 but I was selected for the relay and I said "I'm not coming back to the UK without an Olympic medal".

And in August, I got everything I'd ever dreamed of.

Alongside my team-mates Christine Ohuruogu, Emily Diamond and Eilidh Doyle we won bronze in the 4x400m relay.

I remember shaking on the podium. I'd been at the Europeans and got a medal, been to the Commonwealths and the World Championships in Beijing, but an Olympic medal? It was amazing. You just want to stare at it and hold it, it's like a new born child that you've just created and you don't want to let go.

Keeping a secret

Only a handful of people knew what had happened to me in the months building up to the Olympics. I told 400m runner Martin Rooney because we were training partners and I also told long jumper Shara Proctor.

I didn't know how people would react so I decided to keep the fact I'd had malaria a secret, even from my 4x400m relay team-mates.

I am always accountable for everything I do and if I had a bad race in 2016 I didn't want anyone to use the malaria as an excuse. I just wanted to focus on the season and not think about it.

Even when I got the Olympic medal, I wasn't too sure about telling people - I felt exposed at the time but the response when I finally did was amazing and completely overwhelming.

Sometimes I still get nightmares about what happened in the hospital. I didn't want to have to remember it but speaking about it gives me a sense of relief and closure.

The future

I am now an ambassador for Malaria No More UK - an amazing charity who are bringing the disease to the forefront. They're teaching people that this is a global disease and not just in Africa.

People are sometimes worried about going to Africa because of Malaria but Nigeria is like home for me and I love going back - it's where my parents were born and bred. After my dad passed away in 2012 I said I'd go back as often as possible and I might even retire there one day.

I know many people who have passed away from Malaria. I have a cousin who died from the disease so it makes me truly grateful that I survived and am able to tell my story.

In terms of my performances on the track, I'm not in exactly the same shape as before. Over the last two years my times have been up and down, but I don't think that's related to malaria. I'm just feeling my way with the 400m.

I'm definitely capable of running as quick as I have done in the past and malaria by no means is going to stop me. The biggest thing I took away from this experience is strength, strength I never knew I had.

We've got the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast and the European Championships in Germany next year so hopefully there are more medals to come.

Anyika Onuora was talking to BBC Sport's Jess Creighton.

Usain Bolt visits Japan, contemplates football career

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt, who retired from the sport last month visited western Japan on Tuesday (September 5).

He took part in a charity event organised to promote and protect traditional culture in Kyoto.

Bolt couldn’t run with the five Japanese children in the 15-meter race due to his hamstring injury from last month’s World Championships in London. The Jamaican had been three metres down on the two leaders as he took on the last leg of the relay, which was won by Britain, only to pull up sharply and fall to the ground, coming to a halt after a forward roll on the track.

In a news conference after the street event in Kyoto, Bolt said he was happy with his career although his farewell race was a “rough one.” Bolt also contemplated a future in football, and being an analyst in track and field, but denied the possibility of returning to the competition.

Bolt, who won 19 global championship golds, is widely considered the finest sprinter in athletics annals.

David Oliver, Olympic hurdles medalist, retires

David Oliver, perhaps the most consistent U.S. hurdler of the last decade, ends his track and field career with a unique, and shorter than expected, Olympic history.

Oliver, at 35, has retired, his agent, Daniel Wessfeldt, said by email Wednesday. Earlier, Oliver was announced as the director for the track and field program at his alma mater — Howard University.

From 2008 through 2016, Oliver finished in the top four in the annual world rankings in the 110m hurdles eight of nine years.

However, Oliver made just one Olympic team — in 2008, winning a bronze medal — and failed to qualify in 2012 and 2016 despite going into the Trials as a perceived favorite to finish top three.

Start with those Beijing Games. Unlike 2012 and 2016, Oliver went into 2008 with little fanfare. He had ranked sixth in the U.S. in the 110m hurdles in 2007 (though he made the world team, bowing out in the semifinals).

Oliver, who hurdles and played wide receiver at Howard, lowered his personal best from 13.14 to 12.95 in 2008. He went into the Olympics as the only man other than Cuban world-record holder Dayron Robles to break 13 seconds that year.

Oliver delivered in Rio, joining Robles and countryman David Payne on the podium. Oliver was aged for an Olympic rookie, at 26, but continued to improve in the following years as he developed a rivalry with Robles and 2004 Olympic champion Liu Xiang of China.

The muscle-bound Oliver’s battles with injuries began in 2009, when a calf kept him out of the U.S. Championships and worlds. Oliver rebounded in 2010, tying and then lowering the American record by .01 in back-to-back meets and posting the five fastest times that year.

Oliver again clocked the fastest time in the world in 2011, but it came in early June. He was fourth at worlds in late August. Injuries crept up again.

It was another troublesome calf that slowed Oliver to fifth place at the 2012 Olympic Trials — where he entered as the joint-second-fastest man in the U.S. that year but nowhere near his times from the previous seasons.

He came back in 2013 to win a world title in Moscow and break 13 seconds again in 2015, ranking No. 3 in the world for the year.

Oliver looked prime to return to the Olympics in 2016, ranking No. 2 in the world going into the Olympic Trials. But he pulled up after crossing the finish line in his semifinal with a hamstring injury and scratched out of the final later that day.

He returned this year but was significantly slower, failing to break 13.40 in six races, according to Tilastopaja.org. His last outing was a fifth-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships.

Dutkiewicz Daring To Dream After Joining The Greats In London

Looking up to the greats of your event is one thing, but trying to beat them is quite another.

Though Germany's Pamela Dutkiewicz didn't quite manage to beat all of them in the 100m hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, she came close, and her bronze medal behind gold medallist Sally Pearson of Australia and Dawn Harper Nelson of the USA felt as good as gold.

The 25-year-old crowned a successful season in the super-competitive final by clocking 12.72 to hold off world record-holder Kendra Harrison by 0.02 to snatch the bronze medal.

"I cannot believe it. I dreamt about this medal," said Dutkiewicz. "It’s crazy because there were so many big names in the 100m hurdles. I was so focused and I pushed until the final hurdle."

LIVING THE DREAM

Since she started to compete in hurdles races, Dutkiewicz has looked up to Pearson, who this year made a successful comeback from injury, winning her second world title six years after her first and on the same track where she won Olympic gold in 2012.

"Since I was a girl I have been admiring Sally Pearson," said Dutkiewicz. "She has been a role model for me. I am happy with her win. It's like I'm in a film. I am glad I caught a moment of complete flow at the fifth hurdle. When I crossed the finish line I thought I had finished fourth. You can only see the athlete in the lane next to you.

"I had a lot of emotions after the race, as I did not really expect to win a medal. I'm grateful that I kept my emotions under control. I hoped to run a clean race and I managed to do that. As I crossed the finish I thought, 'Wow, I am really in the top positions'. Then I saw that I finished third on the screen. It could not have gone better.

"My lap of honour was great. It was like madness. The support of the crowd goes through to your heart. They really appreciate your performance."

FIRST LOVE

Dutkiewicz hails from a sporting family of Polish origin and has been in love with sport of all kinds since she was a child.

Her father Marian Dutkiewicz played football for the Polish U21 team and her mother Brygida won the Polish 800m title in 1984 and had a PB of 2:02.39. Dutkiewicz started in athletics at the age of 10 and tried many disciplines under the guidance of Sigfried Henning and Michael Birbelbach before focusing on the hurdles at the age of 15.

At 16 years of age, Dutkiewicz moved from Kassel to Bochum Wattenscheid to attend a sports boarding school and started training under the guidance of Slawomir Filipowski in 2008.

"The move to Bochum was the best decision in my life because I learnt to become more independent from my family," she said. "But I was putting on weight as I ate everything that was served in the canteen. I started eating inconsistently. For this reason I began working with one of the federation’s nutritionists."

Dutkiewicz made her first breakthrough at national level when she finished third in the 60m hurdles at the 2014 German Indoor Championships in Leipzig in 8.19. She went on to finish fourth at the German Championships in Ulm in 12.95. During the 2015 indoor season she finished second at the national championships in 8.07, qualifiying for the European Indoor Championships, but was sidelined by a serious injury for the rest of the season.

"I felt in the form of my life," she said. "I set the qualifying standard for the European Indoor Championships in Prague but I rolled my ankle awkwardly and tore the ligaments of both my ankles."

OLYMPIC AMBITION

Dutkiewicz made her international breakthrough in 2016 when she reached the final at the European Championships in Amsterdam and the semifinal at the Olympic Games in Rio, where she clocked 12.92.

"The Olympic Games were an important learning experience," she said. "I learnt to deal with competing in big international events. The many big international meetings gave me the chance to deal with the pressure. I run alone on the track, but there are a lot of people who support me, including my coach and my medical team."

Dutkiewicz has gained invaluable racing experience this year. After clocking a PB of 7.79 to win the German indoor 60m hurdles title, she went on to earn the European indoor bronze medal in Belgrade.

Outdoors, the 25-year-old Kassel-born hurdler remained unbeaten in eight consecutive races including the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo, the IAAF World Challenge meetings in Hengelo and Ostrava, the European Team Championships in Lille and the German Championships in Erfurt, before finishing seventh in the super-competitive race in Monaco in her final competition before London.

But in London she became a medal contender after finishing second in the semifinal in 12.71 behind Harper Nelson before eventually crowning her season with the bronze medal.

"My boyfriend was in the stadium in London but I told my parents to stay at home because they are so nervous watching me in a stadium," she said. "I believe they were crying at home right when I was competing."

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

Amos Bags Diamond League Title

Nijel Amos made it two Diamond League titles for Botswana in a single season when he won the 800m race in Brussels, Belgium on Friday night.

Amos, who now has three Diamond League titles, followed in the footsteps of Isaac Makwala who won his first gold in Zurich a fortnight ago.

It marked a satisfying end to the season for Amos who had to nurse the heartache of failing to win a medal at the World Championships in London last month.

Amos was back to his best when producing a strong run to win the 800m title in one minute, 44.53 seconds.

The 2012 Olympic silver medallist was off the pace when finishing fifth in the world final but looked powerful after hitting the front 300 metres out on Friday, holding off London silver medallist Adam Kszczot, who was caught on the line for second by fellow Pole Marcin Lewandowski.

“Great comeback season. Third Diamond League (trophy)

added to the cabinet,” Amos said after winning the Brussels race.

Friday’s event, the second of two finals after Zurich last week, was a culmination of the first system under the Diamond League’s new format, where athletes gained points for performances through the season to qualify for the final where the winner on the night scooped the US$50,000 prize.

Amos and Makwala have pocketed a combined $100,000 (P1million) making it the richest pay cheque in local sports, achieved just under three minutes on the track.

While the country had expected medals from London last month, it is still a gratifying end to the athletics season.

Athletics has stood head and shoulders above other codes over the years, with dominant performances on the international stage.

(Additional reporting by Reuters)

Concussion Doctor Says No To Some Sports For Kids

You wouldn’t let your child drink a glass of cognac or smoke a cigarette, so why would you send him out on a football field to risk brain damage?

It’s a question Dr. Bennet Omalu — a forensic pathologist whose discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy was portrayed in the Will Smith film “Concussion” — wants parents to consider.

He warns that children who play football, hockey and lacrosse could face a lifetime of health consequences and details his findings in his new book, “Truth Doesn't Have a Side: My Alarming Discovery about the Danger of Contact Sports.”

“We need to develop more brain-friendly, healthier types of sports,” Omalu told TODAY. “We have elevated sports to the level of a religion. We’re in denial of the truth.”

What do you want parents to know about contact sports?

Omalu: Knowing what we know today, there is no reason whatsoever that any child under the age of 18 should play the high-impact, high-contact sports.

The big six are: American football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, boxing, wrestling and rugby. Blows to the head are intrinsic to the game. That truth could be inconvenient, painful and difficult, but we should not deny it.

What’s your view on lacrosse and soccer?

Omalu: Lacrosse has one of the highest concussion rates across all sports. It’s a very dangerous sport — people need to know that. I also don’t think kids younger than 18 should play it.

As far as soccer, there should not be any heading below the age of 18. Soccer is a high-dexterity, high visual-spatial coordination sport. You need very high levels of brain functioning to play it and children have not attained that level of brain development. Soccer as it’s played today should be played by only children who are above the age of 12-14. Children younger than that should play a modified form of soccer, whereby there’s less contact. Maybe we make the balls bigger and lighter so that there’s less accidental injury.

Which sports are safe for kids?

Omalu: The non-contact sports: swimming, track and field, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, lawn tennis, badminton — there are so many of them. There is still a risk of accidental injury. You have to play safe.

You’ve said letting kids play football is the “definition of child abuse?” How so?

Omalu: I take classes in child abuse recognition every few years in order to maintain my license to practice as a physician. The fundamental definition of child abuse is the intentional exposure of a child to the risk of injury. That injury does not have to occur.

We wouldn’t give a child a cigarette to smoke because a cigarette is potentially harmful. But we would put on a helmet on the head of a child and send him out on a field to play a game whereby he sustains repeated blows to his head, to suffer sub-concussions and concussions.

Which is more dangerous: a cigarette or a concussion of the brain? A concussion of the brain, of course. If that is not the definition of child abuse, what is it?

When people hear the statement “Omalu says playing football is child abuse,” they become emotional. But when you remove the emotionality, it’s a very objective statement. I’ve not met any parent who disagrees. Some parents will say, “Don’t put it like that; that makes me feel bad.”

What are the health consequences if a child suffers a concussion?

Omalu: Many papers have shown that all it takes for your child to suffer brain damage is just one concussion. But before your son suffers a concussion, there must have been hundreds if not thousands of sub-concussions. The damage is permanent because the brain does not have any ability to regenerate itself.

There were two papers that came out of Sweden, one in 2014 and another in 2016. Researchers identified 1.1 million children and they followed them for 41 years. They found out that if a child suffers just one concussion that brings him to the hospital, that child is more likely to die before the age of 42, especially through violent means; he has a two to four times increased risk of committing suicide as an adult; and is about two to four times more likely to suffer a major psychiatric illness as an adult, including major depression.

He is more likely to have diminished intelligence and is more likely to be less gainfully employed as an adult. He is more likely to become a drug addict or alcoholic; and is more likely to engage in violent or criminal behavior.

What about playing these high-contact sports when you’re over 18?

Omalu: Your brain becomes fully developed at about 18-25. I would be the first to defend your right to do whatever you want as an adult as long as it doesn’t pose a threat to the life of another person. That doesn't mean it's safe.

Children have not reached the age of consent. We are having fewer children so our children are becoming more precious. My son is almost 8 years old and he'll be the first to tell you that football is not good for your brain.

British Fed CEO Defends Team's WC Performance

British athletes managed six medals across this summer’s showpiece event.

UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos has defended Britain’s performance at the World Championships this summer by claiming an athletics medal is the hardest prize to win in sport.

British athletes managed six medals across this summer’s showpiece event, meaning they hit the lower end of UK Sport’s target of six to eight. Only two of those came in individual events, with Mo Farah claiming gold in the 10,000 metres and silver in the 5,000m, while five were secured in the final weekend.

Despite enjoying the benefit of home support at the London Stadium, however, British athletes were still down on the seven medals they claimed at the last World Championships in Beijing two years ago.

“It’s brutally hard to win an athletics medal,” said De Vos, speaking at the Deltatre Sport Industry Breakfast Club.

“There were I think 47 different countries that won medals, it’s a genuinely global sport. Winning a gold medal in athletics is without doubt the hardest sport to win anything in. That’s the landscape, it’s not a closed league of 16 teams, it’s an open league of 260 countries. It’s very tough.”

Britain’s medal tally does not tell the whole story given they had five athletes finish fourth – the most of any country at the championships – and 19 between fourth and eighth. In terms of positions alone, Britain ended up third in the points table with 105, their highest ever total at a World Championships.

Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson has questioned the depth of British talent given the £27million of UK Sport funding, while London 2012 gold medallist Greg Rutherford has called for an improvement in coaching.

“Have we got people coming through? Absolutely,” De Vos said. “I don’t see this connection others are trying to make between not winning medals and being poorly coached.

“If you’re in the top eight in the world in any track and field event, you’re well coached. It just wouldn’t happen any other way. The vast majority of those are coached locally by British coaches that come from their club system so evidentially there is a system that’s working.”

How Moving To Kentucky Made All The Difference For Hurdles World Champion Kori Carter

When Kori Carter wanted to improve her speed, she left her native California for the land of horse racing.

Carter, now 25, grew up in Claremont, California, which is near Los Angeles, and then went to college at Stanford, ending her career there in 2013 with an NCAA title and collegiate record in the 400-meter hurdles.

That led to a budding pro career in which she won the U.S. title for the 400-meter hurdles in 2014 and was the runner-up in 2015. Later in 2015, she made her first world championships, reaching the semifinals.

But when she placed fourth in the event at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field, missing a Rio berth by one spot, she decided she needed a change.

“After the trials I was pretty low,” Carter said. “I was trying to figure out what to do so I wasn’t in the same situation. So I went back to my college coach.”

Edrick Floréal competed in two Olympic Games as a jumper for Canada and later coached Carter at Stanford. Prior to Carter’s breakout 2013 season, Floréal moved east to take on the head coaching job at Kentucky.

Following her trials disappointment, Carter decided to follow him to Lexington.

“It was the biggest change in trajectory of my post-collegiate career,” said Carter, who left her family and comfort zone. “I’d never lived outside of California, so that was a big change. At least they let me bring my dog.”

At least temporarily. When training for the 2017 got into full swing, she had to take her “best friend” Kobu, an Alaskan Klee Kai, back to California.

In Lexington, Carter served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Wildcats while working to take her technical and physical abilities to the next level.

Floréal challenged her in various ways. One was coming to practice mentally prepared every day. They did lots of stride and speed work. She was challenged to train at a race pace. Lastly, she changed her diet.

“I made a lot of sacrifices. I didn’t eat bread, pasta or white flour,” said Carter, who shed 10 pounds in the process. “It was more about discipline. Sticking to my diet shows how committed I was to the journey I’m on.”

Carter’s plan paid off.

In June, she finished third in the U.S. championships. Then, competing last month at the IAAF World Championships in London, Carter had her international breakout when she won the 400-meter hurdles from the outside lane. Her time of 53.07 seconds was nearly half a second faster than that of U.S. teammate Dalilah Muhammad, who won the Olympic gold medal last year in Rio and earned silver at worlds.

In track events, the outside lane is suboptimal, because due to the stagger you can’t see your opponents for much of the race while everyone else can chase you down.

The psychological challenge didn’t bother Carter, she was.

“I was confident going into the final,” Carter said. “I was just glad to have a lane.”

The next step, Carter said, is keeping it up.

After falling just short for the Rio Games, she believes she has a roadmap for making sure that never happens again.

Her training pattern will adjust next year as she’ll focus solely on short hurdles in an off year for worlds and the midpoint of this Olympic quad. Her next goals are the top of the biggest world stages, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“Step one is next year and it’s an off year, so I’m excited about that,” Carter said. “After that I want to make sure we do well next worlds (in 2019). I have these next three years to prepare me for Tokyo.”

Emma Coburn Blogs About Her Busy Life

Months of training, sweat, great workouts, disappointments, stresses, excitement, travel, and races—it’s almost done.

But my year is young.

Although racing is nearly done after I finish my season at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on September 10, I still have a few things to look forward to. I am balancing the life of an athlete, event organizer, and bride. I’m not sure which role suits me best, but I know I couldn’t do it without the help of Joe, who balances the roles of coach, co-event organizer, and groom.

In our athlete-coach dynamic, we are lucky to have a great addition to our team in Olympian Aisha Praught Leer.

Coach Joe sets the plan, and we follow. He is thoughtful, deliberate, and patient.

Aisha and I work. We trust the training. He shows up every day ready to advise and encourage. We show up, sweat, and try our best.

Then we race.

We ran national records and personal bests this season. Joe’s first year as a coach—and my first year as his athlete—was a success, ending with a World Championship gold in London.

This year, we have added roles as event organizers. We are starting a race in my hometown, Crested Butte, CO, on September 30. The race, called Emma Coburn’s Elk Run 5K, is a road race with proceeds going to local cancer support charity, Living Journeys. Joe and I balance the tasks of permits, sponsors, citizen registration, elite entries, banners, and even portable toilets. We balance trying to start an event from the ground up. This job is a totally new challenge. We are taking on responsibilities that are completely foreign to us. We take on this extra work because it is something we so deeply believe in. We want to give back to the community that built me, to the community that has supported me and cared for me through every stage of my career. Planning this race is a ton of work, but when the work is going to something that we are passionate about, the work comes easy.

In October, after nearly 10 years of dating, Joe and I will become husband and wife. Honestly, the wedding planning has been of lowest priority all year. We know we will be married, we know it will be a wonderful experience, and we know there will be a great party with friends and family. But I haven’t stressed about place cards and color schemes.

I can’t wait to marry Joe. I’m most looking forward to the marriage, not just the wedding. We are getting married in Kauai, my second-favorite place in the world after Crested Butte.

The World Championships were August 11, the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile is September 10, the Elk Run 5K is September 30, and the wedding is October 14.

Four things that I want to give my best to. Two months to get all of them in.

This might seem like a lot on my plate, but all of these things make me happy.

Running fulfills and fuels me. Giving back makes my heart full. Getting married to Joe is the best of all.

2017 will be a year to remember.

Sign up today for the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile and help warm up the course for Emma on Sunday, September 10! If you're out of town, catch the pro races live on NBC from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. EST.

London 2012 team insist bid for right to host Olympics was ‘clean’

• Sebastian Coe confident ‘nothing embarrassing’ will be found after Brazil raids 
• Doubts grow over awarding of Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games

The London 2012 bid team have defended themselves against any suggestion of corruption, insisting they are “as close to certain as possible” the right to host the Olympics in the capital was won cleanly.

A deepening of the bribery scandal engulfing the International Olympic Committee has led to questions about how the Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games were awarded. Sir Keith Mills, the former chief executive of London 2012, said he witnessed nothing untoward during 18 months of campaigning that culminated in London’s victory. “The IOC had a big problem in the late 1990s and as a result of that put in place some pretty draconian controls,” Mills said. “When we were bidding for London 2012 we couldn’t buy IOC members a coffee.”

The IOC introduced new rules for bidding cities after the discovery in 1998 of widespread bribery associated with Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Ten IOC members were expelled or resigned as a result of the scandal.

“They were all so paranoid they would come under suspicion,” Mills said. “Whenever we met they made a big point of making sure it was in public and everything was seen to be above board. Whether that has evaporated over time I don’t know.”

Sebastian Coe, who led London’s bid, told the Guardian he was confident “nothing embarrassing” would be uncovered and his views were echoed by Craig Reedie, the former chairman of the British Olympic Association.

A joint investigation by Brazilian and French authorities earlier this week led to the questioning of the Brazilian Olympic Committee president, Carlos Nuzman, a well-known figure in Olympic circles. The equivalent of £155,000 was said to have been found in his closet and seized during a raid on his home. Nuzman’s lawyer said on Tuesday that his client “did not commit any irregularity”.

Prosecutors suspect the former Olympic volleyball player facilitated payments of $2m made by a prominent Brazilian businessman into the account of Papa Masatta Diack. They have alleged the money was intended as a bribe for his father Lamine Diack, an influential IOC member and then the president of athletics world governing body, the IAAF.

Questions about the London bid are unavoidable given Lord Coe’s closeness with Diack Sr, whom he referred to as his “spiritual leader” when he succeeded the Senegalese as the president of the IAAF.

Diack, an IOC member from 1991 to 2013, was instrumental in organising the African bloc of votes. Mills said Diack was soon determined as a lost cause in the 2012 bidding process, contested by London, Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow. “We identified Lamine Diack as a Paris bid supporter, so frankly spent very little time with him,” Mills said. “Seb knew him through athletics but I certainly didn’t have any conversations with him.”

However, it is not known which way Diack voted in the secret ballot, which was narrowly won by London in a run-off with Paris. The IOC will this month approve Paris and Los Angeles as the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, respectively. The Guardian understands fresh information from the ongoing French and Brazilian investigations will only increase scrutiny on how voting has been conducted in the past.

Reedie, a former vice-president of the IOC and now the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said London was to his knowledge “a clean bid”.

“Seb and I agreed right at the start that it was going to be done properly,” he said, “because if anything was even remotely improper it would kill the whole image of the Olympic movement in this country and besides, we didn’t have any money anyway.

“I’m surprised at Nuzman’s links to everything that’s going on in Brazil,” he added, “My wife and I took him and his wife out to dinner in Singapore but that is it. I was never approached with any inducements and to my knowledge neither were Seb or Keith. I’m as close to certain as possible that London was a clean bid.”

Thinking The Unthinkable: No 2018 Winter Olympics


Farah Looking To Split With Salazar?

Alberto Salazar masterminded British runner Mo Farah's success on the track
The American coach has been the subject of doping allegations since 2015
Farah's representatives refuted reports he had already split with Salazar
But a statement from Freuds said he was 'concentrating' on upcoming races 
Sir Mo Farah appears to be slowly distancing himself from his coach, Alberto Salazar.

A report on Thursday that he has already decided to split with the American currently at the centre of a doping investigation was refuted by his senior spokesperson from Freuds.

But a statement then followed that not only failed to mention Salazar by name but did little to challenge speculation that the quadruple Olympic champion is looking to split with the man who has masterminded his success on the track.

Indeed it only stated that no decision has been made with regard to his coaching set-up once he retires from the track and steps up to the marathon after the world championships in London this summer.

The statement from a spokesperson at Freuds said: ‘Mo is concentrating on his preparations for a busy schedule of racing this summer, culminating in the World Championships in London where he will be defending his titles in the 5km and 10km.

‘The World Championships will be Mo's last time racing on the track, after which he plans to move to road races. No further decisions have been made for after the World Championships, and his total focus is on defending his gold medals this summer.’

Salazar has been the subject of doping allegations since 2015 after a report on medical practices at the Nike Oregon Project that counts Farah as its star athlete was published by the BBC and the American investigative news organization, ProPublica.

An investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency was launched as a consequence and it is understood that is now reaching its conclusion.

A leaked USADA report suggests the investigation is focused on a number of alleged doping violations, including the possession of a banned substance and infusions of legal supplements over the permitted limit.

Salazar and Farah have consistently denied any wrongdoing. And while the British track star is unlikely to face any charges, he did have an infusion prior to the 2014 London marathon that a UK Athletics doctor has now admitted he did not correctly record.

Any sanctions for Salazar would certainly be damaging, reputationally, to both Farah and senior officials at UK Athletics. Not to mention other major figures in the sport.

GB athletics boss: we’re doing better than tennis

The head of UK Athletics has hit back at claims that his sport’s coaching is in disarray and says that compared to tennis in Britain, our track and field competitors are extremely successful.

“It’s brutally hard to win a world athletics medal,” Niels De Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics, said. “Have we got people coming through? Absolutely. There are two ways of measuring an athletics event, you can look at the medals table or the points table and what people within sports tend to do is look at the points table, that shows the depth of talent. And we had our best ever [World Championships] by a pretty long way.”

Beagles star tired after a long season

World Championship gold medalist battles in Diamond League final

Newham & Essex Beagles own busy-bee Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake says he gave it his best shot in his 200m run at the Van Damme Memorial Diamond League Finale last Friday.

The 23-year-old clocked 20.33secs to finish seventh, one place behind fellow Brit Zharnal Hughes (20.27).

USA’s young sprint sensation Noah Lyles secured the Diamond League title.

And Mitchell-Blake, who claimed relay gold at the World Championships last month, gave a brutally honest assessment: “It wasn’t my best race to be truthful,” he said. “No excuses, you have got to perform.

“Everyone is tired, but I gave it my best shot and that’s all I can ask for during this time of the season.”

Mitchell-Blake will end his long 2017 campaign this Saturday at the Great North City Games in Newcastle.

“It’s been a long season,” he continues. “I’m in the collegiate system. I’m the only athlete here still competitively running at college and ran about 50 races this year. Some people haven’t done half of that.

“So naturally it’s more on tiring on the body but what can I say, I’m here to compete.”

And in Newcastle-Gateshead Mitchell-Blake will go against St Kitts & Nevis’ 2003 World 100m champion Kim Collins, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Ameer Webb over 150m.

Fellow Beagle Rabah Yousif ran 46.10 in the men’s 400m in Brussels.

The 30-year-old finished second behind Luguelin Santos who was the only competitor in the field to run under 46 seconds in 45.67.

And yet again Yousif got the better of his fellow Team GB relay colleague Martyn Rooney, this time a place ahead with the South Londoner posting 46.29, while the three Belgian Borlée brothers followed afterwards.

“It’s all right,” said Yousif, who will also be competing in Gateshead this weekend in the rarely-run 500m event with his good friend Rooney once again.

“I just wanted to finish the season off with my last race on the track, I’m just happy.

“The most important thing is getting the placing and result.”

Guliyev voted European Athletes of the Month for August

Recently crowned world pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi from Greece and surprise world 200m champion Ramil Guliyev from Turkey have been voted European Athletes of the Month for August.

Stefanidi claimed her fourth major title in thirteen months at the World Championships, following up her titles at the European Championships, Olympic Games and European Indoor Championships with gold in the British capital where she cleared a world-leading mark of 4.91m.

Stefanidi, who also claimed high profiles wins on the Diamond League circuit in Birmingham and Zurich, dominated the social media vote, receiving 1800 likes and 736 shares on Facebook as well as 120 retweets on Twitter.

While Stefanidi claimed this accolade for the second time in three months, there was a first-time winner in the men’s voting with Guliyev receiving an overwhelming 5700 retweets, along with 647 likes and 127 shares on Facebook.

Guliyev claimed the world 200m title in 20.09 before winning the Birmingham Diamond League in 20.17.

Miami cancels all athletics contests for upcoming weekend with Hurricane Irma looming

Coral Gables, Fla. — The University of Miami Department of Athletics announced today the cancellation of all weekend athletic contests as Hurricane Irma moves toward South Florida.

The UM football game scheduled for September 9th against Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark., has been cancelled and with no mutually available dates, will not be rescheduled this season. In addition, the Miami Duals cross country meet, home soccer contests against the College of Charleston and Stetson University, and volleyball contests in Philadelphia against the University of Delaware and Temple University have also been cancelled.

The decision was made by Director of Athletics Blake James in consultation with President Dr. Julio Frenk, as well as University and community leadership. Experts from The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami were also consulted.

Based on the projected timing and path of Hurricane Irma, the University has cancelled classes beginning today, Wednesday, September 6th. Governor Rick Scott and President Frenk both declared a State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Irma's approach to Florida. The University's preparedness plan has been activated and all precautions will be taken to protect students and staff.

"The decision to cancel these athletic contests is difficult, especially as some are scheduled to take place away from Miami," James said. "However, we made the collective decision that we simply cannot put our student-athletes, coaches and staff in danger travelling to and from contests. As we have seen from the tragic impact of Hurricane Harvey—and from South Florida's own experiences—the impacts of hurricanes can be devastating and long-lasting, and can make travel extremely difficult and dangerous.

"I want to thank all of our opponents for their cooperation and understanding. Our thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma both here in South Florida and afar. We are comforted in knowing that our community is strong and will come together, if needed, to recover from the storm."

Rogers keeps progressing, wins four golds

ASHLAND — Ashland resident Jan Hoverstock-Rogers is continuing her rapid rise in track toward the top of the World Masters Athletic Rankings for the women’s 40-44 age group.

At the North and Central America and Caribbean Region of World Masters Athletics 2017 Track and Field Championships on Aug. 11-13 at York Lions Stadium in Ontario, Canada, Rogers snagged four gold medals in her age group — 100-meter dash (12.92 seconds), 200-meter dash (26.84), 4x100-meter relay (55.29) and long jump (4.3 meters).

 

 

“I got down in the lanes that I was going to be in the 100 and 200 and visualized how I was going to race, how it felt on my feet and my legs, how powerful I felt, and then I was ready to go,” Rogers said. “I felt invincible (after winning the four golds).

It was surreal. Being around my teammates (Southwest Sprinters Track Club) made it that much more special.”

A few weeks ago, Rogers got tested for power and velocity training at SPIRE Institute, where she will get set up with Triphasic Training to reboot her indoor-season training. Her husband, Steve, and her father-in-law, Larry, are also building workout equipment to help aid Rogers in increasing her power and speed.

“For me, variety is the key, and speed and jump workouts make my body happy, so I know that’s something I need to work with,” Rogers said.

Rogers is utilizing the various training methods for one specific reason — to break records.

“There’s a lot of things we’re doing to make me faster and stronger because I’m setting myself up to break the women’s (40-44 age group) 60-meter dash indoors (record) and the women’s (40-44 age group) 100-meter dash outdoors (record),” Rogers said.

“I want to be ready.”

She will not compete competitively again until the indoor track season begins in December.

Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek win Hammer Throw Challenge

Britain’s Sophie Hitchon and Nick Miller both finish in top five

Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek have won the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge after topping the end-of-season standings for the fourth time.

For the first time in the history of the series, British athletes finished in the top five in both the men’s and women’s events.

Sophie Hitchon placed fifth with 219.97 points in a contest won by world record-holder Wlodarczyk with 235.6 points, while Hitchon’s fellow British record-holder Nick Miller also finished fifth with 229.56 points behind winner Fajdek’s 248.48.

The scoring system takes each athlete’s three best marks from the series and equates metres to points. Prize money is awarded to the top 12 finishers at the end of the challenge. The athlete with the highest score wins $30,000.

Wlodarczyk went undefeated for the entire season for the third consecutive year, with her three best winning marks being 79.72m in Ostrava, 78.00m in Sao Bernardo do Campo and 77.90m at the IAAF World Championships in London.

World silver medallist Wang Zheng placed second overall in the challenge standings with 225.77 and Azerbaijan’s Hanna Skydan was third with 221.75.

Three-time world champion Fajdek broke his own record score in the men’s series.

His points tally included marks of 83.44m in Ostrava, 82.64m in Szekesfehervar and 82.40m in Turku.

Fajdek’s compatriot Wojciech Nowicki finished second in the standings. The world and Olympic bronze medallist scored 236.32 to finish comfortably ahead of Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov with 231.40.

Final standings

Men
1 Pawel Fajdek (POL) 248.48
2 Wojciech Nowicki (POL) 236.32
3 Dilshod Nazarov (TJK) 231.40
4 Pavel Bareisha (BLR) 230.84
5 Nick Miller (GBR) 229.56

Women
1 Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) 235.62
2 Wang Zheng (CHN) 225.77
3 Hanna Skydan (AZE) 221.75
4 Malwina Kopron (POL) 220.03
5 Sophie Hitchon (GBR) 219.97

Juggling act: School, athletics left middle-distance runner McBride exhausted

Brandon McBride's rookie season as a professional middle-distance runner, filled with big expectations, stress and success, quickly became a lesson in how to balance academics and athletics.

After graduating from Mississippi State University last year with a bachelor's degree in business administration, McBride enrolled in a master's program in public administration at his alma mater.

"I took on too much earlier in the season with my assistantship, internship and my graduate program. It took much more than I thought out of me," McBride, 23, told CBC Sports recently.

A season of travel competing on the Diamond League circuit, racing at the Canadian track and field championships and debuting at the world championships left the Windsor, Ont., native mentally and emotionally exhausted and unable to compete for a Diamond League Trophy and $50,000 US in Brussels last Friday.

With an eye toward the Commonwealth Games next April, McBride opted to call it a season after consulting with his coach Chris Scarrow and agent John Regis shortly after finishing fourth at a Diamond League meet in Birmingham, England on Aug. 20.

"I am the type of person that if I'm going to do something, I want to approach it with 100 per cent effort," said McBride, an aspiring corporate lawyer.

"My heart wouldn't have been in it [in Brussels] because of the accumulation of fatigue. Who am I to rob an opportunity for someone else?"

A month after stopping the clock in one minute 46.69 seconds in the 800 metres at the Golden Gala in Rome, McBride went 1:45.23 to win the men's title at the Canadian championships in Ottawa on July 8.

He also led midway through the Aug. 8 world final in London, England before fading and finishing eighth in 1:47.09.

"I think people forget this was my first world championships," said McBride, who placed 14th in his Olympic debut last summer in Rio de Janeiro. "It was different going to these meets as a collegiate. The expectations aren't as high because you're still considered young, in a sense.

"As a professional, you have sponsors and depending on what the athlete and sponsor have agreed to, it can be very stressful."

McBride ran a season-best 1:44.41 at Diamond League Monaco on July 21 to inch closer to Gary Reed's Canadian mark of 1:43.68, an accomplishment that won't top the 2014 NCAA champion's priority list for 2018.

"What I focus on is bettering myself day by day and year by year," said McBride, whose personal best of 1:43.95 was set at the London Muller Anniversary Games in July 2016. "The experience I gained from racing this year was huge.

"Even though I didn't obtain a PB [personal best], if I continue to progress, anything is possible."

Bad Air Quality Cancels Oregon XC Preview

EUGENE, Ore. – Due to the continued air quality issues in the Eugene and Springfield areas, Oregon cross country has made the decision to cancel the Oregon XC Preview this Thursday, Sept. 7, at Springfield Golf Club.

Director of Athletics Rob Mullens, Oregon head coach Robert Johnson, coaches Andy and Maurica Powell and director of athletic medicine Dr. Greg Skaggs have monitored the situation closely over the last couple of weeks, and came to the decision to cancel the meet in order to ensure the safety of both student-athletes and fans.

Fan and student-athlete safety is the primary concern for the University of Oregon, and Dr. Skaggs, university administration and the coaching staff determined that the air quality was simply unsafe for a cross country meet.



The Ducks will still host a pair of meets in 2017 at Springfield Golf Club, the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Sept. 29 and the Pac-12 Championships on Oct. 27.

Don't look down! London runners stretch their legs 16 floors up

LONDON (Reuters) - Athletes risked vertigo on Tuesday at the launch of London’s highest running track, 16 floors above the capital's streets.

"It's incredibly exhilarating running at that height, with panoramic views in every direction," said Benjamin Lesser, an amateur marathon runner who works for one of the developers of the building topped by the track.

“It's very uplifting," he added.

The 150-metre running loop, perched atop the new White Collar Factory overlooking the tech-heavy Old Street area of London, will be for all occupiers of the building and is five floors higher than a planned track at a new European headquarters of Google in London.

But it stands 10 storeys lower than the world's highest outdoor track at Singapore’s Pinnacle@Duxton residential development, which is located 26 floors above the street.

(Reporting by Rachel Wood; Editing by William Schomberg)

Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay sweep the titles at the USATF 20 km Championships

Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay made it a clean sweep for the Nike Oregon Project Monday at the USA Track & Field 20 km Championships in New Haven, Connecticut.

Rupp won the men's title in 59 minutes, 4 seconds, edging Leonard Korir of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. Korir battled Rupp for the last mile before settling for second in 59:05.

Hasay won the women's race going away in 1:06:35. Defending champ Alphine Tuliamuk crossed second in 1:07:49.

Rupp and Hasay both are graduates of the University of Oregon.

Here are results from the top men's and women's finishers.

-- Ken Goe

David Oliver returns home to lead Track & Field Program

WASHINGTON – Director of Athletics Kery Davis named former Olympian and alum David Oliver as its Director for Track & Field Program at Howard University. The announcement was made today, Tuesday, Sept. 5.

"We are thrilled to welcome one of Howard's most decorated former student-athletes back to the Mecca," said Davis. "David is a globally recognized track and field champion and brings a unique passion to help student-athletes achieve their dreams on the track, in the classroom and in life after Howard. Most importantly, his personal achievements at the highest levels of competition will be an example to our student-athletes of what you can achieve through hard work, dedication and passion for your craft."

The Denver, Colo., native was destined to be a track & field star after his mother, Brenda Chambers, secured a spot on the 1980 Olympic Team in the 400-meter hurdles.

Oliver returns to his alma mater as a highly decorated professional athlete. He was the 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist in the 110-meter hurdles, and the 2013 World Champion in the same event. On the indoor track and field stage, he earned the Gold medal in the 2008 USA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles and bronze in the 2010 World Championships. He maintained top 10 rankings in the world for 11 consecutive seasons, and has received several accolades including the 2010 Jesse Owens Award which recognizes the USA's Most Outstanding Track Athlete. A two-time All-American as student-athlete at Howard University, Oliver was inducted into the 2016 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the 2014 Howard University Hall of Fame.

"I am happy to be back," Oliver stated. "I am looking forward to taking over the reins and rebuilding our program."

Off the track, Oliver dedicates his time to helping with youth track competitions and mentorship through the David Oliver Indoor Classic in Winston Salem, N.C., and David Oliver Classic in Washington, D.C., while assisting sponsored athletes on the Quicksilver Track Club in Atlanta, Ga.

"During my tenure I've gotten to know Mr. Oliver very well. I've been impressed with his dedication to his craft that has seen him victorious at the highest level of his sport," said University President Wayne A.I. Frederick. "He represents the best of what Howard University has produced. He understands that our focus in the classroom and on the field of competition must be excellent and I'm confident that he will equip Howard athletes with the tools to ensure their all-around success."

Oliver has been featured in several major magazines, including Essence Magazine, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Sobe Fit Magazine, Stack Magazine, Spikes Magazine, and ESPN the Magazine. In Sept. 2008, he was honored at HU's 141st Opening Convocation for his outstanding achievements in athletics.

Oliver was also honored by the Mayor of Denver with the key to the city and named October 3rd "David Oliver Day." He has also received the key to the city of Greensboro, N.C.

Oliver obtained his bachelor's degree from Howard University in business administration in 2004. He is married to Emily Oliver and they have one son, Dawson (age 6).

JCSU Track and Field Coach Lennox Graham Resigns

Charlotte, N.C. – After almost 10 seasons as head coach of the Johnson C. Smith University track and field and cross country programs, Lennox Graham has announced his resignation.

“I wish the track and field programs, the athletic department and Johnson C. Smith University nothing but great success in the future,” said Graham. “I also want to thank God for my future opportunities to coach a sport that I love.”

Since his appointment in 2007, Graham has transformed the JCSU track and field program, having an immediate impact at the CIAA, NCAA and international levels. He was named the USTFCCCA Division II Women’s Outdoor Track and Field National Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 season and also earned nine CIAA Coach of the Year designations. He also garnered two Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors.

Graham has coached numerous athletes to medalist finishes, All-CIAA, All-Region, and All-American designations. Under his guidance JCSU athletes have participated in NACAC, Junior Pan-American Championships, Penn Relays, NCAA Championships, World University Games, and the IAAF World Championships.

No stranger in international coaching, in the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, Graham coached siblings Danielle and Shermaine Williams to the 100m hurdles final – a first for female siblings in the history of the World Championships. Danielle Williams won the event in 12.58 seconds while Shermaine placed seventh by running a 12.91. He also coached Danielle to the 2015 World University Games Championship in the 100m hurdles and again in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. In 2016, Graham served as a coach with the Jamaican contingent in the Rio Olympic Games. All told, he has coached three JCSU athletes that have qualified for the Olympics in Leford Green (Jamaica, 2012), Shermaine Williams (Jamaica, 2012 and 2016), and current standout Kendra Clarke (Canada, 2016).

In 2011, Graham guided the JCSU women’s team to its first CIAA Outdoor Championship. The Golden Bulls also won CIAA titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016. In 2017, JCSU’s women’s team also captured the first CIAA Indoor Championship in school history.

Collectively, Graham has coached 27 NCAA Division II Champions (Indoor and Outdoor), had five athletes set NCAA Division II records (60m hurdles, 200m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m), and has coached JCSU athletes to 213 All-America designations.

Prior to JCSU, Graham served as the head coach at Kingston College (High School) in his native Jamaica. Also a successful high school coach, he guided his team to six Jamaican National High School Championships over his tenure. In addition, he has coached many individual and relay champions at the Jamaican High School, Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), Central American and Caribbean (CAC), North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships, the Pan American Junior Championships levels.

Not only have Graham’s teams consistently won on the track, his teams have captured numerous USTFCCCA All-Academic Awards, with JCSU’s women’s team having the top GPA nationally in 2011 and the men’s team achieving the honor in 2013.

A standout sprinter and hurdler, Graham graduated from Alabama State University in 1984 with a degree in computer information systems. While a student-athlete for the Hornets, he earned the Most Academic (1985-87), Most Outstanding Hurdler (1984-85), and the Most Valuable Runner (1986-87) awards. He also won the George Hubert Lockhart Award for overall excellence in sports at ASU in 1987.

In 2006 he earned an MBA from the University of New Orleans.

He currently holds an IAAF Level 5 Elite coaching certification specializing in sprints and hurdles.

“We wish Coach Graham tremendous success in his new opportunity,” said JCSU Athletics Director Stephen Joyner, Sr. “We know that he will continue to flourish and will continue to develop top-notch collegiate and international talent.”

A search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

Keitany keeps eyes on prize

World marathon record holder Mary Keitany will lead the Kenya challenge as she defends her title in the New York Marathon in November.

Keitany will have for company the silver medallist at the recent World Championships, Edna Kiplagat and Betsy Saina.

All three athletes have all been training in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

To stay in shape, Keitany will this weekend compete in the Great North Run as a build up to New York Marathon.

“I’m happy to have been named in the New York Marathon team where I will be going for my fourth title. My training has started and I will be using the Great North Run this weekend gauge my body,” she told Nation Sport.

“I really feels good to run in the same course, something I have done for three years now. I still have time to train hard but for now I must concentrate with the half marathon,” said the Iten based athlete.

The athlete said running the half marathon will enable her identify areas to work on for the next two months.

“After this weekend’s race, I will see what to work on and rectify for the next two months before the main race. It will be part of my training,” she said.

Keitany broke a world record (women only) when she clocked 2:17:01 to better Paula Radcliff’s time by 41 seconds at London Marathon in April.

During this weekend’s half marathon Keitany will be joined by her pacemaker, Caroline Chepkoech, who helped her break the world record.

Chepkoech, who was a lone pacemaker in London Marathon, started the race with a high pace that helped Keitany break the record.

She ran in the Brussels Diamond League which was a final event this year and managed to come in second in 5,000m behind the World champion Hellen Obiri.

Betsy Saina will also be using the race as a build up for her major race in New York where she has been leaving for many years.

Saina ran her debut race in Tokyo Marathon in February where she didn’t perform well. Her eyes are now set on the prize.

She has been doing her training in Iten and she is expected to team up with her compatriots in the race.

Defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot will also make a return to the race as she eyes to be in the podium.

Usain Bolt staying positive after 'awful' exit from athletics

Sprint icon Usain Bolt is trying to remain upbeat despite his "awful" exit from professional athletics.

In the final race of his illustrious career – the 4x100 metres relay final at the IAAF World Championships last month – Bolt sustained a hamstring injury and was unable to finish, having come home an underwhelming third in the 100m final.

The Jamaican, who won eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles to cement himself as the greatest sprinter of all time, insisted he would not mount a comeback despite the unfitting nature of his departure from the sport.

Bolt remains disappointed with how his last outing on the track went but was pleased to have given the fans another chance to see him.

"It was a rough one. The 100 metres was not the best but I went out there and I gave it my all and the four-by-ones I pulled my hamstring so that was awful," Bolt told Omnisport at the opening of the new Hublot boutique in Kyoto, Japan.

"But everything happens for a reason in life and that's how I look at it. I never have regrets. I did this for the fans. I came back this season to do it for the fans. Everyone wanted to see me and I came out there and I did my best."

After competing at the past four Olympics, Bolt is looking forward to simply watching the Games in Tokyo in 2020 and is confident fresh talent will keep the fans entertained in his absence.

He said: "It's going to be strange, but I'm going to be excited to really have a chance and sit and watch the whole thing develop and watch all the athletes, watch them warm up. For me, it's going to be different, but I'm excited about seeing it.

"It's always going to be a great tournament. I think there are young athletes that have proven themselves to say they will step up to the plate, so there will be great competition which is always good and there will be new stars coming through.

"It's always good for the sport to see different athletes so it'll be good."

Athletics SA announce Commonwealth Games training squad

Athletics SA (ASA) on Monday named a 63-member preparation squad for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

The team consists of athletes who have met a relaxed qualifying criteria compared to the recent IAAF World Championships in London.

ASA named a list of 13 athletes who automatically made the preliminary team for the quadrennial showpiece “as a result of their performances at the 2017 IAAF World Championships”, with the 13 only needing to prove their competition fitness during the first quarter of 2018.

This is half the number of athletes who lined up at last month's World Championships, from where South Africa returned from with its best ever medal haul winning three gold, a silver, and two bronze.

World 400m record-holder Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya were the standout performers winning double medals at the championships, with long jumper Luvo Manyonga also winning gold.

Van Niekerk won gold in the 400m and silver in the 200m while Semenya won her third 800m world title, adding the 1500m bronze to her collection.

ASA stressed that athletes should not focus solely on the criteria as the team would be selected based on their rankings among Commonwealth nations.

“Athletes must be encouraged to improve their Commonwealth rankings, and not focus on the values of the qualifying standards alone, as the position of the athlete on the Commonwealth rankings will be the primary motivation for an athlete to be included in the final team to the 2018 Games,” an ASA circular read.

Although the circular did not specify where the athletes needed to be ranked, Sascoc has suggested they would have to be among the top-10 in the Commonwealth.

ASA also announced 10 high-profile meetings starting in October and finishing in the middle of December.

The athletics federation will present the preliminary team to Sascoc in the first week of January 2018.

The Star

Japanese schoolboy drawn to Timaru Boys' High because of Tom Walsh

World champion shot putter Tom Walsh's pulling power has extended 9500km, all the way to Japan.

An 18-year-old schoolboy from Osaka has turned up at Walsh's old school, Timaru Boys' High, as he wants to follow in the footsteps of the world champion.

Taito Watanabe's dream is to one day compete in the Olympics against Walsh.

Watanabe said once he decided to spend a year in New Zealand as an international student, the school Walsh attended became an obvious choice.

"My agent said it was possible, so I wanted to come."

The 108kg athlete has also teamed up with Walsh's original coach, Ian Baird, and is loving every moment of the experience.

"Ian is a very good coach; I am very happy.

"Every day I am getting stronger and better."

At the moment Watanabe's best distance is 13.38 metres, but he hopes to get out to near 18m before he leaves Timaru.

He is already learning plenty.

"No one in Japan learns to spin (in the shot put circle) at school, which is the best way. We just stand and throw," he said.

Watanabe was originally a baseballer but took up shot put at 14 because he liked it.

The international student has enjoyed everything about South Canterbury in the month he has been here, with a lot of firsts ticked off.

His homestay family had already take him skiing and was heading out hunting this weekend.

"It is all good, I love it here," he said.

Watanabe said he might also try rugby next season, as Walsh played No.8 for the First XV.

He had also attended his first school formal, the Jurassic Park-themed Timaru Boys' High ball last weekend.

"It was very good, I really enjoyed it."

But despite all the distractions, Watanabe said shot put remained his focus.

"I want to be No.1 in Japan," he said.

TBHS sports director Gary Ivamy said Watanabe had been delightful since he had arrived at the school.

"Taito gives everything a go, with a smile on his face.

"He is a great advertisement for international students."

Coach Baird said his new charge was a rough diamond with potential.

"He is very similar to Tom in attitude and size.

"I'm just not sure how well he dances (in the circle), I have not seen him pirouette yet. We have just been using a medicine ball."

Baird said he will have a better idea in October when athletics returns to the Aorangi track.

"He will certainly take several steps towards where he wants to go, but he is also handy with the javelin, so who knows where he might end up? But he will certainly never be a sprinter."

The colourful young shot putter's only slight disappointment so far in Timaru was when a Stuff reporter turned up to interview him at school. He originally believed he would be meeting his idol, something he hopes can be arranged before too long.

- Stuff

Brazil police say Rio Olympics were bought in corrupt scheme

Brazilian officials said on Tuesday that the country's Olympics chief was the "lynchpin" in a plot to bribe the International Olympic Committee into awarding Rio de Janeiro last year's Games.

Brazilian police said in a statement they were probing "an international corruption scheme" aimed at "the buying of votes for the election of (Rio) by the International Olympic Committee as the venue for the 2016 Olympics."

Revealing a nine-month investigation spanning several countries and dubbed "Unfair Play," police said Carlos Nuzman had been taken in for questioning and his house searched.

Nuzman, who was the pointman for Rio's successful bid to become the first South American host of the Olympics, left his house in Rio's posh Leblon neighborhood while police officers exited with bags of evidence.

Prosecutors said Nuzman was detained to give testimony and although not arrested he had his passport confiscated.

An arrest warrant was issued for Arthur Soares, a businessman who won lucrative pre-Olympics contracts from Rio's government when it was headed by the now imprisoned state governor Sergio Cabral. He lives in Miami.

A former Soares associate, Eliane Pereira Cavalcante, was arrested in Rio and 11 properties were subjected to search and seizure raids. One of them was in Paris, French authorities said.

In Lausanne, Switzerland, an IOC spokesman appeared to have been taken by surprise.

"The IOC has learned about these circumstances from the media and is making every effort to get the full information," the spokesman said.

"It is in the highest interests of the IOC to get clarification on this matter."

BUYING AFRICAN VOTES

Brazilian investigators have worked closely with a similar French probe into the vote buying and French officials, including well-known anti-corruption Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, attended the raid on Nuzman's home.

The United States and other countries have also been involved as officials tracked down alleged bribe payments made in offshore bank accounts, Brazilian prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Fabiana Schneider told a press conference that Soares, known in Brazil as "King Arthur", allegedly bribed the son of Senegalese IOC member Lamine Diack before the 2009 vote in which Rio beat Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo to win the 2016 Games.

Diack, who was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the time, had considerable influence over African votes on the IOC.

Nuzman, Schneider said, had been the "lynchpin" between Soares and the son, Papa Massata Diack.

"In this context and putting all the elements together, we can come to the conclusion that Sergio Cabral and his criminal organisation, including Arthur Soares, effectively bought the vote for Rio de Janeiro to host the Olympic Games," she said.

The Rio games were generally credited with being a sporting and organisational success, but revelations of massive corruption during the preparations and now even in the naming of the host city have tarnished the legacy.

In June, Cabral was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was convicted of bribery and money laundering, including participation in the embezzlement of 220 million reais (S$86.6 million) from public works projects such as Rio's iconic Maracana football stadium.

Mr Schneider said the Games had been used as a "trampoline" for corruption.

A lawyer for Nuzman, Sergio Mazzillo, said his client was "calm." He told journalists that Nuzman "says he did not act in an irregular way, that he did nothing wrong during the campaign."

The scandal comes as Brazilian law enforcement pursues the country's biggest ever anti-corruption fight in a probe known as "Car Wash," which has uncovered a huge web of embezzlement and bribery at top levels of politics and business.

AFP

Why we'll never see another sprinter like Usain Bolt (video)

 

LONDON -- Forget all the world records for a moment. Forget, if you can, all the Olympic golds, the excitement he brought to the sport, the sheer presence that for 12 years injected much-needed excitement into track and field. When you break down Usain Bolt's dominance, examine the details of what he did and how he did it, it becomes clear why we might never see an athlete like him again.

Bolt was literally the biggest thing sprinting has ever seen

At 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds, Bolt is by far the largest man to ever hold the 100-meter world record. The enormous length of Bolt's strides allowed him to finish races in fewer steps, and his power helped him maintain the stride turnover rate of smaller men.

The Jamaican legend's closest competitor in terms of longevity, dominance and Olympic medals is Carl Lewis, who was 3 inches and more than 30 pounds smaller. No record-holder comes within 2 inches of Bolt's height; most are shorter by about half a foot. Calvin Smith, who set the record in 1983, was more than 50 pounds lighter. All that mass also provided a mental edge.

"Standing at 6-5, that's intimidating," said Justin Gatlin.

His margins of victory

Another sign of Bolt's dominance. Going back to 1983, when world championship meets were added to the Olympic slate, Bolt's average margin of victory in championship races is 32 percent larger than other winners. In other words, Bolt left 100-meter competitors further in his wake than anyone else.

Bolt was never tainted by track's doping scandals

Of the seven men who have run 9.80 seconds or better in the 100, Bolt is the only one who has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Who Ran 9.80 Or Better
RANK TIME RUNNER COUNTRY LOCATION DATE
1 9.58 Usain Bolt JAM Berlin 16.08.2009
2 9.63 Usain Bolt JAM London 05.08.2012
3 9.69 Usain Bolt JAM Beijing 16.08.2008
3 9.69 Tyson Gay USA Shanghai 20.09.2009
3 9.69 Yohan Blake JAM Lausanne 23.08.2012
6 9.71 Tyson Gay USA Berlin 16.08.2009
7 9.72 Usain Bolt JAM New York City 31.05.2008
7 9.72 Asafa Powell JAM Lausanne 02.09.2008
9 9.74 Asafa Powell JAM Rieti 09.09.2007
9 9.74 Justin Gatlin USA Ad-Dawhah 15.05.2015
11 9.75 Yohan Blake JAM Kingston 29.06.2012
11 9.75 Yohan Blake JAM London 05.08.2012
11 9.75 Justin Gatlin USA Roma 04.06.2015
11 9.75 Justin Gatlin USA Lausanne 09.07.2015
15 9.76 Usain Bolt JAM Kingston 03.05.2008
15 9.76 Usain Bolt JAM Bruxelles 16.09.2011
15 9.76 Usain Bolt JAM Roma 31.05.2012
15 9.76 Yohan Blake JAM Zurich 30.08.2012
19 9.77 Asafa Powell JAM Athínai 14.06.2005
19 9.77 Asafa Powell JAM Gateshead 11.06.2006
19 9.77 Asafa Powell JAM Zurich 18.08.2006
19 9.77 Tyson Gay USA Eugene 28.06.2008
19 9.77 Usain Bolt JAM Bruxelles 05.09.2008
19 9.77 Asafa Powell JAM Rieti 07.09.2008
19 9.77 Tyson Gay USA Roma 10.07.2009
19 9.77 Usain Bolt JAM Moskva 11.08.2013
19 9.77 Justin Gatlin USA Bruxelles 05.09.2014
19 9.77 Justin Gatlin USA Beijing 23.08.2015
29 9.78 Asafa Powell JAM Rieti 09.09.2007
29 9.78 Tyson Gay USA London 13.08.2010
29 9.78 Nesta Carter JAM Rieti 29.08.2010
29 9.78 Asafa Powell JAM Lausanne 30.06.2011
29 9.78 Justin Gatlin USA Monaco 17.07.2015
34 9.79 Maurice Greene USA Athínai 16.06.1999
34 9.79 Usain Bolt JAM Saint-Denis 17.07.2009
34 9.79 Tyson Gay USA Bruxelles 27.08.2010
34 9.79 Tyson Gay USA Clermont 04.06.2011
34 9.79 Usain Bolt JAM Oslo 07.06.2012
34 9.79 Justin Gatlin USA London 05.08.2012
34 9.79 Usain Bolt JAM Beijing 23.08.2015
41 9.80 Maurice Greene USA Sevilla 22.08.1999
41 9.80 Steve Mullings JAM Eugene 04.06.2011
41 9.80 Justin Gatlin USA Eugene 24.06.2012
41 9.80 Usain Bolt JAM Bruxelles 06.09.2013
41 9.80 Justin Gatlin USA Lausanne 03.07.2014
41 9.80 Justin Gatlin USA Beijing 23.08.2015
41 9.80 Justin Gatlin USA Eugene 03.07.2016

The intangibles also matter

Bolt finally was beaten in his last 100-meter race at this past week's World Athletics Championships, but that does not erase his magnificence. His world record of 9.58 in the 100 is set in stone. No current athlete is within shouting distance of his 19.19 in the 200. He won three sprint golds in three straight Olympics, when no other athlete has done that twice. (One relay gold was later revoked, due to a teammate's positive drug test.)

But just as much as these astonishing numbers, Bolt's personality set him apart -- the energy, joy and excitement he delivered every time he stepped onto the track.

After finally defeating Bolt in London, Gatlin did not exult or strut. He literally bowed down to Bolt. "It was paying homage to someone who has changed the game, who has come along and took the sport to another level," Gatlin said. "Not just sprinting, but the sport, and helped sports in general be lifted to a different plateau."

Some "Weird & Wonderful Moments" From The DL

Friday’s fireworks marked the final flourish of a 14-date round the world tour of athletics. We take a look back at some weird and wonderful moments from the 2017 Diamond League.

The floodlights have been switched off at the King Baudouin Stadium. There’ll be no more elite open-air athletics in stadiums until next May [sad face emoji]. No more fantasy teams to agonise over. No more of that chamber music while you’re waiting for the page to load.

You’ll miss it when it’s gone, that soaring beat. So if you get bored this winter, learn the chords, or just hit play on the icon below. You're welcome.

1. Luvo Manyonga, Shanghai

And on the eighth day of the first month of the year marked 1991, a saviour was born deep in the south of great Africa. And the Lord speaketh unto the townsfolk of track and field and did doth proclaim:

This boy will be the one to breaketh the curse of the men’s long jump.

And the people sayeth unto the Lord: But what about Mike Powell from the land of America? Is he not surely destined to catapult himself far into the sand at the upcoming 3rd edition of the IAAF World Championships in Japan? Farther even than Bob Beamon doth leap afore, in the ancient times of unworthy broadcasting quality?

And the Lord sayeth: Do not count your medals until they are presented! And nobody dared answer back, fore it ‘twas many sunsets before the dawn of the Twitter.

And lo, so it was foretold. Mike Powell did claim glory in battle fought under bright Tokyo moonlight.

And he set a line in the sand some 20 cubits yonder (8.95m), that not man nor beast shall cross in wind legal conditions.

Decades passed in great haste, and many noble men of stout character tried to doth break the curse. But their legs did not haveth the might, nor their heart the courage.

The townsfolk of track and field had now growneth very restless, fore ‘twas the difficult dry period betwixt ye Olympics and ye world championships. And by now the townsfolk had long been enchanted by the Book of Twitter.

And across many timelines on continents far and wide, they unlocked their smartphones and harked unto the Lord:

Hear ye @Lord, why perchance do you maketh the men of today weaker in stride, and less springy in heel, than those who went before? (1/2)

@Lord have we not made clear our keenest desire to see records felled and statistics updated? #TrackNation (2/2)

And so it came to pass.

For the Lord was a kind Lord, and he tooketh time out of his day to hit reply:

I warned you this day would come. Hashtag Manyonga ✌️

(for the Lord was gracing a Mac keyboard and could not remember the shortcut key).

And the saviour, known by the full name of Luvo Manyonga, answered this call and set out for the Far East. For now he was a grown man of explosive leap and of sound technique. He went forth to the nearest chariot of the sky and flew it directly to Shanghai, to carry out the Lord’s work.

And soon, the townsfolk saw that it was good, stopped moaning and realised Luvo’s coming for you, Mike Powell ?

2. Karsten Warholm, Oslo

Your casual athletics observer was tickled pink by the sight of Karsten Warholm in the 400m hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships. This fresh-faced boy, wearing a hairstyle and vest-top last seen in 1926, went out hard and somehow held on. Word.

But this was no surprise to you, you seasoned veteran of the Diamond League business. The Norwegian Warhammer, who only switched from the decathlon to the 400m hurdles two years ago, ran himself deep into the mondo en route to a national record at the Bislett Games eight weeks earlier.

It looked, for a moment, as if he had bravely perished in the charge. Legendary Olympic champ Edwin Moses was summoned from on high in the Bislett Stadium. Moses parted the sea of fans but even he could not revive the fallen hero with water.

Ten minutes ticked by and slowly, Warholm rose to his feet. A stadium erupted, a national hero was born and a track legend etched into folklore.

Athletics as it should be. But not for Carl Lewis. Boring.

3. Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Oslo

You sometimes forget that Nigerian jumper-sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor won an Olympic LJ silver medal at Beijing 2008. But then sometimes you forget all sorts of things: family birthdays; which day the recycling is; where you put your children. That’s just life.

If you ever did ask Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (BOI) to count all of her blessings, SPIKES genuinely doubts whether she could list her entire medal bounty. There are 19 in total (from Olympics, world champs, Continental Cup, Commonwealths, All-African Games, African Champs, World Relays, ...) including 11 gold. Give this woman a narrow strip of earth, and she will tear it up.

Not to get carried away (too late!), but Okagbare-Ighoteguonor is a fantastic, courageous athlete who doesn’t mind competing in a few different events on the same day. If athletics was ever turned into one giant sports day, she’d probably be topping the podium.

At the Bislett Games in Oslo, she showed off another of her powers. There are no medals for styling stuff out, but if there was, Okagbare-Ighoteguonor would be tough to beat. After hitting the sand hard, a backwards jerk of her head sent her wig crashing down into the sand. Some might be mortified. Not BOI.

Zero F’s given, as they say in Swearish. 6.21m for the first ever Wig Record, on to the next round. Maximum respect gained.

4. Mutaz Essa Barshim, Birmingham

It’s my ball. And YOU’RE not playing with it! So says the kid with the ball when he’s losing. He owns the ball. But there’s no game without the ball. So technically the kid owns the whole damn game. But only ever in the same way that Conor McGregor “owns boxing”.

It’s hard to dispute that Mutaz Essa Barshim actually does own the men’s high jump. Cool, languid, kinda dorky and enormously talented. He is everything that’s good about high jump, packed fit-to-burst inside a light-weight 6ft 2ins frame set on hydraulic springs.

At the world champs in London, he broke his major title curse that his silky smooth skills have long deserved. One week later in Birmingham, he put on one of the Diamond League season’s hottest shows.

He needed all three jumps at 2.31m to seal the win, and cleared 2.33m and 2.35m before failing twice at 2.39m. Just when you thought he was done for the year, he popped the bar up to 2.40m, bent the arc of space of time in his favour and landed triumphantly onto the mat. He even took the high jump bar home with him, and his beaten opponents could only offer hearty and sincere congratulations. They know.

5. Mo Farah, Zurich

Some say he’s one of the greatest living Britons and it’s hard to argue otherwise. A distance legend who first dazzled a nation with his athletic prowess, then charmed it with his magnetic media presence. The people of the United Kingdom just cannot get enough of Steve Cram.

For those readers who don’t get to listen to the Jarrow Arrow call a race, he has developed a knack for the delivering the killer line for BBC viewers just as athletes power across it. And while cracks such as “The champion becomes a legend” may have been scripted in advance, other calls rely on his razor sharp wit.

And so, as Mo Farah spent the summer spoiling fans with the most stylish of farewells, Cram helped us through each of his thrilling, dominant and brave performances with increasing emotion in his voice, climaxing – as with Mo’s track career – during the breathless final moments of the 5000m at the Zurich Diamond League.

For years his rivals thought him untouchable. But now they are younger, and hungrier. They can smell blood. And suddenly, the Mo Farah Running Away From Things meme was starting to look like less like clickbait and more like genuine race footage.

In a final ten metres made for slow-motion video Mo Farah, Paul Chelimo, Muktar Edris and Yomif Kejelcha approach the line as part of a blurry four-man supergroup, bound together as if by rope.

With eight strides to go, Farah is in pole position on an F1-style grid of runners. He has Chelimo directly behind him in third, Edris to his right in second place, with Kejelcha behind Edris in fourth.

With five strides to go, Edris’ feet start to falter. Chelimo makes a desperate bid for the win by attempting to prize open a tiny gap between Edris and Farah. Kejelcha’s final surge sends him on a collision course with the now-flying Edris.

The photo-finish looks more like the breakdown in a game of Twister. But Farah takes it with Chelimo barging into second (before later getting disqualified). Edris somehow winds up both third (then promoted to second), and trapped in the lithe embrace of Kejelcha’s legs.

Now we know, Mo Farah is no longer crushingly dominant – but he is still the best.

Oh, and what did Steve Cram make of it all? Watch ?

6. Darrell Hill, Brussels

For the second year in a row, the Memorial van Damme organisers took live action out into the streets by hosting the men's shot put final in Brussels’ city centre. Our putters were surrounded by breathtaking architecture on the Place de Monnais, and in easy range of finding moules-frites for afters.

The reigning world and Olympic champions (Tomas Walsh and Ryan Crouser respectively) were the supposed headline acts, with 2015 world champ Joe Kovacs the next favourite should they slip up.

The big men brought the biggest of big games to town. Crouser, wearing an American flag for a headband, has been irresistable at times this year and his first round meeting record 22.37m looked like it would be game over for everyone else. In round three he again surpassed 22 metres as seven of the eight finalists all went beyond 21 metres.

Going into the final round, Darrell Hill lay in seventh place. From the depths of hell he unleashed a monster of a throw. The iron ball landed at 22.44m, a meeting record and an improvement of his PB by 53 centimetres.

Thanks to the new winner-takes-all Diamond League format, Hill’s ginormous effort meant the Diamond Trophy was his – along with the whopping jackpot of $50,000 Diamond League winners get to take home. It was a welcome reward for Hill, whose dad last year could only come to watch his son compete in the Olympics after a generous uber passenger of his started a crowdfunding campaign. Good things happen to good people.

Don't know about you, but we're already counting down the days till the start of the 2018 Diamond League season.

Carl Lewis To Receive USATF Legend Award

The greatest Olympian of the 20th Century, Carl Lewis, will be honored by USA Track & Field with the Legend Award as part of USATF Black Tie & Sneakers Gala on Thursday, November 2 at The Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.

A 2001 inductee in the USATF National Track & Field Hall of Fame, Lewis has been named both “Olympian of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee.

“More than 20 years after his retirement, Carl Lewis still stands as one of the greatest legends in all of sport,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said. “His athletic accomplishments made history, and his advocacy for the professionalism of track & field made him a cultural trailblazer.”

Now in its third year, USATF Black Tie & Sneakers Gala is a red-carpet event held at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The Gala includes the induction of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Class of 2017, along with current USATF stars, legendary athletes, business executives and celebrities from sports and entertainment on hand for an opening reception, dinner and after party. Guests walk the red carpet in black tie attire and sneakers, giving the night a USATF twist on athletic elegance and excellence. View photos from 2016 here.

The National Track & Field Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced early fall.

20th Century G.O.A.T.

Lewis' achievements are unprecedented in track and field: He is one of two athletes to win nine Olympic gold medals, the other being Finland’s Paavo Nurmi. Similarly, he is one of two to win four golds in the same event, tying with Al Oerter. He also won 10 medals, including eight golds, at World Outdoor Championships throughout his athletic career.

Lewis’ career on the track will forever be defined by his four gold medal performance at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, matching Jesse Owens' 1936 feat with victories in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4x100m relay.

His talent was matched by his longevity. At the 1988 Olympics, he won the 100m and long jump, and added silver in the 200m. In 1992, he again won the long jump and 4x100m, anchoring the U.S. team to a world record of 37.40.

At age 30, he had one of his greatest achievements, breaking the world 100m record with a time of 9.86 while winning the event at the 1991 World Championships. He set world records in the 100, 4x100 relay, 4x200 and indoor long jump - a record that has stood since 1984.

In 1996, his final Olympic Games, Lewis had a dramatic farewell, winning his fourth-consecutive gold medal in the long jump.

Coach Carl

After retiring from competition, Lewis established The Carl Lewis Foundation, which serves as an umbrella for the many charities that Lewis supports, including the “Best Buddies” organization, The Wendy Marx Foundation (for organ donor awareness) and many youth fitness group. He has served as an ambassador for Hershey’s Track & Field Games as well as RunJumpThrow, a youth activity program established by USATF and The Hershey Company.

He currently serves as a full-time assistant track & field coach at his alma mater, the University of Houston, as part of a program helmed by his former teammate and training partner, Leroy Burrell. Lewis helped lead the Cougars to the 2017 NCAA title in the 4x100m relay and a runner-up relay finish in 2016.

In May, he launched a professional track club that will be composed primarily of former University of Houston athletes.

Usain Bolt confident his world records will stick

Former Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, freshly retired, doesn't have much concern with his world records falling anytime soon.

The six-time Olympic gold medalist holds world records in the 100 meters (9.58 seconds) and 200 meters (19.19 seconds), both of which he set in Berlin in 2009.

"I think (they're) going to last awhile," Bolt said via the Associated Press during a promotional event Tuesday in Japan. "I think our era with Yohan Blake, Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell and all these guys was the best era of athletes. If it was going to be broken, it would have been broken in this era, so I think I have at least 15 to 20 more years."

Bolt won gold in the 100 and 200 meters at the Beijing, London and Rio Olympic Games. He retired last month after a disappointing final hurrah — at the world championships in London.

He credited his personality as well as his speed for making him a star.

"I think what made me stand out was not only the fast times that I ran but my personality that people really enjoyed and loved," Bolt said. "If you want to be a star in sports and take over a sport, you have to let people know who you are as a person, not just as a track athlete."

Ramil Guliyev named Athlete of Month

Azerbaijani Ramil Guliyev, now representing the Turkish national team, has been crowned the Athlete of the Month award in Europe.

Guliyev, world 200m champion, has been voted the European Athlete of the Month for August based on retweets and Facebook likes and shares, according to European Athletics.

He received an overwhelming 5,700 retweets, along with 647 likes and 127 shares on Facebook, Azertac reported.

In August , he claimed the world 200m title in 20.09 before winning the Birmingham Diamond League in 20.17.

He also secured gold at the Diamond League in the race at the same distance in England’s Birmingham city and silver in the race at 100 m distance at the ISTAF Games in Berlin.

Miller-Uibo’S $100,000 Diamond League Payday

Despite what happened to her at the 16th IAAF World Championships in London, England, last month, Shaunae Miller-Uibo said she was able to live out her purpose by winning the back-to-back IAAF Diamond League Finals in the 200 and 400 metres over the last two weekends.

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“It feels great. To God be the glory, great things he has done,” Miller-Uibo told The Tribune over the weekend following her latest achievement in Brussels. “I understand that it is a first for the Bahamas and I am truly happy to be a part of this history.”

Miller-Uibo, 23, was referring to the fact that she emerged as the first Bahamian to cash in on two year-ending finals, surpassing Tonique Williams, whom she joined (as the first to win a Golden League title as it was back then in 2004) when she captured the first title in a national record breaking performance in the women’s 200 metres at the Zurich Weltklasse two weeks ago.

On Friday, the six-foot-1 Miller-Uibo closed out her account for the year as she added the 400 metres crown with a world leading time of 49.46 at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels, pushing her hefty payday to $100,000 - $50,000 each for the victories.

Despite the cold and wet conditions following torrential rains in Brussels, Miller-Uibo pulled away from the youthful Salwa Eid Naser, who also broke the 50-second barrier as she set a Bahrain record of 49.88 for second.

“The competition as always was very fierce and the joy of the challenge keeps it interesting,” said Miller-Uibo about facing three of the seven other finalists from London, including Naser, the silver medallist. “The weather was a little chilly and wet, but the response from my coach was that we executed the race model.”

That was the model she had expected in London, England, when she surged to the front only to miscalculate her step after taking a peep at the big screen and faltered to fourth in the 400m before she bounced back to take the bronze in the 200m. In the process, she earned $35,000, inclusive of $20,000 for the half-lap race and $15,000 for the one-lapper.

From what transpired, Miller-Uibo called it a valuable age-old lesson learnt.

“From since I was a child, I learned and understood that God’s timing will always be perfect,” she said. “And God blessed me with two Diamond League wins, a national record and a world-leading time to end the season. So I count my blessings and thank him for them.”

And putting her two showings in perspective after the Worlds, Miller-Uibo admitted that they were “equally satisfying because in the 200m, I got a national record and in a world-leading time in the 400m.”

#With her season over and done with, Miller-Uibo is preparing to return home before next Friday for another Shaunae Miller-Uibo Day at her alma mater at St Augustine’s College. But she expressed her disappointment in hearing that there won’t be any official celebrations for her nor Steven Gardiner, the World Championship men’s 400m silver medallist.

“I am very disappointed that there is no celebrations, mainly for Stevie Gasdiner,” she said. “I feel extremely bad seeing that this is his first international medal and that being a silver, makes him the second best in the world.

“Instead of him being celebrated, from what I am understanding, he is being persecuted by his own federation. This is very disturbing. The silver lining to this story is that the rest of the world is celebrating Mr Gardiner’s success.”

Claude Bryan, the chief executive officer of On Track Management, Inc, the Atlanta, Georgia-based promotional track group that manages both Miller-Uibo and Gardiner, said they will not comment on the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ decision to hold a tribunal to ascertain why he didn’t run the heats of the men’s 4 x 400m relay in London on the request of head coach Dianne Woodside-Johnson.

He would only state that: “I am sure Moore’s Island and the rest of the Bahamas are appreciative of his efforts and if history is our guide, the Bahamas has not been shy in giving due to its athletes when they fly the black, aquamarine and yellow.”

Looking back at what the two Bahamian quarter-milers did this year, Bryan said it’s just the tip of the iceberg for Miller-Uibo and Gardiner.

“Shaunae is on an upward trajectory and what we witnessed this year is just the continuation of what should ultimately unfold as a stellar career,” said Bryan, the chief executive officer of On Track Management.

As for Gardiner, he completed his year by slipping out of the blocks in the men’s 400m in the Diamond League Final at the Zurich Weltklasse last week.

The race came after Gardiner picked up a silver medal in London, two days following his historic run in the semi-final where he became the first Bahamian to crack the 44-second barrier, lowering his national record to 43.89.

“Stevie is a gem and from coach (Anthony) Williams to coach (George) Cleare to coach (Gary) Evans, the mantra has always been ‘gently apply the polish,’” Bryan said.

“He will shine in due time. Coach Evans understands this and Stevie has been responding in line with expectations.”

Bryan said they will continue to “apply the polish” on Gardiner as they look ahead to the future for the soon-to-be 22-year-old (September 12) 6-2 native from Murphy Town, Abaco.

Who’s on The One Show tonight?

Champion runner who has now retired will join the hosts on the sofa this evening...

TONIGHT'S edition of The One Show features an Olympic legend and two men very interested in the welfare of animals.

Here's all you need to know about the episode, which won't feature resident host Alex Jones...

Who's on The One Show tonight?

Mo Farah

This evening, retired Olympic champ Sir Mo Farah will be hitting The One Show's sofa.

The 34-year-old face of Quorn is the most decorated athlete in the history of British athletics and finally stopped running competitively this year, after being knighted by the Queen.

Known for his "Mobot" celebration pose and his amazing four Olympic Gold medals, the Somali-born Arsenal fan is also a father-of-three and a devout Muslim.

It's a little-known fact that he has a twin brother, Hassan, who he was separated from for 12 years after Mo moved to London aged eight and Hassan remained in Dijbouti.

He's also won the full £250,000 jackpot on game show The Cube in 2012 during a charity edition.

There is a gold postbox dedicated to his Olympic Gold success in Isleworth, London, the area where he grew up.

Usain Bolt gives Man Utd ultimatum to prove they are title challengers

Manchester United fan and athletics hero Usain Bolt is has been impressed by the side's early form this season, but has given them a few more games to convince him they can win the Premier League title.

The Red Devils are the only side with a 100 per cent record in England's top flight, having dispatched West Ham, Swansea City and Leicester City without conceding a single goal in 2017-18.

Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in as many appearances after joining from Everton for £75 million, helping to solve the chronic attacking woes that hampered Mourinho's men last term.


Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt took in United's 2-0 win over Leicester at Old Trafford last month after signing off from the track at the IAAF World Championships and he believes the biggest change at United has been mental reinforcement.

"We're looking pretty good, players are playing with confidence which is a key thing," Bolt told Omnisport at the opening of the new Hublot boutique in Kyoto, Japan.

"I saw the games and was very impressed with them, but for me I'm waiting for the next four games to say, 'alright, we're on track to winning the title'. So far, we look good."

Bolt is confident Mourinho remains the right man to restore former glories at Old Trafford and hailed the impact Lukaku has had on their attacking fortunes.

He added: "I said it last year – last year we just couldn't score and that was our biggest issue.

"We played well, we defended well, but we couldn't score goals and this season we don't have that problem.

Athletics season review: London 2017

It was the unlikely figure of Luguelin Santos who did the honours last week, upsetting the three Borlee brothers in their native Belgium to win the final event of the Brussels Diamond League and bring the curtain down on the 2017 outdoor track and field season.

For the next few months, athletics will consist of cross country, road running and low-key meetings in places like Australia where they do things on tracks at strange times.

So what did we make of the 2017 season? Here are some rambling thoughts.

Britain loves a major event...

Let's start off with a good one and something that is pretty much undeniable: London 2017 was a success. Sold out sessions in the morning and evening, huge viewing figures on what used to be called terrestrial TV and athletics on the front and back pages for the right reasons (ahem, Isaac Makwala, ahem) meant the sport once again flourished in the capital.

As was the case with the London 2012 Olympics, Britain proved that it loves hosting major events. There surely is no other nation that better rallies behind such occasions.

That is the good news. The bad news is that the next edition of the World Championships will be held in Qatar in 2019. Having spent considerable time in the country for the 2015 Para World Championships and 2017 Doha Diamond League, I can confirm it is not an experience to look forward to.

Athletics struggles for attention worldwide at the best of times and live sport barely resonates at all in Qatar, where the culture for attending events in person is almost non-existent. Yet again, a sports governing body has shown itself to be a slave to cash, which is a real shame for both spectators and athletes, who face the prospect of empty stadiums and searing heat.

... but does Britain love athletics?

The British Championships British Athletics Team Trials back at the start of July were notable mainly for dismal crowd numbers and an absence of big-name athletes.

Spread over two long days, it is always going to be a difficult sell, but it was a sorry reflection of the state of the sport in Britain. If it continues in such a manner, there can be little expectation that the BBC will televise it in the future.

London 2017 proved that sports fans will turn out for a big athletics event, but those 10 days were not an accurate indication of the sport's lowly status throughout the rest of the year.

Olympic hurdler Matt Elias came up with some great ideas to try and boost the popularity of a sport fighting for exposure in a market increasingly squeezed by the domination of football:

Bolt and Farah must be replaced

For the many people who say 'Usain Bolt cannot be replaced' - I totally understand your point, but please hear me out.

There will never be another Bolt. He has done more than any other in expanding athletics' reach worldwide and he has done so in a totally unique manner. But the sorry fact is that if the sport fails to replace him (and Farah) then it will suffer enormously and grow increasingly niche.

Because of the Premier League-led football behemoth, other sports have an ever-diminishing time period to cash in and the likes of Bolt and Farah are crucial in selling tickets and bringing people to the sport. Even if the majority of those spectators do not hang around in the long-term, the big names offer the opportunity to capture attention, put bums on seats and encourage the media to pay greater attention.

It is something that many within athletics do not want to hear because - quite rightly - there is so much more to the sport than a couple of superstars. But no sport will survive simply on the support of the hardcore faithful. It must continue trying to attract people and, for that, big names are crucial.

I am an athletics fan. I know how much the sport has to offer and I don't like the reliance on one or two people. But I accept it is the way of the sporting world in the current era.

(There is much more on my despair at the current marginalisation of sports in this increasingly bite-sized, celebrity age here.)

It is time for athletics to gamble

This follows on directly from the previous point. Athletics is now left in a position where it must attempt to compete just when it has lost its most marketable commodity in Bolt.

It has no choice but to take a few risks. Here is an extract from a piece on this exact topic and you can read the entire thing here.

Many baulked at Athletics Australia’s novel Nitro Athletics event in Melbourne earlier this year with its three-minute mixed distance challenge, elimination mile and target javelin throw. Some of those ideas were as ludicrous as they sound and will doubtless correctly be consigned to history. But the organisers should be praised for attempting to alter the status quo.

It is for this reason that the creation of The Meet, which sees Britain take on the USA in a head-to-head competition at the London Stadium next summer, is a great idea. In the absence of Bolt and Farah, athletics must do all it can to create rivalries. At two hours, The Meet is short enough to appeal to younger audiences, with enough action to keep spectators enthralled.

Despite attempts to alter the Diamond League scoring system this season, the difficulty of creating cohesion to such a geographically and temporally diverse competition remains. Is there worth in reducing the number of Diamond League meets in a bid to boost the quality and importance of the few that endure?

How can street events that have successfully moved athletics into central urban settings be expanded to take them beyond a fun sideshow? All questions to consider.

Give things a go. Never criticise change. Try – and potentially fail.

The unexpected trumps all

Who on earth would have predicted that Makwala would be the breakout name of the London 2017 World Championships?

Very good athlete? Yes. Possible medallist? Yes. Potential star of the show? Extremely unlikely. That is until he came down with the squits.

We will never know for certain whether Makwala did indeed contract norovirus in London, but what an extraordinary and unexpected storyline. An athlete denied entry to the stadium by burly security guards, an athlete forced to run a lone time trial in the pouring rain and an athlete who celebrated with a quickfire set of press-ups after crossing the line - that is the stuff of sporting gold.

Rumours that the governing body intentionally banned Makwala so as to ensure Wayde van Niekerk won the 400m were complete and utter nonsense, but it was an accidental masterstroke in boosting coverage of the event (for the record: I am not suggesting the IAAF had any cynical motivations whatsoever).

I have an enormous amount of sympathy for Makwala having his dreams snatched away, but I whole-heartedly agree with the difficult decision to temporarily halt his participation for the health of every other athlete competing. And in terms of creating some unexpected excitement it was undeniably brilliant.

Semenya has so much more to give

I am not going to delve into the details of whether Caster Semenya should be allowed to run in her natural form (i.e. without taking testosterone-lowering medication). On the one hand, she is just using whatever natural advantage she possesses. On the other, it must be pretty galling for her rivals that the 800m has been turned into a procession.

Coming at it from a purely athletic point of view, I just want the opportunity to see her run fast. It is a ludicrous thing to say when she went below 1min 56sec three times this year. But the nagging feeling remains that she has the ability to run so much faster - a feeling that was only heightened by Semenya breaking the 600m world record at the end of August.

If the IAAF have their way, Semenya will be forced to go back on medication to lower her testosterone levels in time for the start of the 2018 outdoor season.

Such a move would, presumably, level the playing field and make the event more competitive again. But it will also likely rob the South African of the chance to challenge Jarmila Kratochvilova's 800m world record - something she said she intends to do next year.

It is a legal and ethical minefield, but to simplify it to a ludicrous extent: I really, really want to see how fast she can run.

Doping doubts persist

This is tricky, because it is difficult to write about individual performances and specific athletes without chucking dirt around in the absence of any proof.

For example, there is no suggestion that Turkey's Ramil Guliyev has ever committed a doping violation, but it was only correct that he was asked about his adopted country's abysmal anti-doping record after winning the world 200m title.

The same goes for Ethiopia's world 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana who - while never suspected of any doping offences - was asked about her country's approach to performance-enhancing drugs. That came after a brilliant investigation on the eve of the World Championships showed how easy it is to obtain doping products in Ethiopia, while also uncovering disorganisation at the country's anti-doping agency.

And while the boos were reserved for surprise world 100m champion Justin Gatlin, he was far from alone in competing in London after returning from a doping ban:

This is not the job of athletics alone, but there are far too many blackspots worldwide when it comes to national anti-doping organisations. How can results be taken at face value when the likes of Turkey, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco (to name a few) have such serious issues? Things are improving, but the starting point is pretty low.

Some quickfire athlete thoughts...

Kendra Harrison might be the new global Asafa Powell. Katarina Johnson-Thompson might be the new British Asafa Powell.
Karsten Warholm is brilliant.
The whole world needs to appreciate the beauty in what Mutaz Essa Barshim does. He doesn't jump, he flies.

Emma Coburn's world 3,000m steeplechase victory was astonishing.
Something special is happening with German javelin throwers. And on that subject... this:
Remember the name: Noah Lyles.
Nafi Thiam could do something very special in coming years.
Sally Pearson reclaiming her world title was one of those moments.

Race of the season

In a move that sums up the backwards nature of much of athletics governance, the IAAF have decided not to make the entire women's 1500m final from London 2017 available to view online. Taking the last 100m in isolation does not do it justice because it was a phenomenal race, but here it is.

Kiyegon, Simpson, Semenya, Muir, Hassan. Wow.

Finish of the season

Your cast at the tail end of the Zurich Diamond League 5,000m: Yomif Kejelcha, Muktar Edris, Paul Chelimo and Mo Farah.

Usain Bolt Says His World Records Could Last 'At Least 15 to 20 Years'

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt predicted Tuesday during an appearance in Japan that the world records he set during his illustrious track career could last for two decades.

Jim Armstrong of the Associated Press passed along comments from Bolt, who said he went up against the "best era" of competition, which should allow his marks to stand the test of time.

"I think [they're] going to last a while," he said. "I think our era with Yohan Blake, Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell and all these guys was the best era of athletes. If it was going to be broken, it would have been broken in this era, so I think I have at least 15 to 20 more years."

Bolt retired last month following the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. He finished third in the 100 meters behind the American duo of Gatlin and Christian Coleman and suffered a hamstring injury while trying to run the 4x100-meter relay for Jamaica.

It represented a mundane end for the fastest man in history.

The 31-year-old fan favorite is the world-record holder in both the 100 meters (9.58 seconds) and 200 meters (19.19 seconds) along with assorted other marks in relays and age-based races.

He won eight Olympic gold medals, highlighted by winning both the 100 and 200 in each of the Beijing, London and Rio Games. He added 14 more medals, including 11 golds, in World Championship races.

Looking toward the future, Bolt has been discouraged by the lack of competitive fire shown by the next wave of potential track superstars once the money starts to roll in, according to the AP.

"I've noticed a lot of the young athletes, as soon as they get their first contract and start making money, they really just don't care as much anymore," Bolt said. "A lot of them are satisfied with getting their first contract, going out and making their first team. If they are satisfied with that, then we're in trouble. Hopefully, a few of these young guys are going to be hungry and want to be great, and if we get those guys we will be OK, but so far it is not looking good."

Bolt added he walked away from the track because he had "nothing to prove," and his focus has shifted toward his personal life and potentially playing soccer.

Bolt Talks About His Proudest Moments & His Future

The world's fastest human, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, chatted with Digital Journal about his proudest moments in track and field, and he opened up about his future.

Throughout his illustrious career in track and field, Bolt has won eight Olympic gold medals in the sprints (100 meter and 200 meter dashes) and the relays (4 x 100), as well as 11 gold medals at the World Championships level. He is affectionately known as "Lightning Bolt," and rightfully so. "I am proud of all my medals in the Olympic Games and the World Track and Field Championships," he said.

Bolt holds the world records in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes, with such times as 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds respectively, thus making his the fastest human in the world.

When asked what motivates him each day, Bolt shared that "Every day is a chance to do something better than the day before."

Regarding his plans for the future (now that he is a retired sprinter), he said, "I have a lot more time to get more involved in things I was unable to spend time on over the past years such as my business interests and the Usain Bolt Foundation. I will continue to be busy working for my commercial partners, and will probably play different sports and accept more television opportunities."

Bolt noted that he stays connected with his fans by being active on his social media. "I will be travelling the world over the next years getting to meet fans," he said.

For aspiring sprinters and track and field athletes, Bolt's advice is as follows: "Work hard, and get good advice. Everyone competing at the top has talent but talent alone will not make a Champion."

On the digital transformation of track and field, Bolt said, "I don't think technology has changed track and field all that much. Track and field is about who can run, jump or throw the fastest, longest or highest. While the running kit and running surfaces have improved, it is ultimately mano a mano."

Bolt generally uses technology to help him communicate with people, as well as for entertainment purposes. "I watch a lot of sports and movies, play video games and keep in touch with friends and family," he said.

When asked to look back and reflect on a rear-view mirror over the last 10 years, Bolt acknowledged that it afforded him the privilege to travel the world, where he met a lot of people, all while doing a sport that he loves. "The main thing I enjoy is putting smiles on people's faces," he said.

The word "success" for Bolt has many different meanings. "On the track, it was winning. As I enter the next phase of my career, it could be helping people less fortunate, inspiring the next generation, and being successful in business. For me, success is being happy and enjoying life," he said.

For his dedicated fans and followers, Bolt expressed his sincere gratitude. "Thanks for all the support over the years. The fans are the most important people for me, and I will certainly miss the thrill of competing in front of full stadiums," he concluded.

To learn more about acclaimed Olympian and world record holder Usain Bolt, check out his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter.

Spikes Picks 6 Top 2017 Diamond League Moments

Friday’s fireworks marked the final flourish of a 14-date round the world tour of athletics. We take a look back at some weird and wonderful moments from the 2017 Diamond League.

The floodlights have been switched off at the King Baudouin Stadium. There’ll be no more elite open-air athletics in stadiums until next May [sad face emoji]. No more fantasy teams to agonise over. No more of that chamber music while you’re waiting for the page to load.

You’ll miss it when it’s gone, that soaring beat. So if you get bored this winter, learn the chords, or just hit play on the icon below. You're welcome.

1. Luvo Manyonga, Shanghai

And on the eighth day of the first month of the year marked 1991, a saviour was born deep in the south of great Africa. And the Lord speaketh unto the townsfolk of track and field and did doth proclaim:

This boy will be the one to breaketh the curse of the men’s long jump.

And the people sayeth unto the Lord: But what about Mike Powell from the land of America? Is he not surely destined to catapult himself far into the sand at the upcoming 3rd edition of the IAAF World Championships in Japan? Farther even than Bob Beamon doth leap afore, in the ancient times of unworthy broadcasting quality?

And the Lord sayeth: Do not count your medals until they are presented! And nobody dared answer back, fore it ‘twas many sunsets before the dawn of the Twitter.

And lo, so it was foretold. Mike Powell did claim glory in battle fought under bright Tokyo moonlight.

And he set a line in the sand some 20 cubits yonder (8.95m), that not man nor beast shall cross in wind legal conditions.

Decades passed in great haste, and many noble men of stout character tried to doth break the curse. But their legs did not haveth the might, nor their heart the courage.

The townsfolk of track and field had now growneth very restless, fore ‘twas the difficult dry period betwixt ye Olympics and ye world championships. And by now the townsfolk had long been enchanted by the Book of Twitter.

And across many timelines on continents far and wide, they unlocked their smartphones and harked unto the Lord:

Hear ye @Lord, why perchance do you maketh the men of today weaker in stride, and less springy in heel, than those who went before? (1/2)

@Lord have we not made clear our keenest desire to see records felled and statistics updated? #TrackNation (2/2)

And so it came to pass.

For the Lord was a kind Lord, and he tooketh time out of his day to hit reply:

I warned you this day would come. Hashtag Manyonga ✌️

(for the Lord was gracing a Mac keyboard and could not remember the shortcut key).

And the saviour, known by the full name of Luvo Manyonga, answered this call and set out for the Far East. For now he was a grown man of explosive leap and of sound technique. He went forth to the nearest chariot of the sky and flew it directly to Shanghai, to carry out the Lord’s work.

And soon, the townsfolk saw that it was good, stopped moaning and realised Luvo’s coming for you, Mike Powell ?

2. Karsten Warholm, Oslo

Your casual athletics observer was tickled pink by the sight of Karsten Warholm in the 400m hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships. This fresh-faced boy, wearing a hairstyle and vest-top last seen in 1926, went out hard and somehow held on. Word.

But this was no surprise to you, you seasoned veteran of the Diamond League business. The Norwegian Warhammer, who only switched from the decathlon to the 400m hurdles two years ago, ran himself deep into the mondo en route to a national record at the Bislett Games eight weeks earlier.

It looked, for a moment, as if he had bravely perished in the charge. Legendary Olympic champ Edwin Moses was summoned from on high in the Bislett Stadium. Moses parted the sea of fans but even he could not revive the fallen hero with water.

Ten minutes ticked by and slowly, Warholm rose to his feet. A stadium erupted, a national hero was born and a track legend etched into folklore.

Athletics as it should be. But not for Carl Lewis. Boring.

3. Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Oslo

You sometimes forget that Nigerian jumper-sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor won an Olympic LJ silver medal at Beijing 2008. But then sometimes you forget all sorts of things: family birthdays; which day the recycling is; where you put your children. That’s just life.

If you ever did ask Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (BOI) to count all of her blessings, SPIKES genuinely doubts whether she could list her entire medal bounty. There are 19 in total (from Olympics, world champs, Continental Cup, Commonwealths, All-African Games, African Champs, World Relays, ...) including 11 gold. Give this woman a narrow strip of earth, and she will tear it up.

Not to get carried away (too late!), but Okagbare-Ighoteguonor is a fantastic, courageous athlete who doesn’t mind competing in a few different events on the same day. If athletics was ever turned into one giant sports day, she’d probably be topping the podium.

At the Bislett Games in Oslo, she showed off another of her powers. There are no medals for styling stuff out, but if there was, Okagbare-Ighoteguonor would be tough to beat. After hitting the sand hard, a backwards jerk of her head sent her wig crashing down into the sand. Some might be mortified. Not BOI.

Zero F’s given, as they say in Swearish. 6.21m for the first ever Wig Record, on to the next round. Maximum respect gained.

4. Mutaz Essa Barshim, Birmingham

It’s my ball. And YOU’RE not playing with it! So says the kid with the ball when he’s losing. He owns the ball. But there’s no game without the ball. So technically the kid owns the whole damn game. But only ever in the same way that Conor McGregor “owns boxing”.

It’s hard to dispute that Mutaz Essa Barshim actually does own the men’s high jump. Cool, languid, kinda dorky and enormously talented. He is everything that’s good about high jump, packed fit-to-burst inside a light-weight 6ft 2ins frame set on hydraulic springs.

At the world champs in London, he broke his major title curse that his silky smooth skills have long deserved. One week later in Birmingham, he put on one of the Diamond League season’s hottest shows.

He needed all three jumps at 2.31m to seal the win, and cleared 2.33m and 2.35m before failing twice at 2.39m. Just when you thought he was done for the year, he popped the bar up to 2.40m, bent the arc of space of time in his favour and landed triumphantly onto the mat. He even took the high jump bar home with him, and his beaten opponents could only offer hearty and sincere congratulations. They know.

5. Mo Farah, Zurich

Some say he’s one of the greatest living Britons and it’s hard to argue otherwise. A distance legend who first dazzled a nation with his athletic prowess, then charmed it with his magnetic media presence. The people of the United Kingdom just cannot get enough of Steve Cram.

For those readers who don’t get to listen to the Jarrow Arrow call a race, he has developed a knack for the delivering the killer line for BBC viewers just as athletes power across it. And while cracks such as “The champion becomes a legend” may have been scripted in advance, other calls rely on his razor sharp wit.

And so, as Mo Farah spent the summer spoiling fans with the most stylish of farewells, Cram helped us through each of his thrilling, dominant and brave performances with increasing emotion in his voice, climaxing – as with Mo’s track career – during the breathless final moments of the 5000m at the Zurich Diamond League.

For years his rivals thought him untouchable. But now they are younger, and hungrier. They can smell blood. And suddenly, the Mo Farah Running Away From Things meme was starting to look like less like clickbait and more like genuine race footage.

In a final ten metres made for slow-motion video Mo Farah, Paul Chelimo, Muktar Edris and Yomif Kejelcha approach the line as part of a blurry four-man supergroup, bound together as if by rope.

With eight strides to go, Farah is in pole position on an F1-style grid of runners. He has Chelimo directly behind him in third, Edris to his right in second place, with Kejelcha behind Edris in fourth.

With five strides to go, Edris’ feet start to falter. Chelimo makes a desperate bid for the win by attempting to prize open a tiny gap between Edris and Farah. Kejelcha’s final surge sends him on a collision course with the now-flying Edris.

The photo-finish looks more like the breakdown in a game of Twister. But Farah takes it with Chelimo barging into second (before later getting disqualified). Edris somehow winds up both third (then promoted to second), and trapped in the lithe embrace of Kejelcha’s legs.

Now we know, Mo Farah is no longer crushingly dominant – but he is still the best.

Oh, and what did Steve Cram make of it all? Watch ?

6. Darrell Hill, Brussels

For the second year in a row, the Memorial van Damme organisers took live action out into the streets by hosting the men's shot put final in Brussels’ city centre. Our putters were surrounded by breathtaking architecture on the Place de Monnais, and in easy range of finding moules-frites for afters.

The reigning world and Olympic champions (Tomas Walsh and Ryan Crouser respectively) were the supposed headline acts, with 2015 world champ Joe Kovacs the next favourite should they slip up.

The big men brought the biggest of big games to town. Crouser, wearing an American flag for a headband, has been irresistable at times this year and his first round meeting record 22.37m looked like it would be game over for everyone else. In round three he again surpassed 22 metres as seven of the eight finalists all went beyond 21 metres.

Going into the final round, Darrell Hill lay in seventh place. From the depths of hell he unleashed a monster of a throw. The iron ball landed at 22.44m, a meeting record and an improvement of his PB by 53 centimetres.

Thanks to the new winner-takes-all Diamond League format, Hill’s ginormous effort meant the Diamond Trophy was his – along with the whopping jackpot of $50,000 Diamond League winners get to take home. It was a welcome reward for Hill, whose dad last year could only come to watch his son compete in the Olympics after a generous uber passenger of his started a crowdfunding campaign. Good things happen to good people.

Jeff Hartwig's Proudest Achievements & Successes

American pole vaulter Jeff Hartwig chatted with Digital Journal about his proudest moments in the sport. He gave advice for aspiring athletes and discussed how technology has changed contemporary track and field.

Hartwig's personal best in outdoor track and field is 6.03 meters in pole vault (which he set in June of 2000), as well as 6.02 meters in the indoor track, which he set in March of 2002.

His proudest accomplishments in pole vault include "making two Olympic teams," as well as "setting several American records." "Both are achievements that I worked very hard to accomplish," he said.



He was drawn to pole vault since the sport challenges every aspect of one's abilities: physical technical and mental.


Each day, Hartwig is motivated by looking at every day as a new opportunity. "An opportunity to do something you have never done, or to put in work that will be the stepping stone to success in the future," he explained.


Regarding the key to longevity in track and field, he said that it involves staying positive and healthy. "I never let the highs be too high or the lows be too low. For staying healthy, I treat small problems like big ones and try to nip them before they become big ones," he said.



For aspiring athletes who wish to pursue a sports career in the pole vault, he said, "Make a plan and be specific. Most pole vaulters go out each day and just go through the routine. Even if they train hard, many do not have a specific plan on how they will improve."

Digital transformation of pole vault

On the impact of technology in track and field, he said, "Technology has the potential to improve how track and field is presented. We now have the ability to track long throws with a tracer on television that shows the flight path. We can measure distances more quickly with electronic measuring systems that speed the flow of competition. Hopefully, as these continue to develop, the sport will be presented even better."



When asked how he uses technology on a daily basis, the veteran pole vaulter responded, "Technology, on cell phones in particular, gives every athlete the ability to video and share information. This information becomes a stimulus for new ideas and ways to think and look at problems."

Hartwig had nothing but the kindest remarks about two contemporary pole vaulters, Shawn Barber and Sam Kendricks, both of which won the 2015 and 2017 World Championships in pole vault respectively. "First, let me say that I feel very lucky and privileged to have the chance to work with, share, and be a part of the success of both of these young men," he said.



"Shawn [Barber] is an incredible talent in the pole vault," Hartwig said. "He has broken through barriers that many coaches and athletes thought were not practical. He grips higher than any other vaulter and has caused a lot of other vaulters to rethink their ideas on what the limitations of technique should be. As a person, he is a very big-hearted, thoughtful guy. Sometimes his quiet demeanor hides this fact but he really has a big heart, and is very thoughtful of others."

He continued, "Sam Kendricks is the kind of guy that everyone wants as a friend. He is always happy, and very positive to be around. Even in the heat of competition, he can be found cheering and encouraging his competitors. Like Shawn, he has also shown that some of the traditional ideas of what technique is supposed to be like is not always what it is. His consistency at a high level is among the best in the history of the event. He and his father/coach's approach to the pole vault is very calculated and deliberate."



Hartwig defined the word success as "Accomplishing something you are trying to do, especially when you question whether you even believed it was possible yourself. " "This can happen at all levels. From beginner to the highest level, there are many ways to have success," he explained.

For his fans, the iconic pole vaulter concluded, "Thank you! When I started in the sport I never had aspirations to be a record holder or make Olympic teams. Those things seem completely out of the realm of possibility at that time. I pole vaulted because it was the most fun thing I had ever done in sports. As I developed, I reformed my ideas and made a plan to accomplish those things. What I never counted on was the support I received from fans along the way. When asked about my favorite meets or places to jump, I often think of the roar of the crowd or the reactions I received from people as I did what I was doing just because it was the most fun thing I had ever done."


Are ‘sex testing’ policies ready for change?

International sports organisations need to change gender classification procedures in women’s athletic events to be consistent with their own values, recent research argues.
In a recent research article, Roger Pielke Jr., Professor and Director of the Sports Governance Center at the University of Colorado, investigates the policies put in place by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to determine eligibility for participation in women’s elite athletic events. Pielke argues that the IOC and the IAAF have yet to achieve the goal of gender equality as expressed in the Olympic charter, and they are struggling with their policies for determining which individuals are eligible to participate in women’s events.

According to Pielke, current policies are inadequate because they consider biological factors as the sole determent of gender.

“The problem with ‘sex testing’ in athletics is that biological sex does not divide into two neat categories but instead is highly complex and is not determined by any single characteristic or even combination of characteristics,” Pielke writes in the article.

“The IAAF/IOC has looked to science to settle disputes over sex and gender, both of which are complex and imprecise categories which do not always correlate with one another in a neat manner,” he argues in the article.

Following a presentation of current policies for ‘sex testing’ and a discussion of scientific definitions and stereotypes, Pielke proposes a procedural approach, which he argues is consistent with scientific understandings of sex and gender and with the stated aims of the IOC and IAAF including:

The athlete’s legal status would alone be insufficient to determine the eligibility to participate athletic events.
Participation in the men’s or women’s competitions would be determined initially by the athlete in the first instance of participating in organised national or international competition segregated into men’s and women’s categories.
Upon reaching senior competition and legal adulthood, the athlete would sign an affidavit testifying to his/her gender.

Consistency in participation in men’s or women’s competitions would be required from the first instance through senior (i.e. adult, open) competitions.
In those rare cases where an athlete wishes to change gender categories, policies and procedures would cover this contingency.
Sex testing in sport is part of an ongoing debate due to the successes of athletes such as South African Olympian, Caster Semenya who won a gold medal in the women’s 800m at the World Athletics Championship in August this year. In 2009, Semenya was investigated by the IAAF over worries about her eligibility to compete in women’s events, based on her appearance. A year later, she was cleared by the IAAF to compete as a women.

However, the IAAF is currently challenging a ruling by the court of arbitration for sport (CAS) which has prevented it from restricting permitted levels of testosterone among female competitors.

World Athletics Championships 2017

Four cases of norovirus have been confirmed at the World Championships, with 50 people affected by illness.

The virus has affected athletes and officials at the London event.

Dr Deborah Turbitt of Public Health England (PHE) said: "PHE has been working to provide infection control advice to limit the spread of illness."

Botswana's Isaac Makwala was denied entry in Tuesday's 400m final and placed under quarantine for 48 hours as officials tried to contain the virus.

Aries Merritt returns to Great North CityGames

World 110m hurdles record-holder back on the pop-up track on Tyneside

Aries Merritt looks set to be the man to beat in the 110m hurdles when Great North CityGames action returns to the banks of the Tyne on Saturday (September 9).

The world record-holder has had an incredible return to world class competition after a kidney transplant in 2015 and will continue a season which has seen him finish fifth at the IAAF World Championships in London.

The American has also won at three Diamond League meetings – in London, Birmingham and Rome – this summer and now returns to the Great North CityGames, an event he has raced at twice before, in 2013 and 2014.

Among his rivals on the pop-up track alongside Gateshead’s quayside in the free-to-spectate event will be his compatriot Jarrett Eaton, while British interest comes in the form of Jake Porter, the British indoor 60m hurdles and outdoor 110m hurdles bronze medallist. Czech athlete Petr Svoboda, the 2011 European indoor 60m hurdles champion, will also compete.

With a range of events on offer from 100m to the one-mile distance plus pole vault and long jump in a specially-constructed arena on the banks of the Tyne, the Great North CityGames kicks off a weekend of first-class sporting action. It encompasses the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great North Run, the Simplyhealth Great North 5k and finishes with the world-famous Simplyhealth Great North Run on the Sunday.

The athletics action is free to watch, no ticket is required, and the event is broadcast live on BBC One from 1.15pm.

The Uneasy Farewell Of 2 Sports Icons

After Emperor Augustus defeated Antony and Cleopatra to bring Egypt under Roman rule in 27 BC, the Senate decided a suitable honor was renaming things after him. So the calendar’s eighth month became Augustus, later shortened to August in English. It was given 31 days instead of 30 because the previous month named after Julius Caesar (July) had 31 and the Senate didn’t want to shortchange the man who conquered Egypt.

The word, august, came to be defined as respected, impressive, inspiring reverence, marked by dignity or grandeur.

It was a fitting if unwitting choice, then, for two of history’s most iconic athletes to end their careers after imperiously lording over their sports for the past decade.

On Aug. 13 in London, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt limped through an emotional “victory” lap at track and field’s World Championships despite not actually winning anything and declared: “I’ve seen too many people retire and come back just to make it worse or to shame themselves. I won’t be one of those people.”

Two weeks later in Las Vegas, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. slogged through 10 rounds before knocking out Conor McGregor to improve to 50-0, one better than Rocky Marciano’s fabled 49-0. Mayweather has retired before and returned, but this time insisted: “You won’t see me in the ring no more. Any guy that’s calling me out, forget it.”

One month, two mythical figures, both moving on.

Maybe the trickiest decision for elite athletes is knowing when is when, accurately weighing twinkling star with emptying hourglass, distinguishing long shadows from darkness. Complicating the calculations are money and celebrity, and the result too often is the pitiful shell of a former self.

Bolt should have sailed into the Jamaican sunset after the 2016 Olympicsin Rio de Janeiro, where he won his obligatory three gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters and 4x100 relay. And he sounded then like he knew that. There was a reticence, a reluctance, in his voice when he spoke about one final hurrah the following summer at the World Championships in London.

He’s never been particularly fond of training and he’s been particularly fond of partying, and it was clear the Bolt of 2016 was not the Bolt that captivated and dominated the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But there was also a carrot: He reportedly made $32.5 million during his golden 2016, most of it from endorsement deals, … and $34.2 million in 2017 for what amounted to 60 seconds of racing.

He junked his best event, the 200 meters, because it requires more strenuous training and he strategically picked what few 100s he ran. There were reports that his management team had Canada’s Andre De Grasse, on paper his biggest threat, bumped from a July race in Monaco, where he beat a ho-hum field in a pedestrian 9.95 seconds.

The problem with the World Championships is it’s harder to control the field, even if De Grasse, who also is aligned with Puma, suspiciously pulled out with an alleged injury. Everyone else was there, though, and the invincible Bolt had no choice but to line up and race them, ready or not.

In the seven Olympics or World Championships since 2008, Bolt had failed to win only two of 21 finals: once when he was disqualified for a false start, once when a 4x100 relay teammate got popped for doping. In the London 100, he finished behind two Americans, a 21-year-old who was running slower in August than June after a grueling college season; and Justin Gatlin, a man six years his senior who had never beaten him.

A week later, he anchored Jamaica’s 4x100 team. He reached back for the baton, took 11 of his giant strides and blew a hamstring.

“I’ve proven to the world that I’m one of the greatest athletes,” said Bolt, who indeed has more money and global fame than any track athlete in history. “I don’t think this changes anything. I’ve done my part as an athlete to uplift the sport … I can’t be too disappointed. I did my best.”

Two weeks later on the other side of the world, Mayweather exited in a more dignified fashion, if only slightly.

If Bolt was courageous but imprudent, the 40-year-old “Money” Mayweather was cowardly but ingenious. In boxing you can pick your opponent, and he did with a nod toward his legacy and his nickname: shunning the sport’s top contenders for an MMA fighter who had lost three times in UFC and never boxed professionally.

“I did walk away from the sport before,” said Mayweather, who had “retired” 23 months earlier after a string of fights against less than overwhelming opposition. “Very comfortable. I didn’t have to come back … But I’m not a damn fool. If I see an opportunity to make $300 million, $350 million in 36 minutes, why not? I had to do it.”

He also, candidly, said this: “I chose the right dance partner to dance with.”

It was more farce than fight, and purists will argue that passing the legendary Marciano in such a fashion deserves an asterisk. Mayweather will laugh all the way to the bank, counting his money – he is believed to be only the third athlete to surpass $1 billion in career earnings (joining Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan) – while his sport frantically tries to replace his radiance.

Their final acts may have played differently on stage, but their departures leave similarly toxic exhaust fumes. Both were transcendent figures, and despite their best intentions they ultimately elevated themselves more than their declining sports.

Those in the know whispered that a man of Bolt’s size covering 100 meters so fast defied human mechanics, but somehow he levitated above the doping morass that blights track and field. People wanted to think he was clean, and so they did.

Losing to Gatlin, who has served two drug suspensions and has a coach that admitted under oath to doping and now wants us to believe he’s running faster clean in his mid-30s than he did a decade earlier juiced, sent an ominous message about track’s future. So did Mayweather’s performance, providing added legitimacy to boxing’s biggest threat by allowing an MMA guy to land 111 punches (22 more than Manny Pacquiao did in 12 rounds).

Who fills the void? Neither of the leading candidates, South Africa’s Wayde van Niekirk in track and Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez in boxing, have the requisite charisma or global appeal to approach their mythical status.

Maybe track and boxing eventually find someone else who does and stagger to their feet again. Or, more likely, they run out of time and plunge into the depths of sporting irrelevance.

Several Roman emperors after Augustus tried to have months named after them, too. The new names never stuck.

New Biography Of Distance Pioneer Browning Ross

Browning Ross landed in lots of places in the long course of his running and coaching career — from England and Finland to compete in Olympic Games, to Sao Paolo, Brazil, for a torch-lit New Year’s Eve race, to Ethiopia, where he had to watch his step in front of Haile Selassie’s pet lion.

But one of the most unlikely was the 300 block of Ridgeway Street in the row-homed heart of Gloucester City.

“Serendipitous,” Jack Heath said, still shaking his head in wonder that such a world-class figure would deem to coach a high school track team without a track and a high school cross-country team without uniforms.

Oh, and the Gloucester Catholic Rams of the early 1970s also didn’t have a bus for transportation, meaning runners without their own wheels had to pile into Ross’ well-traveled Buick Skylark for rides to meets and practices.

Plus, the cross-country team’s course was soon paved over to make way for the Deptford Mall.

“What luck,” Heath said. “How could a person like that end up coaching at a place like Gloucester Catholic?”

The late, great Ross was a Woodbury native, Villanova University star, two-time Olympian, Pan Am Games champion, tireless competitor, ground-breaking publisher, and indefatigable meet director whose life-long contributions to the sports of track and cross-country nearly defy measurement.

Heath, the cross-country coach at his alma mater of Gloucester Catholic, takes his best shot as author of Browning Ross: The Father of American Distance Running, a meticulously researched and richly sourced 336-page ode to his coach, friend, and inspiration.


The book is available through Amazon and barnesandnoble.com and should be in stores later this month, Heath said.

“I always used to tell Browning, ‘You should write a book about your experiences,'” Heath said. “But he was too humble and too busy.”

Heath fretted that too many of today’s runners and coaches were unaware that such an important figure in the history of distance running spent his entire life in South Jersey, save for his service in the Navy in World War II and his countless days on the road in search of another race.

“I felt his legacy was fading,” Heath said. “I felt like not enough people were really aware of his impact on running, especially around here. I thought, ‘I want to get his story out there.'”

Heath interviewed more than 50 people during a “labor of love” that took five years to complete. He had lots of help from Ross’ family, especially his daughters Bonnie and Barbara, who supplied “boxes and boxes” of scrapbooks filled with reports of their father’s feats.

“For a long time, I kind of had it hanging over my head, ‘When are you going to be done?'” Heath said. “But it was weird. In a way, I was able to get close to him again. I knew a lot, but it wasn’t until I was able to step back and see the big picture that I realized how remarkable he really was.

“When he was alive I would find out about how years ago he won some two-mile indoor race in New York and the next day won a 10-mile in Canada, and I’d ask him how he could do that and he would deflect, ‘Oh, the only thing I remember about that was that I had to hitchhike in Buffalo and it was really cold.'”

Ross grew up in Woodbury, starred at Woodbury High School and Villanova, and made the 1948 and 1952 U.S. Olympic teams as a 3,000-meter steeplechaser. He won the 1,500 meters at the 1951 Pan Am Games, finished first in the Berwick (Pa.) “Marathon” — a grueling, nine-mile race that annually drew some of the nation’s top runners — an astounding 10 times and captured enough trophies and plaques over a lengthy career to fill three attics to the rafters.

Heath agrees with “Barefoot” Charlie Robbins, an 11-time AAU national champion, who called Ross the “most versatile runner of all time.”

Ross’ contributions to the sport stretched well beyond his own achievements in competition. In a real way, Ross laid the groundwork for the running boom that began in the 1970s and continues to this day.

He published the first nationally distributed magazine on distance running, the Long Distance Log, starting in the mid-1950s. He used to write articles and reprint race results on the back of test papers and use the mimeograph machine during his time as a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden.

In the late 1950s, Ross was one of the founding fathers of the Road Runners Club of America. He also coached the United States cross-country team in the late 1960s.

But he probably affected the most people as a meet director and coach. Ross was a tireless promoter of the sport, staging “all-comers” events and organizing countless track and field meets, from Summer Sizzlers in July to Snowball Series gatherings in January.

He would set up a table and register competitors. He would lay out the course and set up the field events. He would time results. He would supply and present awards. He would meet and greet and treat everyone the same, from top-level athletes to below-average runners.

“He did everything at these meets, for years and years,” said Heath, a 1977 Gloucester Catholic graduate who ran competitively at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University. “I don’t think there’s been an all-comers meet since he stopped holding them. And he did so many of them.”

Ross agreed to become Gloucester Catholic’s track and cross-country coach in 1972. He stayed associated with the sports at the school until his death in 1998 at the age of 74.

To Heath, it was Ross’ relationship with Gloucester Catholic, a school with no facilities and little in the way of running tradition, that underscored the essence of the man — his humility, his generosity, his sense of service, his willingness to help anyone learn to appreciate the wonders of his sport.

“He was just such a nice person,” Heath said. “He was this world-class athlete and he did it all the right way.

“He treated people so well. He had a great sense of humor. He helped so many people. I just think people should remember him.”

Running Olympics Requires Precision Of Swiss Clock

As an International Olympic Committee (IOC) official responsible for coordinating all efforts related to the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi has developed an understanding of what it takes to deliver a successful Olympics.

The Olympic Games Executive Director likens it to a precise Swiss clock.

In an interview with Yonhap News Agency last Wednesday, Dubi said PyeongChang, the South Korean host of the 2018 Winter Games, will be no exception.

"Imagine that you'll have about 100,000 people that will have to deliver the Games and each one of them has a very specific role and has to know exactly, down to the second, what it takes to deliver the job," he said at Alpensia Convention Centre in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. Dubi was in town along with the IOC's Coordination Commission on PyeongChang for its ninth and final visit before next February's Winter Olympics.

"We're in that time frame where everyone will be working together to deliver something that works like a Swiss clock, down to the second," he said. "The day of the opening ceremony, at the very precise second where you go live, you are exposed to the whole world. It's the challenge that you have in every organizing committee -- to assemble this amount of resources to do one thing for one second, where you go live on screen in front of the rest of the world."

In his current position, Dubi is in charge of running, coordination and follow-up of all Olympic Games activities, from the candidature phase to the actual holding of the Olympic Games. The post was created in 2003, and Dubi succeeded the inaugural Executive Director Gilbert Felli in September 2014.

Dubi noted putting together an Olympics is "both fascinating and daunting because everyone faces the same challenge."

"It's a very precise and big operation that's exposed to the rest of the world, which is incredibly challenging and immensely rewarding," he said. "You realize what PyeongChang's organizers have to do from now until the Games. It's a lot of detailed work."

Dubi noted that unpredictable winter weather conditions can make the Winter Olympics more difficult to run than its summer cousin.

"You can't foresee (weather) and you have to be ready," he said. "That's the paradox of the Winter Games."

Overall, Dubi likes where PyeongChang is headed. The development of infrastructure in the region, such as new highways and high-speed railway, should help turn PyeongChang a new tourism destination down the road, which will be one of the legacies of the first Winter Olympics to take place in South Korea.

Dubi also said PyeongChang has successfully reworked its venue master plans, reallocating and refurbishing some facilities, in cost-saving measures. He said the key has been "finding different ways to be creative to save costs while not impacting the experience of participants."

Dubi addressed the absence of the National Hockey League (NHL) professionals in the men's hockey tournament in PyeongChang. NHL pros have competed in every Winter Olympics since 1998, but the league office has announced it will not send players to South Korea this year.

Dubi, whose father played for the Swiss national hockey team at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, said he isn't so worried about how the NHL's absence will impact PyeongChang 2018.

"We'll have a tournament of very high level, and it will be outstanding, irrespective of the absence of some players," he said. "It's disappointing that some of the players will not be able to participate. We'll nevertheless have a super tournament. Fans will see something special."

Georgia Tech's Ashlee Kidd Revisited

By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word

- It’s a little bit funny that Ashlee Kidd is less than three weeks from induction into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame given that while in high school in St. Petersburg, Fla., she had no more idea about Tech than a woman on the moon.

“I had never even heard of Georgia Tech until I got my recruiting letter,” Kidd said Sunday. “I just thought I’d go to Florida State, or Miami or the University of Florida. My Mom said it was a good school. I went on a recruiting visit, and absolutely loved it.”

Tech loves Kidd back, as she came to rank as one of the school’s all-time best student-athletes from 2003-07 -- especially measuring results vs. expectation.

A fine athlete at St. Petersburg High School, Kidd was a three-time conference, region and district champion in the 200 and 400 meters, yet there were few if any outward signs that she might be a game-changer. She ranked fifth in her state among prep tracksters in the 400 meters and ninth in the 200 meters.

Tech head coach Alan Drosky and his staff saw something, but not what the Jackets got. To suggest that he envisioned landing an 11-time ACC indoor and outdoor champion who also became a 16-time All-ACC performer and a seven-time All-American ... uh, no.

That wasn’t necessarily planned.

When Kidd was a senior, Drosky told Ramblinwreck.com that he and his coaching staff believed that she would add depth to the roster, and perhaps develop into a scorer as an upperclasswoman.

"But early in her career with us, it was apparent she would do a whole lot more than add depth,” Drosky said. “In fact, she would develop into one of our most decorated student-athletes in women's track and field history.

“Not only talented, she is an outstanding competitor and has been at her best when it counted the most.”

Kidd wasted no time getting busy.

With the help of coaches, chiefly assistants Nat Page and Andria King – a former Tech track standout who had joined the staff and went into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2013 – Kidd blossomed quickly as a freshman.

She won the ACC indoor title in the 400, ACC outdoor titles in the 200 and 400 meters, and finished second in the 400 at the NCAA East Region Championships in 51.76 seconds—considerably faster than her ACC-winning time of 53.50.

She also ran the second leg of the Tech 4x100 meter relay team that finished third in the NCAA Region meet with a school-record time of 44.00. Earlier in the season, she was on a 4x200 relay team that set a school record of 1:34.80 en route to her being selected ACC Rookie of the Year indoors and outdoors.

Majoring in business management, Kidd said from Smyrna -- where she lives while working as a scheduling analyst for Racetrac Petroleum after previously working in Human Resources with the company -- that she treasures her time on The Flats.

“When I made that [recruiting] visit, I just remember all the coaches and teammates welcoming me like I was family; I felt like I was part of the team,” she recalled. “My mom went on the visit, too, and she said, ‘if you don’t go, I’ll go.’

“I would say just spending time with my teammates was the best. In most situations, we went to the same meets, and it was just a family ... kind of like brothers and sisters with study halls and practices and everything.”

Kidd began running track when she was “about 9,” because her elementary school physical education teacher suggested to her and her parents that she ought to consider running for his AAU track team, “because,” she said, “I was beating all the boys.”

That worked out well.

She was part of Tech’s ACC championship outdoor 4x100 meter relay team her sophomore year, and as a junior she won indoor conference titles in the 200 and 400 and then outdoors on the 4x100 relay team.

Her senior year was spectacular, as she captured titles in the indoor 200 and 400 and the outdoor 4x100 relay team and 400 meters.

“I never thought I’d run the times that I did,” she said. “It was a lot of hard work, and I had a lot of coaches help me.”

After graduating in 2007, Kidd ran professionally until 2011, when a nagging Achilles tendon injury required surgery. In that time, she trained at Tech, chiefly under the tutelage of Page. For the first year of pro track, that was just about all that she did.

From 2008 onward, she balanced work with athletics before hanging up her spikes.

“I had an ongoing injury that had been bothering me for years, and I had to have surgery, wear a boot, and I just said, ‘OK; I think I’m done,” she said. “Working, training, getting treatment. It was enough.

“My [left] Achilles tendon had tears and was very painful every time I ran, but I kept running,” he said. “I had a whole bunch of scar tissue from all those tears.”

Kidd has volunteered time to work with the Tech student-athletes for several seasons, although she said her time has become especially tight with job changes, and she anticipates catching a couple meets this season. She keeps up with the Jackets, attending two or three football and basketball games a year, and she said, “I read up on them,” as well.

She can hardly wait to be back on the Flats for her Hall of Fame induction on Sept. 22, and for a halftime ceremony at the football’s Sept. 23 game against Pitt, where golfer Roberto Castro, baseball player Matt Wieters, tennis player Roger Anderson, football player Durant Brooks and basketball player will join her.

“I was excited [to get the call],” she said. “It’s such an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Wlodarczyk And Fajdek Win 2017 Iaaf Hammer Throw Challenge

For the fourth time in the history of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, Polish duo Anita Wlodarczyk and Pawel Fajdek topped the end-of-season standings.

The scoring system takes each athlete’s three best marks from the series and equates metres to points. Prize money is awarded to the top 12 finishers at the end of the challenge. The athlete with the highest score wins US $30,000.

FINAL STANDINGS

Men
1 Pawel Fajdek (POL) 248.48
2 Wojciech Nowicki (POL) 236.32
3 Dilshod Nazarov (TJK) 231.40
4 Pavel Bareisha (BLR) 230.84
5 Nick Miller (GBR) 229.56

Women
1 Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) 235.62
2 Wang Zheng (CHN) 225.77
3 Hanna Skydan (AZE) 221.75
4 Malwina Kopron (POL) 220.03
5 Sophie Hitchon (GBR) 219.97

For the third year in a row, Wlodarczyk went undefeated for the entire season. Six of her 12 victories this year came in Hammer Throw Challenge meetings and her three best winning marks – 79.72m in Ostrava, 78.00m in Sao Bernardo do Campo and 77.90m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 – contributed to her overall score.

World silver medallist Wang Zheng placed second overall in the challenge standings with 225.77 and Azerbaijan’s Hanna Skydan was third with 221.75.

Three-time world champion Fajdek broke his own record score in the men’s Hammer Throw Challenge.

His 248.48 tally comprised marks of 83.44m in Ostrava, 82.64m in Szekesfehervar and 82.40m in Turku.

Fajdek’s compatriot Wojciech Nowicki finished second in the challenge standings. The world and Olympic bronze medallist scored 236.32 to finish comfortably ahead of Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov.

IAAF

My Greatest Challenge – Trey Hardee

Trey Hardee suffered a serious elbow injury en route to the 2011 world decathlon title. The recently retired US all-rounder talks about the long, hard road to recovery and the enormous pride he felt on bouncing back to take Olympic silver in 2012.

BADLY TIMED INJURY

“My greatest challenge had to be when I tore my elbow at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and I barely had any time to make the Olympic team for London.

“The injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) happened during my third javelin throw in Daegu. At the time, I was leading the competition from Ashton Eaton and I was running faster, crossing over harder and hitting a better position (in the javelin) than I’d ever done before. In the first round, I threw a PB of 68.99m but on my third throw I heard my right elbow pop. I’d never experienced a ligament tear like that before.

“I only had one hour and 15 minutes to get ready for the 1500m and at that stage there was not a lot I could do. I took a painkiller and taped up the elbow to 90 degrees, so I ran like a robot. In the end running this way was not bad because the pain acted as a good distraction from the process of the race. I crossed the line in 4:45.68 – which was some way short of what I could have run – but I had won the gold by 102 points from Ashton.

“An MRI scan was set up on my return home, but before that I knew something was seriously wrong when I threw a hammer about five feet to a friend when we were putting together a headboard and I felt immense pain. Even more so than I’d experienced in Daegu.

“After the MRI scan revealed the damage, I sought out Dr James Andrews, a famous surgeon in my home town of Birmingham, Alabama, to carry out surgery. He himself was a former pole vaulter who has rehabbed famous NFL athletes back to top form after shoulder and elbow injuries.

“Surgery was declared a success and then it was ‘operation straighten my arm out’. From that point on I was rehabbing every single day or any spare moment. I calculated for the first three months following surgery, I had carried out 45,000 repetitions on my right side and as I’d also do everything on my left side too that was 90,000 repetitions in total.

“Training was tricky. I couldn’t lift weights, I couldn’t do push ups, I couldn’t swim or do any cross training. Six weeks after surgery I was told I could run, albeit with a heavy brace on my arm.

“I knew at the US Olympic Trials it would come down to the javelin but to give myself some wriggle room I knew I needed to be the best possible shape I could be for the other nine events. I was determined to be as fit as possible, so if it came down to the 1500m, I’d be ready. Training was not pretty. It was not like I had many flashes of brilliance and only two weeks before US Olympic Trials I threw a javelin for the first time since Daegu. It landed at 50m.

“At the US Trials, after Ashton set a world decathlon best in the long jump, I was in a fight for second (Eaton went on to set a decathlon world record 9039) and I decided to concentrate on myself and take it one event at a time. In the javelin, which I hit harder than at any point since Daegu, it went out to 57.00m. As soon as it landed, I ripped off my brace and ran around like I’d just won the lottery.

“I finished second at the trials and bearing in mind the year I’d experienced it was a really neat feeling to be on the team for London.

“I knew I’d been given a gift and a bunch of chips just by making the team and it was like I’d been given the house money, so I could just enjoy myself in London. I recall the weather was great, the fans were great and the atmosphere in the stadium was amazing because Team GB were on a roll. It was a fun place to go and compete. Every volunteer was so nice and helpful. I have nothing but great memories. It was special for me to go there and win silver.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF

New Method To Detect HGH For Anti-Doping Testing

A study led by researchers from Macquarie University has unveiled another way to detect whether a person has taken human growth hormone (GH), by tracking protein levels. Specifically, the researchers used proteomics – the study of proteins and their interactions – to see which proteins had their levels altered when a person takes recombinant human growth hormone, the artificially developed version of the hormone that can be abused by athletes as a performance enhancer.

"We were able to detect changes in the levels of a group of eight proteins found in human blood plasma when a person has taken recombinant human growth hormone. Six of these proteins have previously not been known to be affected by GH administration in human studies," said Dr Alamgir Khan from Macquarie University who oversaw the research.

"We found two proteins, ApoL1 and fetuin-A, that provide evidence of active hormone administration, while another protein called vitamin D-binding protein, could be particularly useful, due to the fact that its levels actually decreased as a result of administering the hormone and tended to stay at lower levels for a longer time. This means that anti-doping officials would have a longer period from when the athlete took the hormone to detect that something was amiss," he added.

The two current methods used by anti-doping organisations to detect the hormone performance enhancer include a test that identifies changes in the ratio of the artificially and naturally produced versions of the growth protein, and another test that detects increased levels of two molecules after taking the hormone.

"The problem with these current tests is that they need to be done shortly after someone has taken the hormone, and there is variability in the test results among individuals. Our findings identify other blood markers which could potentially supplement existing biomarker tests providing more confidence to anti-doping authorities, athletes and the public for enjoying cleaner sports," explained Dr Khan.

Recombinant human growth hormone, which works by stimulating cell growth and production, is licenced for people who have a growth hormone deficiency, but is also one of the many performance enhancing substances abused by athletes. The researchers say that their results could also herald the development of even more robust and sensitive testing methods for the detection of an array of artificial enhancers.

"The proteomics approach used in this study could also be applied in developing more rigorous testing for other performance enhancers such as designer peptides", Dr Khan concluded.

Key to the study's findings was use of the gel technology and advanced mass spectrometry techniques available at the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility (APAF) located at the Macquarie University North Ryde campus in Sydney.

"Coupled with a well-designed clinical study, the research demonstrates the effectiveness of high quality proteomic analysis in contributing towards the fight for cleaner sports," concluded APAF Director, Associate Professor Mark Molloy.

Nitro Athletics put on hold for Commonwealth Games as boss Darren Gocher lands top job at Athletics Australia

THE second edition of the popular Nitro Athletics series has been bumped from summer because of the Commonwealth Games but a scheduling dilemma has become an issue.

THE second edition of the popular Nitro Athletics series has been bumped from summer and won’t happen until after April’s Commonwealth Games.

New Athletics Australia chief executive Darren Gocher confirmed a compact schedule for broadcast partner Channel Seven and the focus of athletes on the Gold Coast Games meant the revolutionary event would be held over.

The inaugural Nitro, which Gocher ran as the event’s CEO, was a stunning success in February this year thanks mainly to the presence of Usain Bolt.

While Bolt retired at last month’s London world championships, the world’s fastest man is confirmed as returning to lead his All-Stars team in Nitro.

“We are committed to it and Usain is committed,” Gocher said.

“Obviously with the Commonwealth Games, the Winter Olympics and other things, the window that we had last year is tough.

“We need to make sure we have got the right window for the athletes and the broadcasters.

“I think with the Commonwealth Games it makes it hard for the athletes to find that window.

“My guess is it will be after the Comm Games.”

The scheduling dilemma for Channel Seven is a major issue given they will be going from the Australian Open tennis in January to the second season of AFLW, to February’s Winter Olympics and then onto the Commonwealth Games.

Gocher confirmed AA were still in discussions with the IAAF about a partnership which would see the Nitro concept on the world stage.

His appointment to the top athletics job is one of a number of changes happening throughout the organisation.

Sydney-based Gocher, a former rugby league referee, had been acting as the commercial director for AA.

He had previously worked at News Corp, Yahoo, Penn Health and KPMG while he was also a touch judge in the NRL officiating in State of Origin games and Test matches.

GOCHER LANDS TOP AA ROLE

THE man who ran the successful Nitro series has been handed the top job in Australian athletics.

Darren Gocher, a former rugby league referee, has been named chief executive of Athletics Australia.

He begins in the role immediately given he’s been acting as the commercial director for AA while the organisation goes through significant changes.

Gocher was CEO of Nitro Athletics, the revolutionary series which was a stunning success in February this year thanks the to presence of Usain Bolt.

AA president Mark Arbib said Gocher “lives and breaths athletics” and had a deep understanding of the sport.

“Darren did an outstanding job with Nitro Athletics, delivering an event that exceeded the expectations of the sporting world,” Arbib said.

“Darren has the commercial and administrative skills to keep athletics growing strongly.”

Gocher has previously worked at News Corp, Yahoo, Penn Health and KPMG while he was also a touch judge in the NRL officiating in State of Origin games and Test matches.

Bolt Will Get 2 Statues In Jamaica, Not 1

 

Bolt to get two statues, not one, reveals Minister Grange

Jamaica's living legend Usain Bolt will be honoured with two statues and not one as previously announced.

The Minister of Sports Olivia Grange made the announcement recently at the launch of the JN Foundation “Heroes in Action” Fun Run/Walk.

The third staging of the run/walk, of which the Usain Bolt Foundation is a major part, will take place during Heroes' weekend. The Usain Bolt statue, which is one of the legacy projects for Jamaica 55, will be also be unveiled that very weekend.

Grange explained why it is that the first Usain Bolt statue will be unveiled during Heroes' weekend.

“Traditionally, when we celebrate the athletes' achievements, over the last few years, we usually plan the event for Heritage Week, and in consultation with Usain Bolt's management we came to the understanding that he will be available for that weekend. There is the JN Run on the Sunday so we have decided that we will be doing the unveiling on the Friday at Statue Park at the National Stadium.”

She also made it known that a second statue will be erected in honour of the great man, hinting that it could be in the parish of his birth, Trelawny.

“There are plans to do another statue, a replica of the one that will be in Statue Park, that will be mounted in another location in western Jamaica. I will announce the location at a later date.”

Other plans for the development of sports in the parish of Trelawny were also revealed.

“We have reached design stage for the development of the Trelwany multi-purpose stadium, we have worked out a marketing plan and we are meeting with the Planning Institute of Jamaica very soon to fine-tune certain aspects of the development. It will be at the centre of sports tourism. We will include in that development a running track and an indoor arena and, of course, a cricket academy.

“It's a major, major development, and it will be at the centre of sports tourism,” she reiterated.

Activity at the stadium is expected to begin soon as Sri Lanka has already requested use of the facility.

“The Sri Lanka cricket team will be coming in to do their practice matches very soon and we have other events that we will be announcing for that facility. Over a five-year period, the Trelawny Stadium will become the centre of sports tourism in Jamaica,” Minister Grange explained.

Grange also took time out to commend the West Indies cricket team on the recent victory over England in the second Test match at Headingley and encouraged the team to continue to demonstrate the fighting spirit that gained them victory.

“I am very, very happy to see that they have demonstrated that fighting spirit, and I want them to continue to demonstrate that spirit going forward so that we can again be very, very proud of West Indies cricket team.”

The win saw the West Indies level the three-match Test Series with the final Test to be played at Lord's starting this Thursday.

— Dwayne Richards

The Greatest Runner You've Never Heard Of

Thanks to Zack Snyder’s 2007 fantasy historical film, 300, the Battle of Thermopylae has become one of the most famous battles in history, while the name Leonidas is now synonymous with the legendary Spartan king who led his 300 men against hundreds of thousands of Persians. What if we told you that the most celebrated Olympian of antiquity was also a Leonidas? And that way before Michael Phelps became the most decorated gold medalist in Olympic history, there was Leonidas of Rhodes?

The Greatest Runner of all Time

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Michael Phelps broke an Olympic record that had lasted an unbelievable 2,168 years. As the media reported a year ago, Phelps surpassed the 12 individual Olympic titles won by Leonidas of Rhodes, bringing up his individual titles to 13. But who was Leonidas?

Historical testimonies refer to him as the athlete who ran with a diabolic speed. Other sources describe him as the greatest runner to ever live. What we know for a fact, however, is that Leonidas of Rhodes was the most decorated ancient Olympian and the most famous runner of antiquity, whose unique achievement in track and field seems unbreakable even by today's standards.

More specifically, Leonidas of Rhodes won 12 titles in athletics in the 164, 160, 156, and 152 BC Olympic Games by the age of 36. In each of these four Games, he won three different foot races. The three events were the stadion, a sprint of about 200 meters (656.17 ft.), the diaulos, which was twice the distance of the stadion, and the longer hoplitodromos, a 400-meter (1312.34 ft.) dash carrying 22.68kg (50 lbs) of military gear - made up of a helmet, a breastplate, shin armor, and a shield made of wood and bronze.

Leonidas became the first athlete in history to break through the distinction between sprinters and endurance athletes, as the race in armor had not previously been considered suitable for sprinters. “They were running in armor, the temperature would be 40 Celsius. The conditions were fantastically unpleasant, requiring completely different muscles and gymnastic skills,” Paul Cartledge, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge stated last year when Leonidas of Rhodes grabbed the headlines through Michael Phelps.

Furthermore, in ancient Greece, an athlete who won three events at a single Olympiad was known as a triastes, or tripler. Leonidas was the only one of the seven known triastes to have achieved the honor more than once.

So, after taking into account all circumstances, Phelps may have broken the legendary Greek athlete’s record, but let’s keep in mind that the American Olympian had the luxury of taking part in five individual events in order to break the record, while Leonidas only had three. As for a track and field elite athlete of our times: Usain Bolt has only won six gold medals in individual events, exactly half of Leonidas’ victories.

Modern vs Ancient Athletes

Modern people tend to arrogantly believe that we’ve made gigantic scientific and technological progress throughout the last few centuries, but that’s not always the case. Several studies have shown that our ancestors from various times in the past were smarter, more practical, and tougher than we are. For example, many contemporary researchers and historians propose that an unarmed battle between modern soldiers and the Spartans would most likely result in a bloody bath for today's fighters.

Similarly, when it comes to athletics and sporting competitions, we also often consider 21st century’s athletes to be faster, stronger, and have more endurance than those from antiquity, even though we selectively choose to forget all the things – such as performance-enhancing drugs, advanced equipment, medical advances, and specialized nutrition – that modern athletes have to aid them in becoming ‘the best’. However, even under these circumstances, it seems as though certain historical athletes would have demolished the most elite sportsmen we have today.

A great example would be Javelin. Even though not much is known about ancient javelin-throwing, several researchers have estimated that most elite throwers in ancient Greece averaged throws of about 92 meters (301.84 ft). Of course, some argue that javelins were probably lighter back then, however this is only a theory.

It would also be very critical to point out that javelin throwers, like all athletes of the time, competed without special equipment, were barefoot, and were given only a few steps to throw, instead of the pretty long run-up that is available for modern javelin throwers.

More importantly, javelin-throwing was part of the pentathlon contest and followed the sprint. In other words, athletes didn’t give their best effort at the throw so as to preserve energy for the three events that followed (the discus throw, the long jump, and wrestling), plus they had already participated in a track race before they even started. Still, they averaged a throw of about 92 meters, while the current world record held by Jan Železný is 98.48 meters (323.10 ft). All you need to do is take into account all the factors and you can easily conclude - just like most modern experts - that if ancient javelin throwers solely focused on the javelin event, they could have easily broken the 100-meter (328.08 ft) barrier even without modern equipment and performance-enhancing drugs.

Ultimately, let’s not forget that not just Leonidas of Rhodes, but every ancient Olympic athlete, had to run (or compete) in all these events one after the other on the same day - there were no 24-hour breaks in between the events as happens today. Supremely, Leonidas never received a gold medal or any true hardware for his accomplishments. In ancient times, Olympic champions were presented with a laurel of olive wreath and Leonidas of Rhodes grabbed 12 of those during his stellar and humble career.

Indoor track event coming to LakePoint in February

Indoor track returns to Georgia this winter as the LakePoint Sports Champions Center at Emerson hosts a four-day meet Feb. 8-11. LakePoint is partnering with the Dunamis Sports Group and the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation to resurrect indoor track in the Peach State.

“We’re trying to expand and grow indoor track and field,” said John Ross, a principal with the Dunamis Sports Group. An open professional and collegiate event will be held the first two days, followed by a high school and youth open event.

Ross designed the portable track, which cost $1.2 million and was used for the first time in February of this year at an event in Dallas, Texas.

“It’s a 200-meter track which features a 10-degree grade of banking, the maximum allowed by the International Association of Athletics Federations,” Ross said. “Even though it was designed specifically for sprinters we know that elite milers, elite distance runners will find it useful as well.”

Steve McBride, former track coach at the University of Texas-Corpus Christi, said the track features springy surface like a lot of new outdoor tracks including Barron Stadium.

McBride said straight-away sprints will be done in the infield portion of the track. All of the jumping events, pole vault, high jump and triple jump will also be staged in the infield.

The LakePoint Champions Center is a 175,000-square-foot indoor arena capable of hosting a multitude of events including as many as a dozen full-court basketball games at the same time.

Date shift for Nitro Athletics

The second edition of the Nitro Athletics series is set to be pushed back until after the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

With Usain Bolt playing a starring role, the inaugural outing of Nitro Athletics at Melbourne's Lakeside Stadium in February was a resounding success.

But Nitro Athletics chief executive Darren Gocher - who was announced as Athletics Australia's new CEO on Thursday - said a shift for the teams-based event was on the cards.

Australia's leading track and field stars will be fine-tuning their preparation for the April 4-15 Commonwealth Games in February and March.

Broadcast partner the Seven Network also has a crowded sporting calendar at that time, including the the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in February and the Commonwealth Games, in addition to the AFL and AFLW seasons.

"February is tough with the Commonwealth Games on the horizon so we're currently looking at what the best window is for Nitro," said Gocher.

Bolt is a stakeholder in Nitro and Gocher said he remained committed to the series.

The Jamaican sprint superstar made his global championships swansong at the world titles in London in August.

Gocher replaces Phil Jones, who stepped aside as AA chief executive earlier this year and now holds the CEO's post at Australian Canoeing.

"With Nitro we really revolutionised the sport to an extent," said Gocher.

"Being able to think about athletics differently was definitely a help (in getting the job as AA chief executive).

"From an athletics point of view there are a number of other things the board wants to do to take the sport forward."

AA's chief operating officer Michael Hall was the interim CEO while the board searched for Jones' fulltime replacement.

Ex-National Coach Slams Current British Athletes

Former UK athletics supremo Frank Dick was Daley Thompson's coach
He was British athletics team boss for 15 years during Seb Coe glory days
Frank Dick has blasted current crop of UK athletes in uncompromising interview
He says they need to toughen up as they are too comfortable with losing

Frank Dick was Britain's athletics team boss for 15 years during the era of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett and coach to Daley Thompson and Denise Lewis. Here he tells new British Athletics chairman Richard Bowker our athletes need toughening up.

We have a new head of British Athletics settling into his job and I hope he is a tough, determined guy.

Richard Bowker needs to be because there are some hard words needed. Ed Warner was in charge for 10 years and he bowed out with six medals at the World Championships.

We hit our target. But was it a success? Certainly, London 2017 was a success in terms of organisation and the public flocked to the old Olympic Stadium.

But the medal count was dire until the last couple of days. Mo Farah and the relay teams saved British Athletics from serious questions and Bowker needs to do better.

His first test will be the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham next March. There will be huge TV, media and public interest. Are we up to it? I have my doubts. Our target must be to be the world's best. We are too comfortable being 'almost'. And we are not learning fast enough. We don't have the ability to turn winning potential into winning performances.

Athletes can only be world best if all who influence their performances are world best at doing so. The athletics culture in Britain is soft. We don't have the hardness and commitment to win. Warner has stepped down claiming he has left the sport in great shape, but there are those who disagree.

We have the highest high performance budget in the world. British Athletics has received £27.1million in UK funding to cover the four-year cycle from the Rio Olympics to the Tokyo 2020 Games. If our purpose is not to be the No1, then why do we compete in the Olympics and World Championships?

Is six medals out of 144 on offer in London this summer — and not the ones we aimed for — a success? If we do not have a culture of constructive honesty and accountability fly out the window.

Lessons that must be learned are ducked and nothing changes. Worlds and Olympics are only for the best, the real fighters who will put everything on the line.

Twenty-five of our athletes made the top eight in their events, putting GB third in the points table at the World Championships. We identify with the hurt of the athlete who goes so close.

But are we doing them a favour in this? If losing doesn't hurt, winning doesn't matter. It is me trying to redirect attitude, thinking, behaviour and, as a consequence, performance.

Let's see how close we are to being No1 in the world in Birmingham in March. Alternatively, let's continue to be happy being also-rans.

Stahl Leads Sweden's Record Win In Finland Dual

World discus silver medallist Daniel Stahl produced the headline performance at this year’s Finnkampen, the annual Sweden-vs-Finland match, as hosts Sweden retained their men’s and women’s team titles at the conclusion of the two-day contest in Gothenburg on Sunday (3).

First held in 1925, the Finnkampen is the only two-nation annual competition still held at the professional level. Finland’s and Sweden’s best athletes often turn out to give their teams the best chance of victory in the long-running friendly rivalry between the two nations.

Sweden ultimately dominated both senior team competitions, winning the men’s contest with 216 points to Finland’s 188, and the women’s contest with 232.5 points to Finland’s 177.5. Both were landmark victories: it was the first time Sweden’s men’s team had won for six consecutive years, while their women’s team achieved a record score and winning margin.

The hosts achieved perfect 1-2-3 finishes in five events, one of which was the men’s discus. In the opening round, Stahl sent his disc flying out to 67.37m to add more than a metre to the competition record. Set in 1973, Ricky Bruch’s 66.16m was one of the oldest competition records at Finnkampen; just two disciplines – the men’s 800m and 5000m – have older marks.

Stahl, who earlier this year broke Bruch’s national record with a world-leading 71.29m, had just two other valid throws in his series, 61.68m and 62.44m, but he had done more than enough to win at Finnkampen for the fourth consecutive year.

While the men’s discus was one of the last events to finish, the weekend had started in similar record-breaking fashion.

In the first event of the competition, Perseus Karlstrom got proceedings underway by breaking the Swedish record in the 10,000m race walk. In what effectively became a solo exhibition, the 27-year-old went on to clock 38:57.45, the second-fastest time in the world this year, to win by almost two minutes.

His 60-year-old mother Siw Karlstrom, the 1986 European 10km race walk bronze medallist, competed in the women’s 5000m race walk and finished fifth in a race won by Finland’s Elisa Neuvonen.

A third competition record was set in the women’s hammer. Having led from the first round, Swedish record-holder Ida Storm set a competition record of 71.09m in round four and then extended it in the next round to 71.26m, the second-best throw of her career.

Fourteen years after making his Finnkampen debut, and 12 years since his first victory, Finland’s 2007 world champion Tero Pitkamaki won the javelin for the eighth time.

The 34-year-old, Finland’s top performer at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, didn’t have it all his own way, though. He trailed Sweden’s Jiannis Smalios for the first half of the competition and only took a slight lead in round four with 78.26m. He eventually landed his spear beyond the 80-metre line, throwing 80.28m in round five.

One day after clocking a 1500m PB at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, Sweden’s 2014 European 5000m champion Meraf Bahta was back in action at Finnkampen and pulled off an unlikely double.

She won the 800m on Saturday in a PB of 2:04.41 before returning to the track 24 hours later to win the 10,000m in 33:00.28.

Sprinter Elin Ostlund also made a significant contribution to Sweden’s points tally. Battling strong headwinds, the 26-year-old won the 100m in 11.93 (-1.8m/s), the 200m in 23.74 (-1.3m/s) and anchored her team to victory in the 4x100m in 44.63.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF

VIDEO: Women's 4x100m Relay - Monaco Diamond League 2017

 

VIDEO: Usain Bolt wins his last 100m Diamond League Race - Monaco 2017

 

VIDEO: Andre De Grasse beats Justin Gatlin at IAAF World Relays 2017

 

That Moment When… Skydan Found The Perfect Coach

Hanna Skydan improved her own Azerbaijani hammer record to 75.29m earlier this year. Here the European bronze medallist talks about the crucial role her coach Artem Rubanko has played in her career development.

“Artem Rubanko was a top international thrower for Ukraine. He represented his country at three Olympic Games and had a lifetime best of 80.44m. At first he did not want to coach me because he saw it as a big responsibility. Back then he was still competing himself but he saw big potential in me and decided to be my coach in 2011. At that point few people believed that I had a future in the hammer, but I will always value the faith Artem showed in me because he always insisted I could excel in hammer.

“When Artem started coaching me, for the first time I understood what professional sport was all about. I was very excited by the many new exercises he gave me as part of my new regime. It was very hard but also very interesting to have such a good diversity as part of training.

“Over time he has made me stronger and improved my technique. But he is far more than a coach. He is also my psychologist and rehabilitation specialist. He has been like a second father to me. He aided my development as an athlete through quality training and with his hard work and support anything is possible.

“We have long had a good understanding. He can explain to me what I need to do simply with his hand gestures and he provides the inspiration for my great performances like at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku in May when I achieved a national record of 75.29m.

“Today I train with Artem in a small group and try to listen and learn from the wisdom of coaches in terms of both the technical side and strength work. He has given me some great pieces of advice over the years but probably the best has been: if the results do not come immediately, don’t give up. To gain the right results can take time and through patience I can achieve my goals.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF

World Champ Yang Confirms Her 20W Consistency

World champion Yang Jiayu proved her victory in London three weeks ago was not just a flash in the pan, as she withstood challenges from Qieyang Shijie in the last kilometre to win the 20km race walk at the Chinese National Games in Tianjin on Sunday (3).

The 21-year-old clocked 1:28:29 to win the gold medal, four seconds ahead of Qieyang, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist. Li Leilei from Tianjin clocked 1:34:37 to grab the bronze medal in front of a jubilant local crowd.

“Winning at the World Championships was a big boost of confidence for me and these two titles will encourage me to train even harder in the future,” said Yang, who trimmed 17 seconds off her personal best to claim the world title in London in 1:26:18.

“But once I stepped off the podium, it was a brand new start for me,” she added. “My next goals will be the 2019 World Championships as well as the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

In spite of the absence of world record-holder and Olympic champion Liu Hong, who is currently pregnant, the women’s 20km race walk was still a high-quality race. A fast lead group, including Yang, Qieyang, 2015 world silver medallist Lyu Xiuzhi, and Wang Na, who finished eighth at the World Championships last month, paced the race in the early stages.

Wang was disqualified before halfway. Defending champion Lyu, who was disqualified last month in London in the home straight with a chance of podium finish at her fingertips, was once again sent out by the referee with five kilometres to go. Yang and Qieyang then led side by side until the last kilometre before the in-from Yang pulled away in style for the win.

In the men’s 20km race walk, world leader Wang Kaihua clocked 1:20:52 to take the victory.

“I just want to prove myself with this gold medal,” said the seventh-place finisher from the World Championships in London, who was in flying form earlier this year and set a PB of 1:17:54 in March to sit on top of the 2017 world list.

“Four years ago I missed the National Games due to injuries,” said the 23-year-old. “This time I have given it all out.”

Bian Tongda finished second in 1:21:01 and the bronze medal went to Chen Rui who hit home with a 1:21:59 clocking.

Chen Ding, the 2012 Olympic champion, settled for fifth place in a season’s best of 1:23:02, while Olympic silver medallist Cai Zelin was disqualified after 18 kilometres. Olympic champion Wang Zhen chose to skip the competition.

Xie stuns Su, while Guo breaks national 400m record

In the heavily hyped men’s 100m, national record-holder and two-time World Championships finalist Su Bingtian was stunned by 2010 youth Olympic champion Xie Zhenye, who cut 0.04 off his PB to win in 10.04.

In the process, Xie moved up to third on the Chinese all-time list for 100m. Su trailed 0.06 behind to finish second. Xu Haiyang finished third in 10.28.

In the men’s 400m, 21-year-old Guo Zhongze took more than half a second off his PB to win in a national record of 45.14, breaking the long-standing mark of 45.25 set by Xu Zizhou back in 2001.

Lu Zhiquan finished second in 46.08 while Wu Yuang took the bronze in 46.27.

Having finished second and third respectively at the World Championships, world silver medallist Li Lingwei once again beat Lyu Huihui in the women’s javelin.

Thanks to her second-round effort of 64.07m, Li celebrated the gold medal with tears of joy while Lyu took the silver with 62.70m. Zhang Li took the bronze at 61.32m.

World indoor champion Dong Bin shrugged off the muscle injury in his left leg which forced him to withdraw from the World Championships in London to win a close men’s triple jump final that saw the top three finishers separated by just one centimetre.

Zhu Yaming, whose previous PB was 17.17m, and Dong both jumped 17.23m. Zhu’s second-best jump of 17.08m was seven centimetres shy of that of Dong and so had to settle for the silver medal. Defending champion Cao Shuo finished third with 17.22m.

The women’s pole vault on Saturday also witnessed a tight competition with the podium finishers all clearing 4.40m. Xu Huiqin grabbed the gold medal after count-back. Asian record holder Li Ling finished second followed by Ren Mengqian who needed three attempts to clear 4.30m.

The athletics competitions of the National Games started on Saturday (2) and will conclude next Thursday (7) with a total of 44 gold medals on offer. The men’s and women’s marathons were held in April, long before the opening of the quadrennial multi-sport tournament last Sunday.

Vincent Wu for the IAAF

GB vs USA match returns for 2018

‘The Meet’ is to be held at the London Stadium in July

Next summer will see a GB vs USA match return to the calendar when the two nations clash in a fixture called ‘The Meet’ at the London Stadium.

The event was described in a news release as “innovative and new” but the head-to-head has taken place a number of times over the years, albeit not in an arena as grand as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Birmingham hosted a GB vs USA match in June 1985 which was televised and saw Seb Coe beat Steve Cram over 800m, while Steve Ovett out-kicked Dave Lewis in the 3000m.

But the only other win that day for the home team was in the men’s 4x400m as the United States ran out comfortable match winners despite fielding a team that included only one reigning US champion and just a single Olympic medallist.

A GB vs USA match also took place at the turn of the millennium in Glasgow. When the two nations faced each other in June 2000, for example, winners included Jason Gardener, who beat a field that included Maurice Greene and Darren Campbell in the 100m, plus Colin Jackson in the sprint hurdles, Steve Backley in the javelin and Katharine Merry in the 400m.

Next year’s event will be a two-hour match on Saturday July 21 and British Athletics say it will “feature a new, fast-paced format designed to appeal to new audiences”.

UKA CEO Niels de Vos said: “The Meet will provide audiences with a fantastic head-to-head match between British Athletics and USA Track & Field, and promises to be one of the biggest events in athletics in 2018.”

British sprinter Adam Gemili added: “This is the head-to- head in world athletics. We have a great sporting rivalry with the USA team and we look forward to seeing which nation comes out strongest at ‘The Meet’ next summer. The event is all about power, speed and excitement. I can’t wait.”

Maybe The Meet will inspire a return to similar head-to-heads. Older athletics followers who remember the great international clashes in the 1950s and 1960s have been crying out for years for a return to these fixtures, while some point to the success of the Finnkampen event between Finland and Sweden, which has pulled in big crowds since 1925.

Philip excited to compete in Birmingham next year

Having won silver in London last month, Asha Philip is relishing the opportunity to compete on home soil once more when Birmingham welcomes the World Indoor Championships next year.

Philip formed part of Great Britain's silver medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the World Championships in London in August, and reached the semi-finals of the individual 100m.

Earlier this year, she broke the British 60m record to win European gold in Belgrade to cap a superb indoor season, as well as becoming British champion over 60m and 100m.

And when Birmingham hosts the World Indoors next March, the 26-year-old is feeling confident that more success can come her way.

"I love doing the 60m and the fact that it's another home championships, I don't really want to miss out on that," Philip said.

"If all goes well I will be competing. I know it's two spots this time as opposed to three in the Europeans but I have a good chance.

"Now being the national record holder and winning the Europeans, hopefully I'll be a massive contender."

One of Philip's biggest incentives to reach Birmingham is to have the opportunity to race in front of a British crowd again.

And having experienced that first hand in London last month, she is confident Britain can put on a show once more.

"I really am looking forward to that championships because a home crowd is insane," she said.

"Birmingham has a fantastic track, the warm-up area is brilliant. I hope everyone does buy their tickets and comes out to support because it will be a spectacular event.

"Brits know how to put on an event and all the other countries know that the Brits know how to do it well. They love their sport so we really hope that everyone will turn out and watch."

Can Jamaica Build A Tourism Package Around Bolt?

Western Bureau:

The 2017 IAAF World Championships in London is now history, but I am not one of those Jamaicans who want to declare it a bad experience and move on. I believe it has taught us so many important lessons about ourselves as a people.

While it is true that the championship was a major disappointment in the way of medals garnered, I cannot understand the cruel backlash against the athletes.

After more than a decade of being spoiled by our overachieving athletes, I can understand being stunned by winning just one gold medal when we had so many class athletes on show. However, I don't believe that gave anyone a licence to bad-mouth athletes or say that they "embarrassed".

It is not only ungrateful, but disrespectful to accuse the athletes of not giving their best. As for the dissing of the legendary Usain Bolt, whom I heard being described as a "sell-out," it must be a sign of lunacy for anyone to conjure up such nonsense and have the gall to say it publicly.

I hardly see a need to make excuses for the athletes, but I also don't believe the climatic conditions in England suited our athletes, who are accustomed to being warm. I believe the conditions were tailor-made for the athletes from Europe and the United States, who are used to those conditions.

Although I can excuse some of the loose remarks from disgruntled fans, I am extremely saddened by the fact that this time around we did not have the customary welcome-home ceremony for the athletes. Surely, it can't be that we only appreciate the athletes when they do well.

I was overcome with pride when I saw how the fans in England treated Bolt after his third-place finish in the 100m. It was as if he had won the race. I was hoping that we would have taken a page out of those spectators' books and given him a 'royal' reception.

Having had the opportunity to travel outside of Jamaica and experience the global impact that Bolt has made, I have no doubt that he is our most revered son internationally, eclipsing even the iconic Bob Marley.

While the Government plans to unveil a statue in his honour in Kingston on National Heroes Day, I am still waiting to hear what will be done to immortalise him in his home parish, Trelawny. I believe the Trelawny Municipal Corporation and the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce need to come together and start the process.

TOURISM PACKAGE

I believe a tourism package should be created around Bolt so that in addition to honouring him and having him serve as an inspirational figure and role model, we could also benefit from his global appeal in terms of marketing and merchandising.

It is against that background that I am again recommending the following: the naming of the road from Duncans to Martha Brae as the Usain Bolt Highway; the renaming of the Trelawny Stadium, the Usain Bolt Stadium of Excellence, the renaming of the William Knibb High School the Usain Bolt High School; the erection of a Usain Bolt statue in Falmouth; and finally, the creation of a Usain Bolt Museum in Sherwood Content.

I believe a Usain Bolt tour, encompassing all recommendations I have made, would be a suitable attraction for visitors to the island. Can you imagine the economic benefit that could be generated from visits to the various sites and novel items, such as Usain Bolt Roast Yam and Usain Bolt Jelly Water. I believe the stakeholders in Trelawny are sitting on a gold mine.

Pearson Happy To Fly Solo On Path To Tokyo Games

Perhaps the best guide to Sally Pearson's success as her own coach, aside from the small matter of a second 100-metres hurdles world championship crown, is the number of offers that have flooded in since her success in London.

That would be none. Zero. Zilch. "At this stage, no plans [to go get a coach]. And I haven't had any offers," Pearson said.

"At the end of the day, I've done everything you can possibly do in the sport. What other person would know better than I would? It's a matter of programming yourself."

Pearson's victory in London capped a staggering comeback from the kind of injuries that had her questioning whether she could compete again, let alone rise to the top of the world once more.

She decided to become her own master when she missed the Rio Olympic Games through a hamstring injury and hasn't looked back since, although she admits she's still learning one half of the trade.

The lead-up to next year's Commonwealth Games will differ from that of the London championships as she adds layers to her training which her recuperating body couldn't previously tolerate.

"There were some parts of the preparation I couldn't put in because the body wouldn't allow it. As a coach, I know I can do more and expand my training and improve more," Pearson said.

"It's kind of hard ... it's confusing to speak about it sometimes ... but I know what more I can do with my program, as an athlete and as a coach."

"That's what excites me. My body was so broken when I started last August and there were so many things I had to miss out on because I couldn't handle it."

Pearson likened her lead-up to London as a jigsaw that had all the pieces, yet the final picture just didn't look right. Everything appeared in place but the results weren't forthcoming.

"The speed was good, the technique was good, so why wasn't it coming out in my competitions? I knew from the very start, when I started training, that it was going to take to that very last day.

"But I needed to see some signs that it was going to happen. The first sign was at the London Diamond League where I got second and ran 12.48 [seconds]. But even then I had two more races and they weren't up to standard.

"And that's what frustrated me. I know how I compete. I love racing the other girls. It just wasn't coming together."

The Commonwealth Games rate highly on the agenda for Pearson but the inevitable questions surround whether she can be a factor at the Tokyo Games in 2020, where she will be aged 33.

Pearson has little doubt she can win again. But she won't be rushing into any decisions as she plots her path over the next three years.

Frustrating finish for Nel in Brussels

Mark Etheridge

Cape Town - The global track and field season came to an end in frustrating fashion for South Africa’s Wenda Nel in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday night.

According to the SASCOC website, Nel was the sole SA competitor in the final leg of the IAAF Diamond League series after a long and gruelling season.

Going off in the 400m hurdles, Nel trailed in eighth and last with a time of 56.30, as Olympic champion Daliliah Muhammad of America won in 53.89 from Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hejnova (53.93).

It’s a long way off the 54.58 season’s best she ran in Rome almost three months ago, but the Pretoria athlete took defeat squarely on the chin and is looking forward to setting things right in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia, next year.

Speaking to Team SA, Nel says in hindsight she should have called time on her season after the recent World Championships in London.

‘But then I would never have known how I could have run in Belgium. So now I have to weigh up a few things, have a look at the training programme and work out how we’re going to tackle next season.

‘Again, I felt good in the warm-up and the race. Then, on the second last hurdle I made a small mistake, doubted myself and had to put in an extra stride which cost me a bit of time.

‘It didn’t cost me that much time, but otherwise I might have been able to dip under 56. I haven’t run a 56 second time for a while now and it doesn’t feel good.

‘I’m heading home now and focus will switch to the Commonwealth Games. I’m thinking it will fit nicely into our planning. Once again, South Africans have long seasons compared to the rest of the world and it’s not easy to plan.

‘But I’m really looking forward to the Games. Must just get my head right, keep the physique strong and hopefully it’ll be my time to peak, because I do like racing in April.’

Next Diamond League action will be on May 4 next year in Doha, Qatar.

Finals results from the season-ending Diamond League meet in Brussels on Friday:

Men

200m

1. Noah Lyles (USA) 20.00sec

2. Ameer Webb (USA) 20.01

3. Ramil Quliyev (AZE) 20.02

4. Aaron Brown (CAN) 20.17

5. Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) 20.21

6. Zharnel Hughes (AGU) 20.27

7. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (GBR) 20.33

8. Rasheed Dwyer (JAM) 20.67

800m

1. Nijel Amos (BOT) 1:44.53

2. Marcin Lewandowski (POL) 1:44.77

3. Adam Kszczot (POL) 1:44.84

4. Kipyegon Bett (KEN) 1:45.21

5. Ferguson Rotich Cheruiyot (KEN) 1:45.25

6. Alfred Kipketer (KEN) 1:46.27

7. Elliot Giles (GBR) 1:47.03

8. Asbel Kiprop (KEN) 1:49.85

110m hurdles

1. Sergey Shubenkov (ANA - neutral) 13.14

2. Orlando Ortega (CUB) 13.17

3. Aries Merritt (USA) 13.20

4. Devon Allen (USA) 13.24

5. Ronald Levy (JAM) 13.41

6. Garfield Darien (FRA) 13.42

7. Milan Trajkovic (CYP) 13.47

8. Shane Brathwaite (BAR) 13.49

3 000m steeplechase

1. Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) 8:04.73

2. Soufiane Elbakkali (MAR) 8:04.83

3. Evan Jager (USA) 8:11.71

4. Stanley Kipkoech Kebenei (USA) 8:11.93

5. Nicholas Kiptonui Bett (KEN) 8:12.20

6. Benjamin Kigen (KEN) 8:13.06

7. Amos Kirui (KEN) 8:18.32

8. Yemane Haileselassie (ERI) 8:19.19

Triple jump

1. Christian Taylor (USA) 17.49m

2. Will Claye (USA) 17.35

3. Pedro Pichardo (CUB) 17.32

4. Troy Doris (USA) 16.64

5. Alexis Copello (CUB) 16.55

6. Chris Benard (USA) 16.37

7. Jean-Marc Pontvianne (FRA) 16.36

8. Omar Craddock (USA) 15.89

Discus

1. Andrius Gudzius (LTU) 68.16 m

2. Fedrick Dacres (JAM) 66.31

3. Piotr Malachowski (POL) 65.73

4. Philip Milanov (BEL) 64.76

5. Christoph Harting (GER) 64.55

6. Robert Urbanek (POL) 64.20

7. Daniel Stahl (SWE) 64.18

8. Robert Harting (GER) 63.96

Women

100m

1. Elaine Thompson (JAM) 10.92

2. Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) 10.93

3. Blessing Okagbare (NGR) 11.07

4. Michelle-Lee Ahye (TRI) 11.07

5. Tianna Bartoletta (USA) 11.14

6. Morolake Akinosun (USA) 11.15

7. Jura Levy (JAM) 11.17

8. Christania Williams (JAM) 11.35

400m

1. Shaunae Miller (BAH) 49.46

2. Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 49.88

3. Courtney Okolo (USA) 50.91

4. Natasha Hastings (USA) 50.98

5. Shericka Jackson (JAM) 51.16

6. Novlene Williams-Mills (JAM) 51.27

7. Stephenie Ann McPherson (JAM) 51.72

8. Lydia Jele (BOT) 53.11

1 500m

1. Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (KEN) 3:57.04

2. Sifan Hassan (NED) 3:57.22

3. Winny Chebet (KEN) 4:00.18

4. Gudaf Tsegay (ETH) 4:00.36

5. Merat Bahta Ogbagaber (ERI) 4:00.49

6. Jennifer Simpson (USA) 4:00.70

7. Laura Weightman (GBR) 4:00.71

8. Angelika Cichocka (POL) 4:02.77

5 000m

1. Hellen Onsando Obiri (KEN) 14:25.88

2. Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (KEN) 14:27.55

3. Senbere Teferi (ETH) 14:32.03

4. Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (KEN) 14:32.82

5. Beatrice Chepkoech Sitonik (KEN) 14:39.33

6. Lilian Kasait Rengruk (KEN) 14:41.61

7. Letesenbet Gidey (ETH) 14:42.74

8. Eilish McColgan (GBR) 14:48.49

400m hurdles

1. Dalilah Muhammad (USA) 53.89

2. Zuzana Hejnová (CZE) 53.93

3. Ashley Spencer (USA) 54.92

4. Eilidh Child (GBR) 55.04

5. Sara Petersen (DEN) 55.54

6. Janieve Russell (JAM) 55.60

7. Léa Sprunger (SUI) 55.98

8. Wenda Theron Nel (RSA) 56.30

High jump

1. Mariya Lasitskene (ANA - neutral) 2.02 m

2. Yuliya Levchenko (UKR) 1.94

3. Michaela Hrubá (CZE) 1.88

4. Nafissatou Thiam (BEL) 1.88

5. Kamila Licwinko (POL) 1.88

6. Sofie Skoog (SWE) 1.84

7. Levern Spencer (LCA) 1.84

8. Oksana Okuneva (UKR) 1.84

. Mirela Demireva (BUL) 1.84

. Morgan Lake (GBR) 1.84

Long jump

1. Ivana Spanovic (SRB) 6.70 m

2. Lorraine Ugen (GBR) 6.65

3. Shakeelah Saunders (USA) 6.64

4. Tianna Bartoletta (USA) 6.63

5. Brittney Reese (USA) 6.61

6. Shara Proctor (GBR) 6.50

7. Darya Klishina (ANA - neutral) 6.49

8. Claudia Rath (GER) 6.21

Pole vault

1. Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE) 4.85 m

2. Sandi Morris (USA) 4.75

3. Alysha Newman (CAN) 4.75

4. Katie Nageotte (USA) 4.65

5. Nicole Büchler (SUI) 4.65

6. Holly Bleasdale (GBR) 4.55

7. Lisa Ryzih (GER) 4.55

8. Michaela Meijer (SWE) 4.55

Discus

1. Sandra Perkovic (CRO) 68.82 m

2. Dani Samuels (AUS) 65.85

3. Denia Caballero (CUB) 64.61

4. Nadine Müller (GER) 62.85

5. Mélina Robert-Michon (FRA) 62.49

6. Whitney Ashley (USA) 62.14

7. Yaime Pérez (CUB) 61.45

8. Julia Fischer (GER) 59.89

Olympic Runner Dominique Blake's Life Lessons

These are the life lessons she's learned on and off the track.

Olympic runner Dominique Blake’s upcoming book, Diamond Laws, focuses on some of the life lessons she’s learned on and off the track.

Here are a few lessons that can hold true for even non-Olympians:

The biggest success stories often happen after a struggle with commitment.
Teaching someone to attain her own success is far more valuable than doing it for her.
Focusing on your attitude, approach, and action will give you the upper hand because you will be mentally prepared.
When you provide a service of value you should always have as much product knowledge as possible.
Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will make you look like an overnight success.