Olympic Trials Halfway Awards

After four wet and wild days in Eugene, the Olympic Trials will take a two-day break before resuming on Thursday.  If you haven’t yet, have listen to the recap podcasts we posted after each night of competition.  Before looking ahead to the last half of the meet, let’s hand out some awards for the first four days of action:

Best Comeback:

Many great contenders for this category.  Tyson Gay came back from an injured hip that kept him out of racing until 2 weeks ago to finish second in the 100.  Bryshon Nellum not only had to recover from failing to qualify for the final in the 400 at the NCAA Championships, but also from gun shot wounds in both his legs in 2008 that threatened his running career.

On the distance end of the spectrum, Dathan Ritzenhein and Amy Hastings both bounced back from fourth place finishes in the Olympic Marathon Trials in January to earn spots on the 10,000 team.

Biggest Upset:

2008 gold medalist Bryan Clay will not make the team after finishing 12th in the decathlon.  Clay was in third coming into the final day, but disaster stuck in the first two events of day two, the 110 hurdles and the discus.  After hitting the final two hurdles, and for a period being disqualified, Clay finished last in 16.81.  After he fouled all three attempts in the discus any chance of making the team was gone.

For anyone that has been following track and field the last two years, Jeremy Wariner’s 6th place finish was not a surprise.  Still, any time a multiple time world and Olympic medalist fails to make a team (or even qualify for the relay pool), it is a bit jarring to see.

Best Performance:

Ashton Eaton.

Best on Track Interview:

After he won the 400 with the fastest time in 2012, Lashawn Merritt put an exclamation point on his performance.  In the post-race interview he wished himself a happy birthday, giving him the best self-reverential statement since Carmelo Anthony took his hat off to, himself.

Bizarre Behavior Award:

Saturday night, Tianna Madison ran her fastest time ever in the 100 and qualified for her first Olympic team.  Cause for celebration?  Not exactly.  Madison skipped the post-race interview (notice her conspicuous absence at 3:23 in the this video), the medal ceremony and even the official press conference that usually features the top three in each event.   She plans to compete in the 200 and long jump in this meet, so there are many more awkward absences to look forward to.

Best Press Conference Moment:

Khadevis Robinson pokes fun at Nick Symmonds after Symmonds mentions his sports psychologist and “incredible dates.”

Best Mixed Zone Performance:

Depending on your preference, this award could vary.  Justin Gatlin is incredibly loquacious and eager to share with any and everyone who asks a question.  Tyson Gay takes the opposite tact and has mastered the answer-the -question-without-breaking-stride move, to perfection.

Best Press Release:

The USATF released the dead heat procedure on Sunday in response to the tie in the women’s 100 between Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix.  Although the decision to include a coin-toss element is a bit controversial, we at least learned the proper technique for flipping a coin.

“each athlete shall face each other and the USATF representative shall bend his or her index finger at a 90 degree angle to his or her thumb, allowing the coin to rest on his or her thumb. In one single action, the USATF representative shall toss the coin into the air, allowing the coin to fall to the ground.”

Best Example of Being Really Excited after Qualifying and Then Saying Something Ridiculous:

Justin Gatlin, for suggesting a unique solution to the dead heat in the women’s 100 involving red jello.

Most Successful Use of Neck Chalk

No question, shot put champion, Reese Hoffa.


See you Thursday!



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