Tag Archives: Usain Bolt

Episode 171: World Championship Grades with Nick Zaccardi of NBC Olympic Talk

Kevin is joined by Nick Zaccardi of NBC Olympic Talk to give out grades for the IAAF World Championships.  The guys discuss the performances by the American sprinters, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s dominance, Alysia Montano’s front running and the future of Mary Cain.  Also, Nick shares his opinion on Olympic mascots and the chances that Lolo Jones makes the Olympic bobsled team.

The Morning Run: January 24th

Because this picture is awesome (via @atoboldon

-Track and Field News reports that Wallace Spearmon will move up to the 400 this summer.  Spearmon said previously that he was going to run the 200 and the 400 in 2013.  If he completely abandons the 200, Americans will have a huge hole to fill.  Spearmon was the only Olympic finalist in London and 100-meter stars Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey don’t appear to be keen on attempting the double this season.  Add in the questionable health of Walter Dix, and the Jamaican dominance in the 200 looks to be even more pronounced in the near future.    

Spearmon’s 400 potential is an interesting question.  His best time dates back to 2006, where he ran 45.22.  The 400 is not nearly as deep as the other sprints, but at age 28 Spearmon will be at the older end of the spectrum in an event that is currently dominated by a 20-year-old.  If nothing else, Spearmon could provide some help in the 4 x 400 where the Americans were upset by the Bahamas in London.

-Usain Bolt will run in the Oslo Diamond League meet on June 13th. I’m very grateful for the head’s up, but wouldn’t it be better if we could get the start lists for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix first before we look to a meet that is more than 5 months away.

-The Tokyo Marathon will feature 2:04 tempo runner and the world’s most overqualified second place finisher, Dennis Kimetto 

-Jim McDannald continues to work the Pac-12 broadcast beat.

-Ken Goe’s links also include an update on the Pac-12’s policy and what it means for the indoor meets in Seattle this winter.

-The Turbaned Tornado will retire from racing after the Hong Kong Marathon on February 24th.

-This weekend’s action: Galen Rupp racing a mile in BostonBernard LagatCarmelita Jeter and several other A-Listers in Glasgow.

-Yohan Blake has a new, expensive watch that he will be wearing this season.

What it has:

-Asymmetrical case

-Handwound tourbillon movement

-“Beast bridges”

What it doesn’t have:

-GPS

-100-lap memory

-Airtight/bulletproof protective case, which would seem to be necessary for a $620,000 watch being worn during an athletic competition.

-Our podcast from Wednesday where Jason was in “studio” with me.

The Morning Run: January 11th

The Morning Run is a compilation of links, news and commentary.

Tennis player Andy Murray became the latest athlete to have his bipedal locomotion mentioned in the same sentence as Usain Bolt.  In this occasion it was Murray’s trainer, Jez Green, comparing his pupil’s acceleration to the fastest man on earth.

He’s been clocked at moving at 10 metres per second over very short intervals, maybe even as short as a single step, which is as fast as Usain Bolt. I’m not saying that he is that fast over 100 metres but he has great acceleration when he is chasing down a drop shot.

It appears that neither Murray nor Green is aware of the Curse of Bolt, otherwise they would have steered clear, especially right before the Australian Open.  Green also said that Murray could run a 400 in 53 seconds, which doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

Jesse Squire previews the weekend’s best matchups.  There are lots of them.

Dan Rather Reports profiles the Kenyan Scholar Athlete Program.

Toni Reavis reflects on a conversation he had with the retiring Felix Limo.

The Bowerman released their women’s preseason watch list.

The Morning Run: October 8th

The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.

We posted two podcasts last week.  One, recapping the controversial finish at the Berlin Marathon and another featuring Ann Gaffigan of the Track and Field Athletes’ Association.

Also, ESPN’s 9.79* premieres Tuesday in the United States.  Here is our interview with the film’s director, Daniel Gordon.

Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia smashed the course record at the Chicago Marathon.  Kebede finished in 2:04:38 and led a 1-2-3 Ethiopian sweep.

Dathan Ritzenhein finished 9thbut ran a huge personal best of 2:07:47.

In the women’s race Atsede Baysa edged Rita Jeptoo by one second, 2:22:03 to 2:22:04.  It was great to see a close finish between two runners where both actually appeared to be trying.

Usain Bolt announced that he will focus on the 100 and 200 at the 2016 Olympics and not experiment with the long jump or the 400.

Jim McDannald of Track Focus recaps racing results from across the state of Oregon.

Hyleas Fountain, Tianna Madison and Lolo Jones all took part in the U.S. bobsled push-start championships on Friday.

Zersenay Tadese won the World Half Marathon Championships in 1:00:19.

Allan Kiprono and Kim Smith won the BAA Half Marathon.

-Kevin

The Morning Run: September 13th

The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary

Tuesday’s podcast about Aries Merritt’s world record and the rest of the Diamond League news, including an interview with Flotrack’s Kevin Liao, is available for your listening pleasure.

From that episode, Jason and I discovered that Paul Ryan’s running past is a bit more distinguished than we realized.

In what I assumed was a very close vote, Merritt was named the USATF Athlete of the Week.

What do you do after you win a silver medal in the high jump as a rising college senior?  If you are Brigetta Barrett, sing the national anthem at a MLB game of course.

Lisa Uhl is leaving the Oregon Track Club Elite in Portland to train with her college coach in Ames, Iowa.  Looks like this time interminable cold won out over interminable rain.

We don’t usually cover many college coaching moves, but any time something happens at the University of Oregon it usually has a ripple effect throughout the rest of track and field.  Vin Lananna is handing over his college coaching duties to Robert Johnson so Lananna can focus more of his time on big picture projects in track and field.  Those projects may include the construction of an indoor facility in Eugene, a potential bid to host the IAAF World Championships and the first ever decathlon competition on the moon.

Usain Bolt will give his wild card spot in the 100 at next year’s World Championships to Yohan Blake.  I am assuming this means Bolt is keeping his free pass in the 200.

After injuries have scuttled his last two marathon attempts, Ryan Hall is considering getting a coach.

UK Athletics coach Charles van Commenee will step down from his post.  Good luck Great Britain finding someone else who is knowledgeable about track and looks exactly like Al Franken.

Martin Bingisser analyzes the height, weight and age of the hammer throwers in London.

The headline on this Sports Business article says, “IAAF’s Gabriel rejects talk of sea-change for athletics.”  Replace “rejects” with “embraces”  and you got it.

The Chicago Marathon announced their elite field including Tsegaye Kebede, Dathan Ritzenhein, Liliya Shobukhova and Werknesh Kidane.

Are Valerie Adams and Nadzeya Ostapchuk going to box?  Probably not, but if they do, Adams said she would do well because she “fought a few boys at school.”  Did she just go there?

-Kevin

The Morning Run: September 6th

The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.

-The start lists for the final Diamond League meet in Brussels are posted.  We promise this is the last track meet of the year.  Ok, there is Rieti is on the 9th, but that is it.

-Hubert Lawrence of the Jamaica Gleaner argues that countries that have earned multiple wild cards to the World Championships should not be limited to four entries.  This situation arises when the Diamond League champion and the defending world champion come from the same country (but aren’t the same person).  Lawrence cites the men’s steeplechase where Ezekiel Kemboi is the defending champion and Paul Koech will win this season’s Diamond League.  This could happen (or already has happened) in at least four different events:

Men’s 100 (Usain Bolt/Yohan Blake)

Men’s 200 (Nickel Ashmeade/Bolt)

Men’s 110 Hurdles (Aries Merritt/Jason Richardson)

Women’s 5000 (Mercy Cherono, Vivian Cheruiyot) 

The U.S. won’t be in this position in the women’s 200, but it is interesting that American Charonda Williams is on the brink of winning the Diamond League title in the 200.  She can clinch with a first or second place finish or if Bianca Knight finishes lower than first.  Williams didn’t make the finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials and her results this year from the Diamond League show that consistency, not dominance, can win you the title:

Shanghai: 5th

Oslo: 3rd

Paris: 3rd

London: 1st

Stockholm: 1st

Brussels: ??

Most American sprint fans probably aren’t familiar with Williams, but credit to her for making the most of the new wild card rule.   She capitalized on the absence of the big 200-meter stars and now looks poised to earn a trip to Moscow.  Perhaps others were not aware of this alternate route to the World Championships (this was the case with hurdler Dawn Harper) , but surely fewer will be in the dark next season.

-Jason and I tried to make sense of David Rudisha’s defeat, Oscar Pistorius’ comments and Paul Ryan’s marathon time in our latest podcast.  As always, you can subscribe/rate the podcast on iTunes.

-Days after the controversial post-race accusations by Pistorius, the South African Paralympic Committee has registered a formal complaint with the International Paralympic Committee.  That should calm things down.

-Olympians Amy Hastings, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom and Julie Culley will run the New York City Marathon in November.

-Haile Gebrselassie and Mo Farah were slated to race in the half-marathon at the Bupa Great North Run next weekend.  That was until Gebrselassie dropped out with an injury and Farah opted to run the two-mile instead.  Welcome to the imminent disappointment that is the off-season.

-Kevin

The Morning Run: September 4th

The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.

Oscar Pistorius angered, confused and disappointed many in the sporting world with his comments about fellow Paralympic athlete, Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira.  Now there is a discussion about how the fallout will impact his brand.

Want to take more than an hour off your marathon time?  Try the Paul Ryan Time Calculator.

Jeff Demps has been placed on injured reserve by the New England Patriots.  No more football for him this year.  If only there were another sport he could turn to……

Over the weekend in Berlin, Aries Merritt broke 13 seconds in the 110 hurdles for the seventh time this season.

Also in Berlin, former Oklahoma State star German Fernandez, ran a lifetime best in the 1500Jesse Squire breaks it down.

The preliminary start lists for the Brussels Diamond League meet have been posted.  As expected, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will not be racing one another.  Here is an extended post on the non-reasons why they aren’t facing off.

Matt Tegenkamp and Renee Baillie won the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race and the US 20K title in the process.

If you had the American women and the Eritrean men winning the World Mountain Running Championships, then I have great news for you.

-Kevin

The Morning Run: August 31

In an article by Simon Turnbull for The Independent, Usain Bolt’s manager, Ricky Simms, explains why his most famous client and Yohan Blake will not race against each other anymore this year.  This is ground that has been covered before, but the key point made in the article was the emphasis that the decision was not financially motivated.  Setting aside the fact that when athletes or entertainers say it’s not about the money, it’s usually about the money, let’s look at the individual reasons that Simms offers in the article:

“Athletics is a different sport,” Simms told The Independent. “It’s not like boxing. You have to train all year to peak on a certain day and that’s what these guys are aiming for. You can’t peak on 15 May and 15 June and 15 July and 15 August. It doesn’t work like that.”

Correct, athletics is a different sport, but if we wait for everyone to be in optimal shape, we will be waiting for Godot.  It would be great for athletes to be constantly at their peak, but nobody expects this and I think most fans wouldn’t even want it. People run fast before their peak and plenty of people run fast after their peak.

I understand that the priority of Ricky Simms is Usain Bolt and he has no motivation to expose his client to losses or to look out for anything beyond the Bolt brand.  This whole argument is the by-product of having a sport with no central leadership, but explain again why can’t they get into shape by racing against each other?  Or, after their peak, why can’t they continue?

 ”It makes the major championships even more valuable. That’s why the Olympics is so special. If we do this every week it will devalue the big day.”

Of all of the arguments, this is the one that is most absurdly backward. People would tune out the Olympics because the athletes have competed against one another too much?  The names would be so recognizable that viewers would change the channel?  As a sport, track and field is nowhere near the position to turn down rivalries for fear of over exposure.  Name a thriving individual sport and I will show you one where the sport’s biggest names compete against one another frequently.

Although Simms may not acknowledge it, racing Blake prior to the games enhanced Bolt’s wins in London.  His losses at the Jamaican trials added a storyline, introduced the world to his new (affable) antagonist and allowed Bolt to put his fingers over his lips and “shhhh” the doubters after beating Blake in the 200.

 ”It’s not a question of money. It’s just a question of physically what the guys need to do to run 9.5sec or 19.3sec.”

Simply put, nobody is expecting them to run 9.5 or 19.3 seconds every time they line up.  As is almost always the case in track and field, the competition is far more interesting than the time.

 ”The thing is they put so much energy into the Olympic Games. The times were exceptional in the 100 and the 200. I think Tyson Gay summed it up best. He said, ‘These guys have to dig so deep to run those very fast times. If they did it every week there would be arms and legs falling off. They would be getting injured all the time.”

But they are still racing, just not each other.  Sure, Bolt has an easier time when Blake is not in the race, but Blake has run hard in his meets in Lausanne and Zurich.   He ran the fastest time in his life in the 100 less than two weeks after the Olympics, and somehow his legs and arms are still attached.

 ”The Olympics was the most important thing for them. There’s no real motivation for them to race against each other now. Usain won two gold medals, three with the relay, so he’s pretty happy with where he is.”

Fantastic, I’m happy for him.  We are all happy for him.  However, consider this, by virtue of their respective byes (Bolt has one for the 200, Blake has one for the 100) for the 2013 World Championships, Bolt and Blake don’t need to race each other at the Jamaican trials next year.  If they really wanted to, they could go from the London Olympics to the Moscow World Championships, without lining up in the same race. The next year, 2014, is a non-championship year where the best meets are the Diamond League races, and many athletes cut their season short.

If you are Usain Bolt, this is fine.  Your legacy is secured, your celebrity is worldwide and you have basically nothing to gain.  What about Blake though?  You made your name by beating Bolt and without many opportunities to do so in the next two years, how do you jump ahead of him?

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  All of these questions about peaking, injuries and motivation probably go right out the window if the dollar figure was right.  Even Blake, who would benefit the most from more head-to-head match-ups, said in the article:

“I’d love to race against him but you’d have to talk big money.”

At least that is a reason we can wrap our heads around.

-Kevin

The Morning Run: August 23rd

The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.

We posted a podcast Tuesday covering all the story lines of the on/off season.

Coverage of today’s meet in Lausanne begins at 11 a.m. PST.  The best feed can probably found here on the CBC site.  Hooray Canada!

Track and Field News breaks down just how consistent how Aries Merritt has been in 2012.

More Aries, he raced some NBA players, including point guard John Wall, at the Reebok headquarters.  The most instructive portion of the video comes when legendary basketball coach Bobby Hurley is overheard bracing the basketball players for imminent defeat.

Ajee Wilson, winner of the 800 at the 2012 World Junior Championships, will defer her enrollment to Florida State.  By delaying her college career, Wilson hopes to have a better chance at qualifying for next year’s world championships.

The newly updated American top 40 list from Track and Field News.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova has some advice for Lolo Jones.

Usain Bolt gives an update on his post-Olympic plans including his thoughts on the long jump and the 400.  Wait, this news is too serious for Bolt.  Here we go, an article about a seven-year-old who made a model of Bolt out of vegetables!

Yohan Blake’s agent is upset at the low appearance fee offerred to his client by Birmingham meet director Ian Stewart.  Stewart also ruffled feathers earlier in the year when he barred Lolo Jones and Nick Symmonds from competing at the London Diamond League meet.  Prior to this summer, Stewart was only known to Americans as the guy who made Steve Prefontaine  have 4th street named after him.

-Kevin

The Morning Run: August 21st

The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.

We have reached the “two degrees of Usain Bolt” portion of the season.  All Bolt all the time.  Minor league baseball player Billy Hamilton is the latest non-track runner who thinks he can beat Bolt in a race.  Get it line Billy, Usain will get to you right after he takes care of Denard Robinson, Chris Johnson and whoever else decides that they are somehow faster than the fastest man in the world.  Ever.

More Bolt, gold medalist Greg Rutherford said he would not be intimidated if Bolt took a shot at Rutherford’s specialty, the long jump.  Agree that Bolt’s switch to the long jump wouldn’t be as easy as most assume.  Disagree that Rutherford wouldn’t be intimidated if Bolt somehow found his way to the long jump runway.

Yesterday in Budapest, Sanya Richards-Ross won the 200, Jason Richardson took 110 hurdles and Christian Taylor got the win in the triple jump.

In Linz, Austria the big winners were Kirani James, Felix Sanchez, Charonda Williams, Ginnie Crawford, Hannah England and Nickel Ashmeade.

Want to relive the action from London 2012?  NBC Olympics has all the events archived here.

There are Diamond League meets this week in Lausanne and Birmingham.  Thursday is Lausanne and Birmingham is on Sunday.  The Lausanne meet has many Olympic champions and several high quality fields.

Bolt headlines the meet in the men’s 200 which also includes bronze medalist Warren Weir, Wallace Spearmon and Jason Young.

In the women’s 100, all of the London medalists will be on the start line.  Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Carmelita Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown.  The men’s 100 features four of the eight Olympic finalists: Tyson Gay, Ryan Bailey, Richard Thompson and Yohan Blake.

-Kevin