TrackTown, USA: Before going to Historic Hayward Field this evening, we drove to Portland to attend a memorial service for my uncle Bob. Bob, married to my mother's youngest sister, passed away recently and his service was held at Willamette National Cemetery. The setting is lovely, and the tear-producing ceremony (guns firing, Taps on a bugle, and a very precise flag-folding ritual, followed by presenting the folded flag to the widow from the President of the United States and a grateful nation) was conducted with military precision. The Rabbi knew and respected Uncle Bob, and his words were so touching. Bob had a good life (92 years). After the service, the family gathered at a local restaurant for lunch, which allowed the cousins to catch-up - we are now so spread-out across the country - and we finally saw my sister. First time since January 2020!
After the luncheon, we drove back to the motorhome, changed clothing, and headed to the track for the 5th day of The One True Sport. Exciting night for us, as the son of Dave's college teammate was racing in the 1500m qualifying round. Since Matthew Centrowitz is the Gold Medalist from the Rio Olympic Games, we weren't worried about his advancing, but it is still stressful. Anything can happen when 14 racers are flying around the track at lightning speeds, wearing spikes on the soles of their shoes.
Fretted for nothing. Racers in the three heats had to be in the top 6 finishers in their race, and then the next six fastest times also advance. Centrowitz (in white jersey above) ran 3:40 to easily qualify for the semi-finals tomorrow night. The Oregon Ducks (Cole Hocker and Jack Yearian) in the above photo qualified as well.
There were only two finals this evening. Michelle Carter, Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, sat in front of us this evening, her leg in a boot, watching other women throw the shot. Carter had a tumor removed from her ankle a few weeks ago and recently learned the tumor was benign. Jessica Ramsey and Raven Saunders both broke Carter's meet record tonight, and each woman threw their best-ever tonight! Michelle Carter's father (and coach) is professional football player Michael Carter. He has three Super Bowl rings - and a silver medal in the shot put from the 1984 Olympics! Though so very sad Michelle missed this meet, her fans - Michelle is LEGEND - are so very happy about her diagnosis! You Throw Girl!
The last event tonight was the women's steeplechase final. Emma Coburn made her third consecutive Olympic team, with a winning time of 9:09.41 (a meet record). Joining Coburn in Tokyo will be Courtney Frerichs and Val Constien.
We had special guests tonight in our seats - Mary & Steve's son, Chris, his wife, Laura, and their two boys, Cole and Cameron.
How fun is that! The boys were so good and had a complete lap around the concourse to discover the new stadium. The meet ran late tonight and the little tykes were fading fast. We didn't get back to our bus until dark. Yep, another appetizer plate for dinner.
But this was an extraordinarily delicious appetizer. Lisa had given us a package of hot-smoked wild-caught Sockeye salmon from Wild Alaskan (in our freezer). I served it with crackers and a little cream cheese with dill. Thank you Lisa for our very yummy dinner!
Until my next update from the track, I remain, your "three more days" correspondent.