TrackTown, USA: Very early this morning - 7am early - the men and women's race walk finals were conducted along the local streets. I really really really really dislike this event as it is rife with cheating (athletes running instead of walking) and not one single walker is even close to making the Olympic standard, so the US will send no team in this event. When I am in charge of USA track and field, I will ask the race walkers to please form their own organization. (This will never happen, or it will happen as soon as my other master plan idea for a World Championship decathlon and heptathlon: Every country sends their best jumper, thrower and runner in each of the dec/hep disciplines and the meet is scored just like a decathlon/heptathlon. Fun times. No one has taken me up on this idea.)
Not only are athletes breaking records at the Olympic Trails, the temperature records are breaking. Hottest-ever in Oregon. EVER. 102 degrees on the track today and 111° predicted for tomorrow - the final day of the competition. It is getting serious at the track now. No more prelims. No more heats.
Over at Historic Hayward Field, the women's 10000m final was moved to 10a, so the ladies wouldn't have to race in the 100+ temperatures. Though 82 degrees at the start of the brutal 24-lapper, Emily Sisson broke the meet record with a fabulous 31:03.82! She will be joined in Tokyo by Karissa Schweitzer and Alicia Monson. All three women have met the standard time required to race in the Olympic games.
We watched the 10000m on television, but arrived to Hayward Field to watch the women's hammer throw final at 4p. DeAnna Price broke her own American record today - twice! Price threw the ball 263-and-a-half feet (80.31 meters). The reigning world leader in this event, Poland's Anita Włodarczyk, 35, is not having a good year, so chances for a gold for Price are looking solid.
Harvard alum Gaby Thomas won the 200m final in a personal best... meet record... and fastest in the world this year... 21.61. America's Sweetheart, Allyson Felix finished fifth... but was, of course, interviewed by the stadium announcer first. She did go out of her way to thank the Hayward fans, saying we have all watched her grow up and have always been supportive. Felix, who will run the 400m and the 4x400 relay, in Tokyo, will retire after Olympics. Duck alum Jenna Prandini finished second and will join Thomas in Tokyo, along with third-place finisher Anavia Battle (still at Ohio State). The women's 200m final:
America has a new star in the women's pole vault. Katie Nageotti cleared 4.95 meters (just over 16 feet) to win the competition, while setting a meet record, jumping a personal best... and... the highest in the world this year! Yet another meet record fell when Maggie Malone won the women's javelin with a toss of 208 feet, 4-inches! Amazing.
Our seats are in front of the long jump pit, so we had an excellent view of Brittany "The Beast" Reese win another Olympic Trials prize. Reese jumped 23 feet, 4 3/4 inches - a personal best. Brittany Reese is all business, but the Texas Longhorn, Tara Davis, who won the NCAA long jump last week, is very animated and her bubbly personality radiated after every successful jump. Davis took second in 23 feet, 1 1/4 inches.
Mary and Steve saw Tara Davis, as she walked through a local watering hole after the meet - still in her race kit. Of course, she was also in her signature cowboy hat and cowboy boots. Steve snapped this photo as the crowds were chanting USA USA USA. Davis is pictured above, with her long-time boyfriend, Hunter Woodhall, a medal-winning 200m and 400m racer in the Paralympic Games.
The men's 400m hurdles brought more personal best, meet records and best in the world this year laurels. Raj Benjamin won in 46.83. How is it even possible to run a lap around a track in 46 seconds, never mind having to jump ten hurdles along the route? This was the second-fastest 400m hurdle in history, since Kevin Young set the world record in 46.78 at the 1992 Olympics. That's a long time ago. Speaking of fast hurdlers, Grant Holloway became the second fastest in the 110m hurdles, winning the final in 12.96 seconds. I am seriously expecting great things for America from Benjamin and Holloway in Tokyo. Don't disappoint me, gentlemen.
A few photos:
One more day, guys. I can do it.
PS: if there are any errors in times/names/places, please forgive. I am not a sports writer. No idea why I even report the sports stuff - it's on TV. Every night. NBC.
Until my next update, I remain, your sweaty correspondent.