Sunday, August 31, 2008

GB Grand Prix Instant Analysis - Tyson Gay Back On Track!

Aviva British Grand Prix

A number of runners competing in Gateshead, Great Britain had arrived in Beijing several weeks ago with gold on their mind, but things did not quite work out as they had originally planned.

The races in Aviva British Grand Prix for Lauryn Williams, Tyson Gay, Wallace Spearmon, and Asafa Powell were partly about exacting revenge but more about proving to themselves and the world that they are still great athletes despite the results in Beijing. The Olympic Games are history and each got back to having success in their own right.

He seems to be a decent enough guy. Despite inclement weather conditions Asafa Powell ran 9.87 in the cold rain.

Which provokes the idea that maybe Powell should employ the services of a sports psychologist. It might be money well spent considering that Powell ran 9.95 in the finals to place fifth in Beijing. He might regret it years from now if he does not exhaust all means to achieve at the highest level.

"Pretty easy, 9.87, I'm very happy," said Powell.

It was great to see the Tyson Gay of old win in 20.25, over OlympianWallace Spearmon (20.41). Gay did not make the highly touted 100-meter Olympic final after losing conditiong from the hamstring injury sustained at the Olympic Trials. Spearmon had locked up bronze medal in the 200-meter finals in Beijing, or so he had thought until learning that he had been disqualified after stepping on the line during the race.

"Getting the victory means a lot, it's nice to get a win under my belt," Gay told the BBC after the race.

Reflecting on his Olympic experience, Gay said: "It was very frustrating, I was going there to get the gold.

"It was tough to watch (Bolt), I know I would have given him a better race."

Lauryn Williams 11.24 won over the Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser (11.29) from Jamaica. Williams placed fourth in Beijing behind three Jamaicans. Later in the meet Williams won the 200-meters in 22.65.

She has nothing to prove and no regrets. Reigning World and Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu of Britain won the 400 meters, in an unimpressive 51.27 seconds.

Click here to watch the Universal Sports video on demand of the Aviva British Grand Prix track meet.

By Jay Hicks.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Universal Sports to Provide LIVE Broadcast of Aviva British IAAF Grand Prix

As 400meteroval called it, WCSN / Universal Sports recently announced that it is providing free broadcast and webcast of their events until November 9, 2008. This coincides with the launch of the new WCSN/Universal website.

The benefit to fans is that the temporary offer covers the Aviva British British Grand Prix at Gateshead, Great Britain which airs Sunday, August 31, 2008, along with some other great track & field and running competitions.

Headliners at the Aviva British British Grand Prix at Gateshead, GBR:

The meet free from Gateshead, GBR should be hot. Sprinter Lauryn Williams, Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon in the 200-meters, 400-meter champion Christine Ohuruogu, and 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds have all confirmed their participation in the track meet.

Free WCSN/Universal Sports webcast and broadcast of the following track and running events.

August 31, 2008: Aviva British British Grand Prix at Gateshead, GBR

September 7th, 2008: Rieti 2008, Rieti, ITA

September 13th - 14th, 2008: IAAF World Athletics Final at Stuttgart, GER

September 28th, 2008: Berlin Marathon at Berlin, GER

October 12th, 2008: IAAF World Road Running Championships at Rio de Janeiro, BRA

October 12th, 2008: Chicago Marathon at Chicago, IL, USA

November 2nd, 2008: New York Marathon at New York, NY, USA

Click here to view the free events Universal Sports.

By Jay Hicks.

When Athletes Blog - David Oliver

IAAF Golden League - Zurich

There's a reason that David Oliver is one of the world's top three hurdlers. He recently placed second by a hair to world record holder and Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba by .01 seconds in Zurich. The results were 12.97 to 12.98.

Oliver is arguably his harshest critic and is constantly striving to improve his hurdling technique. The U.S. Olympic Trials champion will get another crack at Robles in Lausanne, Switzerland where the two go head-to-head again.

Immediately after the race Oliver took to his blog to share with fans exactly what is on his mind. Here is what David Oliver had to say:

110 Hurdles (+0.3)
1) Robles 12.97
2) D.O. 12.98
3) Noga 13.37
4) Merritt 13.41
5) Svoboda 13.48
6) Yo-El 13.55
7) Phillips 13.60
8) Van der Westen 13.68
9) Moore DNF

"I really thought that I had a chance to pull of the win, but I floated the first hurdle and was playing catch up the entire race, which I did a good job of. I haven't seen the race yet, but I will watch it on the Slingbox tomorrow. I am happy with my performance this evening, but not satisfied."
Click here to read David Oliver's full blog.

By Jay Hicks.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Instant Analysis - Bolt Makes It Reign In Zürich


IAAF Golden League - Zurich

Usain Bolt meet the world’s sports fans. World sports fans meet Usain Bolt of Jamaica—the track's newly crowned megastar.

-Zurich, Switzerland-The Golden League meet in Zürich was the perfect setting for lightening quick times. A sold out crowd of 22,000 spectators provided an electric atmosphere that produced some extremely fast times. A bit of fatigue from the Olympic Games appeared evident on the part of distance runners, but the sprinters put down some fast times.

Before the gun went off, it was the usual routine. Usain Bolt was bobbing and weaving and playing it up before getting into the blocks. When his name was called out, the fans gave went wild for the man who less than two weeks ago was apart of three world record performances. The Olympic champion could have at least made it look somewhat difficult. Bolt gave the fans their money's worth. He got out to a slow start before blazing 9.83 seconds over 100-meters. The reigning Olympic champion was ahead of Walter Dix (9.93) and Richard Thompson (10.09).

Where was his kick when Wariner needed it the most two weeks ago? Reigning Olympic champ LaShawn Merrittt had the inside lane today, but it was not good enough to beat Jeremy Wariner. Coming down the final turn, Wariner had a one step lead that he opened up to about five meters winning in 43.82 over Merritt (44.43).

Lolo Jones picked up where she left off before hitting a hurdle in Beijing. The U.S. Olympic Trials champion won in 12.56, beating a field which included 110-meter hurdle Olympic champion Dawn Harper. Harper (12.73) finished in a distant seventh place.

It was certainly a win, but it was not the win that Sanya Richards has been dreaming about for quite some time. After winning bronze in Bejing, Richards won a commanding race today in a season’s best time of 49.75. There have been assertions that Richards choked in the 400-meter Olympic final. The real story is that Richards didn’t run fast enough to beat the world’s best. The looming question is why this season the American record holder has not been within a second of the 48.70 that she ran back in 2006.

The 110 hurdles was a close one. David Oliver, the only man to defeat Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba, almost accomplished that feat for a second time this season. Oliver raced Robles down to the end, but came up short.

It may not have been as clean as the 400 hurdle victory in Beijing. But Angelo Taylor (48.07) took it out extremely hard the first half of the race before finishing ahead of Kerron Clement (48.20) of the U.S. and Jamaica’s Danny McFarland (48.40). Bershawn Jackson (49.18) finished in seventh place.

By Jay Hicks.

Can't Forget About the PUMA Clyde - Tommie Smith Gold List



Let the celebration of Usain Bolt ripping up the track in Beijing continue. It is only proper to remember the PUMA shoes that honor Tommie Smith. Everyone knows how Smith and John Carlos raised their hands on the medal stand in 1968 in honor of those who were suffering in the United States.

On the tongue - 19.83 appears to commemorate Tommie Smith's record time.

By Jay Hicks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lightning Bolt To Strike In Zürich

Olympics Day 11 - Athletics

Will Usain Bolt send Jamaica rockin' by dropping another world record in Switzerland?

The international community is experiencing sleep deprivation from staying up late nights for the past two weeks watch Olympic coverage while at the same time going through track & field withdrawal from the Olympics.

That all ends very soon.

The ÅF Golden League picks up in Zürich, Switzerland on Friday 29 August. At this point, the race for the $1 Million Golden League Jackpot is two to two: 800-meter Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo and Olympic silver medalist Blanka Vlasic of Croatia.

Olympic medalist will compete in front of sold-out crowd of 26,000 in the venerable Letzigrund Stadium.

Olympic Medalist Heading to Zürich.

The 100-meters will look very similar to Beijing. Will Bolt run through the line this time and shock the world with another world record?

Six runners from Beijing final will step on the track in Zurich: Usain Bolt, Richard Thompson, Walter Dix, Shawn Crawford, and Churandy Martin.

The athletes headling in Zürich include: Blanka Vlasic, Lolo Jones against a field including Olympic champion Dawn Harper, Olympic champion Dayron Robles, new 400-meter Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner, Angelo Taylor, Yelena Isinbayeva, Jenn Stuczynski, Allyson Felix, and Sanya Richards.

Watch the Meet From Zürich:
  • TV: Aug. 29, 3:00-5:00 p.m., ESPN Classic
  • TV: Aug. 29, 7:00-9:00 p.m., ESPN2
  • TV: Aug. 30, 7:00-9:00 a.m., ESPN Classic

By Jay Hicks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Should Reggie Be Worried?

Celebrity Kim Kardashian will spend countless hours working on her dance moves with former 100-meter Olympian Maurice Green.

Does New Orleans Saints star running back Reggie Bush have a reason to be worried?

Ok, so they will not be exactly dancing together.

The "Kansas Cannonball" will put his fast feet to work dancing with Cheryl Burke and Kardashian will shake her stuff with Mark Ballas.

Kim Kardashian and Maurice Green have confirmed as contestants on the seventh season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.

Fellow Olympian Misty May-Treanor, who won her second gold medal for beach volleyball at this year's summer Olympics is also slated to appear on the program. Also joining the cast is recently retired defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Susan Lucci, and other celebrities.

The series premieres on Sept. 22.

By Jay Hicks.

Usain Bolt Should Be Thanked, Not Criticized

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics

Steve McGill at Hurdlesfirst.com wrote a great piece about the ridiculous criticism of Usain Bolt’s exuberance and excitement that he displayed in making Olympic history and realizing his dreams.

McGill wrote:

“Costas [Bob] spent a whole week kissing Michael Phelps’ butt, then when something other-worldly happens on the track, the first thing he does is find something critical to discuss. “
“Personally, I had no problem with Bolt’s celebration. Bolt is a breath of fresh air in a sport filled with a whole lot of pollution. He’s funny, he’s gregarious, he’s playful, and he gets down to business when it’s time to get down to business. What more could you want? And your boy Ato Boldon (shown on left) had the chance to school Costas on his ignorance, but instead, he agreed with him. You mean to tell me that someone who trained with Maurice Greene, Jon Drummond, and Larry Wade would agree that Usain Bolt needs to tone it down? Please tell me I’m dreaming, because this can’t be happening.”
Originally, I thought that somehow I had missed something. They don’t get the fact that Usain Bolt single-handily resuscitated the premiere event at the Olympic Games from the dark alleys and back into the mainstream.

Track is cool again.

IOC President Jean Rogge suggested that Bolt “showboated” too much. "I think he should show more respect for his competitors and shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones immediately after the finish, and not make gestures like the one he made in the 100 meters," Rogge said in an interview. He also said of Bolt's actions that "you just don't do that."

Those sentiments are stuck in the past and smack of being out of touch. Let the 22-year-old Olympic champion have his day in the sun.

As far as I can tell, Bolt is well liked by the world and by his competitors. The NBC cameras revealed a light-hearted man who joked with his countrymen and competitors a like. There was not a statement of issue from any competing athlete on the matter.

Rogge ‘s criticisms are wrongly aimed at an athlete who brought excitement to the Olympic Games. Maybe the Belgian bureaucrat should have spent more attention focusing on the Chinese age scandal that unfolded right in front of the world‘s eyes. That is the kind of issue that really does chip away at the credibility of the games.

The IOC and folks at NBC should sending Bolt flowers and singing his praises for putting down three world record performances that the world is still talking about and that delivered better than anticipated television ratings.

The aforementioned parties should remain silent on the matter of showboating and just cash their bonus checks at the bank.

By Jay Hicks.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing Olympic Games Close With A Bang

Olympics - Closing Ceremony

-USA Didn’t Fair Badly At All On The Track.

Winning an Olympic gold amounts to catching lightning in a bottle. Elusive. Precious. Difficult. No matter how great an athlete, in order to win an Olympic medal of any kind, everything must go perfectly.

If an injury develops, such as the case for hurdler Terrence Trammell, or if like Lolo Jones you clip a hurdle, then it’s done. There is nothing you can do if the recovery time is not enough for Tyson Gay to be 100%. Or, if your body is not feeling at its best, as was the case with Sanya Richards, then the favorite comes out with a bronze.

For the world, Usain Bolt walked away as the new megastar of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games—mainly because most countries care more about track than swimming. The precocious Jamaican cleaned up in the 100, 200, and 400-meter relay in world record time in all three events, along with the successes of his countrymen.

The outing for Team USA on the track was not quite as bad as the media would lead one to believe.

Sure the U.S. men and women botched hands-offs in the 4x100 meter relays. That almost certainly would have added to the medal count.

However, Team USA had an extremely good showing. Maybe, head coach Bubba Thornton saying, "This is probably the strongest team we've ever sent to the Olympic Games," was an overstatement, but never the less, the US had great successes in Beijing.

Here’s a quick look at the facts.

USA Track & Field earned 23 medals. Of that seven gold, nine silver, seven bronze. That is just one gold and two total medals fewer than Athens, which had been the best U.S. performance since 1992.

Bryan Clay is the world’s greatest all-around athlete after dominating the decathlon, LaShawn Merritt scored an upset in the 400, Stephanie Brown Trafton unexpectedly won the first U.S. discus gold medal in nearly a century, Angelo Taylor led a U.S. sweep of the 400-meter hurdles, and Sanya Richards ran a legendary anchor leg to win gold for Team USA.

By any account that is pretty good stuff.

Yeah, USA Track & Field as an agency is in dire need of improvement, but that does not in any way diminish the U.S. athletes and their performances while representing this country.

Maybe the slight by NBC in television coverage, the disastrous relays results, and the less than desired results on the track will light a fire for change with USA Track & Field executive management.

The international landscape of track & field has been changing for at least the last decade, and much like USA Basketball, the Olympic selection process for track needs some minor modifications. I think some of the performance issues related issues were due to dead legs or fatigue in Beijing.

The process to provide for more recovery time after the grueling Olympic Trials must now be a priority. In order to earn a paycheck , a majority of Team USA ran in Europe at least several times after the Olympics Trials and before heading to Beijing.

The closing of the games feel as though something important is coming to the end. Something magical. Something we will have to wait another four years to see.

It's safe to say they do everything big in China. The 2008 Beijing Games displayed state-of-the art venues, a sense of history & culture, and amazing athletic performances that sometimes left you in utter disbelief.

The ball is in your court now, London.

By Jay Hicks.

Air Force 1 Closing Ceremonies By Nike



Nike seems to have thought of everything except for... signing Usain Bolt to the company. With that the closing ceremonies are about to begin at any moment now.

Nike Air Force 1 “Closing Ceremonies” is Nike's way of closing the games with a bang. It comes in a gold upper of course, along with a laser etched graphic all over the upper. The shoe as well as a special 080808 box will be released on August 25th.

By Jay Hicks.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

U.S. Sets Olympic Record in 1,600-Meter Relay

Olympics Day 15 - Athletics

-Beijing-The Team members were all smiles at the “Bird’s Nest” and why wouldn’t they be?

The winner of the 1,600-meter relay was never in doubt.

LaShawn Merritt (44.35) got the U.S. out to a comfortable lead before handing off to Angelo Taylor who blazed a 43.70 leg. On the third leg, David Neville added to the lead before Jeremy Wariner (43.16), nearly ran a 42 second anchor leg that added an exclamation point to the victory.

The team of LaShawn Merritt, the 400-meter champion, 400-meter hurdles gold medalist Angelo Taylor, David Neville bronze winner and Wariner the 2004 gold medalist and 400 silver medalist recorded a time of 2:55.39 in Saturday's final.

The time was good enough to establish a new Olympic record, in an event that the U.S have dominated. The previous record of 2:55.74 was set by Americans Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts, Michael Johnson and Steve Lewis in 1992 at the Seoul Games. The U.S. continues a tradition of owning this event, having now won the 1,600-meter relay at the last seven straight Olympic Games.

Olympian Kerron Clement and former Baylor standout Reggie Witherspoon ran in the qualifying heats and also share in the Olympic gold.

That is not a bad way at all to close out the track and field events at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

By Jay Hicks
.

Sanya Richards Leads U.S. Women to 1,600-Meter Relay Victory

Olympics Day 15 - Athletics


Relays performances often times tell you a great deal about an athlete. The biggest factor in running is not statistics or splits--it's heart.

Sanya Richards showed major heart when she got the stick seven meters behind Anastasia Kapachinskaya of Russia and quickly made up that ground in leading Team USA to victory.

The relay is the first gold medal for Richards and Allyson Felix at these games.

Mary Winberg (51.0), Allyson Felix (48.55), Monique Henderson (50.06), and Sanya Richards (48.93) brought home the gold in 3:18.55. It should also be noted that Natasha Hastings ran in the qualifying heat and will share in the gold medal victory.

By Jay Hicks.

Usain Bolt Reigns In Golden Era

-How PUMA put the smack down.

The images are everywhere on television and online of Usain Bolt wearing the Theseus II spikes by Puma. It serves as a painful reminder to the executives of Nike and Adidas that they have been beaten.

The first blow was the sight of Li Ning, China's former Olympic champion gymnast, circling the roof of the Bird's Nest stadium to light the Olympic flame wearing his own line of shoes. Bolt hammered the second blow.

Bolt created an iconic moment as he crossed the line and held up the Theseus II as he circled the stadium while basking in the crowd praise. The world will remember his gold shoes, golden laces, and golden upper and soles.

Not only that. Bolt won the most highly anticipated 100-meter race in modern history. The results are legendary.

Three gold medals. Three world records.

PUMA received more value without spending nearly as much money as Adidas (reportedly $200 million) and Nike. Adidas star athletes in Beijing were: Jeremy Wariner, Tyson Gay, Yao Ming, and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Nike tried to make some noise in Beijing with LaShawn Merritt, Sanya Richards, Asafa Powell, and Liu Xiang. But no one shined as bright in Beijing as the 6 foot, five sprinter.

The Jamaican national team is sponsored by PUMA, but Bolt is only athlete who is individually signed to PUMA.

PUMA not only has the hottest track superstar on the planet, it has soundly beaten Nike and Adidas in the shoe war.

By Jay Hicks.

Jamaica Sprinting Inspires Kicks


Nike iD has refreshed their Dunk High’s and Low’s for the Fall 2008 collection.

The second pair feature a floral jaquard in white or black, and the third are based a hero from the Olympics, Jamaican runner Asafa Powell the former world record holder as the fastest man on Earth. The pattern borrows the Jamaican Flag colors and a cheetah pattern seen in Powell's custom Olympic spikes and makes a bold and bright Dunk High and low. Act quickly because availability is short. Nike iD Studios.



Via Kickaholic.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bryan Clay Wins Decathalon, Becomes World's Greatest Athlete

Olympics Day 14 - Athletics

-Beijing - The prestigious title of "World's Greatest All Around Athlete" belongs to Bryan Clay.

In past years, the event had star power. Remember the likes of Bruce Jenner, Jim Thorpe, Rafer Johnson, and Dan O'Brien becoming household names after winning the ten event competition? Bringing back gold almost guaranteed being featured on the front of the Wheaties box.

Well that is no longer the case.

NBC bypassed showing a major portion of the decathalon competition in order to air the BMX competition. Oh, how the sport and event have fallen from that pedastal.

So what that means is that millions of Americans saw very little of Clay's impressive performance. He brought the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" back to the U.S., something that has eluded Team USA since Dan O'Brien's victory in 1996.

Clay put forth one of the most dominant performances of a generation. The U.S. Olympic Trials champion led from the first event and opened up an insurmountable lead, while never relinquishing the top sport during the grueling two-day competition.

The 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2005 world champion, Clay finished with 8,791 points, including a solid 1,500 meter race to close out the competition.

“I hope the Wheaties box and all those types of things happen,” Clay said. “I’d love for this to be a spark for the decathlon and bring it back to the forefront of track and field.”

Bryan Clay is king now,” said Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic, the world record holder and 2007 world champion who finished sixth, “and I was before. It was just about me giving him the crown for the next four years.”

By Jay Hicks.

U.S. Win Silver & Bronze In 110-Hurdles

Olympics Day 13 - Athletics

Payne & Oliver Shine in Hurdles.
-Beijing-David Payne and David Oliver accomplished what they came to do.

The U.S. hurdlers had dreams of getting on the medal stand. And it wasn't an easy task while watching hurdling standouts Liu Xiang and Terrence Trammell, see their dreams end in the qualifying heats.

They stayed focused and kept their eyes on the prize. David Payne (13.17) earned silver, while Howard University alum David Oliver (13.18) captured the bronze. Cuba's Dayron Robles (12.93) won the gold.

It certainly was not easy, but the U.S. hurdlers achieved this on a day when both the men's and women's 400m relays dropped the baton in the wet conditions but then again that's what champions do.

By Jay Hicks.

Bolt Strikes For Third Gold Medal in 400M Relay

Olympics Day 14 - Athletics
Is this the best team performance ever, for a nation of 1.8 million?

-Beijing-The good times kept rolling on Friday for Usain Bolt and the Jamaican national team. Bolt ran a lightening fast third leg that helped to crush the World Record previously held by the United States. The U.S. had poor hand offs and did not make the final.

The Jamaica squad was made up of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Bolt and Asafa Powell. Jamaica recorded 37.10, which improved on the record of 37.40 set by the U.S. relay team at the 1992 Olympics.

By Jay Hicks.

Bungled Handoffs Derail U.S. Relay Hopes

Olympics Day 13 - Athletics


-Beijing - It was the worst thirty minutes of the Olympic Games for Team USA. The rain probably didn't help matters much and neither did the limited practice time typically committed to relay handoffs before the Olympics.

Somebody needs to find Tyson Gay and give him a hug. His Olympic Games were officially labeled a nightmare for the 2007 World Champion at 100 and 200-meters. Doc Patton's handoff to Tyson Gay on the anchor leg ended up bouncing around the track.

The bobbled exchanged between Torri Edwards to anchor leg Lauryn Williams was met the same result. Williams picked up the baton and finished the race, but it didn't count. Both U.S. teams were disqualified from their respective races.

This makes back-to-back Olympic Games that the women have dropped the baton. These results are a continuation of past errors that beg for a look at restructuring the Olympic team process.

USA Track and Fields needs to take a page out of the USA Basketball book because the current Olympic system dates back to the Cold War era and fails to represent the best that the country is capable of delivering.

By Jay Hicks.

New USA Track & Field Boss Sounds Off!

The past days of issues may be left behind. Bill Logan is not offering up any excuses or explanations about the baton drops by Team USA.

Logan is making a great first impression. In past, there have been inquiries (this blog included) about where the Olympic selection process fields the best possible team. The past answers have been "we have done it this way in the past and it has worked."

Well that is no longer the attitude. Here is what Logan had to say late last night.

"In the last week-plus of Olympic competition in track and field, perception and
reality have collided for Team USA.

The perception is that we've managed to muck up several key events. Some people have taken that "key event letdown" and applied it, somewhat unfairly, to the entire team.

The reality is that, at the close of competition Thursday night, we had 20 medals, which was
exactly twice that of the second-best team. We are likely to match our medal
total from the 1996 Olympics Games - one that was considered a huge success for
Team USA - and far exceed that of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Our women, in
particular, have done extremely well. They already have won eight medals, which
more than they won in all of '96 (seven), 2000 (four) and 2004 (six).

But we won't have nearly as many gold medals as we've won the last two
World Championships, and gold is what gets it done.

The other reality is, we could win the gold medal in every single track and field event, but if we
don't win a single thing in the sprints and relays, the public will view our performance as a disaster. When we drop the baton in back-to-back relay races, the public views our performance as a disaster.

The Olympics are about good timing, good luck, good preparation and good execution. All those things have to come together. There is no denying we have had more than our share of
bad luck. Several medal-contending athletes got hurt at or right before these
Games, but they're not the only ones. Think Liu Xiang, Susanna Kallur and Paula
Radcliffe. The public sometimes sees these things and sees only failure, rather
than the nature of the Games.

In the men's and women's 200, I'm not sure there was any stopping the Jamaican juggernaut, at least not when it comes to gold medals. Nobody from any country was going to beat 9.69 and 19.30. The women's 200 was won in the fastest time this century.

The relays and the overall perception of our weak points are another matter.

I have received emails from people across the country, particularly about the relays.
They all say more or less the same thing: the dropped batons were reflective of
a lack of preparation, lack of professionalism, and of leadership. I agree.
Dropping a baton isn't bad luck, it's bad execution. Responsibility for the
relay debacle lies with many people and many groups, from administration to
coaches to athletes. That's why, when these Games are completed, we will conduct
a comprehensive review of all our programs. It will include assessments from
inside and outside the USATF family, and included in the assessment will be the
way in which we select, train and coach our relays.

Ultimately, the athletes on the track are the only ones who can successfully pass the stick
around the track. But they need the proper leadership and preparation. These are
professional athletes who are the best in their field, and anybody who ever ran
a high school relay cringes when that baton hits the track. It reminds me of NBA
players who have horrendous free-throw percentages. All it takes is repetition,
preparation and focus to make a free throw. The same goes for baton-passing. As
an organization, we owe it to our athletes to provide the preparation they need
to succeed. We will do everything we can to figure out what went wrong and to
make sure it doesn't happen again.

In the next three days, I will watch the remainder of track competition as a fan and as the person responsible for leading the programs that produce the World's #1 Track & Field Team.

When the men's marathon concludes on Sunday, we'll still be the World's #1 Team in
terms of medal count. We can be a much better team. And we will be."

Doug Logan is CEO of USA Track & Field. To read more of his Shin Splints blogs, click here.

Reprinted with permission from USA Track and field.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Merritt Wins Big Over Wariner In U.S. 400 Sweep

Olympics Day 13 - Athletics

Merritt Upset Wariner's Effort to Win Gold

-Beijing-LaShawn Merritt did something that many weren't sure he could pull off. He upset defending Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner.

As I have written, in the past it has been Wariner the runner putting up the race of his life to win big in August. This time it was a brilliant race by Merritt at the perfect time that drew the world's attention.

Only four runners, have bested the 43.75 that Merritt blazed in the finals. Wariner came off the turn in the lead but faded big time down the stretch finishing second in 44.70.

David Neville clocked 44.80 seconds and secured Team U.S.A. the bronze.

By Jay Hicks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mr. August – Jeremy Wariner Saves His Best For Late Summer

The Texan is the favorite to win gold tomorrow.

The jury is in, Jeremy Wariner is officially the man to beat tomorrow. The former Baylor standout knows how to win the big races and now the long awaited 400-meters showdown is finally here.

Wariner should be called “Mr. August,” for delivering clutch performances when it counts. In 2004, Wariner won took the NCAA title, indoors and outdoors, won the Olympic Trials, and then grabbed the Olympic Games. Since then he has won every honor, title, and achievement except that of the world record held by Michael Johnson.

So what about Wariner makes him so special?

Well for starters it is his mission and vocation in life to run the one lap race. On top of that, he has an analytical mind, and is a strong race strategist. Lastly his work ethic is unparalled. Wariner's drive keeps him hungry to continue training hard. His confidence is supreme because he knows that he has put in the work in practice.

Wariner could have ducked Merritt until the Olympic Trials but did not.

To put things in perspective, here is a small list highlighting some of Wariner's big races and fast times. Just keep in mind that last year in Osaka, he reeled in LaShawn Merritt to win the world title in the fastest race he has ever run.

  • 2004: Olympics – 44.00 – Personal Record – August 23
  • 2005: Helsinki WC – 43.93 – Personal Record - August 12
  • 2006: Rome – 43.62 – July 14 -(non- World Champion year)
  • 2007: Osaka WC – 43.45 – Personal Record – August 31
However this time around, expect Wariner's new rival LaShawn Merritt to put himself in a better position, so it will be a battle of will in the final 80 meters of the race between the two great 400-meter runners.

Prerace Jitters Predictions:

Jeremy Wariner: 43.35 – Personal Record
LaShawn Merritt: 43.80 – Personal Record

By Jay Hicks.

Usain Bolt Wins 200M Gold In World Record Time

Olympics Day 12 - Athletics
Usain Bolt delivered another jaw dropping moment to add to his 100-meter gold.

-Beijing-Michael Phelps may be the darling of NBC but Usain Bolt is a rising international superstar that demands your attention.

Usain Bolt has put his signature stamp on the 2008 Beijing Games and the 200-meter world record performance established him in history amongst the greatest sprinters to ever lace up spikes such as Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, and Lee Evans.

Bolt's time of 19.30 eclipsed Michael Johnson's 12 year-old world record by .02. The 6 foot, 5 inch sprinting phenom is the first sprinter to set two world records at an Olympic Games.

Bolt has answered all questions about what his 200m race would look like if he ran from the start.

The sport was in dire need of story that blows away the cloudy issues of doping and scandal. The precocious Jamaican is a rare, brilliant sprinter that combines a long stride with blinding foot turn over and a passion for racing to deliver mind blowing results.

"Incredible," Michael Johnson said. "He got an incredible start. Guys of 6-5 should not be able to start like that. It's that long, massive stride. He's eating up so much more track than others. He came in focused, knowing he would likely win the gold and he's got the record."

Shawn Crawford took silver, and Walter Dix was awarded bronze after teammate Wallace Spearmon and Churandy Martina were both disqualified for running out of their respective lanes.

The more you watch Bolt run that more it becomes evident that he can run much faster and that he may reign supreme in the sport for a long time to come.

By Jay Hicks.

Heptathlete Hyleas Fountain May Get Upgraded to Silver

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics

Can you upgrade me?

-Beijing-The IAAF sent out word that heptathlon silver medalist Lyudmila Blonska's "A" sample had come back positive for the steroid methyltestosterone.

That means that Hyleas Fountain of the U.S. will go from bronze to silver if that is confirmed by the "B'' test. Russia's Tatiana Chernova gets the bronze.

By Jay Hicks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sanya Richards Winds Up With Bronze

Olympics Day 11 - Athletics

-Beijing-Coming off the turn, the race looked like it was in hand.

The finish line was in sight. She had run past her doubts, run past her health issues, and had out run past previous disappointments.

Richards is the fastest American to run the one lap race and had the fastest time in the world. But she didn't have a major championship gold.

Then with 75 meters to go Sanya Richards hamstring tightened up on her. She struggled to cross the line in third place behind the winner Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain and Shericka Williams of Jamaica.

"My right hamstring grabbed on me, Richards said. " I just couldn't move it anymore. I tried to hold them off, and I just couldn't. I'm so disappointed because I've never had anything like that happen. I was totally out of control on the straightaway. I was all over the lane."

It has been a tough run for Richards. Last year she was diagnosed with Behcet’s disease, a rare chronic inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body. The illness hijacked her training, sapped her energy, and caused her to miss qualifying for the World Championships.

Richards blasted out of the blocks, shot down the backstretch, and was held a commanding lead coming off the turn. Then the unthinkable occurred down the final stretch.

"I knew that gold was mine. I knew I was going to run 48 seconds. I felt so good. I was already getting elated coming off the turn because I knew how my races had been going. My hamstring just really let me down. I just feel like I've worked so hard in vain."

“Once again, just major disappointment. Every major championship I’ve been to I’ve come up short. It’s not for a want of trying. I mean, I go out there with every intention of trying to run my best race and I always come into the race very prepared. So once again to lose a championship and not just any major championship – the Olympic Games. And thinking of waiting for four more years is just way too much."

The time 49.62 was her fastest time of the season but it's probably of little solace to Richards.

By Jay Hicks.

Lolo Jones Hits Hurdle, Finishes Seventh

Olympics Day 11 - Athletics

Lolo Jones was two hurdles away from Olympic gold.

-Beijing-Midway through the race Jones opened up daylight between she and the rest of the competitors. The question seemed to be who would take silver and bronze.

Then disaster hit.

Then Jones clipped the hurdle with her lead foot and instantly went from first to seventh place--a change your life kind of moment. In the semi-finals, Jones established her role as the elite of the field - rolling out at 12.43 - the third fastest time in Olympic history.

Dawn Harper of the U.S. won the gold medal in 12.54 seconds, Australia's Sally McLellan landed silver (12.64) and Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep scooped up bronze (also 12.64).

It seemed to be destiny, but it was not to be. Owning the fastest time in the world and winning in races by wide margins. The story of Jones had the making of a American come back story. She cleared

Daughter of a single mother with three brothers and a sister, at one point lived in the basement of a church. Her father was in and out of jail during her youth. The kid who bounced from family to family. Jones worked minimum jobs to stay in the sport. The story was close to coming full circle for the 25-year-old LSU graduate.

"You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race," said Jones. "But it's kind of like a car. When you race in a car and you're going max velocity and you hit a curve, you either maintain control or you crash and burn and today I crashed and burned."

"When I crossed the line, it was very hard to pick myself back up," she said. "Today's hard." Tomorrow's going to be harder."
It was a heartbreaking race and a reminder of how difficult the sport can be. Lolo is a champion with or without a medal and after this latest disappointment she will keep moving on.

By Jay Hicks.

When Athletes Blog - David Oliver Blogs From Beijing

Olympics Day 10 - Athletics
Lenovo sponsored Olympic blogger hits the keyboard.

Some people can run at the highest level and others can blog. David Oliver managed to win his heat of the 110-hurdles and then sprinted to his blog to write about his experience.

Here is what the U.S. Olympic Trials champion had to say about his race, the unfortunate circumstances of Liu Xiang and Terrence Trammell's.

"Before I get to my performance, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the loss of two of the best 110 hurdlers in the history of the event, forced out by injury in the first round.

Once again, it is unfortunate how freak injuries turn what seem like invincible athletes, in to mere mortals. Terrence and Liu were both dealt that bad hand and never got a chance to fulfill their Olympic dream. It is a very hard pill to swallow for me because I believe that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best, heads up, and we will not get to see a such match up here.

The stadium was jam packed! It was very hot on the track as well, it felt like a 20 degree increase in temperature from the warm up track to the stadium. I went out and ran a clean race and won my heat in a time of 13.30, which was good enough for the top performance of the day."
Tomorrow evening David Oliver will run the quarterfinal heat tomorrow evening.

Click here to read David Oliver's full blog from the Olympic Games in Beijing.

By Jay Hicks.

Nike Dunk Trainer Low Invisible



There selection of Olympic shoes have increased this year compared to past Olympic years. The Nike arsenal of shoes features this Air Trainer Dunk Free. Only a few times has Nike used the invisible concept which features clear parts of the shoe which allow to be see through.

This shoe features a Pearl White upper, Gold flaked mid-sole and a Blue liner. The colors used are very nice, but the whole look is different, but hey to each his own.


By Jay Hicks.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bolt Inching Towards History

Olympics Day 10 - Athletics

Usain Bolt is the man to beat in the 200-meters. He is still riding high off of his 100-meter world record and hoping to become the first man since Carl Lewis to win the 100 and 200 double.

The men semi-finals took place in the evening after the athletes ran opening rounds in the morning.

Bolt (20.29) narrowly edged out Shawn Crawford (20.42) to win his semi-final heat. Walter Dix (20.27) worked a little harder in the final 30 meters than he probably wanted to while finishing second in his heat.

When will Wallace Spearmon start running the turn?

He poured it on down the stretch to take second in his heat with 20.39. If Spearmon doesn't improve at the first half of the race, he may very well find himself too far out of position to contend for a medal in the finals.

At this point, Dix and Bolt have run a total of six races. With that, it is unlikely that we will see Michael Johnson's world record of 19.32 fall in the finals.

Never before has Bolt come into the finals of a championship race with a full round of 100-meter runs under his belt. The best strategy to challenge Bolt in the finals is for Dix or Crawford to get out the first 30 meters like they have junk yard dogs on their tail.

It is lights out in the finals if Bolt comes off the turn with lead.

By Jay Hicks.

Wariner & Merritt Move Forward to Semi-Finals

Olympics Day 10 - Athletics

Drum beats of athlete battle.

-Beijing-The 400-meters have not seen any surprises, yet. All three U.S. runners ran well qualifying but everyone is waiting to see the battle looming for the finals. Right now, it is the calm before the storm.

Reigning champion Jeremy Wariner advanced in 45.23 for the semi-finals along with rival LaShawn Merritt in 44.96. Both easily winning their respective heats.

Merritt is ready to battle:”It's time to go, time to showdown and throw down. I went home, got my confidence up and mentally got ready to perform. I train to win and when I do it gives me a good boost.”

The third place finisher at the U.S. Olympic Trials, David Neville who finished second in his heat in 45.22 to advance said “You know I thought I'd be able to run a little slower. I did what I had to do to make it through. For me, I'm just going out there and doing the best I can do. I'm representing the U.S. to the best of my ability."

Jeremy Wariner whose wants is the world record to fall in Beijing but goal is winning a second medal in the event said the following after the race: “We have a chance to get top three. It will take a lot of work but anything is possible.”

Anything less than a U.S. sweep of the event would amount to a colossal failure. The Prerace Jitters Predictions for the 400-meter finals are as follows:

1st: Jeremy Wariner – 43.35
2nd: LaShawn Merritt – 43.80
3rd: David Neville 44.63

By Jay Hicks.

Isinbeyeva Raises the Roof In Beijing


Russian pole vaulter breaks her own world record and Stucynski grabs silver.

-Beijing—The women’s pole vault unfolded with an air of predictability at the Birdnest. The venerable Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia jumped and produced yet another world record of 16 feet, 6.75 inches. This is her third time this season to improve on her world record.

If it is any indication, nearly half of the field was out of the competition before Isinbayeva took her first jump.

Jennifer Stucynski (15 feet, 9 inches) of the U.S. did everything she needed in order to earn a well-deserved silver medal. Afterword she said, "I couldn't ask for anything more than to come to my first Olympics and get a medal, a silver no less. It's beyond words to have people in there cheering for you. I made a lot of jumps and I'm feeling it right now."

The clearance by Isinbayeva was so large it leads me to think that will be raise her record again before the end of this outdoor season.

By Jay Hicks.

Yeah, Yeah: Angelo Taylor Leads U.S. Sweep of 400-Hurdles!

Olympics Day 10 - Athletics

A big-time U.S. performance highlights the day.

-Beijing-Don’t call it come back—he’s been here for years. Going into Beijing a bulk of the attention was focused primarily on Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson. Today, Angelo Taylor won Olympic gold over the two aforementioned U.S. runners.

Angelo the champion from the 2000 Sydney Games is no stranger to thrilling races, having won his first gold medal out of lane 1. In 2004, an illness hindered the Albany, Georgia native from getting out the semi-final heats in Athens.

This time around the supremely talented Taylor ran the fastest time (47.25) of his life.

Just when people were beginning to get down on the Team USA, the U.S hurdles ran extremely well as Kerron Clement (47.98) and Bershawn Jackson (48.06) dominated a very talented field.

Stephanie Brown Trafton might have saved the day for the U.S. in winning a gold in the women's discus.

By Jay Hicks.

Lolo Jones, Damu Cherry, and Dawn Harper Get Past Semi-final Round.

Olympics Day 10 - Athletics

-Beijing-Timing is everything. Most are aware of Lolo Jones’ struggles off the track. She has gotten past being homeless as a child, and financial woes after the 04' season.

This time the LSU alum is peaking at the right time. Lolo posted the fastest time (12.43) the event has seen in three years and the best time of her life.

The U.S. hurdlers including Dawn Harper (12.73) and Damu Cherry (12.92) qualified with the fastest time.

Many expected Susanna Kallur of Sweden to at least make the finals and potentially medal, however she fell to the track during her and did not qualify.

Look for Lolo to lead a U.S. sweep of the with 100-hurdles. If this happen fans will see raw emotions of joy and a good celebration dance.

By Jay Hicks.

Injury Keeps Terrence Trammell & Liu Xiang Out of Hurdles

Olympics Day 10 - Athletics

The big story out of Beijing today is not Michael Phelps.

Nope.

The bigger story is that the Chinese people will not have the pleasure of watching Liu Xiang compete for gold in the 110-meter hurdles final.

Silence fell over the nearly 70,000 spectators on Monday at the Birdnest as the Chinese national hero was also unable to go.

After a false start was charged to the field, Xiang decided the pain was just too much and signaled that he was bowing out.

Xiang has raced very little as the 08' season has been a struggle with a nagging hamstring injury.

Terrence Trammell Goes Down In Hurdles.

A strain to his left string hamstring has ended Trammell’s gold medal hopes in Beijing. He earned silver in both 2000 and 2004 and was hoping to medal in a third straight Olympic Games. Doing so would have been accomplished something that no athlete has ever done before.

The Georgia native grimaced with pain on his face and pulled out of the race after the first set of hurdles.

The bodies of these stalwarts of the hurdling game simply gave out on them. This is arguably one of the most painful ways for athletes to see their Olympic dreams end.

David Oliver (13.30) and David Payne of the U.S. both won their heats.

By Jay Hicks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jamaicans Go 1-2-3 in Women’s 100

Lauryn Williams takes fourth place.

-Beijing-The Jamaicans proved they are the fastest humans on the planet. First, Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the men’s 100-meters while doing dance moves the last 15-meters of the race. The only thing missing from the performance was a dj and spinning some of that legendary reggae dance music.

Oh wait, that came after the race.

The Jamaican women picked up where Bolt left off. Shelly Ann-Fraser finished first in 10.78 seconds, well ahead of silver medalist Sherone Williams and bronze medalist Kerron Stewart, who were both timed in 10.98.

After the race Ann-Fraser jumped up and down in celebration after witnessing her wide margin of victory on the jumbo screen, similar to Bolt’s win yesterday.

The Jamaican sprinters came in with top times and put together consistent races leading up to Beijing.

Lauryn Williams, the silver medalist in Athens, was fourth, and Muna Lee, the Olympic Trials champion, was fifth. Veteran sprinter Torri Edwards was eighth.

After the race Williams said, "It was incredibly close. The only thing I could say about the photo finish was 'oh-oh, not again.' I thought the photo was between me and Sherone for third, but it wasn't. I put what I had on the line today. I'm not upset. 10.78 was a great time."

By Jay Hicks.

Sanya Richards Lone American In 400 Final

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics


-Beijing-The Texas resident cracked 50 seconds for the first time this season in winning her semi-final heat. Her time of 49.90 is the fastest qualifying time going into the finals.

Sanya Richards looked strong, controlled, and fast coming down the homestretch as she won in the third-fastest time of the year. The heats are grueling and the only question is whether she has enough left in the tank for the finals.

"I feel like I can win it from a slow start or a fast start," Richards said. "I feel like I can just taste it now."

Her teammates, Dee Trotter and Mary Wineberg, are out of the competition after struggling in their semi-final heats. Americans Mary Wineberg, who finished fifth in her heat in 51.13, and Dee Dee Trotter, who was seventh in her heat in 51.87, did not advance.

Trotter is nursing a chipped tibia caused by a freak accident in which a car door flew open slamming into her knee. She has been running with pain and swelling in Beijing.

In the finals, Sanya will face some stiff competition for. Great Britain's Christine Ohuruogo (50.14) and Jamaica's Shericka Williams (50.28) posted the second- and third-best times.

By Jay Hicks.

Get Carried With the Olympic Sneakers


-Nike Air Max 1

The Olympic Games are here, and what better a way for the sneaker lover to get in the spirit than to pick up a pair of Olympic inspired sneakers. Go for the gold, or settle on silver.

The special edition Nike Air Max 1 "Olympic Perforated Metal" shoes have been dropped in 888 select retail stores around the globe.

The shoes are available in either gold or silver, and feature entirely perforated uppers, embroidery on the heel, and white soles.

By Jay Hicks.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Usain 'Lightning" Bolt Wins 100-Meter Gold

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics

Beijing-Analysis. Bolt Made 9.69 World Record Look Easy!

The race left me speechless.

Wow!

What is the adequate response to the 9.69 that Usain Bolt delivered? I guess that he is the greatest sprinter of all-time.

Who knows what the results would have been, if he had not started celebrating twelve meters out from the finish line.

He flew past his previous world record mark of 9.74.

In second, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago ran 9.89. Walter Dix the former Florida State champion was third in 9.91. Both runners ran the fastest times of their lives to hit the medal stand. Doc Patton was eighth in 10.03.

In predictable fashion, his countrymen Asafa Powell, was nowhere in sight at the end finishing fifth in 9.95. In the Prerace Jitters predictions, Powell was pegged for fourth place even though he carries a personal best of 9.76, and is the former world record holder.

Bolt set the bar extremely high on the second day of Olympic competition. His performance may very well go down as the single most impressive track performance of the games.

Unless, of course the Lightning Bolt has historic (read: world record) performance in the 200-meter finals.

By Jay Hicks
.

Tyson Gay Fails To Make 100-Meter Final

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics

-Beijing- Analysis--Gay Runs Out of Time.

The hamstring held up for Tyson Gay through the rounds. However it was his conditioning that let him down in the semi-final heat.

He placed fifth in his heat by .02, knocking him out of the highly anticipated 100-meter final.

Gay's Olympic dreams went down with him on the track in Eugene at the U.S. Olympic Trials. This was his first competition since the injury, and Gay had only two weeks of practicing before heading to Beijing.

Gay is a warrior and ran as well as could be expected in this difficult set of circumstances. It was a simply a situation in which he ran out of time.

"I may have needed more races, but I don’t really have any excuses,’’ Gay said. "I'm pretty upset. I did my best and everyone knows I did," he went on to say.

By Jay Hicks.

U.S. Women Progress to 400 Semis

Olympics Day 8 - Athletics

-Beijing—Analysis.

U.S. runners Sanya Richards, Dee Dee Trotter, and Mary Wineberg made it into the next round of the 400-meters with runs on Saturday.

Olympic favorite Sanya Richards won her heat in 50.54, to keep her gold medal hopes alive. Mary Wineberg placed second in her heat with 51.46. And Dee Dee Trotter survived by placing fourth in her heat 51.41.

Richards look very relaxed in her efforts. However Wineberg and Trotter need to pick up the pace in otherwise they will get less than desirable lanes as they move forward.

Muna Lee (11.33), Lauryn Williams (11.38), and Torri Edwards (11.26) breezed into the next round of 100-meter races. The main competition are Jamaicans envoy of Sherone Simpson and Kerrone Stewart, who all pretty effortlessly made it to the next round.

By Jay Hicks.

Nike Delivers More Olympic Inspired Shoes.


Here is the new Nike Beijing Olympic USA Pack that includes some cool kicks including this Rejuven8 ( shown above) which is seen above. This shoe became available on 8.8.08 at Nike.com or a retailer near you. The Nike Delta Force Low (shown below) was also released in this collection below.

By Jay Hicks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Don’t Forget About Hyleas Fountain

Olympics Day 7 - Athletics

-Beijing-Team USA on track in Beijing.

For some odd reason, there has been very little written in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, about the women who delivered a dominant performance at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Hyleas Fountain among other things broke Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s decade old record in the heptathlon 100-meter hurdles.

Fast forward to the Olympic Games.

There were a few interviews but absent was a Visa commercial with Morgan Freeman or an athlete profile. Maybe it’s because 2007 World Champion Carolina Kluft is not competing in the heptathlon and instead is focusing on the long jump.

But none of that matters.

The world may find out that the Hyleas Fountain is the possibly the best female athlete in the world. Similar to her performance at the Olympic Trials, Fountain had an incredible day 1 in Beijing, leading the competition with 4,060 points in the first four of seven disciplines, 64 ahead of Nataliia Dobrynska of Ukraine. At this point, it will prove to be a major challenge to catch the University of Georgia alum.

Fountain ran a blistering 12.78 over the hurdles and threw down a 23.21 in the 200-meters.

Having two bad events out of four made it a tough day for Jackie Johnson of the U.S. in the heptathlon. Getting this far behind, makes her medal efforts that much more difficult.

She threw the shot just 38 feet, 9 ½ inches, well off her personal record 42 feet, 5 ½ inches at the trials, where she was second to qualify for her first Olympics. Johnson then ran 24.74 in the 200 in which her personal best is 24.01.

Johnson's first-day total is 3,592 points, 125 lower than at the trials.

The U.S. men may very well complete a 1-2-3- sweep in 400-meter hurdles.

The three U.S. runners won their respective rounds in the 400-meters: Angelo Taylor (48.67), Bershawn Jackson (49.20), and Kerron Clement ( 49.42).

The reigning Olympic champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic placed fifth in his heat, and failed to qualify for the next round.

By Jay Hicks.

All U.S. Runners Out of Women 800-meters

-Beijing-
It’s almost unimaginable that after the first round that not one U.S. runner is in the competition.

They didn’t run nearly fast enough. They were not prepared either mentally or physically to make it out the first round of heats.

Pick one a reason.

The injured Nicole Teter stopped running in her heat after 150-meters, due to an lingering Achilles tendon injury.

In what has to be described as a melt down, Olympic Trials champion Hazel Clark (2:01.59) running in her third Olympics and Alice Schmidt (2:02.33) failed to advance.

By Jay Hicks.

Gay, Powell, and Bolt Breeze Through 100-meters Heats

Olympics Day 7 - Athletics
-Beijing-Analysis-In Preparation For Saturdays Semi-finals and Finals.

For many of the sprinters, the first round of 100-meter heats, were a chance to shake off the rust. Many have not competed in at least two weeks and for Tyson Gay, it has been six weeks since he last ran at the U.S Olympic Trials.

The typical race strategy for champion racing is a combination of posturing and working on the different pieces of the race such as: the start and drive phase. Normally athletes do not like to show all of the stuff until the finals.

There were no major upsets in the morning, as The Big Three 100-meter runners easily made it through the first heat of the 100-meters rounds. Tyson Gay looked completely healed today as he was conserving energy and preparing for the next round ahead of him.

Times heated up a bit in the quarter-final heats that took place during the evening.

It appeared that Usain Bolt’s run of 9.92, was easy to him and that he burned very little energy. The world record holder maintains his status as the favorite to win gold, however history has shown that running the fastest times through the rounds is no guaranteed for victory in the finals. Veteran Darvis Patton (10.04) of the U.S. was second behind Bolt in that quarter-final heat.

Tyson Gay placed second in his heat (10.02), behind Former LSU runner Richard Thompson of Trinidad. In the final heat of the afternoon, Asafa Powell easily won in 10.02 seconds, followed closed by Walter Dix (10.08) of the U.S. placed.

By Jay Hicks.

The Winner Will Be The Fastest Human Ever

Olympics Day 7 - Athletics


Is This The Biggest Race In History?

It’s hard to recall a race with as much anticipation as this 100-meter race. As most of the world knows a three-way race for gold will happen between Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt, and Asafa Powell. Without a question, they are three bone fide superstars of the sport.

This race has all of the makings of a mega sports attraction. It could not be hosted on a larger stage. The stature and hype of the Olympic Games by far exceeds that of the Super Bowl or the Soccer World Cup.

I am going to throw out a couple of names that can not be overlooked for this race. Former NCAA champion Walter Dix, should not be discounted in this race and my sleeper pick to medal. He maintains a low-profile, but Dix has actually won a number of big races in his career, albeit not on this large of a stage. He is under no pressure to win the race, which is a recipe for him to wreak havoc in the finals.

Darvis Patton is a relatively unknown fact by media standards. This 30-year-old veteran sprinter is running with a sense of urgency, knowing that more than likely he will not compete in another Olympic Games. Patton has made tremendous strides this season and making the medal stand would close out what has been so far, a brilliant season.

While the discussion of this race has been endless, here is something else to consider. There are four rounds of the 100-meters. Winning this glamorous event at the Olympics is much more about strength, rather than pure speed.

Who do you think will win gold? Below are the Prerace Jitters predictions for the finals of the 100-meters.

100-meter Predictions:

1. Tyson Gay, USA
2. Usain Bolt, Jamaica
3. Walter Dix, USA
4. Asafa Powell, Jamaica
5. Darvis Patton, USA

By Jay Hicks.