Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Outdoor Nationals: Day 3

A decent night's sleep, though a bit warm.

Walking to the grocery store for a paper and ice (beer cooler), I pass a big guy who has:

1) a 16 oz coffee
2) a 20 oz Rockstar

and he's alternating slugs from each. It's 0715 in the morning.

Caffeine, anyone?  Or maybe a bladder stone...

The newspaper has a great shot of the women's 100m finish: Torie Bowie, English Gardner, Jenna Prandini, Carmelita Jeter....4 runners.

in 3 lanes.


Carmelita drifted into English's lane at the finish; no foul, because she didn't impede. Ms Jeter ended up far behind the winners...never seen that before!

And oh by the way: the newspaper reported that Jenna Prandini got a bad start in the 100 final yesterday. Where else might you have heard that, I wonder? After you re-read my comments from that entry, please notify me of any coaching opportunities you might find. Or any announcing jobs....good thing I don't get tired of being right.

I'm all out of incident report sheets, so I ask for another handful. I'm in a writing kind of mood...the head referee hears me and says, "Great. More work for me."

Aries Merritt is one buttery smooth hurdler. So is Emma Coburn. Seems like they gain momentum while everyone else is losing. Aries really needs to clip his fingernails, though; they are Howard-Hughes like.

Duane Solomon is predicting a world record in the 800m tomorrow, and Nick Symmonds says he's steal it in the last 100. Guys, please save your talking until after the race.

In the men's 200m prelims, the announcer says that "the top two advance to Sunday's final." There are five heats, and eight lanes. Unless we're going to double up a few lanes, he's mistaken. He meant to say "the top two in each heat plus the next six fastest advance to Sunday's SEMI-finals."  Same announcer introduced a University of Texas runner as being from Texas A&M. In Austin, you could get shot for that.

Remember that thing about being right? Just sayin.'

The schedule is bad today from a lunch standpoint. We need 25 minutes or so to run to the cafeteria and back, but every other event is such that we need the full crew. And I'm a growing boy.....

Ned, the lap counter, notices my dilemma and realizes that the starters have ordered too many box lunches (they can't leave the track at all). So he produces a spare, and I shovel down a chicken wrap while under the stands.

It's good to know the right people!

While I'm there, the women steeple runners are assembling with the clerks. I see Jaime Cheever, who I recently found out is a friend of a co-worker. Unfortunately, she scoots for the starting line while my mouth is full, or I would have introduced myself.

Talking with Nancy; she hands out cold towels and ice water to the athletes at the starting line. In our conversation, she mentions that her husband is the Facility Director for the track. I ask her last name.


As in Lance Deal, Olympic Silver Medalist and 4-time Olympian in the hammer throw. I've seen him many times at the track but never had opportunity to speak with him. I asked Nancy if she was in Atlanta '96 when he won his medal. She said, "Not only was I there, but he owes that medal to me."

Explain, please.

After the 3 rounds of qualifying throws, Lance was tied for the 8th and last spot. Normally, the tiebreaker goes to the thrower whose next best effort is longer. But not in the Olympics; they'll bring all nine to the final.

Ok, good. Except Lance's 4th and 5th throws are fouls. He's one throw away from going home empty, so he goes to the bathroom to collect his thoughts. Nancy sees him and says, "Lance, really? You KNOW how to throw far."  In a tone that only a spouse knows.

Bingo. He nodded, smiled, and said, "I got this."

He got back into the ring and absolutely uncorked one. The leader was shown on camera watching the weight fly as he mouthed "Oh F.........k."  Lance's throw ended up 4" short, though plenty for 2nd place.

But there's more....

Nike had just come out with their first line of sunglasses, and they had sponsored Lance for awhile. The contract stated a bonus for every picture published in which Lance was wearing the shades.

As he began his victory lap, his wife screamed, "THE GLASSES!"

He put on the shades and paraded around the track. Later, Nancy went to the library and documented every news picture she could find and sent the results to Nike. They were rewarded with a check for $2500 (in 1996 money), that she used to buy herself a very nice piece of jewelry.

Did I mention that I love track?

During the 400m hurdles, I see one of the starters absolutely dropping the hammer on the photographers who feel it necessary to shoot pix a split second before the gun is fired. Tiger Woods never stood for that...

As the hurdlers approach the finish en masse, I hear the best announcing ever: "It's the race to the line.....BATMAN!"  

Translation: Bershawn "Batman" Jackson out-nudges the other two for a big win.

In mid-afternoon, with the temperature approaching triple digits and muggy, my body is dripping wet. I see Facility Director Lance Deal, so I introduce myself. Then I say, "I'd like to complain about the effectiveness of your air conditioning." He laughs.

On their victory lap, the female hammer throwers decide to sprint across the finish line, nearly flattening the Finish Line Coordinator. It was a while before his heart rate resumed normal cadence.

Robby Andrews, as usual, was way back in the 1500m with a half lap remaining. He found his big gear and squeezed into 2nd at the line, behind Matt Centrowitz and his hellacious 51.97 last lap.

Before the 100mHH final, Lolo is focused and dialed in. I mean, she has the look of someone about to commit a felony (she was pacing back and forth about 5 feet away from me). She muffs a hurdle and is out of the race. Heck, she probably wouldn't have placed anyway. She's not at the same level as the others anymore.

The Junior girls 200m semi was cancelled, and all runners were advanced to the final. Not significant, except that this provided a 30 minute window of nothing to do. Which means I had time to run back to the dorm for another shower. By the end of today, I will have showered nine times in three days. Anything to break the heat wave...

Dawn Harper wins the sprint hurdles, and on her victory lap does a one-handed cartwheel while holding the flag.

UO's Raevyn Rogers owns the 800m. Just like two weeks ago in the NCAA Championship, she ran with the self-possession of a seasoned pro. A pedestrian 65 seconds on the first lap led to a 61 and a total destruction of the field. No one, and I mean NO ONE, negative splits an 800m race!!

A guy behind me in the stands is wearing at least half a tube of suntan lotion, and he didn't rub any of it in. He looks like a very sloppy baker.

A tiny, skinny girl enters the last lap of the Junior 1500m in 3rd place, trailing the leaders by a wide margin, when she says, "no you won't, EITHER." And she busts a 63 final lap to take it. She's a high school SOPHMORE.

The tally so far:
  • 3 days
  • 34 hours on the track
  • High-90s every day
  • 9 showers
  • 1 B-Mart sighting: 800m hopeful Brenda Martinez at the Wild Duck Pub, where she noticed the very cute daughter of some friends of mine.
I love track. But I'd really like some air conditioning, too.

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