Sunday, March 20, 2016

2016 World Indoor Championships Day 4

Last day, and we're on our best behavior. Even the cones have signage...

Doug rarely needs to loosen up...

Any guesses what this is?

Here's a hint:

The incoming ramp is to the left. "Vesuvio" is the machine that produces the fake fireworks for the athlete introductions. Clever, I know..

Double Olympic Champ Gail Devers is on hand today, and she clearly still does not know how to cut her fingerclaws.

How does she scratch her nose? Very carefully!
Talking with Starting Line Clerk Dan: he's worked two Olympic Games and is a wealth of 'behind the scenes' lore...

Dan Story #1: In the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the women lined up for the 100m start, and Gail took off her sticky hip numbers and threw them on the ground. Since the numbers are required by the rule book, Dan gave her another pair of numbers. She stuck them on, waited a minute, then peeled them off again. Dan gave her more,, citing the rules. Then Dan's boss waved him off, and she won the race.

Dan Story #1: at the same Games, the women's 4x100m relay was lining up to start. Each team is given a standard baton to use by the officials, and everyone has an identical one. Leadoff runner Chrystie Gaines says the American women have their own baton, and she refuses to swap it with the official version. She puts her baton down on the ground and does some strides. While she's down the track, Dan switches batons and throws hers in the nearest garbage can. Then he hides where she can't see him. Turns out the US women won gold, so they should thank Dan for that.

Another rainy 4 mile run this morning, and my workout week is complete. The legs are starting to come around again.

Funny: on Friday, I was exhausted and ready for this track meet to be done. Today, I'm ready for more.

Marquis Dendy get introduced for the long jump while wearing a porkpie hat. Then he does monster jumps wearing a ballcap backwards. He and his ridiculous springs win his first world championship; he must have broken lots of things while bouncing around the house as a kid.

During the 3000m introductions, Lee Emmanuel dumps a bottle of water on his head as he jogs down the track. Shoot, all he had to do was run outside for the same effect. The event turns into an all-out drag race with 1200m remaining. Ryan Hill was slightly gapped at 3 laps, inched his way back up, then went from 5th to 2nd at the tape with that buttery smooth stride of his. He will do much damage on the outdoor tracks this year when he can uncork those long legs.

Ruth Beitia wins the age group HJ competition for competitors 37 and older, while placing second to 19 year old Vashti Cunningham. I'm not sure whose accomplishment is more remarkable. According to the announcer, Ruth is the 26-time Spanish champion. 26????

Robby Andrews starts the 1500m very well, way up front. Then he falls back to his familiar 'tail end Charlie' position and can't quite make up ground. Meanwhile, Nick Willis does an explosive move with 300m to go, but Little Centro is right on him. And then right past him. Huge win, and a very loud arena sees the 'hometown' boy make good for his first major championship. He rarely finds himself out of position, just a tactical perfectionist.

The music between events is "Somebody to Lean On" by Pentatonix. My daughter would love that! She's going to the Portland concert in a month, and she even has a backstage pass to meet the band. She about lost her mind over that revelation.

Me and Ishmael, hurdle crew captain. And UO hurdler from days gone by. It was only recently that his best college performance was nudged out of the university's all time top ten. That's 30 years of staying power. His son is 24 and has been on the hurdle crew for 16 years! There's potential for a 60 year volunteer pin in about 4 decades.

Every victory interview focuses on the huge crowd support. International Olympic Committee, are you listening? We want the 2024 Games in the US.

Jamaica's Omar MacLeod wins the men's hurdles in a wind-aided time of 7.41 seconds. Big cheering section out there.

The Polish women take a surprise 2nd in the 4x400 relay, and screaming so loud that the marshals have to clear them from the track lest a riot break out.

(did anybody take notice that a 'wind-aided' time indoors probably isn't likely?)

Vernon Norwood, he of the 400m DQ, runs an angry anchor leg on the men's relay to put it away. The Belgian team comprised mostly of Borlees (three of them) drop the baton; I guess the next holiday meal at their house might be a little strained.

Team Bahama, with a nearly 40 Chris Brown. These guys won Olympic Gold in 2012.

Retired stud decathlete Rex Harvey asks me who the gentleman in the white shirt is, and of course I know...

Dwight Phillips, 5 time long jump World Champion
I guess I'm getting some cred among the officials!

My work on the 400m break line is complete without a hitch; I didn't want to make a mistake and have someone trip. One of the International Technical Officials, a very high muckety muck, shakes my hand and says "Good job." That's worth a lot in this biz, where nit picking happens all too frequently.

Game, set, match. Great competition, great job hosting the meet by Oregon and the USA. We got a big thumbs up from the IAAF, so hopefully they'll remember that when they decide if Los Angeles should get the 2024 Games.
Mentor Fred Newhouse

Final order of business: get dressed in my Sunday best and head downtown to the Fan Festival.


The Festival in Pioneer Place (all the sane people have left by now)


The awards podium

Top notch officials
 And some munchies in the VIP area...

 Good thing I was dressed appropriately:

Thanks, Molly!

Sorry it's over. Glad I was here.

Or there.

Or anywhere.

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