So, uh, any good track meets this week?
For maybe someone new to the sport that’s a new question. For experienced track fans and maybe 40,000 Texas residents, the answer is becoming increasingly obvious as Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays hype builds to a fever pitch.
Texas Relays commands so much attention for many reasons, and several of the most important ones have little to do with track per se.
The 84th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays will kick off Wednesday, but the first high school event is not until Friday.
With all due respect, we don’t need lipping off to know the truth: The southern-based relay event which features high school, college and professional athletes is better than any other meet in the Midwest, West Coast or East Coast parts of the United States.
As a cultural event, Texas Relays has become an informal holiday. A community where friends meet up discussing when they ran at the meet or this years hottest teams. It’s become a right of passage for athletes and a cultural/social event for spectators.
Canny marketers help keep the meet viable even during the worst economic downturn of the last 100 years. The city of Austin is a big winner selling out rooms within a 20 mile radius and restaurant/night clubs are flush with paying clients.
Five reasons Texas Relays Is Tops:
Reason #5: Picking Early Favorites For the 2011 Season
Who are the top 10 early favorites to win at NCAA Outdoor Championships in June? Look no further than performances in Austin from a new legion of young guns to some ripe veterans to find out who will make this a year to remember. Winning at Texas Relays is a good start!
Reason #4: Looking For The Next Superstar
High schools converge on Austin to compete on the same track as Tyson Gay, Marshevet Myers, and Jeremy Wariner. Spectators, coaches, fans, and media -types get a chance to see some of the best talent in the county perform in a highly competitive environment.
Reason #3: Winter Is Over
Texas Relays signifies that the outdoor season is in full force. Temperatures typically hover in the high 80s this time of year in Austin, creating an ideal environment for fast times.
Many top tier West Coast schools such as Washington State led by Jeshua Anderson escape overcast skies to run in the warm weather.
Reason #2: Go Big Or Go Home
It’s where contenders and pretenders are separated.
The presence of the top five U.S. Track & Field and Cross County Coaches Association ranked men’s teams including Florida, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Florida State, and LSU makes the competition unparalleled.
Four of the top five U.S. Track & Field and Cross County Coaches Association women’s ranked teams including Texas A&M, LSU, Oklahoma, and USC will also compete in Austin.
Reason #1: Cultural Event
Texas Relays crosses boundaries into a cultural event with accompanying night life parties attracting celebrities such as former Longhorn Vince Young, concerts, and other related activities.
Where else can track boast this sort of existence? Not Eugene. Not Philadelphia. Not New York. Or Los Angeles.
London (August 13, 2010)- After all the questions about Tyson Gay’s health entering the London Aviva Diamond League Series against a talented field with Richard Thompson and Walter Dix, it seemed like the he might be doomed. Um, nope.
Tyson Gay roared to a world-leading win in the men’s 100m Friday night at the Aviva London Grand Prix, part of the Samsung Diamond League.
Gay shot out of the blocks and blazed down the straight to win the sprint in 9.78 seconds, despite the slight headwind (-.04mps), clipping .04 off the previous world lead. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, the only other athlete to break 10 seconds, finished as the runner-up in a personal best 9.89.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, Sally Pearson (AUS) was first out of the blocks and held the lead until the mid-way point when Canada’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep kicked into high gear to take the lead. Reigning USA Outdoor champion Lolo Jones tried to stay with the pair but wound up third in 12.66 to Lopes-Schliep’s world-leading 12.52 and Pearson’s 12.61. 2010 NCAA 100m- and 400m hurdle champion Queen Harrison was fourth in 12.69.
Despite a sluggish start in the women’s 200m, three-time World Outdoor champion Allyson Felix stormed around the curve and into the lead, running away with the win in 22.37. Her nearest competitor, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (BAH), was over half a second back in 22.88. Felix will be looking for a repeat win tomorrow in the 400m.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, it was a battle down the final stretch between 2009 World Outdoor bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson and the World Outdoor silver medalist, Javier Culson (PUR). Running even off the final turn, Jackson used his signature kick to edge out Culson, winning the race in 48.12 to Culson’s 48.17.
Reigning World Indoor champion Bernard Lagat won the men’s 3,000m, breaking clear in the home straightaway to beat local favorite and two-time European champion Mo Farah of Britain. Lagat crossed the line in 7:40.36 to Farah’s 7:40.75. Two-time USA Outdoor 10,000m champion Galen Rupp finished fifth in a personal best 7:43.24.
In the men’s 800m, Andrew Wheating chased two-time World Indoor champion Abubaker Kaki down the final straight, but was unable to catch him, finishing as the runner-up in a personal best 1:44.56 to Kaki’s 1:44.38. Nick Symmonds finished third in 1:45.28.
In the field, American record holder Kara Patterson took second in the women’s javelin with a best effort of 63.41m/208. In the men’s pole vault, 2008 Olympic fourth-place finisher Derek Miles was the runner-up with a soggy clearance of 5.61m/18-4.75 while 2007 World Outdoor champion Brad Walker took fourth in 5.51m/18-1.
USA Track a& Field contributed to this report.
INDIANAPOLIS- Tyson Gay has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week for his impressive win over Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt (JAM) at the DN Galan - Samsung Diamond League meeting Friday.
The rivalry between the world’s fastest sprinters was finally tested for the first time since the 2009 World Championships, where World Record-holder Bolt claimed the top spot. One year later, in Stockholm, Gay took full advantage of his long-awaited opportunity to settle the score, entering the finals with the fastest seed and never relinquishing that position. Gay took the lead immediately from the blocks and held on for the win in a meet record time of 9.84 seconds over Bolt’s 9.97.
Also in Stockholm, Chris Solinsky, the American Record holder in the 10,000m, finished fifth in the 5,000m in 12:55.53. That is the second-fastest time ever by an American, trailing only Bernard Lagat’s American record run of 12:54.12 from earlier this year.
Now in its ninth year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on the USATF website. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
Winners: January 13, Jen Clayton; January 20, Shalane Flanagan; January 27, Nolan Shaheed; February 3, Bernard Lagat; February 10, Bernard Lagat; February 17, Shalane Flanagan; February 24, Amber Campbell; March 3, Amber Campbell; March 10, Phil Raschker; March 17, Ashton Eaton; March 31, Lisa Koll; April 7, Queen Harrison; April 14, Magdalena Lewy Boulet; April 21, Bershawn Jackson; April 28, Phoebe Wright; May 5, Chris Solinsky; May 12, Walter Dix; May 26, Cory Martin; June 2, Chaunte Lowe; June 9, Bernard Lagat; June 16, Queen Harrison; June 30, Kara Patterson; July 7, David Oliver; July 22, David Oliver; July 28, Conor McCullough; August 4, Kennedy Blahnik; August 11, Tyson Gay.
BEST MARKS WEEK ENDING AUGUST 8
100 - 9.84 Tyson Gay (adidas) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6 U.S. leader
200 - 20.18 Wallace Spearmon (Saucony) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
400 - 45.40 LeJerald Betters (Nike) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
800 - 1:45.32 Nick Symmonds (Nike/OTC) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
3000 - 7:54.61 David Torrence (Nike) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
5000 - 12:55.53 Chris Solinsky (Nike/OTC) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
110H - 13.51 Joel Brown (unat) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
400H - 47.65 Bershawn Jackson (Nike) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
HJ - 2.21/7-3.25 James Harris (Alabama HS) - Norfolk, VA 8/4
LJ - 7.87/25-10 Trevell Quinley (Nike) - Rakvere, FIN 8/3
SP - 22.09/72-5.75 Christian Cantwell (Nike) - Stockholm, SWE 8/5
Dec - 8090 Joe Detmer (unat) - Marburg, GER 8/8
100 - 10.99 Marshevet Myers (adidas) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
200 - 22.41 Allyson Felix (Nike) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
400 - 50.59 Debbie Dunn (unat) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
800 - 1:58.67 Morgan Uceny (Reebok) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
1500 - 4:02.72 Morgan Uceny (Reebok) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
3000SC - 9:37.98 Lisa Aguilera (Nike) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
5000 - 15:50.55 Jen Rhines (adidas) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
100H - 12.70 Queen Harrison (unat) & Lolo Jones (Asics) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
400H - 55.28 Sheena Tosta (Nike) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
HJ - 2.00/6-6.75 Chaunte Lowe (Nike) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
PV - 4.41/14-5.5 Lacy Janson (unat) - Stockholm, SWE 8/6
LJ - 6.89/22-7.25 Hyleas Fountain (Nike) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
SP - 18.74/61-5.75 Jill Camarena (NYAC) - Stockholm, SWE 8/5
DT - 62.61/205-5 Becky Breisch (Nike) - Nottwil, SUI 8/8
HT - 62.66/205-7 Shelby Ashe (Georgia HS) - Marietta, GA 8/7
Hept - 5984 Bettie Wade (Nike) - Marburg, GER 8/8
In 2004 there was concern. Handwringing. Consternation.
The worldwide screaming of BOLT! BOLT! BOLT! drowned out all of that. And thoughts of the greatness? Who cares about all that with the green and gold around?
The calendar flips one year and then ten years fly by and it’s 2012.
So who is the next Usain Bolt? It would make a great round table discussion at a nice restaurant. This is the stuff of internet chat board conversations that last for days. But in actuality no one really knows.
That’s because there will never be another Usain Bolt. How long did we wait for the next Jesse Owens? Usain Bolt’s feats do not to alter the accomplishments of the aforementioned except to distinguish the two as well before their time. People weren’t ready for them.
Remember “the next” great was Carl Lewis whose nine Olympic gold medals and longevity make him royalty. Michael Johnson has left him stamp on track and field. And along the way there have been a number of phenoms who have had brushes with greatness.
The real question is who is the next phenom this time around.
If another athlete of Bolt’s caliber is coming up there is a distinct likely that he/she will not be an American, however there is a high likelihood that they will train the U.S. under some of the best coaches and facilities in the world.
There will be Tyson Gay who will more than likely accomplish enough to finish a legend. There are shooting wonders like Johnny Dutch, Jeshua Anderson and the likes of Queen Harrison who are having outstanding careers.
There have been a share that have burned out before reaching their zenith and the of course the hazardous hamstring, knee and ankle injuries that make going through the motions of a full career nearly impossible.
Usain Bolt will probably be around in 2012 and and will probably take victory laps up to 2014. He is reportedly earning $250,000 a race and will have more than enough stacks to retire.
It’s to be seen if Bolt has the business drive of Michael Johnson to become a CEO. Or the entertainment drive of Carl Lewis to take on Hollywood shine. And that is good because Bolt will be around to be the sport’s spokesperson. Which is when we may again be asking where is the next Usain Bolt.
Nearly a decade later - we may still may not have answer to the question.
INDIANAPOLIS - In his first 100m competition of the year, American record holder Tyson Gay used an impressive finishing burst in passing former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica in winning the men’s 100m Saturday at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead, England.
The British Grand Prix is a member of the prestigious new IAAF Samsung Diamond League series consisting of 14 of the greatest invitational track meets in the world. For more information visit: www.diamondleague.com
Gay trailed Powell for most of the race before passing him with 20 meters to go. In the first battle this season between two of the ‘big three’ of men’s sprinting (Gay, Powell and Usain Bolt) Gay put an end to Powell’s unbeaten season by crossing the finish line first in 9.94 seconds.
Competitors in the 100m dealt with a +1.7 meters per second headwind. “I felt good,” Gay told the IAAF. “Asafa’s one of my favorite competitors and I managed to get him today. I really had to stretch to the finish line and he didn’t see me coming. The wind maybe affected the time slightly, but not much.”
Powell was the runner-up in 9.96, with Daniel Bailey (ANT) third in 10.15 and Trell Kimmons fourth in 10.18.
In other events, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and 2010 USA Outdoor Championships runner-up Walter Dix won the men’s 200 meters with his time of 20.26 seconds. Dix, who posted the second-fastest time in the world this year of 19.72 from his win last Saturday at the Nike Prefontaine Classic and won earlier this week in Lausanne, finished just ahead of two-time World Outdoor Championships bronze medalist and reigning national champion Wallace Spearmon, who was the runner-up in 20.29. Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (NOR) was third in 20.31 and Angelo Taylor was fourth in 20.50.
U.S. women’s sprinters also were successful in Gateshead with 2009 national 100m champion and two-time World Outdoor Championships bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter winning her specialty in 10.95 seconds. Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad was the runner-up in 11.00, with Sherone Simpson of Jamaica third in 11.02.
2007 USA Junior champion and Pan Am Junior gold medalist Bianca Knight was victorious in the women’s 200m in 22.71. Rosemarie Whyte of Jamaica was the runner-up in 22.81, with Anneisha McLaughlin (JAM) finishing third in 22.95.
2007 USA and NCAA Outdoor champion Alysia Johnson posted an impressive win in the women’s 800 meters by crossing the finish line first in 1:59.84. Finishing second was Halima Hachlaf (MAR) in 2:00.49, with Yuliya Krevsun (UKR) third in 2:00.67. 2008 Olympian and 2009 World Outdoor Championships fifth-place finisher Christin Wurth-Thomas finished fourth in 2:00.75.
Also posting a win today was two-time World Indoor champion and two-time Indoor Visa Champion Lolo Jones, who won the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.79 seconds. Jones, who is the 2010 USA Outdoor champion and posted the fastest-time in the world this year of 12.55 on June 12 in New York, finished ahead of runner-up Danielle Carruthers (12.98) and Canadian standout Perdita Felicien, who was third in 13.01.
U.S. women turning in runner-up performances in Gateshead included reigning national 400m champion, 2009 World Outdoor Championships sixth-place finisher and current world 400m leader Debbie Dunn (50.66), and 2004 Olympic Trials fourth-place finisher Morgan Uceny (4:04.26), who posted the fastest 1,500m time by an American this outdoor season earlier this week in Lausanne when she finished fifth in 4:02.40, which is her career best. 2008 Olympian and Olympic Trials record holder Kara Patterson, who set the American record in the women’s javelin in winning at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships, finished as the runner-up today with her best throw of 63.11m/207-0.
Another impressive performance was turned in by 2010 USA Outdoor Championships runner-up Leonel Manzano, who posted the fastest time by an American this outdoor season with his 1,500m second-place finish in 3:33.51. His performance bettered the previous U.S. leading mark of 3:33.92 that he posted when he finished third in New York on June 12.
Also turning in a strong performance was Ben Bruce, who was the runner-up in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines. Bruce finished third today in 8:22.88, which is his personal best time and the second-fastest time by an American this year.
All-time hurdles great Allen Johnson retires at Gateshead
According to a report by the BBC, 1996 Olympic gold medalist, four-time World Outdoor champion and all-time 110m hurdles great Allen Johnson announced his retirement today in Gateshead at the age of 39.
“It’s just come to the point where my body can’t take it anymore,” said Johnson.”Maybe I can coach some hurdlers or some sprinters… give something back. I’m going to miss it, I really am, but it was fun.”
EUGENE, Ore. - U.S. men’s 100m record holder Tyson Gay, 2009 World Outdoor Championships silver and bronze medalist Bernard Lagat and the American record holder in the women’s pole vault Jenn Suhr appeared at a press conference Friday held in conjunction with the 2010 Nike Prefontaine Classic.
The fourth and final event of the 2010 USATF Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the Nike Prefontaine Classic will take place Saturday at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.
The Nike Prefontaine Classic, featuring no fewer than 41 Olympic Games or World Championships gold medalists, will be televised LIVE by NBC from 4:30-6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The Nike Prefontaine Classic is a member of the prestigious new IAAF Samsung Diamond League series consisting of 14 of the greatest invitational track meets in the world www.diamondleague.com.
Excerpts from this afternoon’s press conference follow:
Q: How do you feel?
A: I feel okay. The hamstring is coming along. It’s still slightly tight, but it’s getting better.
Q: How does it feel to finally be able to step on the track and run one of your events?
A: To run here really feels good. I feel this is an opportunity for me to hopefully redeem myself from 2008. Sometimes when you get injured on a track and you know you can be fast and you don’t have the opportunity to run on it, you know you wish to have that opportunity again.
Q: Do you think about that when you go out to Hayward Field?
A: Actually I don’t. I thought about it today for the first time, but I really don’t. I haven’t watched that race in a long time, but I just want to take advantage of running on a nice track at a nice stadium.
Q. How’s your health?
A: It’s coming along. It’s definitely not 100%. I think I’m about 85% right now. My hamstring is still tight but it’s just a problem that I’ll just have to run with it. It’s not going to tear or anything like that, it’s just tight.
Q: With that hamstring still being tight, will you have to make a more conscientious effort to warm up longer to keep from making it worse?
A: Yes. It takes me a little longer to warm up, but that’s cool.
Q: Does running the turn in the 200m put more stress on your hamstring than just running straight in the 100 meters?
A: I don’t even want to think about it and I haven’t thought about it. Don’t scare me (laughter).
Q: How excited are you about racing against Usain Bolt later this season?
A: I want to race the best. I’m 85% excited because that’s where I’m at right now.
Q: You say you’re at 85% right now. Do you have any idea when you’ll approach being 100% again?
A: I think after I get this race under my belt and a few 100s under my belt, than I think I’ll be good to go. I need to get race sharp and get my start sharper and I’ll be good.
Q: Everyone knows about the success you’ve had with the Wanamaker Mile and that you’ve been successful with the Bowerman Mile at the Pre Classic. What would it mean for you to win it again on Saturday?
A: It would mean a lot to me. It’s been a long time since I’ve won the Bowerman Mile and I want it so bad. My coach told me to go in there and put your mind and everything in it and don’t go into it halfway and just do the work and run strong towards the end and make sure you win it because this is important. If I lose tomorrow my son is going to be not too happy. He’s here with me and he gets upset when daddy loses races. I lost in New York and he could not believe that I lost, and when I broke the American record in the 5,000 I finished third and he wasn’t too happy, so there’s more motivation for me to run and win for my son as well.
Q: Would another motivation come from knowing that you’re facing a terrific field in this race?
A: Absolutely. The biggest motivation is that I am running against the best in the world. Everybody’s here and for me to win I’ll have to work very, very hard for it. It’s not going to be easy and it won’t be given to me. I’ve been training well and I’m rested, I’m ready mentally and physically.
Q: Does it mean more to you to win these famous races when the competition is more challenging?
A: If you think about the Wanamaker for example, I was going against the Olympic champion and it was not easy. I had to run hard, I ran a smart race and I won it, so that is a legitimate race that I won and tomorrow is going to be another one.
Q: Do you think anyone is going to take it out early and try to take your great kick away from you?
A: I think so. About 1,200 meters into the race I am sure somebody is going to try to go.
Q: Did you expect to break the American record in the women’s pole vault last week at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines?
A: Not at all. My coach expected it but for me it was unexpected because I kind of like to jump it in practice first before I jump it and I wasn’t there yet. I just went with it and I can remember the jump clearly. I jumped like I knew I was going to make it, and I made it and I was excited. That was probably the most I’ve celebrated for a jump because it wasn’t a clean jump, it wasn’t a pretty jump but it was a tough jump.
Q: There was a lot of wind in that stadium through the week. What was it like during your competition and during that particular jump?
A: We watched the guys finals and they had a tailwind and I couldn’t wait to compete, and the next thing you know they switch the pad and we’re warming up into a headwind. They kept saying it was going to change and at times it did, and at times it was back to a headwind. It was about being patient and waiting for the wind and knowing how to conserve your energy to wait so that you have the right wind.
Q: Do the conditions at Hayward Field usually suit you well?
A: I wish every field had the same direction of wind every time but it doesn’t and you just don’t know. The stadium and the crowd are always fantastic, it’s just what way is that wind going to blow.
Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
A: I think it’s to maintain in the competitions and keep jumping tough and try to have more habitual, technical jumps. They’ve been a little sporadic at times. We watched tape of all my jumps at Nationals and every jump was different and there’s no habit yet. I need to get the habit back and the form consistent.
Q: You have the top mark in the world this year and you could be on your way to the #1 world ranking at the end of the year. Is that a goal of yours, and what would it mean to you to achieve it?
A: It would mean a lot for me to get that. It’s definitely something that I want, but it’s also something I can’t push for or sustain any injuries trying to get. It’s going to be a play by ear thing the rest of the season.
This needs to stop.
I’ve had countless conversations with my colleague John W. Davis and read a recent article and I seem to be in the minority that Tyson Gay is not a running Saltine Cracker.
Gay has done this.
1. Hamstring injury
2. Groin injury
3. Tendon injury
Does any of that seem odd for a world class sprinter?
He recently injured his tendon. That is a freak thing that can happen to anyone. He injured his hamstring back at college days and injuries to the muscle is fairly common in the sport.
Gay’s fast movement has nothing to do with the fact this his tendon is sore. Absolutely nothing. He has been working out since the fall, practicing five days a week and hoping planes to compete in races around the globe. It happened to Usain Bolt, it happened to Maurice Greene, He injured his tendon. Same thing.
Shawn Crawford battled injuries in both feet in between making the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams.
Lui Chang injured his foot and leg after the pounding of hurdling. That is completely different story. There is nothing about Gay’s injuries that has anything to do with stress or wear and tear or anything brittle.
Freak thing, it could happen to anyone.
I don’t see anything in Gay’s injuries that tell me he’s anything more than incredibly unlucky. There was nothing in what happened recently that should tell us otherwise.