Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The Week That Was* March 10- 17, 2008
Since the US financial markets are total disarray and your house (well most likely your parents' house as the audience here is pretty young) may be worthless and your bank is likely to fail, we feel there is enough negative news out there. As a result, we decided this week to change things up and be more positive. Thus this week in our weekly recap, we for the most part just mention people who made a positive impact on the sport this week.
The biggest US action took place in Arkansas as the 2008 indoor campaign came to an end with the 2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field championships. We won't give you a detailed recap the meet for you here (although at the end of The Week That Was, we do give you a slew of links in case you were gone over the weekend). Instead, we'll start with praise for the men's and women's 3k winners from the meet.
Kyle Alcorn: Mr Clutch or Should We Say Mr. Big Kick
So even if we missed word of Alcorn having the best kick in the world, maybe we should have taken notice of Alcorn after his 3:58 DMR anchor on Friday night, but we didn't. In the DMR, Alcorn outkicked everyone around him and came on really strong the last lap and tried to go around Leonel Manzano of Texas (Manzano btw worked for our uncle 2 summers ago). But Manzano had been taking it easy up until that point and has one of the best kicks in the NCAA (now with Lopez Lomong a pro, maybe the best) and he was able to hold off Alcorn.
However, after Saturday's 3000m we're taking notice of Alcorn. He impressively kicked away from a very, very strong men's 3000m field to get the NCAA title by a convincing 1.4 seconds. How could he win by such a large margin? A final 1k of 2:26.39 will generally do the trick.
The most important thing for Alcorn was it basically gave the NCAA title to Arizona State. Going into the 3k, Alcorn was not even expected to score in the 3k and ASU's title hopes were looking slim. Instead, he pulls off the improbable - he wins the damn race and propels ASU to the NCAA title along with the help of the ASU's 4*400. It doesn't get any more clutch than that. His run is what collegiate sports are all about. We'll never call a win from Alcorn improbable anymore as he is the real deal and has a potent weapon, incredible finishing speed.
Kyle started out at the University of Oregon (a Martin Smith recruit), but transferred to Arizona State in 2005. This poster couldn't have been more wrong, "Huge, Huge mistake for Kyle." Congrats to Kyle and Loui Q.
Susan Kuijken - Big Time Improvement
Kuijken arrived at FSU last year as a stud, sporting PRs of 2:06, 4:19 and 9:28. It's virtually impossible to find Americans at that level. That being said, she has absolutely flourished at FSU under Bob Braman and Karen Harvey. Her 1,500 has come down 8 seconds (certainly more to come this spring) and her 3k 30 seconds. Not too shabby. Sort of disproves the theory that people who give scholarships to foreigners are just buying championships. Improvement like that can't be bought.
Keep up the good work.
We'd also like to praise the entire women's 3k field as they ran fast. Four of the top 5 pr'd as runner-up Brie Felnagle dropped her pr from 9:09 to 9:00, fourth-placer Lauren Centrowitz went from 9:17 to 9:11, as fifth-placer Marisa Ryan went from 9:15 to 9:12.
Haile G. Dominates The Headlines On and Off The Track
Geb didn't get the record but he did the get victory as he easily destroyed a very quality field that included 2007 Boston and Chicago marathon champ, Robert Cheruiyot, 2003 and 2005 marathon world champ Jaouad Gharib,and 2001 world 10k champ Charles Kamathi.
1. Haile Gebrselassie, ETH 59:15
Off the track, the reaction to Geb's announcement that he wouldn't run the marathon in Beijing continued to create huge press. The press attention to Geb's initial decision to not run the marathon was so great, Geb attempted to explain himself, which in turn created even more attention.
What all happened. Let's try to remember. Early in the week, Jos Hermens, Geb's manger, correctly pointed out that the winner of the Olympic marathon often never does much after winning gold. Our response would be: So what. He's already accomplished almost all that there is in the sport - if he has a chance to win Olympic gold, he should go for it.
Later Geb said that he'd reconsider his decision if the marathon was moved out of Beijing and the start change was changed. Lastly, the Ethiopian Athletic Federation came out and said they might force Geb to run the marathon. How about this quote from EAF technical director Duje Jillo:
"It is not up to Haile Gebrselassie to decide on participation in the marathon event in Beijing It is the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, representing the
nation, that determines whether Haile is fit to compete in the
marathon event in Beijing's Olympics or not."
Then Geb came back yesterday saying his decision to not run the marathon was now definite, "My decision not to run [the marathon] in Beijing is definite. Now I have to decide whether to run the 10,000 meters"
So it sounds like Geb realizes even he is unlikely to get the marathon moved out of Beijing.
*Geb Now Says He Might Run Marathon If It's Start Time is Changed and Its Moved Out of Beijing
City-Pier-City Half Marathon
Sammy Korir Is The Man Yet Again
At this rate, we'll probably see him on the start line in London or Boston.
Rome Marathon: Galina Bogomolova Runs 2:22
Drug Cheat Cathal Lombard Retires
We must admit we were shocked to hear that Lombard was retiring, as last month he was the surprise winner of the Irish cross country title. Apparently Lombard was just tired of the negative reaction his reintroduction to the sport received.
In the modern era of drugs in sports, all drug cheats are not created equal in our minds. We give Lombard credit for a) admitting it when busted and b) aborting his comeback. A moral 2008 cheat if there is such a thing.
US 8k Champs: Jorge Torres and Steve Jones, Food Poisoning and Confirmation of Andrew Carlson's Arrival
But Shalane Flanagan is so much better than everyone else in America, a little food poisoning didn't stop her as she cruised to a wire-to-wire 16 second victory. Alan Webb's outcome was a different story. Webb led through 5k, and then ran into trouble. He was forced to stop in the fourth mile before he struggled home in 16th place. (For more on Webb including his future plans click here, to watch a 50 minute pre-race video interview or download it click here). Post race commentary, analysis, photos are here.
Video: Jorge Torres Talks About His Win
And His New Steve Jones Training Group (5:12)
The big story for us was Jorge Torres emerging as a force under his new coach, marathon legend Steve Jones. Torres' career was in limbo last year, when his coach, Brad Hudson, left Boulder to go with Dathan Ritzenhein to Eugene. But Torres found the Steve Jones group and was full of praise for it, "My confidence is riding high. A lot of it has to do with two things. One, Steve Jones has really helped me build my confidence back up, he's given me some great advice, he's a good guy to listen to because he's been to the top of the world, and the other thing is I have good training partners and we're out there to help each other out and try and get to the top (his training partners are multiple time US Champ and Olympian Alan Culpepper, US 25k record holder Fernando Cabado, his twin brother Ed, and Andy Smith)."
The other big story in our minds was the confirmation of the arrival of Andrew Carlson at the top of America's ranks. Carlson won the US 15k Champs at the Gate River Run a week ago, but this run in our mind, showed that Carlson has officially arrived. Carlson said a disappointing run at the US Cross Country Champs (15th place, 1:10 behind Torres) helped propel him to the top. Carlson said, "After cross that lit a fire underneath me. I was pretty mad and I've kind of taken that out the last two weeks."
Carlson and Torres both show that America's pros, despite an enormous wealth of physical talent, can suffer the same bouts of lack of confidence that the rest of us suffer. It's refreshing to see their human frailties, but also encouraging to see them overcome their lack of confidence.
2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
2008 NCAA Indoors:Complete Results
Secret Anti-Doping Checks Taking Place In Australia
Honestly, we were so busy covering the New York 8ks, NCAAs and everything else that we haven't had time to sit down and examine if we think this step is going too far. Probably not when you consider that 29% of elite level Australian athletes admit they'd consider doping. Thankfully 90% think it's morally wrong.