what a performance.
Nick Symmonds = Runnersworld model. Not a serious runner.
I think it is disappointing on the whole to see American athletes develop over years, and we take a personal interest and third-person stake in the process, as solid American track fans, and then come Worlds or Olympics, 18 year old Sudanese, Kenyans, or Bahranians via Kenya step up and win medals, as if it's a state high school meet, no big deal.
Can you imagine if we had athlete after athlete, year after year, major international competition after major international competition, who could just show up, sight unseen by the general viewing audience, and win medals?
Congrats to Nick Symmonds for a personal best, but anyone else see the essential futility of this general effort? How do we change this, or can we?
How to change this?
Abolish school buses, pesticides, Xboxes, Gameboys, myspace, facebook, McDonalds, laptops, and the NFL & the NBA.
Here we go again. So....., the story goes, if we just changed the system, the freaking system man, and had our kids growing up in an ideal running environment like East Africa has (ya know, with the AIDS and malaria and other diseases, the extreme poverty, the famines, the wars, the strife, and the terrible government, etc, etc), then we too would be producing 18 y.o.'s that run 1:44 indoors and win world champs, and runners like geb and bekele who run 26:17-22 for 10k, and we would be dominating world cross every year, and have women like Defar who can finish distance races nearly as fast a them men, etc, etc. Yup. Talent has NOOOOOOTHING to do with it. It's the system and our environment that are to blame. Talent Schmalent.
Personally, I think most American high school coaches, and, taken one step further, college coaches, look to the short sighted local idiotic events, dual meets against your "rivals," as some type of stepping stone to American distance running manhood, when really they have been setting the athletes back, and in the way of development, for many years. ...
So it's really ex-runners with a warped localized competitive ego creating more American nobodies, year after year, decade after decade, as they collect that extra 3-5 grand on top of their teaching salaries. Every once in a while, as in soccer, somebody suceeds despite the high school coaching.
I would bet that this is actually less true than it was five years ago. I know that's a short period of time for studying a trend, but a lot of people here probably changed their perceptions based on one guy in one race. Think about how Hall, Tegenkamp, Webb, Baldini, Borzakovsky, and Mottram have made such a big splash. Just to focus on the men. Yeah distance running is African dominated, especially XC, the steeple, and the 10k, but I don't see that the phasing out has been continuing in the past few years. There's still some diversity. Around 2000-2003 I think Africans were more dominant than now.
What do you get when this happens? A slow phasing-out of non-africans (and ultimately a decline in popularity of the sport) and all-african medal stands.
Ironically, a lot of these East Africans runners are sponsored/funded by American companies. This is the proverbial "globaziation" of running. This is not the same Caucasian sport your grandpa grew up watching.