WTW: The Most Expected and Unexpected Medals For Team USA in Rio, The Women That Did and Didn’t Make History in Rio, Ezekiel Kemboi’s Retirement Didn’t Last 24 Hrs, And How To Get Rich In The Non-Profit World

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The Week That Was in Running – August 22-28 2016

By LetsRun.com
August 30, 2016

Now that we’ve returned from Brazil and managed to catch up on a little bit of lost sleep while still finding time to recap two great Diamond League meets last week (Paris here and Lausanne here), we are returning to our Week That Was – our weekly recap. This week we start by taking one last look at the Olympic action from two weeks ago before talking a little bit about some of the non-Diamond League action of last week.

But before we get started, we’d like to encourage you again to donate to the fund that is being raised to support the doping whistleblowers Yuliya Stepanova and her husband, Vitaly.

They risked their lives to expose one of the greatest scandals in sport and need your help. It’s recently come out that the whereabouts account for Stepanova that is run by WADA, which contains her address so she can be drug tested, was hacked – likely by Russians. As a result, they’ve had to move yet again as they fear they might be murdered. So far, just over 62,000 of the 80,000 Swiss francs goal has been raised. If you donate, it’s done in Swiss francs but it’s basically the same as giving US dollars as 1 Swiss franc = 1.02 US dollars.

Donate Here To Help The Stepanovs

More: NBC:  Russian Doping Whistleblowers Fear for Their Lives After Cyber Attack
IBT: Was doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova hacked by Russian spies?

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Stat of The Week I

The 2016 Olympics was a barn burner for Team USA. We decided to break down all of Team USA’s 29 individual medals and rank them from most likely to least likely based on the pre-Olympic betting odds (men’s odds, women’s odds). US mid-d and distance fans, enjoy the medals while they last as the six least likely medals all came from mid-d and distance athletes.

AthleteMedal OddsResult
1. Ashton Eaton1 to 50gold in decathlon
2. Christian Taylor1 to 25gold in TJ
3. Justin Gatlin1 to 16silver in 100
4. Allyson Felix1 to 12silver in 400
5. Brianna Rollins1 to 10gold in 100h
6. Joe Kovacs1 to 10silver in sp
7. Dalilah Muhammad1 to 5gold in 400h
8. Brittney Reese1 to 4silver in lj
9. LaShawn Merritt1 to 4bronze in 400
10. Will Claye2 to 7silver in TJ
11. Sandi Morris1 to 3silver in pv
12. Nia Ali2 to 5silver in 100h
13. Kerron Clement4 to 9gold in 400h
14. Ryan Crouser1 to 2gold in sp
15. Sam Kendricks1 to 2bronze in pv
16. Kristi Castlin1 to 2bronze in 100h
17. Tori Bowie (200)1 to 2bronze in 200
18. Jeff Henderson4 to 6gold in lj
19. Evan Jager1 to 1silver in steeple
20. Tori Bowie (100)1 to 1silver in 100
21. Tianna Bartoletta5 to 4gold in lj
22. Michelle Carter5 to 2gold in sp
23. Ashley Spencer3 to 1bronze in 400h
24. Emma Coburn7 to 2bronze in steeple
25. Galen Rupp4 to 1bronze in marathon
26. M. Centrowitz4 to 1gold in 1500
27. Jenny Simpson8 to 1bronze in 1500
28. Clayton Murphy8 to 1bronze in 800
29. Paul Chelimo20 to 1silver in 5k

Want to know the US male athlete who was most expected to medal but didn’t? Believe it or not it was NCAA long jump (and 100 and 200) champ Jarrion Lawson. Lawson didn’t even win the US Trials but had jumped so well in 2016, he was pegged at 4/7 to medal. Lawson had the bronze medal until the final round of the long jump where he got knocked down to fourth place after Jeff Henderson unleashed a monster to get gold. LaShawn Merritt also had the same 4/7 odds to medal in the 200m and didn’t medal but he got a medal in the 400.

On the women’s side, Chaunte Lowe was 8/14 to medal and didn’t medal in the high jump (she missed a bronze on countbacks).

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Stat Of The Week II

10 Americans won individual gold. We rank them in order of most likely to have happened to least likely based on pre-Rio betting odds.

AthleteGold Medal OddsResult
1. Ashton Eaton1 to 10gold in decathlon
2. Christian Taylor8 to 13gold in TJ
3. Brianna Rollins2 to 5gold in 100h
4. Dalilah Muhammad5 to 4gold in 400h
5. Kerron Clement15 to 8gold in 400h
6. Ryan Crouser4 to 1gold in sp
7. Jeff Henderson4 to 1gold in lj
8. Tianna Bartoletta8 to 1gold in lj
9. Matthew Centrowitz20 to 1gold in 1500
10. Michelle Carter25 to 1gold in sp

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Stat of the Week

$191,000 – average salary for the head of a non-profit the size of USATF, according to the NonProfit Times.
$1.1 million – salary of USATF head Max Siegel.

The figures come from a story by Will Hobson in The Washington Post.  Of course, it appears if you don’t pay the head of athletics federations a ton of money, they may just get that money by selling Nike gear: Police Raid Kenyan Olympic Headquarters To Try To Figure What Happened To Nike Kit. (To be fair, non profit sports administrators argue they have to be paid more because they compete for talent with the high salaries of the NCAA and pro sports leagues).

Related: Kenyan Newspaper Says Members Of Kenyan Delegation Received 1 Million Shillings ($9,864) In Travel Allowances For Rio

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Most Deserved Gold Medals

If you win a gold medal, there is no doubt you are incredibly good at what you do. But if we were going to hand out awards for the most rewarding golds, we would give them to Kerron Clement in the men’s 400 hurdles and Caterine Ibargüen in the women’s triple jump.

We were incredibly impressed that Clement won gold seven years after his last world title (2009). 2009 was also the last year that Clement won a medal of any color at a global championship. To finally see his immense talent arrive on the biggest stage was great for fans of Team USA. Clement certainly was a young phenom at Florida and in his first few years as a pro. But coming into this year, he hadn’t broken 48 in the 400 hurdles since 2010. He went sub-48 when he needed to most – in the Olympic final. And it’s a good thing he did as the top four guys in the field all broke 48.00 and Clement just edged Kenya’s Boniface Tumuti for gold by .05.

Lots of super talents never win Olympic gold (Clement was a college star along with Xavier Carter – whatever happened to him??) but Clement now has a gold to cherish.

In terms of the women’s triple jump, we’ll admit it’s not normally an event we follow that closely as America isn’t very good at it. But ever since we learned last year that Caterine Ibargüen hadn’t lost since the 2012 Olympics (where she got 2nd), we’d been following it pretty closely, as we thought it would be the cruelest of ironies for Ibargüen to have that win streak snapped in Rio. What ended up happening was that Ibargüen’s win streak was snapped in June in Birmingham, but she came up with a seasonal best in Rio to earn her a much-deserved gold.

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Five Women Fail To Make History

Five women went into the 2016 Rio Games with a chance to make history by becoming the first woman to win three individual golds in the same Olympic track and field event. The women vying for history were Valerie Adams (shot put), Tirunesh Dibaba (10,000), Barbora Špotáková (javelin), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (100), and Veronica Campbell-Brown (200). None of them won gold. Adams came the closest as she was in gold-medal position entering the final round of the shot put but had to settle for silver after Michelle Carter’s clutch gold-medal-winning throw (Dibaba, Špotáková and SAFP won bronze).

American Allyson Felix did wind up making history, however. Coming into Rio, six women, including Felix, had won four Olympic golds (counting relays) and Felix added two more golds to her total as she ran on the US teams that won the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. She also won an individual silver in 400, meaning she’s now got nine total Olympic track and field medals in her career, tying her with Merlene Ottey for the most ever by a female track and field athlete. Of those nine medals and six golds, however, only one is individual gold (200 in 2012).

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Three US Women Make History

The US women’s medal sweep of the 100 hurdles, where world record holder Kendra Harrison didn’t even make the US team, was the first-ever sweep of the medals by the US women in an Olympic track and field event.

On the men’s side, the medal sweep has been done a bunch of times, most recently in 2008 when Team USA swept the medals in both the 400 (LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner, David Neville) and 400 hurdles (Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson).

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Kemboi’s Retirement Is Officially Over

In Rio, Ezekiel Kemboi initially retired after getting the bronze medal in the men’s steeplechase. However, after he was stripped of that bronze for stepping on the line, he announced he’d compete through 2017.

His comeback from that brief (less than 24-hour) retirement is officially on as he won the 28th Giro delle Mura Città di Feltre race in Italy.

Top 3 Results (about 9.5 k)
1. Ezekiel Kemboi, KEN, 25:24
2. Philimon Maritim Kipkorir, KEN, 25:25
3. Ronald Ngigi Kariuki, KEN, 25:36

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A Race Drops Prize Money And We Praise Them

How about a thumbs up to the organizers of the HeathPlus Crim 10-Mile Road Race for slashing their prize money this year.

Now normally we aren’t going to praise a race for killing prize money but in this case it gets our praise as they used that $40,000 for a good cause – free entries for all city residents.

“Due to water crisis here in Flint it was determined by the Crim, to allocate all prize money to a scholarship fund for Flint residents allowing many a ‘first time’ opportunity to participate,” said CEO Gerry Myers in an e-mail to Race Results Weekly.  “With physical activity being a primary mitigation strategy to address lead exposure, it was our intent to provide residents a well-known opportunity to start a new, healthy lifestyle!  It was truly a success – We provided over 1000 such opportunities!”

Michigan resident Dathan Ritzenhein, who is going to race the TCS New York City Marathon in November, showed up and won by more than two minutes in 47:24, the fastest 10-mile time by an American this year. Joan Ayabei of Kenya won the women’s race in 55:37.

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Quote of the Week (that wasn’t quote of the day)

“I am not planning to run (at the Diamond League finale in Zurich on September 1). Me, I am tired. I tried my best. I am happy to close my season with a world record.”

Ruth Jebet talking to Race Results Weekly after setting the women’s steeplechase world record in Paris.

We would be shocked if Jebet doesn’t show up and race on Thursday. She can’t win the $40,000 DL jackpot if she doesn’t run in the DL finale.

In case you are wondering, she is listed as an entrant for Zurich.

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Recommended Reads

Fascinating read from the Economist: Why men’s 4 x 100 relay performances haven’t improved much in 40 years but women’s have

Quartz.com Argues They Should Be Racing The Mile Instead Of The 1500 At The Olympics While that would go against the standard metric system, the writer points out the marathon is also measured in miles.

The New Yorker: “The Brilliance Of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah And Wayde Van Niekerk” One of the most famous LRC posters Malcolm Gladwell, and New Yorker editor Nicholas Thompson analyze and debate some of the biggest races of the Games so far.

Who Decides Where Each Country Lives In The Athlete’s Village? Choosing which countries go where is a “daunting task of mathematical and political calisthenics”.

NY Times: “The Eatons, Competing For Different Countries, Are On The Same Team” The Eaton’s each have their own tubs in teh garage labeled”Ashton’s Trophies” and “Bri’s Trophies”.

Previous Recommended Reads from other weeks can be found here.

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Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

Past editions of The Week That Was can be found here. Questions or comments? Please email us or post them on our fan forum.


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