Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The Week That Was* March 3 - 10, 2008
We'll start with by giving out some awards to people for good (and bad) showings this week before covering some happenings outside of world's from last week.
Thumbs Up: KAKI
To our LetsRun.com Male Performer of the Week - Abubaker Kaki.
Just weeks ago, on March 21st, people were asking on the messageboard: "Has anyone ever heard of Abubaker Kaki?" People wanted to know if anyone had heard of him before he ran a 2:15.77 1k?.
We probably had heard of him but will be the first to admit we didn't remember who he was. Well we did some research ourselves, realized almost immediately he was the real deal and quickly jumped on the bandwagon. Hell we didn't just jump on the bandwagon. We were driving it.
"In 20 years, no one will remember any single event
from some European indoor meet early in an Olympic year.
Indeed. At the ripe old age of 18, leading wire to wire (after a delayed poor reaction start) to win the world indoor title in only the 4th indoor 800 of your life. Unbelievable. (The entire men's 800m race was incredible. The first 4 set national records, and every single athlete set a personal best including the USA's Nick Symmonds who finished 6th and last, but showed his promise with a stunning victory in his semifinal).
Men's running right now is getting pretty exciting. Sammy Wanjiru (now 21) is the perhaps the greatest teenage marathoning sensation in history and Kaki fits the same label for the 800.
Other considered for weekly accolades included Tariku Bekele, who joined his big brother Kenenisa as a world champion by destroying the often hyped Craig Mottram and others with a 3:56 last mile. Very impressive. But how can we give the award to someone who isn't even the best runner in his family?
Photo by Jiro Mochizuki
Thumbs Up- Yelena Soboleva
There were a slew of other potential winners, with non being more deserving than Australia's Tasmyn Lewis. After making her first, world championship final. Lewis made the most of it and won the final. It doesn't get any better than that. The 29 year old credits her resurgence to her brother who is now her coach
Thumbs Downs: The Great One
To us this makes no sense, Geb has zero chance in the 10k. In the marathon, he is one of the world's very finest, the world record holder, who earlier this year just missed breaking his own world record. The one thing missing from his resume, particularly being an Ethiopian, is the Olympic marathon gold. Geb is the greatest distance runner in history in our minds but an Olympic gold in the marathon would put him on top likely for eternity.
We were dreaming of just getting the opportunity to see Geb attempt to to win the marathon gold and thought Geb should have run the marathon in 2004. If he crossed the line first in Beijing in the marathon, we already knew what we were going to do with the site.
We were going to turn the site black, put a picture up of him at the finish with the caption, "An imperfect world just got perfect."
Now he's not going to even try? What does he have to lose? Start the race, if the pollution is too bad, you lose. Big deal. We don't get not trying. It's not like there won't be pollution in the 10k.
If Geb doesn't run the 10k in Olympics (which in our mind seems to be a very real possibility given the other great 10kers Ethiopia has), it is unfortunate that in this day of illegal drug use there will be whispers, but that is how things operate.
What is left for Kenya? Ok it's not officially over but it will be over if Ethiopia ever wins a steeplechase world title.
The scary thing for Kenya is the 1,500 is the one flat distance event where Ethiopia had only had limited success and Mekonnen is only 20 years old.
We're not sure why but Ethiopia clearly does a much better job of developing talent than Kenya does.
Thumbs Down: Sanya Richards
While we certainly understand why she, as the best 400 meter runner on the planet (well for sure if Allyson Felix isn't running), doesn't want to have to run US nationals. That doesn't mean we agree with her sentiments. What if she was the 5th best runner in the US?
Track is the purest and simplest of sports. No judges. No scores. Just who crosses the finish line first. If you are going to be a world champion, you should be able to finish in the top three. America (like it or hate it) has always been a society that rewards winners and punishes losers and provides very little of a safety net. There is nothing more American than our current selection process and it should be kept.
We just think the Trials should be moved closer to the Olympics.
Thumbs Up: Mo Greene
Yet Maurice Greene likes the US Selection process and says it needs to remain the same.
Thumbs Up: 101 Yr Old Drinker, Smoker and Marathoner
And a last thumbs up to Liu Xiang and Allen Johnson. We enjoy the hurdles mainly because we think Johnson is a great ambassador for the sport. A 37-year old getting silver is impressive. Even more impressive is Lix Xiang successfully dealing with the pressure of being China's poster-boy for the Olympics and starting out the season with indoor gold. But the pressure wasn't 1/100th what it will be in Beijing, and in Beijing, Dayron Robles, possibly the top hurdler in the world, likely won't screw up the start and not make the finals (*Video: Dayron Robles Thinks There is a False Start and Stops in 60m Hurdles).
Continued: Page 2 of the Week That Was: The end for Takahashi? The Great State of Japanese Marathoning, The Sad State of American Women's Marathoning, Gate River Run US 15k Champs and More.
* Don't Worry We Haven't Forgot Your Suggestions and Will Rename This Column Soon