I wish more of our star US distance guys would focus on major XC races and go to things like World XC. I think Rupp ran one or two but I don't think they were really top comp. Maybe it would toughen them up a little. As big as Solinsky is, these little guys are not scared to just push these white boys off the track. Chris and Galen have to learn its a bloodsport out there and at worlds it won't matter who's right or wrong when you fall or they try to trip you. They must accept its war out there and be smarter when they are being closed in on.
Perhaps they are too well paid.
Unlike the africans, there is no real need to compete for prize money in the minor places. They get pushed and that sub 13 is looking unlikely, so it looks like they just give up.
I would argue that it isn't that they are paid too well, but that there is no depth of talent to compete for the top spots. This creates a certain lack of motivation. Our men and women are motivated to train hard and, as a country, we are seeing huge improvements, but the motivation to compete is very weak because there is no depth of talent forcing the top dogs to remain hungry. In a country of 310 million people, we have three guys (Rupp, Sol, Ritz) who can legitimately compete on the world stage in the 10000m, and maybe five (add Lagat, Teg) in the 5000m. After those few guys, the depth of talent takes a sharp drop into the 27:45/13:20 range. Even then, to call what we have "depth" is stretching it.
The result of this situation is if you're one of the top five or six guys in any event in the US, you get a steady paycheck, and you get coddled. It's easy to develop a prima donna attitude. In Kenya and Ethiopia, you will see a dozen random dudes run a workout on a Thursday morning that would likely drop or injure two or three of the above five guys, and leave our next best 20 guys in the dust. If you get lazy in Kenya, there are literally 20 random people good enough to take your place.
And the team selection process is brutal. If you think John Chaplin is a jackass because of the way he treats our 28th fastest guy in the 10000m, take a look at how Kenya treats its number one guy. No guarantees. A lot of the top runners have decided their best option is to move to another country where they are not in danger of losing the top spot to competition or politics.
The big negative to the Kenyan or Ethiopian system is their top guys don't last long. Whether that is caused by injury or post-success laziness, only a few of their top guys last longer than a few years. A ten year career for our top runners is probably worth 2-3 million in contracts, appearance fees, prize money, etc., and who is going to blow that chance on overracing, injury, and burnout when they could easily sit back, train, pick their races based on income generation, and rely on their talent and the lack of depth in the USA to make national teams and keep the money flowing. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm saying it's the reality. They're making the right choice for themselves and their families, but it causes the kinds of frustrating situations we witnessed in Monaco. Solinsky and Rupp are tough SOBs, no doubt, but their instinct for career and self-preservation overrides their instinct to compete. An American runners calculus is much different than that of a Kenyan or an Ethiopian journeyman athlete.
I couldn't believe the quotes from Salazar after Rupp bounced off the Mondo. Rupp has to learn not to fall down. I hope he figures it out. But he got a great workout in after the race, so overall, another great day at the track. WC, here we come!
WTF is that?! You're okay with ANOTHER DNF because your athlete looked good for 80% of a race he didn't finish because he got a solid WORKOUT in after the 3/4-race?
I understand where this attitude is coming from, but I don't have to like it. Until our development process creates 20 Rupps and Solinskys, and 100 more in the pipeline waiting to take their place, we'll continue to see it.
Just to finish on a high note: props to Shalane. She is doing it right. She's figured out a way to race a lot, at varied distances, and isn't afraid to compete without excuses. She finishes her races, is mentally and physically tough as anyone, and she's still hungry. She embodies the fierce attitude that Solinsky talks about, but hasn't demonstrated on the track since he ran the 26:59 (which, I would point out, was against domestic competition (most of the foreigners were paid rabbits) on a 'home' track with low expectations. As a fan, I want to see more of what Shalane is doing, and less posturing and chatter. Unfortunately, our system doesn't promote the former.
Maybe they simply do not know how to race.
They seem to race just fine in Palo Alto, or at USA Nationals. Webb ran his American record at a no-key meet in Belgium with pacers and no competition. Hall ran out of his mind at the US OT Marathon and a solo time trial half marathon. Solinsky ran sub-27 at Stanford using Rupp (and some internecine rivalry) as a pacer.
The only guy who seems to be able to race international talent very effectively and consistently is Ritz (Jr World XC, 6th 10000m WC, 2009 WC half-marathon 60:00, sub-13 American Record 5000m behind Soi and Bekele) but his body is unfortunately not as strong as his fitness.
One thing that needs to happen is someone has to step up and make the rest of the world realize that we're done falling down on the infield. If one of our guys needs to get DQ'ed to send a message, so be it. It's not like people are going to start disrespecting us--they don't respect us now! Merga needs to get his ass bounced off the track a couple of times by our guys. Some people try to give him a pass because he's 'inexeperienced'. Well, if that's the reason, why isn't he tripping Kenyans or his own countrymen? Because he knows if he does, he'll get boxed, tripped, punched, spiked, or worse. Merga's got no fear of the Americans, because we're more concerned about big talk and preserving ourselves for that next 'important' race. We're only out for ourselves. Can you imagine Teg, Solinsky, and Rupp potentially sacrificing a race by ganging up on someone like Merga, and giving him 6 laps of hell? Needs to happen, but it never will.
off the track wrote:
He now has it ingrained in his mind that pullying out is an option in races.....................difficult to overcome this!
^^ so true. the harder the run the higher the percentage of opting to drop out. he said in an interview after Pre, "I don't drop out of races." it was such a bizarre thing to hear him say and it seemed he was saying it more to hear himself.
it will be very difficult to plug this mental leak now. I really like Solinksy but he is in trouble; he essentially has one performance at USAs to take into Daegu. odds are against him this time 'round.
From a Teg interview in 2007
Do you feel like America has turned the corner in distance running and is back on the world scene?
MT: I don’t know if it’s so much about fear of the East African runners and whether or not Americans can compete against them. You definitely have to show them respect. When four guys in front of you have [5000-meter] PRs of sub-13, it’s not like you can just go out there and run away from them, you have to have a smart race planned and respect what they can do. When it comes down to it, in the last 1200 meters, when the race really starts, when you are grinding it out, I’m in it to fight and win it and I think, going back to the Stockholm race, [Chris] Solinsky was going for the win. It’s terrible how he ended his season with a fall, but all the guys in that race, when you try to pass them, they throw an elbow; they kind of slap at you a little bit; they cut out on you and cut back in on you; you just can’t give them anything. You can’t be afraid to kind of give a shove back to let them know that you are there. If someone is trying to take your spot, you put your arm out and don’t let them back in. That’s kind of the way things work. Over the years that’s what I’ve tried to take away and learn.
Overhead at the diamond leauge: "Solinksy you're my new girlfriend."
One difference I have often noted among American distance runners is their occasional inablity to look out for themselves in major track competition, particularly when it involve some of the rough-and-tumble contact often characeristic of international track races.
I do not see Americans having such trouble in road races or in international cross-country competition, but track racing is unique because the only way to run an accurate race distance is to run close to the inside border of the track ("the pole"). The runner who cannot establish position on the pole is forced to race wide and therefore cover extra distance. On the other hand, a runner next the the curb is in danger of being "boxed in" -- a feared condition in which a runner is trapped ahead and to his side. Once in a box, a runner cannot run his own race, he must either wait fo the box to break up as his competitors fall off the pace; slow down himself and drop out of the back of the box (then try to catch up); or force his way out the side or the front, risking disqualification.
As bad as are the realities of being boxed, the psychological effects are usually much worse.
- Allan Lawrence & Mark Scheid.
This quote could easy apply to what happened to Sol and Rupp.
old thread but, looking for video (that original youtube one is out) and found this:
if anyone has better explanation (or another clip with better angles), I don't see the shove.