The Origins of the Hand Clap, An NFL Star Moves To The Triple Jump, Meet Myles Marshall: The Week That Was

The Week That Was In Running – August 18 – August 24, 2014

August 26, 2014

Want to know what happened in the running world last week? Keep reading below.

The two big track meets were the Stockholm DN Galan Meet, where American Jenny Simpson got the huge Diamond League 1500m win, and the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix Diamond League meet where David Rudisha went for the 600m world record, Mo Farah set the European 2 mile record, Asbel Kiprop won the mile as Americans Matt Centrowitz and Leo Manzano came up short of the 3:50 barrier, and in the steeple Jairus Birech won despite crawling over the final barrier.

We recapped all that action extensively at the links above and are not going to re-cover it below. Keep reading for some more insight on the week’s track action.

Previous versions of the Week That Was can be found here.

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Questions? Comments? Email us.


If you read to the bottom of last week’s WTW, you remember we had a sighting of 2001 USA 1500 champ Andy Downin at the Falmouth Road Race. Disregard that notice please. As Race Results Weekly explains:

FALMOUTH, MA, USA (17-Aug).  New Balance Falmouth Road Race.  Although Andy Downin was listed as the 33rd finisher overall and 2nd master (40+) in 37:23, photographic evidence shows that Kevin Quadrozzi ran the race wearing Downin’s number, a direct violation of USATF rules.  So, Downin’s result should be removed, and Chris Magill, 41, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, should be promoted to the second masters spot. /STEVE VAITONES/

What About The Sport? Thumbs Down To Mo Farah and Usain Bolt

Who is the best distance runner on the track in the world?

Who is the best sprinter on the track in the world?

That’s easy, you say. Mo Farah and Usain Bolt.


Two of the sport’s biggest stars are finally in shape after trying summers, and just in time, as the first of the two Diamond League finals begins this Thursday with the Weltklasse meet in Zürich (the second final is in Brussels a week from Thursday). Both men had good weeks last week as they put up their best performances of the year. Farah ran a European record 8:07 in the 2-mile at the Birmingham DL meet while Bolt broke 10.00 for the first time this year in Poland (race video on right), in a race that was actually run in an indoor stadium.

Bolt Runs 9.98

Never mind. Neither man is bothering to show up to compete at either DL final. Bolt is calling it a season without facing any meaningful competition all year – the fastest anyone in Poland had run all summer was 10.19. The same is true for Farah – the fastest seasonal best of anyone in Birmingham was just 13:11 for 5000 – as Mo has ended his track season so he can run the half marathon at the Bupa Great North Run on September 7th.

We understand the decisions of both stars. The two make millions in endorsements so they don’t need the measly prize money/appearance fees offered by the meets, but the fans of the sport deserve better.

Contrast them to say David Rudisha. He’s a big star who gets special treatment – last week in Birmingham there was a lane re-draw as he wanted European champ Adam Kszczot on his outside –  but he’s not afraid to lose.

Despite what Nike said 18 years ago (“You don’t win silver, you lose gold”), finishing second isn’t always the end of the world.

Rudisha got it right last week when he said to The Guardian of his silver medal, “I’m happy to be back and winning silver is not so bad.”

More: MB: If Mo can run 8:07, why is he chicken of real competition?

We Swear This Is A True Story – An NFL Star Retires From Football At Age 23 and Returns To Track And Field

Since we were just talking about David Rudisha and his love of competition, we thought it was time to share this story.

There  there was a development in sports last week that was both sad and heartwarming at the same time. 2012 NFL first round pick David Wilson, a running back for the NY Giants, was forced to retire from the sport due to a neck injury at the age of 23.

Wilson’s athletic career isn’t over, however. He hopes to be in Rio in 2016 as a triple jumper.

Wilson’s got good reason to think it’s possible; he was a indoor HS national champ in the triple and jumped a windy 16.20m to place sixth at the 2011 NCAA champs before giving up the sport to focus on football.

It will be interesting to see what Wilson can do in his return to track but he deserves a thumbs up for being upbeat. In a statement, he said, “I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me. I lived my dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too.”

In terms of his track and field comeback, Wilson talked to Chris Chavez about it:

“One level of competition has been taken away, but I’m not [just] a football player — I’m a competitor. Track and field is something I can do at a high level….I’m looking forward to getting back on the track. “

When asked if the small amount of fans at a track meet as compared to the NFL might be a bummer for Wilson, he responded to Chavez with this great line:

“It could be four of us in a backyard jumping into sand — I think each one of us would want to walk out of the yard with the best jump.” 

In case you are wondering, Wilson still did make out quite nicely in the NFL financially despite his injury as before it’s all said and done, he should take in more than $5 million.

More: Ex-Giant David Wilson will return to track

Speaking of the Triple Jump – The Origins Of The Rhythmic Hand Clap Are Explained

There was a fascinating article last week put out by Spikes (Spikes.IAAF.Org) where they interviewed former American triple jump record holder Willie Banks who explained how he invented the rhythmic hand clap in 1981.

Yes, he invented it. Many of you likely just assumed the rhythmic hand clap had always existed. No, it actually was invented by Banks with help from five drunk fans in 1981 in Stockholm.

Check out Spikes for the whole story: Willie Banks tells Spikes Mag how he and five drunk fans accidentally created the rhythmic hand clap in 1981. Here’s the cliff notes version:

“I stood at the top of the runway for my first jump and went through my usual routine of clapping three times and shaking my fist. But as I clapped my hands, five drunk fans in the stands mimicked what I was doing and clapped three times.

“I turned around annoyed and then thought, this is stupid, it is my last triple jump competition, what the hell. I went back into my routine, I clapped my hands three times they clapped their hands three times again and I landed out to about 16.80m…”

“By the time of my fifth jump almost everyone in the stadium is stood up clapping. I ran down and landed right next to the world record, knowing full well that I’d fouled. I was acting like it was a world record and people were going crazy before the judge raises his red flag.”

“I then got down on her hands and knees to check whether it was a foul. You could see it was a foul from Mars and then laughed and went back to put on my headphones…”

“(After my last jump), people then came from the crowd and carried me off on their shoulders. They hurried me across the in-field and a guy gave me a microphone and I started talking. I then went over to the section where all the meet organisers were sat and I said ‘so what do you think now?’”

More: Willie Banks tells Spikes Mag how he and five drunk fans accidentally created the rhythmic hand clap in 1981

Stat Of The Week

.4 meters/second – wind reading during Usain Bolt’s indoor 9.98 victory in Poland last week.

Before you immediately discount all wind-readings as being totally bogus, please understand how slow of a wind that is. 0.4 meters per second is just .895 miles per hour. We just wish track and field officials had been that vigilante in recording the wind when Flo Jo ran her 10.49 100 meter world record with a supposed 0.0 m/s wind during a ridiculously windy day back in 1988.

More: Usain Bolt Runs 9.98 To Break 100m World Indoor Best In Poland 

Miles at World Youth Olympics Myles Marshall at the Youth Olympics

AnApple A Runner Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

We’re not quite sure if there is a need for a Youth Olympics particularly since we just had World Juniors earlier this summer. World Youths, Juniors, etc. – it seems like we’ve got a little too much age-group competition.

Nonetheless, if they are going to find the money to hold these events, inevitably there are going to be some cool stories.

The gold in the men’s 800 at the 2014 Youth Olympics on Monday went to 16-year old Myles Marshall of the US who ran 1:49.14.

Marshall, who has a 1:48.43 pb and went out in the first round at World Juniors, has some good genetics backing up his performance. His mother is four-time US Olympic Trials participant Debbie Grant who was has a 2:00.81 pb and was 4th at the 1988 Olympic Trials. His father is 1984 Olympic 800 runner John Marshall, who ran his 1:43.92 pb at the 1984 Trials to grab the third and final spot for the US to the 1984 Games.

After winning gold, Myles told USATF he was happy that he’s run faster than his dad did at the same age. We think Myles is only asking for future failure when comparing himself to his dad at a certain age. Why? Well his father’s 1:43.92 pb from 1984 came when he was just 20.

But maybe Myles can be that fast that soon as the Marshall men do seem to be early bloomers. Myles, who is going to be a senior at Kingwood High School in Texas this year, is very young for his grade as he doesn’t turn 17 until December. Most US high schoolers turn 18 as seniors.

Myles lists Georgetown and Penn State as potential homes for college.

More: USATF: Marshall Follows Parents’ Plan To Gold
*U.S. wins two Youth Olympic track and field gold medals

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

“I was upset (about having to compete in the long jump at a meet as there was no triple jump so) I went up to a leading meet organiser called Andy Norman and said to him ‘why don’t you have a triple jump?’ He said ‘let me explain something to you. This is a business, so why should I pay you when you don’t put butts on seats?’

“That was my welcome to the business of track and field, which taught me a huge lesson that there is a difference between about just competing in athletics and the business of sport.”

Willie Banks, former American TJ record holder, track showman, and the inventor of the rhythmic hand clap, explaining to how he learned it was important to be more than just a competitor. (The Brojos’ mom’s favorite competitor last year at the Diamond League meet in Monaco was Brigetta Barrett who pumped up the crowd during the high jump, then sang Aretha Franklin after the meet).

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

“(The 2019 World Track and Field Championships) will be the biggest sporting event in the world that year because there will be no World Cup and no Olympic Games.

Take a moment and imagine how exciting, and how transformational it would be for this state, this country, and for the sport of track and field, if we were to do something as big and audacious as bring the World Championships to Oregon in 2019.”

Vin Lananna writing a guest column in The Oregonian.

MoreAfter World Juniors Success, Vin Lananna Continues Promoting Eugene As Possible Host For 2019 World Champs 

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

“I love having something to distract me from all the training during the winter. You can’t just be an athlete with nothing going on in your life.”

More: Irish 800 Runner Mark English Looking Forward To Starting Back Up At Med School After The Season Ends

Good News On The Anti-Doping Front

“The first focus (of the biological passport) was to look at blood samples and abnormalities, which was very useful for endurance events. With scientific capabilities now, we have moved on to assess steroid profiles in athletes. It means we’re now able to look at power and sprint events in the same way.

“The use of the biological passport and profiling means we’re able to shift the focus from searching for substance use to looking at the impact of using a doping agent. This has really changed the world of detection in a dramatic way.”

– IAAF Council Member Abby Hoffman, who is a long-standing member of the IAAF Medical and Anti-Doping Commission, talking to the IAAF last week about how the biological passport now works for testosterone.

That development, and the fact that the IAAF will restart HGH testing after a one-year hiatus certainly meant last week was a good one on the anti-doping front. Of course, they still have a very hard job. Drug cheats are very sophisticated nowadays and take micro-doses that are hard to detect.

Anthony Bosch, the mastermind behind baseball player Alex Rodriguez‘s doping, earlier this year told 60 Minutes that he figured out that Rodriguez could take testosterone lozenges as late as the first or second inning of a game and it would be out of his system by the time the game was over.

More: Biological Passport Now Works For Testosterone

Other News Of Note

Last week, Renaud Lavillenie’s 20-meet win streak in the pole vault was snapped when he no-heighted in Stockholm, but two longer win streaks did live to see another day. Women’s shot putter Valerie Adams won her 55th in a row in Birmingham. Adams hasn’t lost in more than four years (last loss was August 18, 2010). Women’s triple jumper Caterine Ibargüen, who last loss came at the London Olympics (August 5, 2012), also won in Birmingham, extending her win streak to 18.

Dathan Ritzenhein Makes Comeback With 49:12 At Crim Festival 10-Miler For 9th Place; Julius Kogo Gets 5-Peat With 46:35 Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton won the women’s race in 52:48. *Full Results *Discuss

Lawi Lalang Wins Belgium 1,500 In 3:38.93 Over Ryan Hill (3:39.53) And Evan Jager (3:39.68) Andrew Bumbalough and German Fernandez were back in 3:44. *Lawi Lalang Signs With Nike

A Rejuvenated Kara Goucher Is Ready To Race Again: “The passion is definitely back and I am excited for it to start.”

Lolo Jones Ends Track And Field Season Early As She’s Tired After Winter Olympics

Police: Jogger Saves Kids After Stroller With Two Kids Strapped In Falls Into Reservoir In Brookline, MA

Recommended Reads

German Long Jump Champ Gets Huge Feature in NY Times – And For Good Reason – He’s Got 1 Leg Markus Rehm won the German nationals with a massive 8.24 (27+ feet) which would have won him silver at Euros, which the Germans wouldn’t let him compete in. We don’t get the controversy – the IAAF should 100% ban all athletes with prosthetic feet.

A rejuvenated Kara Goucher is ready to race again: “The passion is definitely back and I am excited for it to start”

Phil Hersh profiles Kenenisa Bekele preparation for 2014 Chicago – Bekele says he has no regrets about his track career Bekele say he’ll do more long runs in preparation for Chicago as the marathon in Paris was harder than he thought it would be.

Quotes Of The Day & Last Week’s Homepages:

Note: To see a particular day’s homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date. The hyperlink below the date on the quotes will take you to that particular article – not that day’s homepage.

Monday 8/25:

– UK’s Lynsey Sharp talking after her 800m win at the Birmingham Diamond League meet yesterday, where she beat some big names including world champ Eunice Sum. After hardly racing in 2013 due to injury, she’s having a great comeback year with silver medals at the Commonwealth and European championships and now her first Diamond League victory.

Sunday 8/24:

– UK’s Olympic, Commonwealth and European long jump champion, Greg Rutherford, talking about how he will become a new father in the next couple of months. He still has big goals on the track, though, as he wants to complete a global title “Grand Slam” by adding the 2015 World title to his current three. *First part of quote from this article.

Thursday 8/21:

– Jenny Simpson at the Stockholm Diamond League pre-meet press conference talking about the impressive depth in the women’s 1,500 this year. Read our preview of what should be a great race today with Simpson up against Sifan Hassan and Abeba Aregawi.

Wednesday 8/20:

Tuesday 8/19:

– Kenenisa Bekele talking to the Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Hersh about his track career and his preparation for the upcoming BOA Chicago Marathon. Bekele will preview the course from home using google maps (PS – NRR: A LRC staffer loved the book on the Indian boy who found his mom using google maps).

Questions? Comments? Email us.


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