Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Track and Field observations

Update: 23 Aug - Angelo Taylor also wins gold in 4x400.

Three quick track and field notes:

1) I was thrilled about the medals sweep in the men's 400m Hurdles. Even more excited that the winner, Angelo Taylor (above, right), is a Georgia Tech alum. Congrats also to silver medalist Kerron Clement (left) and bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson.
2) Usain in INSANE. Not only did he sweep the 100 and 200, he set world records in both. And did you see him cruise the last few meters of the 100? Track and field has a new star. Not to take anything away from Phelps, but Bolt may be the better story of the games. Especially if Jamaica can win the 4x100.
I know Phelps won eight, but swimming offers more events (and styles). Yes, Phelps did break seven world records, but with the technology of the swimsuits, there should almost be two world records in swimming: BL and AL ("before LZR" and "after LZR", as in Speedo's revolutionary LZR swimsuit). Bolt alone shattered the two world records; there were races Phelps won where several other swimmers also bettered world record times. And what if Bolt were American? Again, I love what Phelps accomplished, but you have to admit that NBC has a huge media crush on the guy (and who can blame them?).

3) Team USA Track and Field has been extremely disappointing. A lot of pre-Olympic favorites have not shown up or performed poorly. You couldn't watch Lolo Jones (100m Hurdles) hit the ninth hurdle and not feel bad for her. Sanya Richards was supposed to win the 400 easily, but faltered at the end and wound up with bronze. Some people predicted a sweep in the men's shot, but the third best American heading into Beijing only got second and was the only American to medal. Women's 100 (where Jamaica swept) did not step up, Terrence Trammell (110 Hurdles) pulled out lame and the Bernard Lagat, our great middle distance hope, did not place in a deep men's 1500.

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