Month: May 2011

Alamirew Impresses in Diamond League Opener

   

     The second Samsung Diamond League Athletics season kicked off today in Doha, Qatar.  As expected the meet featured many world leading performances. Perhaps none was better, or more appreciated, than the men’s 3000 meters, won by 20 year-old Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew, the new distance sensation from the land of Haile Gebrselassie and Keninisa Bekele.  The smiling assassin continued his impressive display of finishing speed with a 7:27.26 win over a major field of former world and Commonwealth Games champions from Kenya.  He led the top four men under 7:30, and the top six to PR performances.

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JUST AN IDEA

     There is a potential problem brewing in the sport, and who can say what the long-term effects could be?  As was reported in the New York Times this February, in an attempt to generate increased revenues to make up for the city’s budget shortfall, the New York Police Department is looking to charge the New York Road Runners the full cost of shutting down hundreds of city streets along the five boroughs during the annual ING New York City Marathon.  

This additional cost would have a significant impact on the overall staging of the event.  In 2010, the NYRR paid more than $850,000 to city agencies, $107,000 of which went to the police department.  According to Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of the Road Runners, the club is willing to reimburse the police for more of its costs, though how much more has yet to be determined.

Notwithstanding the $200 million in economic impact generated by the event, the potential for real harm to the marathon is apparent.  What to do? (more…)

The Value of a Hero

    

     We were broadcasting the National Scholastic Indoor Track & Field Championships for ESPN from the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.  It was Sunday, March 11, 1990.  Though we had known one another for many years as reporter – athlete, the 1990 National Scholastic meet was the first time I found myself working alongside Olympic Marathon gold medal winner Frank Shorter professionally.  

    During one of the breaks in our coverage we began to discus the news of the day, primarily how the Lithuanian parliament was poised to secede from the Soviet Union, which would mark the first break from Moscow by a Baltic state forcibly annexed in 1940, and be the first independence vote of any kind in the 68 year history of the Soviet state.  The questions we, and many others, had was how far would the 1989 revolution extend, how would America play it, and what shape would the world eventually take?

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USA vs. The World – Who Won?

    

     First of all, it sounds like either Michael Bay’s next disaster starring Shia LaBeouf, or The Donald’s campaign slogan for 2012.  Instead USA vs. The World is the Penn Relays format / marketing campaign  for their century-plus year old track carnival in Philadelphia.  

     I watched yesterday on ESPN, but I never caught the score.  Anyone catch the final?  It probably came down to the last race, and what a match up that would have been.  Everything on the line in that one race, all the pressure, all the prestige, all the money.  I know I saw a lot of national uniforms racing around the track, and waving flags in the packed stands. 

     Excuse me?  Oh, you say they didn’t actually keep score? Really?  But it was supposed to be a competition between the USA and the World, right?  I wanna know who won. 

     It was what?  Just a bunch of individual races?  You mean with nothing on the line like moving on to the next round or money?  So kind of like if the Heat – Celtics game this afternoon in the NBA Eastern Division semifinals just ran up and down the court for 48 minutes with every 24-second possession being an end in itself?  Jeez, you wonder why the NBA doesn’t do that. It’s such an intriguing format. 

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