While couch-surfing yesterday afternoon I came across the U.S. Bank NBC Sports Report with Liam McHugh. First up on the highlight reel was the Chicago Blackhawks continuing their record, non-losing streak to begin an NHL season as they bested the Detroit Red Wings in overtime 2-1. Next up came Lebron James leading the Miami Heat over the New York Knicks, 99-93, in Madison Square Garden. That was followed by Tottenham over Arsenal 2-1 in Premier League play in England. Finally, McHugh teed up the feel-good story of Mary Cain, the 16 year-old phenom out of Bronxville, New York capturing the mile at the U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque in 5:05.68.
“Look for her in three years in Rio,” McHugh said in closing.
Going back to 1967 when Doris Brown won the first of four U.S. indoor mile titles in 4:43.3, there has never been a single U.S. indoor mile/1500m title won in such a pedestrian time. In fact, the slowest winning time in the previous 46 years was 4:59.3 run by the Toronto Olympic Club’s Abby Hoffman in 1969 when she bested Shalane Flanagan’s mom, Cheryl Bridges (5:07.0).
Yet, it mattered not to NBC Sports that Cain’s time was the slowest in modern U.S. indoor history, or that it was nowhere near here best high school record 4:28.25 that she ran at the Armory in New York at the 106th Millrose Games in February behind Canada’s Sheila Reid. In this day and age when track and field has been all but dry-docked from the sporting mainstream, the fact that a runner made it to a major network’s highlight package goes to show what a winning personality can generate. Continue reading