2008 Olympic Trial Thoughts Insight into the Olympic Trials, the Races, and the Runners by Jim Spivey (also, see Jim Spivey in Running Times Magazine: Olympic Viewer's Guide 2008: Not who, but what to watch for in the distance races)
The amazing race was the men's 800m. John Gregorek (3:51.34 mile PR), who I work with for ASICS, is there with his son, said the stadium was the loudest he can ever remember for this race.
The "kid" Andrew Wheating, just turned 20 and went to a prep school in Mass. 1:45.04 - amazing time. I said to my wife, Cindy, with 500 to go, he was going to make the team. "He's in last place!" she said. I replied, "Just look at his form -- he's not working. The pace is fast, and he is relaxed." The expression on his face after he made the team was priceless.
Nick had to really work with 150 to go (must be doing build-ups in practice :) ) to get out of the box he was in. Christian Smith, who finished 3rd, was ranked 29th out of 30th coming into the event. Cindy said he needs a shave. I said his mother probably at that moment, didn't care. She said his mother still said, get a shave. He looked like the runner from the book, "Once a Runner" by John L. Parker.
He had some serious medical issues in 2007, but has worked back to be an Olympian. His coach, Gags, a great friend of mine, was ecstatic after two of his athletes made the team, Nick and Christian. The guy Andrew hugged, "the white haired guy," was Vin Lananna, the former coach at Stanford, former Athletic director at a D3 college in Ohio, and now successful Oregon coach. His goal was to improve the Duck's program, bring the status of track back to prominence, and bring major events to Eugene, and do all of this great - think after the 800m, he accomplished all of his goals.
Men's 5000 -- With 850 to go, I saw Ian Dobson spit onto the infield. Check this on your TIVO -- he did. I said out loud, "He will make the Olympic team." I didn't know what his PR is, how fast his mile time is (to know if he could out-kick people), or even if he is a kicker. All I know, is that if you can think about spitting when things are starting to wind up, you are focusing on relaxing and you are going to have a sprint. And the spit was not just a fling to the side: He turned his head to the left, measured his spit, and spit. He may have even watched where it fell. This type of focus to me screams: "All right, let's race this last 1/2 mile!"
Women's 800 - They went out at 26 seconds for 200, on world record pace and three seconds below the American record. There were going to be some hurtin' puppies the last 100 meters. At least the pace was so quick, that it spread the field out into a straight line, so no one was knocked down with the field of 12.
Last 80 meters -- they were crawling home. When they showed Hazel's last 30 meters, she could barely get her feet of the ground, and zero knee lift. And! she was not being passed. Think about how bad the others were hurting.
Everyone will be on the edge of their seats on Thursday (July 3, 2008) for the men's 1500m opening heats, to see how Alan Webb looks.
Adam Goucher, troubled by injuries many times over the last five years, will run the 10,000m. The question is: does he have the A standard? If not, he could be in the same boat as he was in the 5000.
Decathlon -- My son, Simon, age 9, said he could beat all those guys except the top two, as to how slow they were running. Actually, they ran a good time, as Clay only missed O'Brien's record by nine seconds.