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Coaching

Four American records were set in Eugene during the 2008 Olympic Trials: Hyleas Fountain ran 12.65 in the heptathlon 100-meter hurdles on June 27; Tyson Gay ran 9.77 in the men’s 100 meters on June 28; Anna Willard ran a 9:27.58 steeplechase on July 3; and Jenn Stuczynski cleared 4.92m/16-1.75 in the women’s pole vault. In addition to these four American records, there were eight Olympic Trials records, five national records, eleven Hayward Field records, one collegiate record, one world junior record, two American high school records, and two U.S. all-comers records set over the ten days of Eugene 2008!

COACHING quarterly

COACHING AT H L E T I C S

California Track & Running News


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Credits: Writer: Larry Eder, Editor: James Dunaway, Design/Production: Alex Larsen, Proofreader: Christine Johnson. Photos: Victor Sailer, Lisa Coniglio/www.PhotoRun.NET. Printer: W. D. Hoards & Sons Co. Original story appeared at www.runblogrun.com. ©2008 by Shooting Star Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Produced as an insert for Shooting Star Media, Inc. publications. www.shootingstarmediainc.com.

AT&F SPECIAL REPORT: EUGENE08 • 3


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Each day at the Trials brought moments of joy and moments of sorrow. On Day One, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher had 20,000 fans enthralled as they fought over the last lap, stride by stride. But the real race was for third, as Amy Yoder Begley pushed her body to run as never before over the last eight laps. She finished with a 67.2 for the final 400 meters, making the Olympic A standard by 1.2 seconds! Begley’s last 5000 meters, run in 15:33, was eleven seconds faster than her best 5000-meter race of the year! Kara Goucher said it best, “The story was not about Shalane or I tonight, the race was about Amy Yoder Begley.” 4 • AT&F SPECIAL REPORT: EUGENE08


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On Day Two, Adam Nelson, Christian Cantwell, Reese Hoffa, and Dan Taylor battled for the men’s shot put team. Nelson, who has competed in the Trials since 1996, told us later, “I just did not throw well, I was as nervous as my first time.” Nelson took third. Hoffa took first on his last throw, a heave of 72 feet, 6 inches that pushed Cantwell into second. Cantwell, all 6-8, 330 pounds of him, was elated; he had missed the 2004 team by scant inches. This time around, Dan Taylor missed an Olympic berth by less than two inches!

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Day Two was also the women’s 100 meters final. Helsinki gold medalist and Osaka silver medalist Lauryn Williams duked it out with Muna Lee and Torri Edwards. In the end, it was Lee, healthy and back with her college coach, who took the win, with Williams in second and Torri Edwards in third. Marshevet Hooker, who had blasted a wind-aided 10.72 in the heats, couldn’t quite recover from a terrible start and took fourth. Also on this day, there was a near miss in the men’s 100 meters as Tyson Gay misjudged the finish line in his heat and barely made the second round. In round two, Gay showed his business side, running a 9.77, breaking the American record, and he slowed down after seventy meters!


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Day Three gave us the men’s 100 meters final, where Tyson Gay ran a wind-aided 9.68 to win—the fastest time run under any conditions! Walter Dix finished second in 9.80 and Darvis “Doc” Patton took third in 9.85, making the 100-meters team complete!

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Tiffany Ross Williams and Lashinda Demus, former world junior record holder and a new mother of twins, duked it out over the 400m hurdles. Ross Williams, all 5 feet, 5 inches of her, charged the last three hurdles and took the title in 54.00. Queen Harrison pushed into second and Sheena Tosta claimed third over Demus by just .02 seconds!


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In the men’s 800 meters, the Oregon crowd got a treat, as the fourth 20,000-plus crowd in a row was treated to Nick Symmonds making a “hockey move” running from the fourth lane to first lane over the last 200 meters, taking the race in 1:44.01. Running from eighth place to second, Andrew Wheating, a 6-5 Oregon sophomore, rushed down the final stretch to the astounding applause of the Oregon faithful. And then Christian Smith did the Lazarus move—he came back from the dead. Running on the inside, Smith leaped over the finish, leaving blood, some skin and, to the delight of the crowd, making the third position on the 800-meter squad a reality. Later that night at Villard Street Pub, Nick Symmonds told me, “I had one move and I made it work!” He was still pumped up hours later!

In the 5000 meters, Chris Solinsky dropped half of the pack with his 58.8 second eleventh lap. He added a 58 flat and it was down to Ian Dobson, Solinsky, Matt Tegenkamp, and Bernard Lagat. Lagat took off with 200 meters to go and that was it, Lagat won the race. Tegenkamp, the Osaka fourth-placer, felt sick with two laps to go, but held on for second place. In the end, third place came down to a hard-charging Dobson, as Solinsky, tired after trying to break open the race, dropped to fifth place. Tegenkamp explained, “I was not feeling well in the race, I was just holding on.” Champion Lagat noted, “The 5000 meters does not have tactics. It is about running fast when you have to, running slow when you have to. When I took off, I did not hear anything behind me. I was focused.”

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Bryan Clay, the decathlon silver medalist in Athens and the gold medalist at the Helsinki World Champs in 2005, came back from a rough year in 2007 to amass the highest score by an American decathlete since 1994! Clay has said that “there are no favorites in the decathlon. The winner is the athlete who makes the least mistakes.” Well, that was Bryan Clay in Eugene. On day one of the event, Bryan sprinted a 10.39 for the 100 meters (1001 points), long jumped 7.39 meters (908 points), threw the shot 14.17m (800 points), high jumped 2.08m (878 points) and finished with a fine 48.41 400-meter run (889 points). His first day total of 4,476 gave him a lead of 22 points over Trey Hardee and 71 points over Tom Pappas.

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On the second day, Clay broke it open: his hurdle race was 13.75 (1007 points), a discus throw of 52.74m (928 points), a pole vault clearance at 5.00m (910 points), and a javelin throw of 70.55m (898 points). The discus and the javelin gave him a lead of nearly 250 points, so his 4:50.97 for the 1,500 meters gave him a final score of 8,832 points and the win! Trey Hardee, fighting back from a tough 2007, scored 8,534 for his personal best and second place, while 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Tom Pappas scored 8,511 for third place. What a team of seasoned decathletes to take to Beijing!


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Day Five was a tough day for some. Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt staged one of the most impressive 400-meter duels on U.S. soil. Wariner, the two-time World champion and defending Olympic gold medalist, was even with World Junior champ Merritt as they hit the 200-meter mark. Wariner made his normal move, but he hit the 300meter mark and Merritt was still there. Wariner pushed. Merritt pushed. In the end, Wariner faltered, with the win going to Merritt, 44.00 to 44.20. David Neville took third. In the women’s event, Sanya Richards ran a superb race, overcoming her illness from last year to take the 400 meters. Mary Wineberg, after being sick all week, held on for second, but just barely. Dee Dee Trotter, who hadn’t broken 53 seconds all year, overcame a knee injury and blasted the straightaway,

moving from eighth to third over the last fifty meters. Day Five ended with the second American record of the Trials. Anna Willard ran in second for most of the steeplechase, behind Jennifer Barringer and Lindsay Anderson. But Willard is the ultimate steepler— 2:04 half-miler, 54-second quarter speed—and she went by Barringer at the bell and that was that. She cleared each barrier well and used her speed to run 9:27.59, a new American record! Anderson followed in 9:30.75 and Barringer claimed third with a new personal best and a collegiate record to boot! Willard had just become engaged to fellow steepler Jonathan Price earlier in the week.

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Day Six was all about the high jump. Chaunte Howard started rough, taking two attempts to clear 1.84m, then five straight heights on her first attempt! Her 1.97 or 6-5.5, won the Trials. Four-time Olympian Amy Acuff cleared six heights on attempt one and missed once at 1.95m, and then saved her last two attempts for 1.97m, which she missed. Sharon Day had a superb Trials, with her second attempt at 1.91m netting her the bronze. The men’s hammer was my Zen moment, as Kevin McMahon, who was convinced to try the hammer throw by coach Terry Ward of Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, CA, made his third Olympic Trials team, but won’t go to Beijing because he doesn’t have the A standard. A high school teacher, Kevin exemplifies many of the athletes here who compete because they love it. A. G. Kruger won the event and will represent the U.S. in Beijing. The women’s 5000 meters was a battle royale. Arianna Lambie, nearly tripping Kara Goucher, took the lead and kept the field on a 15:00 5k pace, with Shalane Flanagan, Jen Rhines, Goucher, Sara Slattery, and Lauren Fleshman in tow. Flanagan, Rhines, and Goucher had dropped everyone else by four kilometers when Flanagan, winner of the Trials 10k, American record holder at 5000 meters, 10,000 meters and 3000 meters indoors, injected a 71.2 lap. Rhines and Goucher held on as Lambie was off the back and Slattery and 14 • AT&F SPECIAL REPORT: EUGENE08

Fleshman fought for fourth. Flanagan followed up with a 67-second lap and began the last lap, picking up the pace. Rhines looked great, she was not going to be dropped, as Kara Goucher whipped herself around the 200-meter mark and took the lead, putting daylight between her and Flanagan. Rhines then passed Flanagan on the turn and there was your team, all finishing between 15:01 and 15:03! After the women’s 5000 meters, the 20,000-plus crowd stayed to watch the men’s 10,000 meters. Abdi Abdirahman ran his race. Taking the pack through 13:49 for 5000 meters, he broke the field down to Jorge Torres, Galen Rupp, and a chasing pack of Ed Moran, Josh Rohatinsky, James Carney, and Adam Goucher. Abdi ran an erratic pace, which kept the pack at three. “When we got down to three, I knew I was on the team, I would just have to use my kick,” noted Abdi. Over the final three laps, Torres and Rupp both tried to pass Abdi, but he was too strong. As Torres fell back on the final lap, Rupp made one more tough move, but Abdi’s 61-second last lap made the difference and the team was Abdirahman first, Rupp, second and Torres third. Rupp told us afterwards, “Before the race, Andrew Wheating told me if I did not make the team, I would have to find another roommate (laughing).” At the finish line, Torres waited for his brother, Eduardo, who finished eleventh. Eduardo had looked up from his race with 300 meters to go and smiled as Jorge crossed the finish line.


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Day Seven was a short session. In round two of the men’s 200 meters, Tyson Gay came out of the blocks, ran twelve steps and looked as if he were trying to clear a high-jump bar as a strain deep in the muscle stopped him from running. Taken off the field on a stretcher, Gay was given an MRI and prescribed twelve days of active rest, changing the 200-meter team in Eugene and U.S. fortunes in Beijing at said distance. But my moment on July 5 was the men’s steeplechase. Anthony Famiglietti, a sub-four-minute miler, a sub-8:20 steepler, a 13:17-5000-meter runner, and 27:37 at the 10,000, is the artist in residence at this event. With a his long, black hair and beard, he bares a striking resemblance to an eccentric Belgian painter named James Ensor (Jesus Visits Rotter-

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dam, 1936). Fam was on as he charged the laps, building a lead that reached 90 meters at one point. Brian Olinger followed him most of the way, but fell back to sixth. Over the last three laps, Billy Nelson and Josh McAdams moved through the crowd and nearly chased Fam down. But Fam looked back after the last barrier and sprinted home for the win. Nelson, who had set a personal best in the rounds, set another one here, madly sprinting for the finish, with McAdams taking third. All three hit the Olympic A standard! “I am excited to go to Beijing. I see this race as one of redemption. I want to redeem myself in the steeplechase,” noted a thoughtful Fam, after his Olympic Trials win.


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Day Eight of the Trials lived up to all expectations. In the women’s 200 meters, Allyson Felix and Muna Lee duked it out down the stretch, with Felix taking the win in 21.88, wind-aided, Lee second, and Marshevet Hooker, who had placed fourth in the 100 meters, leaping at the finish line to get third by .01 seconds over Lauryn Williams. In the men’s 200 meters, Shawn Crawford was watching Wallace Spearmon, who was out of the race until the last meters. On his left side, Crawford didn’t notice Walter Dix, who had already taken second in the 100 meters, and then won the 200 as well! The first semi-final of the women’s 100m hurdles was won by Damu Cherry. Kellie Wells took second in a PR 12.58, but fell at the finish and was unable to contest the final. Behind her were Joanna Hayes and Ginnie Powell, who have seen better days in the past and will probably see them again in the future.

In the discus, Ian Waltz hit 65.87m (216-01) on his fourth throw to take the title. Waltz had throws of 63.32m, 64.54m, a foul, 65.87m, 63.99m, and a final foul. This is his second trip to the Olympic Games. Michael Robertson was the example of somebody doing it on the right day, making the team on his third throw, a 62.73m (209-01) toss that was enough for second. Casey Malone hit his best on throw one, with a 62.67m throw (205-07) and repeated that distance in his fourth throw. His series was 62.67m, 57.73m, 61.07m, 62.67m, 60.83m, and 60.57m. Malone took third by one inch! John Godina, the best shot/discus thrower of his generation with multiple World Champs and Olympic medals, threw 57.27m (187-11), and finished twelfth in what will probably be his last Olympic Trials. A great guy and an amazingly competitive athlete, John will surely be missed in the ring by his friends and foes. AT&F SPECIAL REPORT: EUGENE08 • 17


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LoLo Jones, hurdling her best ever, set a Hayward Field record of 12.45, the fastest time in the world for 2008, and taking the second semi. Nichole Denby was second in 12.54, Dawn Harper was third in 12.58, and Candice Davis was fourth in 12.76. In the 1500 meters, Shannon Rowbury, who has delighted fans this spring with her gutsy running, ran her race today. Treniere Clement, Amy Mortimer, Rowbury, Christin Wurth-Thomas, and Erin Donohue were the lead pack as the field trotted through a pedestrian 68.17. Lindsay Gallo then took over, hitting the 800 meters in 2:15.73, with the pack right there. On the backstretch, Rowbury began a long run for home, with Gallo, Wurth-Thomas, and Donohue in attendance. At the bell, hit in 3:04.4, Rowbury was on her own, running fast and looking efficient, with a fine 61-second last lap, taking the Olympic Trials final in 4:05.48. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area and a North Carolina grad, Shannon was a fine runner in high school at Sacred Heart. Shannon shows what hard work, a great coach (John Cook) and a dream can do! The battle royale for second was between Wurth-Thomas and Donohue. Erin made the move with less than 200 meters to go, and caught Christin to finish second in 4:08.20. Wurth-Thomas held on for third in 4:08.48. Morgan Uceny made a game run over the last lap, in the 62 region, moving up from back in the pack to fourth place, in 4:10.85. Aarik Wilson lets his hop, step, and jump do the talking, and on his last jump blew out a twenty-two-year-old Hayward Field record with his fine 17.43 meters (5702.25). Aarik called Hayward Field and the Trials, “a recipe for great performances.” Kenta Bell finished second on the strength of his first jump of 17.23m (56-6.5). Rafeeq Curry took Walter Davis off the Olympic team with his last jump, hitting 17.21m (56-5.75). Davis, one of the top jumpers in U.S. history, missed his third Olympic team by a single centimeter—3/8 of an inch! Two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell looked great; he had a superb start and was hurdling very clean. Then along comes David Oliver, storming down the middle like a freight train. Well, Mr. Oliver, hurdling with passion only seen in an Olympic Trials final, pushes it all the way PAST the finish line, ensuring his win in 12.95! Wind-aided, yes, but Oliver was still fast. Trammell held on for second in 13.00, and David Payne, the last-minute addition to Osaka and the bronze medalist there, kept it together here and ran a fine 13.25. Aries Merritt recovered from an abysmal start and fought all the way, finishing fourth in 13.27! In the women’s 100m hurdles final, Lolo Jones, running a perfectly timed race, hurdled clean and leaned at the right time, running the fastest time ever by an American in any conditions, 12.29 (3.8 mps wind). Damu Cherry took second in 12.58 and Dawn Harper ran 12.62 for the coveted third position. Lolo adds this to her World Indoor title. Running composed races, hurdling clean, and racing well when it counts, Lolo Jones is a world beater! Then we came to the men’s 1500 meters final. After a pedestrian 61.8 for the first lap, Gabe Jennings took the lead, leading the pack through a two-minute flat 800 meters. The race was part roller derby from the start, as Rob Myers was pushed at 200 meters, and it just got more physical as Leonel Manzano, Bernard Lagat, Lopez Lomong, Alan Webb, Jon Rankin, Chris Lukezic, and Steve Sherer followed Jennings on his vision quest. Hitting the 1100 meters in 2:45, Lagat stayed with Manzano, Lomong, Webb, Rankin, and Rob Myers and then made his move, comfortably, with 200 meters to go. Lagat ran a 54-second last lap to win in 3:40.37! NCAA champ Manzano showed his stuff, running hard against Lagat and taking second in 3:40.90. As the runners came down the stretch, third was up for grabs. William Leer, who has this great ’70s mustache and runs like a man possessed, moved from the back to fourth, fighting for every inch and pushing Webb back one position. Lomong had moved with 150 to go and took third and hit the finish line in 3:41.00, with Leer in 3:41.54, and Webb fifth in 3:41.62. Jennings, his spirit broken, could not move and finished twelfth, in 3:47.92. Lukezic, looking to move with 200 meters to go, fought from the second pack but was way too far back to make a move, taking tenth in 3:43.26. Myers finished ninth in 3:42.62.

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The final event of the Trials, the women’s pole vault, gave us all of the drama of the hardest team to make wrapped up in one event! Jenn Stuczynski is the American record holder in the event and at the top of her game. The swirling winds and the failures of some of America’s best male vaulters didn’t deter her and her coach from coming in at 4.60 meters or 15 feet, 1 inch. By this time, there were only two vaulters still jumping. Jenn missed her first attempt. Then she missed her second attempt. A hush came over the stadium as the announcer noted, “If Jenn does not clear this height, she will not be on the Olympic team.” Talk about 20 • AT&F SPECIAL REPORT: EUGENE08

pressure! Stuczynski put her pole above her head, moved it to the right, then began her run down the runway. I didn’t want to watch, but did, as she cleared 4.60m to the delight of the crowd. To get the win, she next cleared 4.65m and then 4.73m, a new Olympic Trials record. The bar was moved to 4.92m, a new American record of 16-1.25. Jenn cleared it on her second attempt as the crowd roared and the men’s 1500m neared its finish. Her coach, Rick Suhr, noted afterwards, “She was not afraid. She is at the top of her game. She can go higher.” From a volleyball player four years ago to the number two vaulter in the world!


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Last spring, Vin Lananna, the head coach at Oregon and the co-chair of Eugene 2008 had told a select group of media that the Trials “would be like no other! We would make it fun, and festive!” Vin and his operations manager, Mike Reilly, more than delivered on that promise, and the 171,000 fans who visited Eugene over the ten days of track worship were treated to incredible acts of courage and athleticism. The investment Nike made into the facilities, we hope, showed the powers that be that track and field properly presented, is a potent sport in this modern age, and is still the core of the Olympic movement.

In the 1890s, as Baron Pierre de Coubertin was trying to resurrect the Olympic movement after an absence of more than 2,000 years, he was inspired by the headmaster at Arcueil College in Paris, France. Father Henri Martin Dideon had used the Latin words “Citius, Altius, Fortius” or “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to describe the athletes at Arcueil College. De Coubertin was so impressed he made it the Olympic motto. Something old, something new. I was discussing Eugene 2008 with Ian Stewart, the runner who came sprinting by Prefontaine to take the bronze medal in the 1972 Olympic 5000 meters. Ian is now meet director in the Aviva series of meets in the UK. With his cohorts Jon Ridgeon and Alan Pascoe, their company, FastTrack, has revolutionized how marketing and events are done in the UK. British Athletics has a budget nearly eight times that of USA Track & Field. Stewart noted, “They did a great job on Eugene 2008. They modeled some of it after European meetings, but the festival, music, food, is top notch.” Eight great days of track and field, and everything from art shows to a Wine and Beer Festival, coaches clinics, big screen TV for non-ticket holders, and music at night! Eugene 2008 gave 171,000 fans something to think about. Now, the big question is, how does our sport and USA Track & Field build on this great Trials and the upcoming Beijing success? That is the challenge.

(Yes, inquiring minds, Lori Jones is Lolo Jones.) Your daily updates on the latest in track & field, cross country, road racing, and marathon running. Sign up at www.runblogrun.com and get your athletics fix at least 350 days a year. (Hey, we need a break once in a while, too!)

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