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The Staten Island Runner

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October 16, 2000

Let it Rip!

by Mike Weiner

Some Quick Olympic Thoughts

It's been awhile, because work has consumed me, but I thought I'd add my thoughts after watching the Sydney Olympics.

I missed Carl Lewis. I don't know why, but I had this notion that Carl was going to show up this year at the last moment, qualify at the trials, then win a medal again. I was disappointed, but then again I must have been on crack to think up such a notion.

A Greece runner winning the 200m?? What's up with that??? I thought the Greeks specialized in Diners?? This guy's body was ripped ! He cruised through the finish line! He's primed for stardom and riches with the games going to Greece. Lets see what happens.

Sad to see Favor-Hamilton go down. Brings back horrid memories of Mary Decker-Slaney. She was running pretty well too. She looked to be peaking at the right time, and possibly running for a medal. Such is life. Hopefully she can rebound. It's amazing though, when you think an athlete is in their prime (Which I think she is right now) and not realistically able to compete at the next Olympiad , some athlete always surprise you. It just goes to show you how much determination, commitment, and desire can do. We'll see. Man, I used to love her in high school/college. I couldn't wait to see pictures of her in T&F news each month. She was definitely one of the prettiest runners in my generation. : - )

I don't know about you, but after CJ's failed drug test results came out, Marion's smile didn't have the same effect on me anymore. I don't know why or what it means, it just leaves a sour taste in your mouth. That was the worst thing that could ever happen to these Olympic games, because she was the darling/star/queen/spokesperson/whatever for these games. It just left a question of doubt in a lot of people's minds , like hmmm. He failed the drug test, she's married to him, she's the fastest women in the world, hmmmm. I'm not saying anything but that now Marion can be mentioned in that song "THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM."

And, oh yeah! Now I must agree with the several people who, before the games, were making note of Marion Jones' poor jumping technique. If she had won the gold, I wouldn't say anything. But since she lost, and it was clear that she was committed to winning the long jump, what the heck was she thinking??? Albeit, the women won the bronze medal, which should be proudly acknowledged (And was ), but it was almost equivalent of some High Jumper showing up to the games using the Straddling Technique!! She lacked some very basic important skills. If she utilized these techniques, she could have won the gold medal. She's the fastest women in the world. And with proper technique, she's probably the best LJ in the world. Or should I say, she could jump a farther distance than anyone in the world. Because technically, there is a difference. She should have won the gold medal.

What's worse?? Having some freak thing happen to you at the trials and not making the games at all ?? Or Michael Johnson running the 400, but not being able to run the 200m, a race he runs under 20 while jogging at the finish line ??? that must be tough! Obviously, I know the answer. He did win 2 gold medals, but it must kill him to not be able to run that other race.

Heike Dreschler is like the "EL Duque" of Track & Field. How can she jump that far at her age ?? That's amazing. She's going on 36! For the record, El Duque claims to be 31, but many say he's closer to 35 or 36. Hey, your only as young as you feel, right. Shoot, I feel like I'm 40, but I'm 33. What's up with that??

Hey, if I don't see Maurice Green's tongue for the rest of my life, it will be OK with me!! I mean at least Michael Jordan was flying from the foul line going Air with his tongue hanging out, but watching Green getting ready to run was giving me the eebie jeebies.

What happened to Regina Jacobs ??

I would definitely marry Stacy Dragila if I wasn't already married, and she wasn't already married, and she would even remotely give me the time of day if I asked her for it. You get the point! She's a thing of beauty! And oh yeah, she vaults 15' Maybe she could help me get over 13'.

Doesn't it suck when the games are across the world and its happening while we're sleeping ?? it doesn't have the same feel or excitement. Don't get me wrong, you love watching, following, cheering for your favorite Olympic events, but some of the excitement is gone when during the day you have already heard the results.

You know how athletes come here from all over the world and train here because of our incredible Facilities, Tracks, and Stadiums, as well as coaching ? Why don't a lot of our distance runners go to Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, etc and learn to train like them. Is it more the lifestyle that they have over there ?? Is it genetics ?? Is it that the desire to go running hundreds of miles a week just un-appealing to the younger generation of American kids?

I know he's the world's fastest man, but it's a real turn off to me (and I'm sure to them) when that peanut gallery of a announcer Jim Gray is interviewing the winning 4 X 100 and he asks Maurice Green about 5-6 questions and fails to ask any of the remaining 3 runners a thing. It's great that he won the 100m, but this race was a team race. He's a ding bat (Jim Gray). The other runners are sitting there thinking "didn't we just run this race too??"
I guess we should be happy that he didn't ask Maurice if he gambles on Baseball.

I strongly believe the known emphasis on stricter drug testing during these games was the greatest factor of why USA had the lowest GOLD Medal total in history.

Poor Gail Devers. This women hasn't any hurdle luck in her body. She's only been one of the top 3 hurdlers in the world for a while now, but cant catch a break at the games. In '96 she fell over the last hurdle while leading, and now she clips a hurdle, destroying her race. In that respect, maybe it's a shame that so much emphasis is put on the Olympic Games over everything else. Oh Wait, I almost forgot, most things in this world revolve around the mighty dollar bill.

You had to shed a tear or two for Marla Runyan. Even though she didn't break any records. It was incredible to watch this women who is basically almost blind run these races. To boot, when questioned about the race, she didn't speak about herself, but continuing to speak good things of Suzy Favor-Hamilton, and hoping that she (Favor-Hamilton) would win the race.

Watch out for that 16 yr old in who ran in the Women's 1500m final. Usually the young athletes get the experience in the trials. They come back next olympics with a little more experience. But to run in the Olympic final at 16, that's amazing. Hopefully she stays away from the boyfriends, and she'll be a force in 4 years.

Wow! So they finally were able to figure out that Chinese Distance coach. He is the one with that special all-natural herb that was helping these Chinese women smash every record in the book. Wasn't so natural after all! Turns out they fired him, and sent home basically all the runners but one. Perfect example of previous records that should be nullified.

And jeez, please ! if I hear another athlete who failed a drug test because he/she was taking cold medicine I'm gonna scream. Give me a break! All the athletes clearly are advised in writing of all banned substances, and what products they might be contained in. Every time an athlete gets caught they cry that they were taking cold medicine or something else. I can understand being sick,etc but there's no way in hell you would jeopardize years of training by taking one of these because you were sick. You would take one of those all- natural herbs for this ! :- ) Also, every athlete that gets caught gets all emotional and cries foul. They should put them in a room with Andy Sipowicz and he'll get them to confess. They wont be crying cold medicine when he gets done with them.

My Idol, Jan Zelezny, won his second straight Javelin title. The joy of the games for me! If I could have seen more than a minute of the competition, it would have been nice. ;-( .

As the games came to a close, I sat one night thinking for a little while about the javelin competition. I thought how across the world, it's a highly publicized and respected event. In the United states, people get scared when they hear the word javelin. You know, someone's always getting hit with one. That's not even the point here. I started thinking about Track & Field in general. A lot of people think of Track & Field as a sissy sport. A part time sport. A sport to pass time between baseball or football seasons. The Money sports!! Even I'm thinking to myself "Who the hell wants to throw a metal ball off your neck, or run 2 miles while jumping barriers and water ??" Those things aren't normal! Those things aren't mainstream things to do. Then I thought, Track & Field was meant to encompass athletic competition at all categories. The events were made to decide the strongest man, the fastest women, the boy with the greatest endurance, the highest jumper, or the athlete that could combine all of those qualities, as the greatest athlete. So where Track & Field might not be as popular as football or baseball, etc, the sport is still what it is. It is unique. It is historical. It's a test of athleticism. Track & Field is a sport where athlete's with a particular gift or interest, can compete in an event that showcases that gift or interest. Now I remember why I love Track & Field.

Take Care,


And Always remember when competing, to LET IT RIP!!