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IMG_3185.jpgSandi Morris, ATL #2, photo via ESPN by Kathy Camara


February 21st, 2021

There is an enduring expression that goes something like this: "If you want something done, ask a busy person." That saying may be a tad simplistic. Better stated: If that busy person is also talented and inspired, then you may well get that something done. World class pole vaulter Sandi Morris - with a bushel of global medals, her eye on the world vault record, yet frequently finds the time and the desire to embrace other intriguing ventures - just might be that person you need to ask.

 

Wolverine Frosh Off to Scintillating Start!

 


February 14th, 2021

We know that track & field athletes that excel at the highest high school level are coveted and pursued by the most successful NCAA Division I track & field powerhouses. But there are always unknown questions for both the incoming athlete and the track & field program at the school the athlete has chosen to attend: Will the high school star be able to effectively adapt to the new and different facets of college life? Will the athlete be able to handle life away from home, college class work, dormitory living, and - of course - the elevated demands of track & field competition: the practice; the travel; a different coaching approach; and the improved level of event performance that is required to attain collegiate success in the athlete's given event? For many, the student athlete / program relationship is successful. For others, it is not. Early returns suggest that the adaptation of freshman sprint phenom Ziyah Holman to life at the University of Michigan is working quite well, thank you very much.

 

American Record Holder Faces Olympic Trials Decisions

 

IMG_1448.jpgElle Purrier, Millrose Wanamaker Mile photo by Mike Deering / The Shoe Addicts

January 24th, 2021

A favorite, albeit shopworn, expression is "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." It is a saying that can be witnessed and validated in many walks of life. That maxim is often evident in track & field where a dedicated athlete can close the gap and occasionally overcome a more naturally skilled performer who has drifted away from thorough preparation.

A footnote to that maxim is: "But when talent works hard, you may well have something very special." Think: Ashton Eaton; Ryan Crouser; Allyson Felix; Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. The reigning Wanamaker Mile champion Elle Purrier is quite talented. And she has a deeply-rooted and finely-tuned work ethic. Might Elle Purrier be on her way to becoming something very special?

 Light-Hearted Gold Medalist Is All Business In The Ring

 


DeAnna Price4wa.jpgDeAnna Price, photo by World Athletics

January 17th, 2021

Few initially meeting and spending time with the affable DeAnna Price would suspect she is one of the geatest hammer throw athletes of all time. While a good number of highly accomplished track & field athletes can be aloof, guarded, almost suspicious of others - especially media types - the reigning World Championship gold medalist is quite approachable and happy to talk with others. Ask any of the dozens of Track & Field News Tour fans who were chatted up by DeAnna in the Khalifa Stadium stands during the days following her ground-breaking hammer victory at the 2019 Doha World Championships. "I love when I can sit and talk with the fans," notes Price. "That's how you build relationships. And that is what track and field is - a unity of people enjoying a major sport."

A Pandemic, Junk Food, Wildfires...and AR and WR Performances

 

Bowerman TC meeting, Shelby Houlihan, Karissa Schweizer, photo by Cortney Ware

September 18th, 2020

For those of us who so far have been fortunate enough to sidestep the Coronavirus, there is still inconvenience. Even though we realize we must collaborate as one to defeat this pandemic, each of us must choose our own way to react, to adapt, whether it is shuttering at home; conforming with recommended protocol; working remotely; collaborating with family members; assisting with school-aged children and aging parents; etc. Decorated distance runner Shelby Houlihan has her own distinct manner of dealing with the seemingly-unending challenges of 2020 - and has nonetheless been able to set an American record and a world record along the way.

 

 Young Discus Specialist Has Displayed Impressive Progression

 

September 17th, 2020

In an individual sport like track & field, ultimately it is event performance that propels any athlete's ascension in the sport. To climb the ladder of success on the track or in the field one must, rung by rung, run faster, throw farther, or jump higher. But when we witness a track or field athlete compete, we see only the tip of the iceberg. That finished athletic performance is the product of commitment, direction, and work which comes not only from the athlete, but also from critical contributions by the coach and other key members of the athlete's circle of support. Valarie Allman, who set a new American record in the discus on August 1st of this year, would be the first to agree that her Coach Zebulon Sion has been an essential ingredient in her impressive progression.

 

Resourceful USA Olympic Women Marathoners Find Ways Forward

 

 

2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, the women's start, photo by Kevin Morris

[Part II of a two-part series]

"Life is What Happens to You While You're Busy Making Other Plans." -- John Lennon.

Earlier this year six American male and female athletes secured their spot on the USA Olympic team by placing among the top three finishers in the USA Olympic Marathon Trials. Amidst the joy, relief, and celebration that day, those athletes, some of USA's earliest-selected 2020 Olympians, had no idea of the fear, the confusion, the anger, the grief, and the emotional roller coaster that would soon follow. Just about a week later the country, indeed the whole world, changed: the stock market crashed; the economy tanked; educational institutions at all levels closed; businesses were shuttered; and sports and entertainment were suspended as the COVID-19 virus gripped a world suddenly shrouded in a fog of uncertainty.

Last week's article focused on the men. In this final segment of a two-part series, here is how the three newly-minted Olympic women marathoners, each of whom were able to call upon patience and poise to earn a place on the USA team, have handled the challenges of the new pandemic environment.

Going into the Trials, Sally Kipyego had a quiet confidence about her chances to make the U.S. Olympic team, even win the race. "I was really in good shape. And I thought I had a chance to make the team, explains the former Texas Tech star, whose outlook was elevated by her sterling 2:25:10 clocking in the '19 Berlin Marathon - an all-time top-ten USA women's performance. "I went in with the confidence that I could win the race. And I went into the race to win. Still, anything can happen in the marathon. If things didn't go so well, I thought I would still make the team. I knew it was not going to be an easy race. And it felt even more difficult than I expected."

The Men's start, 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, photo by Kevin Morris

Pandemic Challenges USA Olympic Men Marathoners to Craft a New Plan B

 [Part One of a two-part series]

 

"Life is What Happens to You While You're Busy Making Other Plans." -- John Lennon.

The best marathoners possess an array of skills. They are disciplined and goal-oriented as they map out a training build-up for a season-capping race. They are resilient enough to rise above the inevitable injuries, the interruptions in training, And they respond quickly and adapt to unexpected challenges: last-minute changes in race day weather conditions; a mid-race surge; a missed aid station; even an untied shoe lace. But no marathoner has been prepared to face the unprecedented and pervasive challenges currently presented by the COVID-19 virus. Here are the stories of 3 of the 6 American marathoners who have made Team USA and will compete in the marathon in the Tokyo Olympic Games, if held as currently scheduled for next summer.

 

One of the world’s hottest sprinters two years ago, Ronnie Baker numbered London among his 4 Diamond League wins. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)
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IN THE FIRST YEAR of the post-Bolt era Ronnie Baker impressed: he won the ’18 Millrose 60 in a meet record 6.48, captured the 60 bronze at the World Indoor and won 4 Diamond League 100 titles, including a successful defense of his Pre crown, defeating reigning world champ Christian Coleman, who had set the indoor 60 WR just months before. By season’s end, the former TCU sprint star had posted the year’s second-fastest clocking (9.87) and earned the No. 2 Ranking heading into ’19’s World Championships campaign.

January 27th, 2020

On February 29th – dubbed by many as “Leap Day” – hordes of finely-tuned American men and women will take to the Atlanta streets to compete in the 2020 USA Olympic Team Marathon Trials. The task here – the first of two pre-race pieces on the men’s and women’s Olympic Marathon Trials – is to analyze the field, forecast who the top performers will be, and predict the athletes who will represent the USA in this summer’s Olympic Games marathon races in Japan. The men who make the Olympic team will likely by the top 3 finishers. An accurate prognostication is virtually impossible in this 26 mile 385 yard event where anything can happen (and almost always does), the weather on race day is unknown, and the event boasts a field containing nearly all of the country’s best athletes who have trained in solitude, hidden any physical tweaks or aches, and – for many – purposely haven’t raced a marathon in quite a while. One would have to be very good to get it right. Just a little bit of luck will help make these predictions look wiser than deserved . Here goes:

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TAFWA Award

Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

2020 Mid-American Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships

Dave HunterOn February 28-29, Dave served as the Color Analyst on the live ESPN3 broadcast of this championship gathering. Coverage of this 2-day conference championship can be viewed on the ESPN app.

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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