Saturday, August 20, 2016

Of Horses and Swansongs

Good Morning, Campers.

Well, 46/47 previews and predictions are posted. I'll post the men's marathon before its early start tomorrow. It has been a new and different experience writing the previews for a much broader audience on RunBlogRun. With more explanation of references and the need to establish context for that wider audience, the individual previews bloomed from 250-350 words to an average of 460 each this time.

The longest it had been before was 24 pages; this time, 44.

A total of 22,475 words.

Add the five event reports for Track and Field News and I've been a busy guy.

Still, I'm enjoying what Rio and the Olympics have to offer; they are often two different things. In a few minutes I'll head to the T+F News wrap up event, where some of the stars of this meet will be sure to shine; I know that 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy is expected to show.

Yesterday I went to the equestrian jumping finals, just as I had in Montreal in '76. Forty years ago it rained; yesterday it was in the mid-90s - sweltering humidity - in an uncovered facility. Jumpers (the people, that is) wear blazers, silk ties, and funny little horsey helmets; maybe we should try that in track and field. I am so glad I went, in spite of the challenging day. It's another one of those events that signals that I'm truly at the Olympics - something so much broader and deeper than a single-sport world championship.

I was surprised at the makeup of the Jamaican women's and USA men's sprint relay teams last night. Jamaican great Veronica Campbell-Brown made a swansong appearance, and US sprinters Tyson Gay, Mike Rodgers, and Justlin Gatlin will be applying for Social Security soon. When I saw the Jamaican women's team come out I thought they had just handed the gold to the US; I was truly astonished.

I have no idea if this evening's all-finals program will be the best day of track and field of these Olympic Games - it often is. But certainly it will be one of the most interesting, with the women's 800m, Caster Semenya, and the many attendant complex issues. Interesting that the women's 800m should fall on one of the two or three most heavily watched nights of the entire  program. Sure to be the talk of the worldwide town tomorrow.

A local Seattle tie is that Oiselle has its first track finalist in Kate Grace in the 800m. T+F News pointed out that she has advanced through the prelims and semis as a time qualifier each time. It's living on the high wire (and her semi time of 1:58.79 was a PR); wouldn't it be something for her to come away with a medal after getting to the final in the least likely way.

My previews and picks are about who I think will medal, not who I hope will do so. And she certainly looks primed to dip into the 1:57 range - or faster - tonight.

Go, Kate!

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