Thursday, July 29, 2021

Dateline: The Couch

 Greetings track fans. Greetings field fans. The hardiest among you will be watching the 1st round of the women's 100m right now. This is where the Olympics is the Olympics. Athletes from around the world come in search of PBs, national records, and glories yet to be defined. They've traveled a long way and under possibly fearful conditions. 

Someone comes in with a PB of 12.25 and leaves at 11.74, never to advance but having done herself and her country proud. This is the Olympics, and we'll know better 10 days from now if it all will have been worthwhile. She thinks so.

I'm approaching these Games a bit differently than I have in all but one of the previous eight. The predictions I have done in the past will morph into commentary about the events as they progress, most especially once we know the finalists. But I will comment on those results and try to give them some context. Here in the Pacific time zone finals begin as early as 4:15 am. Have I mentioned I'm old?! 

I have an epic schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday when I'll be covering the women's and men's hammer throws for Track and Field News - all of a sudden the fifth time I'll be covering majors for the magazine. That went fast. The women's final begins on Tuesday at 4:35 am Pacific - with a deadline 12 hours after the event finishes! Wednesday: rinse and repeat, only with a 4:15 am start.

While I hope we can all revel - sooner or later - in the achievements of these remarkable athletes, I'm well aware that that enthusiasm might well be muted, especially at first. Imagine the crowd reaction - had there been a crowd - in the first men's steeplechase heat today when Japan's Ryuji Miura unexpectedly shattered the national record with his 8:09.92, which is fast even without barriers. Suddenly he's someone to watch - someone totally unexpected - and the excitement grows. 

Looking forward to having that excitement grow with you over the course of the next 10 days. Thanks for checking in.

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