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Author: Jesse Squire

I was second in the 1980 Olympic* long jump. (*Cub Scout Olympics, Pack 99, 9-10 age group.)

April 27, 2018

WHAT2WATCH Friday at the Penn and Drake Relays

Friday marks Day Two for the Penn and Drake Relays and the debut of Arkansas’ new National Relay Championships.

April 25, 2018

WHAT2WATCH: April 26 at the Penn and Drake Relays

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for all spring — the Penn and Drake Relays are here & here’s the first full day of competition.

April 24, 2018

Notable Celebrities That Have Competed At Penn Relays or Drake Relays

Here are some people who you know, but may not have known that they competed at the Penn or Drake Relays at some point in history.

April 21, 2018

The Oldest Stadiums in College Track

Let’s take a look at the ten oldest NCAA Division I track stadiums as plans for a new Hayward Field were unveiled recently.

April 16, 2018

Thoughts on the 2018 Boston Marathon As Told By GIFS

This is not your typical recap of the Boston Marathon. Rather this is a collection of thoughts and reactions, as summarized by GIFs.

April 14, 2018

Play Boston Marathon BINGO on Race Day

In honor of the 2018 Boston Marathon, we decided to make the broadcast a little interactive for you. We’ve created a BINGO Card.

April 14, 2018

How to Watch The 2018 Boston Marathon: Online, Live Stream, TV Broadcast Information

Monday’s Boston Marathon is a must-watch event. But how? We’ve got you covered with TV channel and online streaming information.

April 5, 2018

Everyone Needs a Rival: Assigning An Enemy To Every Division I Track Team

In this week’s Thursday Morning Trackstravaganza and Field Frenzy by Jesse Squire, he assigned a rival to every Division I Track and Field team in the U.S.

March 30, 2018

Track and Field Viewing Guide For Florida Relays, Raleigh Relays, Stanford Invitational, Texas Relays

Jesse Squire breaks down a full schedule for you to know what + when to watch track and field action this weekend includes Stanford Invite & Florida Relays.

March 29, 2018

How do the world’s track and field national teams stack up?

Who are the world’s best track and field nations? How should we look at various ways to evaluate national team performance? Those questions & more explored.

March 22, 2018

The Biggest Upsets in NCAA Track And Field History (Plus the Weekend’s Best Matchups)

In the spirit of March Madness, here are the biggest upsets in the history of college track and field and came up with a list across a variety of events.

March 15, 2018

Five Ways Track Fans Can Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, plus The Weekend’s Best Matchups

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on Saturday. How can you as a track fan and/or runner, more sedately celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

March 8, 2018

Your Roadfood Guide to Indoor Championship Weekend

One of my goals whenever I travel is to find good roadfood. If I can find just one it’s a successful trip. What do I mean by “roadfood”?

March 1, 2018

Why Conference Championships Are The Best

The beauty of conference championship season is that everyone acts out Bo Schembechler’s words: the team, the team, the team.

February 23, 2018

The 30-year old ice dancing routine I think about daily

I haven’t been able to get Maurice Ravel’s Bolero out of my head for the last ten or so days.

There are a lot of reasons we like sports. Many times they merely act as a distraction from the weight of the world. It’s certainly been that way for me over the last two weeks, which have been very difficult for me personally, both physically and emotionally, as I deal with a series of family issues. Sitting back and watching track meets or the Winter Olympics has allowed me to decompress. Usually, though, it’s more than that which draws us to the action.

The most popular sports draw their popularity from tribalism, the belongingness to a particular group. This is absolutely true for soccer on a global basis and for football, basketball, and baseball in the USA. The act of supporting a team and opposing the other teams is what those sports are all about. It is the reason that four college football teams averaged a home attendance over 100,000 last year. It’s also the reason why fans of opposing teams can sometimes clash violently.

Fans of individual-based sports in general and track and field in particular don’t tend to find our interest based on tribalism. While we might cheer for certain athletes based on their national or collegiate affiliation, we very often just like seeing athletes perform on a high level. We are in it for a different kind of experience.

Look back at the 2012 Olympic men’s 800 meter final. You probably were cheering for the Americans, Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds. Neither won a medal, but the race is probably seared into your memory as a transcendent experience. Kenya’s David Rudisha ran a stunning world record of 1:40.91. It was one of the greatest performances of all time, something well beyond what we thought possible.

Which brings me back around to Ravel’s Bolero. For some reason I’ve always been more fascinated with the Winter Olympics than their summer counterparts. I’m going to guess that’s because I’ve almost always seen the Summer Olympics as a really big track meet muddied up with a bunch of other stuff I don’t care about, but it may also be because the first two Olympics I remember were both winter games, since there was little US hubbub surrounding the 1980 summer games in Moscow.

I’ve never been a fan of judged sports, but in 1984 you watched what the network was showing you, tape delayed or not, because there wasn’t any other option and the relatively slow pace of the news cycle meant you didn’t yet know what had happened. I was 12 when ABC broadcast the winter games from Sarajevo and whatever they put on screen sure beat doing homework or going to bed. So I watched the ice dancing that year.

I remember the British duo of Torvill and Dean and their gold medal performance set to Bolero. I was transfixed. I don’t know diddley-squat about ice dancing, now or then, but even my 12-year-old self instinctively knew that I was seeing something special. It is considered ice dancing’s greatest performance ever, one of the immortal moments of the Olympics.

The Olympics at their best are a blend of the tribal and the transcendent. Who we cheer for is highly dependent on the nation they represent, but there are also ample opportunities for the kinds of things you instantly realize you and the rest of the world will never see again.

College track has much of this, albeit on a much lower level. Everyone has an allegiance to a college and that drives quite a bit of our interest. Still, we recognize a great athletic accomplishment when we see one, and appreciating those accomplishments no matter who achieves them is part of being a track fan.

LAST WEEK’S MEDAL WINNERS

Handing out the medals for the best in college track…

Gold – NEC Women’s Championship
Is there anything better than a conference meet that comes down to the 4×400? The Northeast Conference women’s championship matched up four-time defending champions Sacred Heart against LIU Brooklyn. LIU held a 99-74 lead with three events remaining, only to see it vanish in the 5k as Sacred Heart went 1-3-4-7. LIU gave up another point to Sacred Heart in the distance medley, meaning they led by a score of 103-102 going into the concluding 4×400. Workhorse sprinter Shantae McDonald gave the LIU Blackbirds a big third leg that more or less sealed the win.

Silver – Martha Bissah
The sophomore at Norfolk State had a hand in 46 of her Spartans’ 70 points at the MEAC Championships. She won the 800, mile, and 3000, and ran on the winning distance medley and third-place 4×400.

Bronze – GNAC Women’s Championship
This meet was even closer than the NEC. Central Washington trailed Seattle Pacific by three points going into the 3000 meters and appeared to pull ahead by virtue of a third-place finish…but SPU’s Mary Charleson won the slow heat by over 23 seconds and actually bumped CWU’s runner in the fast heat to fourth. That plus a SPU seventh meant CWU trailed by six going into the 4×400. CWU overtook the lead halfway through that relay, then had to hold off a furious finish by Simon Fraser. SPU took fifth, which meant the meet was a tie.

THIS WEEK’S MEETS

The top meets of the upcoming weekend are rated from one to three dip finishes for sheer watchability…

Three Dips: Every Conference Championship Meet

Conference championship meets ROCK. Doesn’t matter if it’s the SEC or the lowest level of Division III, they’re all a blast. Not only does every race and every field event matter, every scoring place in every event matters. Two weeks ago I was the PA announcer for the championship meet of one of the NAIA’s less competitive conferences, and it was a blast. The athletes were running less for themselves and more for each other, and for me that’s the best thing I can ever watch.

So if there’s a meet near you, go. Just go. Set aside time on Saturday or Sunday and get there. Doesn’t matter if it’s Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, junior college, or USports, just go and soak it all in.

That said, if you’re going to be that guy who just sits on your couch and watches a meet on TV or the internet and aren’t intensely following your particular college, the SEC Championships is the meet to watch. It’s not just that it offers up the highest level of competition, it’s that the team championship is likely to be close and unpredictable.

BAD MOVIE OF THE WEEK: BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA

This is actually the title of the film, and, shockingly, it gets worse from there.

Lugosi was the pre-WWII horror film star best known for portraying Count Dracula in the classic 1931 film. His roles became ever more limited as time went on, and by 1952 he was doing movies like this one.

The IMDB description merely says Two goofy entertainers meet a mad scientist on a jungle island. Lugosi is the mad scientist, of course, and the two “entertainers” are doing obvious ripoffs of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I’ve long thought that Lewis was the single most annoying person ever put on camera, but I now know that he has been supplanted only by A GUY DOING A BAD IMPRESSION OF JERRY LEWIS. Egad.

This film was reportedly shot in nine days, and it shows. It’s the work of a director known as William “One Shot” Beaudine, so dubbed because of his reluctance to ever shoot a second take.

The two “entertainers” are stranded on a South Pacific island and are rescued by a local tribe. One of the “entertainers” falls in love with a pretty young member of the tribe, but there’s a mad scientist (Lugosi) running evil experiments on the island and he wants the young woman too. Lugosi hits him with a syringe full of growth hormone which turns him into a gorilla, and it gets worse from there.

Bad dialogue, bad acting, bad filming, bad plot – what more could you want? Wonderfully awful.

Enjoy the conference meets, everyone!

February 21, 2018

Katie Nageotte On Her Road to Her First U.S. Title: “It Still Doesn’t Feel Real”

Jesse Squire chats with 2018 U.S. Indoor Track and Field Champion Katie Nageotte on her breakthrough performances and her career track.

February 15, 2018

You’re Killing Me, Smalls

Could new collegiate record holder Grant Holloway go on to a 13.00 clocking this spring like Renaldo Nehemiah did in 1979? He’s on the way.

February 8, 2018

The Spectacle

I was happy with Super Bowl LII because the Eagles used to play in Franklin Field, home of the greatest annual track meet in America.

February 1, 2018

Cross Country in the Olympics? Yes, please.

For all the talk about “edgy” and “extreme”, the kind of Olympic cross country that would benefit our sport is old-school.

January 25, 2018

What Track & Field Can Learn From RuPaul’s Drag Race

The headline for this week’s Trackstravaganza is a little bizarre, but there are lessons that track and field can take away from RuPaul’s TV show.

January 18, 2018

When Was the Best Time to be a Track Fan?

Track and field’s position among spectator sports has been in more or less constant decline for decades. So when was it the best time to be a track fan?

January 17, 2018

What to Make Of “Track And Field News” Going Digital

Track and Field News announced that it will no longer publish a paper copy of its magazine after the December 2017 edition.

January 15, 2018

First Impressions of Michigan’s New Indoor Facility

A trip to Ann Arbor to get a look at the new indoor facilities by Michigan’s nifty Stephen M. Ross Athletics South Competition and Performance Center.

January 10, 2018

Thursday Reminder Indoor Track Exists

Jesse Squire brings you a look at the best early season indoor track performances and what to look ahead at for this upcoming weekend.

December 6, 2017

Book Review and Author Interview: The Complete History of Cross-Country Running

The Complete History of Cross-Country
Running: From the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day

by Andrew Boyd Hutchinson
Publication on January 16, 2018 (pre-order available from Amazon.com)

How can cross country have a history? It’s such a simple sport. We race from here to there, regardless of what footing or obstacles are in the way. It has to be as old as humanity itself. And if you believed that, as I did before reading this book, you would be wrong.

Cross country running in the way that we now know it came from a game called “hares and hounds”, a sort of a reverse anthropomorphism of the upper-class foxhunt, played by young men at England’s schools and universities in the 19th century. That is where Hutchinson’s book begins, and from there it goes on a wild run over hill and dale. It follows the development of the sport from quirky intramurals to university and club teams and national and international competition, as it spread out over the globe.

Books exist to trace the history of running, and of track and field, and of marathoning, but until now none have traced the history of cross country. Hutchinson did a massive amount of research to unearth stories of long-forgotten athletes and races that illustrate the colorful history of a sport that still defies standardization, and he covers every part of it that you can think of (plus plenty you won’t until you read it).

First-time author Hutchinson avoids the potential pitfall in an extensive work like this, a presentation that is encyclopedic rather than narrative. Fittingly for a book about cross country it’s long. It is organized by decades with a deep look at a feature race in each chapter. If there’s a criticism, it’s that the broad scope of the book allowed Hutchinson to occasionally miss minor details that would give a broader understanding (example: a runner identified merely as “E.A. Montague” is in fact Aubrey Montague, whose letters to his mother from the 1924 Olympics narrate Chariots of Fire). The book is best consumed like one of those epic Ken Burns documentaries: one episode at a time.

The book has not yet hit the market and won’t until a few weeks after Christmas, but pre-order is available. If the runner on your shopping list is willing to wait a few weeks (even if that runner is you), I heartily recommend this book as a gift for fans of every stripe.

I asked Hutchinson a few questions about his efforts.

Squire: This was a massive effort of research and writing. What inspired you to take it on?

Hutchinson: In 2012 I was in my fourth year as a high school history teacher (simultaneously pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts at Stanford where they needed an “undiscovered topic of personal interest” for my dissertation), and I was coaching a team of 60 cross-country athletes for the school.

In November that year, as I was preparing the team yearbook for our cross-country season, I wanted to include some sport history for context. Couldn’t find anything definitive. A few hobbyist’s websites, Wikipedia had about three total sentences (a stub! It even mentioned cross-country in the Olympics, which was new info to me, and sounded awesome), and a few really enticing PDFs on the LA87 site.

I was shocked. I had grown up reading the “Illustrated History of Football” and the like, but figured every major sport had to have a volume sitting on the library shelf. There wasn’t one for cross-country. So I decided to take time away from teaching, use my savings to live frugally, start at Stanford’s library, and become the expert needed to write the story myself. What transpired over the course of the next few years was this book, and candidly, now seeing how much time and effort was needed for research, I know why it never happened before.

I wrote it chronologically, and each decade seemed more extensive than the last. Many Friday evenings and weekend afternoons were sacrificed spent writing, and I eventually came back to teaching…Supplementing that job working the front desk at a local gym at 5 in the morning so I could spend a few hours before school writing without being disturbed too much. There were a lot of 12 hour days, but the outcome was absolutely worth it.

Squire: You said you were surprised to discover that cross country had once been in the Olympics. What were some of the bigger “gee, I didn’t know that” moments in research? And what were the most epic races that you never knew had taken place?

Hutchinson: I quickly learned that USA Track and Field (and therefore most reputable bodies along with them) had erroneously recorded the first U.S. Cross Country National Championship as being in 1890. This has been the result of Spalding’s Sports Almanac a short time after the turn of the century, and they unknowingly wiped out seven years of official championships prior to that year. It wasn’t until I started at that year of the championship and discovered in news articles that it was the seventh year of running it that it caused me to go back and verify.

That time period also had some gaps in the championship record, which were the result of a lawsuit between the organization that hosted the “Team” national championship in the spring, and the New York Athletic Club, which hosted the “Individual” championship in the fall. The end result destroyed both iterations of the event and it disappeared in the 1890s for awhile. Very reminiscent of the talk about Foot Locker and NXN by today’s audience, although there have been no lawsuits… just further proof that history always repeats itself.

One race-related nugget uncovered was the secret success of Emil Zatopek as a cross-country runner, which had been almost completely forgotten up until a few years ago. His appearance at the “Cross de L’Humanité” in France saw upwards of 70,000 spectators, and Zatopek didn’t always win! (The biggest shock of all). His appearance in XC, along with Kip Keino and Jim Ryun also running 10K XC during their prime were surprising tidbits that had been overlooked before.

Squire: These days runners tend to specialize even more than they used to, but almost no one specializes in cross country. Was there a runner you discovered who was dominant in cross country but otherwise very little-known?

Hutchinson: Pat Porter fit this profile. Here was a guy who ran NCAA DII for Adams State, came up at a time with the Salazars and the Herb Lindsays and the Craig Virgins and absolutely DOMINATED cross-country. For nearly 20 years he was a podium finisher domestically, and internationally did well despite facing raw African talent and very good European talent. No one else came close.

These days you’ve got Chris Derrick, Garrett Heath, and to a lesser extent Joe Gray and Max King— guys who train in the mud and trails and throw down on the tracks and roads occasionally, but aren’t winning major marathons or Olympic medals.

The U.S. women have done better to preserve the ideology that cross-country is a worthy competition tool to find stardom elsewhere. Molly Huddle, Jenny Simpson, Shalane Flanagan have shown this, as did the Deena Kastors and Lynn Jennings of yesteryear.

Squire: I hear all kinds of gimmicks thrown around for bringing the elite international side of cross country back to prominence, but to me the essential and timeless parts of cross country are team competition and a difficult course. Do you have any thoughts or ideas?

Hutchinson: Winter Olympic inclusion.

The IAAF is in favor, but the IOC maintains any sport for consideration must be practiced on “snow or ice”.

Instead of creating an exception, the IAAF really ought to bring cross-country to a three-race “tour” of Norway, Iceland, or Switzerland in the traditional winter and spring months to officially sanction a 10K national team permit series (to supplement their current one). With drug testing and sponsorship to finance, it would meet all necessary criteria for Olympic inclusion that way, and would allow African nations to be better represented at the Winter Games.

Thelma Wright of Canada agrees (she sits on the IAAF XC panel), and is pushing hard for Vancouver to host NACAC (or Pan-Am) XC first, then Worlds eventually, so it can be done.

With World XC every two years now, the insertion of an Olympic XC event would catapult the sport back into the spotlight.

Moreover, professional athletics could also benefit from an all-discipline sports standing, that factors trail and road performance alongside track monetary purses. That way athletes would have more of an incentive to compete in a range of races to earn coveted prizes.

There is a lot that COULD be done, but many of the necessary actors to make it happen already have their hands full.

Squire: Cross country is a sport in which the venue has as much or more personality as the competitors. After writing this book, is there a course that you’ve never been to that you really want to run on?

Hutchinson: Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland. Or racing Wimbledon Common [London], as I’ve visited but never competed there.

Squire: Final question: if you could go back in time and watch just one race which appears in your book, which one would it be?

Hutchinson: Pre and Lindgren in 1969 at the first PAC-8 XC Conference Champ. The best race Garry Hill ever saw (editor of Track and Field News). Would’ve been amazing to see live.

November 20, 2017

Thoughts on the NCAA Cross Country Championships

Jesse Squire breaks down his thoughts and observations from the 2017 NCAA Cross Country National Championships, where he was on-site for the action.

November 15, 2017

Throwback Cross Country Races That Every Runner Should Watch, Know

Jesse Squire takes us through 3 cross country races that every runner should watch and know. Races include Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar and more.

November 14, 2017

A Visual History of the NCAA XC Championships and What It Tells Us

Jesse Squire provides a visual display of the past NCAA cross country championships and what it may mean for the 2017 NCAA Championship.

November 8, 2017

Meb Keflezighi: A Look Back At One Of America’s Greatest

Meb Keflezighi has retired from competitive running so we take a look back at some of the greatest moments of his career & research some remarkable stats.

August 12, 2017

Worlds Day 9 Preview: Finales for Bolt and Farah

This is it. Today is the end of Mo Farah’s world championships track career, and it’s the end of Usain Bolt’s career, period. Farah runs the 5000 meters at 3:20pm EDT and, provided his relay team qualifies, Bolt anchors the 4×100 relay at 4:50pm.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today has a two-session format, with the morning session beginning at 5:00am EDT and the main part of the afternoon session beginning at 2:05pm. The morning session is the decathlon and the relay semifinals, while the afternoon concludes the decathlon plus six more finals. If you have only limited time to watch, make it that 3:00 to 5:00pm window.

And how, exactly, can you watch?

HOW TO WATCH

Today’s morning will be televised in the USA live on NBC Sports Network from 5:00 to 7:00am EDT and in tape-delayed fashion on the Olympic Channel from 9:00am to noon. The afternoon session will be carried live on NBC from 3:00 to 5:00pm and in tape-delayed fashion on the Olympic Channel from 8:00 to 10:00pm

Lie streams will be available to US viewers via NBC Sports Gold. There will be a track stream plus one each dedicated to each field event, along with a simulcast stream of the various television broadcasts. A “track and field pass” is required ($70 per year) but is well worth the cost – and unlike other broadcasters’ online platforms, no cable subscription is necessary for access.

Online coverage in Canada will be via CBCsports.ca from 4:10am and 11:50am EDT. Television coverage will be live on CBC from 3:00 to 5:00pm EDT with a replay at 7:00pm local time.

The IAAF will also offer a live stream via YouTube and Facebook which will be available in a large number of nations which includes Canada but not the USA. The IAAF Radio service will be available globally and can be accessed through both the IAAF website and the IAAF mobile app.

Determined fans can bypass various geoblocking measures by installing a VPN. Exceptionally determined fans can view CBC broadcasts by temporarily relocating to a postindustrial hellscape such as Detroit, Buffalo, or Toledo.

We also highly recommend the live results & text commentary page at the IAAF website.

EVENT-BY-EVENT

Headline Event: Men’s 5000 meters final
3:20pm EDT
Medal favorites: Mo Farah (Great Britain), Muktar Edris (Ethiopia), Paul Chelimo (USA)
US qualifiers: Chelimo, Ryan Hill
Canadian qualifiers: Mo Ahmed, Justyn Knight

This is Sir Mo Farah’s last track race at a World Championships. Can anyone beat him? And if so, who?

Headline Event: Men’s 4×100 Relay final
4:50pm EDT
Medal favorites: Jamaica, United States, Japan

Finalists will be determined in the morning’s heats. Jamaica has injury trouble but they have Usain Bolt, and that might be all they need. It will be the last race of his career.

All Day: Decathlon
110 hurdles at 5:00am, discus at 6:00am, pole vault at 8:00am, javelin at 12:30pm, 1500 meters at 3:45pm
Medal favorites: Kevin Mayer (France), Rico Freimuth (Germany), Damian Warner (Canada)
US entries: Trey Hardee, Zack Zeimek, Devon Williams
Canadian entry: Warner

The best way to follow the changing fortunes of a decathlon is to consult a forecasting service, such as this one. For example, a decathlete who is a good hurdler can have a bad race and still beat a poor-hurdling decathlete on a good day, but the first has left points on the table while the second has gained.

Warner is locked in battle with Germany’s Kai Kazmirek for bronze, and silver is not entirely out of the question. The Americans are fighting for a top-ten finish.

2:05pm: Women’s High Jump final
Medal favorites: Mariya Lasitskene (neutral), Kamila Lićwinko (Poland), Vashti Cunningham (USA)
US qualifiers: Cunningham, Inika McPherson

Lasitskene is one of the few Russians who were allowed to compete as neutral athletes and is a heavy favorite to win. Cunningham is a very real threat to win – she’s the best “junior” (U20) jumper since the Berlin Wall fell – and appears to be NBC’s anointed star for the next Olympiad.

3:05pm: Women’s 100 meter hurdles final
Medal favorites: Kendra Harrison (USA), Sally Pearson (Australia), Nia Ali (USA)
US qualifiers: Harrison, Ali, Christina Manning, Dawn Harper-Nelson

Harrison is the world record holder but has never won an international championship of any kind. In fact, this is just her second championship final (she finished last at the ’16 World Indoors) and almost didn’t make it here after walloping the first hurdle in her semi. She can’t be beaten if she puts it all together.

3:15pm: Men’s Javelin final
Medal favorites: Thomas Röhler (Germany), Johannes Vetter (Germany), Jakub Vadlejch (Czech Republic)
US qualifiers: none

The traditionally strong German team hasn’t done much at these championships but expect that to change here. Röhler and Vetter are #2 and #3 on the all-time world list. The javelin has become more diverse than it used to be: the finals feature not just Europeans but athletes from Kenya, Trinidad, Qatar, and India.

4:30pm: Women’s 4×100 Relay final
Medal favorites: United States, Jamaica, Trinidad
The USA hasn’t shown tremendous depth in the sprints this week, but no other single nation has either. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson will be looking to make up for her norovirus-related poor outing in the 100. Expect the stadium to explode if the Brits are in contention for a medal, which they just might be able to be.

August 10, 2017

Worlds Day 7 Preview: Makwala, Van Niekerk square off in 200m final

The Isaac Makwala incident at the world championships has made the 200m final tremendously more interesting. That’s the biggest final of the day.

August 9, 2017

IAAF World Championships Day 6 Preview: Allyson Felix Gets Her Rematch

Allyson Felix will get her rematch against Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the women’s 400m final. Last Summer, Felix was beat out for gold with a dive at the line.

August 7, 2017

IAAF World Championships Day 4 Preview: Merritt and Simpson go for gold

Jenny Simpson and Aries Merritt look to add to the United States’ medal count on Day 4 of the IAAF World Championships in London.

August 6, 2017

World Championships Day 3 Preview: Women’s 100 takes the stage

Elaine Thompson and Tori Bowie go head-to-head in the women’s 100 meters. Can the United States make it two golds in the 100?

August 5, 2017

World Championships Day 2 Preview

The Usain Bolt retirement tour kicks into high gear today, but it’s not the only action at the IAAF World Championships in London’s Olympic Stadium. Three other events hand out medals today, including the women’s 10,000 meters, and the competition goes all morning and all afternoon. Here’s a quick guide to what to watch and when and how to see it.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE
The competition is split into a morning session and evening session. If you’re finding the morning session a bit too early, you can take solace in the fact that, aside from the early events of the heptathlon, it’s all qualifying rounds.

The afternoon is nearly all finals, including the last individual race of Usain Bolt’s career. The men’s 100 meter final is slated to begin at 4:45pm EDT and it’s a can’t-miss event.

And how, exactly, can you watch?

HOW TO WATCH

Today’s morning session will be televised in the USA live on NBC Sports Network from 5:00 to 8:00am EDT and in tape-delayed fashion on the Olympic Channel from 9:30am to 12:30pm. The evening session will be televised live on NBC from 3:00 to 5:00pm and in tape-delayed fashion on the Olympic Channel from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.

Lie streams will be available to US viewers via NBC Sports Gold. There will be a track-centric all-event stream plus one each dedicated to each field event, along with a simulcast stream of the various television broadcasts. A “track and field pass” is required ($70 per year) but is well worth the cost – and unlike other broadcasters’ online platforms, no cable subscription is necessary for access.

Online coverage in Canada will be via CBCsports.ca and television coverage will be via CBC (live at 2:00pm EDT, replay at 7:00pm local time).

The IAAF will also offer a live stream via YouTube and Facebook which will be available in a large number of nations which includes Canada but not the USA. The IAAF Radio service will be available globally and can be accessed through both the IAAF website and the IAAF mobile app.

Determined fans can bypass various geoblocking measures by installing a VPN. Exceptionally determined fans can view CBC broadcasts by temporarily relocating to a postindustrial hellscape such as Detroit, Buffalo, or Toledo.

We also highly recommend the live results & text commentary page at the IAAF website.

EVENT-BY-EVENT

Headline Event: Men’s 100 meter final
4:45pm EDT
Medal favorites: Usain Bolt (Jamaica), Justin Gatlin (USA), Christian Coleman (USA)
US entries: Gatlin, Coleman, Christopher Belcher
Canadian entries: none

Bolt appears vulnerable in what will be the final individual race of his career, but he’s looked that way before and come out the winner. He always runs his best when it matters most. If he can be beaten it most likely would be at the hands of an American, but which one?

All day: Heptathlon
100 hurdles at 5:05am, high jump at 6:30am, shot put at 2:00pm, 200 meters at 4:00pm
Medal favorites: Nafi Thiam (Belgium), Laura Ikauniece-Admidiņa (Latvia), Carolin Schäfer (Germany)
US entries: Erica Bougard, Kendell Williams, Sharon Day-Monroe
Canadian entries: none

The easiest way to follow the changing fortunes of a heptathlon is to consult a forecasting service such as this one, which predicts results of each event and updates as actual results come in.

2:26pm: Men’s Discus Throw final
Medal favorites: Daniel Ståhl (Sweden), Fedrick Dacres (Jamaica), Piotr Małachowski (Poland)
US qualifier: Mason Finley
Canadian qualifiers: none

The dominant throwers of many years have been Malachowski and Germany’s Robert Harting, but neither look like champions so far this year. But the discus is an event where patience is rewarded, and age has its advantages. The US hasn’t had a top-eight finish since 2009 (Casey Malone).

2:35pm: Women’s 1500 meters semifinals
Qualifying format: The top five in each of two heats plus the next two fastest qualify to the finals
US entries: Kate Grace, Jenny Simpson, Sara Vaughn
Canadian entries: Nicole Sifuentes, Gabriela Stafford

Depending on your perspective, middle-distance semifinals are either the most exciting or most nerve-wracking races in any championship meet. There is so little room for error.

3:05pm: Men’s long jump final
Medal favorites: Luvo Manyonga (South Africa), Jarrion Lawson (USA), Wang Jianan (China)
US qualifier: Lawson
Canadian qualifiers: none

Manyonga was en fuego earlier in the year and put up a series of meets reminiscent of Mike Powell or Carl Lewis, but then got hurt. Still, this is his meet to lose. After that it’s a crapshoot. Note that all six continents are represented in this final.

3:10pm: Women’s 10,000 meter final
Medal favorites: Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia), Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia), Alice Nawowuna (Kenya)
US entries: Molly Huddle, Emily Infeld, Emily Sisson
Canadian entries: Natasha Wodak, Rachel Cliff

Four-time world 10k champion Dibaba faces off against world record holder Ayana. This is the race where Infeld famously pipped Huddle for bronze at the last Worlds, which tells you that the USA has multiple athletes with a realistic shot at the podium.

August 4, 2017

World Championships Day 1 Preview

The IAAF World Championships begin today in London’s Olympic Stadium, and all eyes will be on London native Mo Farah as he attempts to win his fifth straight major 10,000 meter final — the last time he will ever race that distance on the track.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

As you can see, the schedule is all qualifying rounds and just a single final, the men’s 10,000 meters, but it’s going to be a good one. Track and field’s two biggest names in recent memory will be on the track today: Farah in the 10k and Usain Bolt in the 100 meter quarterfinals.

If you only have time to watch one event, make sure you’re ready for that 10k race at 4:20pm Eastern time. And how, exactly, can you watch?

HOW TO WATCH

Today’s action will be televised in the USA live on the Olympic Channel from 1:00 to 5:00pm EDT and in tape-delayed fashion on NBC Sports Network from 7:00 to 9:00pm.

Lie streams will be available to US viewers via NBC Sports Gold. There will be a track-centric all-event stream plus one each dedicated to discus, long jump, and pole vault, along with a simulcast stream of the Olympic Channel broadcast. A “track and field pass” is required ($70 per year) but is well worth the cost – and unlike other broadcasters’ online platforms, no cable subscription is necessary for access.

Online coverage in Canada will be via CBCsports.ca and television coverage will be via CBC (live at 3:00pm EDT, replay at 8:00pm local time).

The IAAF will also offer a live stream via YouTube and Facebook which will be available in a large number of nations (which includes Canada but not the USA). The IAAF Radio service will be available globally and can be accessed through both the IAAF website and the IAAF mobile app.

Determined fans can bypass various geoblocking measures by installing a VPN. Exceptionally determined fans can view CBC broadcasts by temporarily relocating to a northern postindustrial hellscape such as Detroit, Buffalo, or Toledo.

We also highly recommend the live results & text commentary page at the IAAF website.

EVENT-BY-EVENT

Headline Event: Men’s 10,000 meters
4:20pm EDT
Medal favorites: Mo Farah (GBR), Geoffrey Kamworwor (KEN), Paul Tanui (KEN)
US entries: Hassan Mead, Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir
Canadian entry: Mo Ahmed

Mo Farah’s standard approach is to spend the early miles paying little to no attention to the gamesmanship at the front of the race, then somehow gain control in the closing laps and outrun everyone at the bell. In championship events it’s only failed once in the last seven years, in the 10k at the 2011 Worlds. His formula isn’t terribly complicated, just difficult to do. Farah appears more vulnerable than in the past, but even so Kenyans Kamworwor and Tanui are among the only competitors who are given much chance of beating him. As for the Americans and the Canadian, anything in the top eight or so would be success.

2:00pm: Men’s 100 meters preliminary round
Qualifying format: The first three in each of four heats plus the next two fastest qualify to the quarterfinals
Canadian entry: Brendan Rodney

The fastest qualifiers get a bye out of this round; everyone here has a seasonal best of 10.14 or slower.

2:20pm: Men’s Discus Throw qualifying
Qualifying format: The top twelve qualify to the finals, 64.50 meters or better will do so automatically
US entries: Mason Finley, Rodney Brown, Andrew Evans
Canadian entries: none

The USA has qualified just one thrower to the finals of the last four World/Olympic men’s discus throw competitions (Mason Finley, last year), so merely qualifying is considered success.

2:30pm: Men’s Long Jump qualifying
Qualifying format: The top twelve qualify to the finals, 8.05 meters or better will do so automatically
US entries: Jarrion Lawson, Marquis Dendy, Jeff Henderson
Canadian entries: none

The USA should expect to get all three jumpers to the final but field event q-rounds can be tricky since athletes get only three attempts.

2:35pm: Women’s 1500 meters heats
Qualifying format: The first six in each of three heats plus the next six fastest will qualify to the semifinals
US entries: Kate Grace, Jenny Simpson, Sara Vaughn
Canadian entries: Nicole Sifuentes, Sheila Reid, Gabriela Stafford

Just 20 of the 44 entries will be eliminated in this round, but that still leaves room for an early exit if anyone is not up to the task.

2:45pm: Women’s Pole Vault qualifying
Qualifying format: The top twelve qualify to the finals, 4.60 meters or better will do so automatically
US entries: Sandi Morris, Jenn Suhr, Emily Grove
Canadian entries: Kelsie Ahbe, Alysha Newman, Anicka Newell

Even the best pole vaulters can have off days, so nothing is guaranteed in the qualifying round.

3:20pm: Men’s 100 meters quarterfinals
Qualifying format: The top three in each of six heats plus the next six fastest will qualify to the semifinals.
US entries: Justin Gatlin, Christian Coleman, Christopher Belcher
Canadian entries: Andre De Grasse, Gavin Smellie, Brendan Rodney

The IAAF is calling this round the “heats”. If you know much about the FA Cup, you might call this the “first round proper”. It’s where the faster qualifiers enter the competition—and yes, that includes Usain Bolt. Canada’s De Grasse, expected to give Bolt a real challenge, has made a late withdrawal due to injury.

June 21, 2017

2017 USATF Outdoor Championship: High jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault previews

Get your full fix of the favorites and dark horses to watch in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault for the 2017 U.S. Outdoor Championship

June 21, 2017

2017 USATF Outdoor Championship: Throws & Multi-events preview

What to expect in the shot put, discus, javelin, hammer throw, decathlon and heptathlon and more at the 2017 USA Outdoor Championships.

June 13, 2017

Interview with NCAA 1,500m champion Jaimie Phelan of Michigan

Citius Mag’s Jesse Squire chats with Michigan’s Jaimie Phelan just days after she won the first NCAA women’s 1500 meter championship in Michigan history.

June 10, 2017

Oregon Wins Women’s NCAA Championship in a Thriller

All we could say as we walked back to the hotel was “Wow . . . wow”. This was a meet we will never forget.

Complete results

Yesterday Florida had a near-perfect day while Texas A&M did not and that determined the men’s championship. Today Georgia had a completely perfect day and Oregon had plenty of missteps, but the Ducks squeaked out a championship anyway.

Georgia started off with 24.2 points from Thursday’s field events and had just four entries today. Those entries were Kendell Williams in the heptathlon, an event she’d twice won before; Keturah Orji in the triple jump, an event in which she’d never lost; and Mady Fagan and Tatiana Gusin in the high jump, who went 1-2 at the NCAA indoor championships. The Bulldogs got three wins and a second to max out their scoring potential at 62.2 points.

Oregon had so much that it looked inevitable that they’d win, but it was far closer than anyone expected. They had no points when the day began but fourteen entries. In event after event they were almost there.

Katie Rainsberger was part of a five-wide dash to the finish in the 1500 and led with as little as 40 meters to go but ended up fourth. Alaysha Johnson contended early in the hurdles but ended up fourth with teammate Sasha Wallace—the NCAA indoor champion—back in sixth. Elexis Guster moved well at the end of the 400 but could only get sixth. Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington ran well in the 100 for second and fourth. The most alarming moment was in the 200, where Stevens led around the turn and down the stretch, got challenged by Florida’s Kyra Jefferson, then suffered a complete form breakdown and fell some 15 meters from the finish. Washington took second, but Stevens’ fall was a huge loss of points. And in the 5000 meters, Samantha Nadel and Lilli Burdon were in great scoring position with 200 meters to go and then faded to 8th and 9th for a single point.

What saved Oregon’s bacon was the 800 meters. Raevyn Rogers won her sixth NCAA championship, and teammate Brooke Feldmeier ran a brilliant race for third, a PR by nearly two full seconds.

Still, it meant that the Ducks had to win the 4×400 in order to win the meet. Despite the fact that Oregon ran the fifth-fastest time in collegiate history at the Penn Relays back in April, it was quickly apparent that this too would take everything they had. USC was ahead at the first two exchanges and retook the lead immediately after the final one. Rogers was on the anchor leg and took the lead with 200 to go, but even then it wasn’t secure. Only in the final steps did she pull away for the win.

The Three Stars
In the style of pro hockey, our picks for the meet’s three stars…

The First Star: Raevyn Rogers
Rogers simply would not allow her team to lose. She ran with ice water in her veins. She split (approximately) 27-31-31-31 in the 800 for a 2:00.02 win, then came back and anchored the 4×400 in 49.77 for another win. Oh, and Oregon broke the collegiate record too – 3:23.13. That would have won bronze at last summer’s Olympics.

The Second Star: Kyra Jefferson
Florida’s sprint star won the 200 in a collegiate record time of 22.02, breaking the altitude-aided mark of 22.04 that had stood since 1989. She also took her 4×100 team from way back up into third and ran a leg on the sixth-place 4×400.

The Third Star: Maggie Ewen
Ewen scored in three throwing events, a rare accomplishment, and broke the collegiate record in the hammer. Her 21 points in the throws came from first in the hammer, second in the discus, and sixth in the shot put.

Bonus – Fourth Star! Allie Ostrander
The Boise State redshirt freshman won the steeplechase in just her fourth attempt at the distance. She ran away from New Hampshire’s Elinor Purrier over the last half-lap and looked like she had plenty more to give. Eighty minutes later she went to the start line in the 5000 meters and ran fourth. I’ll have to research it to be sure, but I’d guess she’s the first to ever score at the NCAAs in both the steeplechase and 5000 in a single day.

Biggest surprise: 1500 meters
The pace went out so slow that runners were five wide coming around the first turn and it never really got fast enough to lose anyone until less than 300 to go. Slow paces like that favor chaos and unpredictability and that’s what we got. With 50 meters to go there were still five abreast coming to the finish line: Katie Rainsberger (Oregon), Dani Jones (Colorado), Karisa Nelson (Samford), Nikki Hiltz (Arkansas), and Jamie Phelan (Michigan). The Wolverine managed to pull it out by two hundredths of a second, going from last at the bell to first at the finish. It was Michigan’s first win in this event at the outdoor nationals, and in fact they had never before finished in the top three. Phelan was part of Michigan’s cross country team that lost the NCAA Championships by a single point to Oregon, and now she is a national champion.

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