A few general observations:
* It was incredibly hot and humid. Too many records were set on the therm-
ometer. And the track was new and a little soft, which makes some of the
fast times even more impressive. The straightaway sprinters, in addition,
were usually running into a one to two meters/second breeze.
* Five world champions failed to even make the team:
Harrison Triple jump
Such is our depth, though, that we're still likely to medal in all these
* On the men's side, there will be no doublers in individual events. Has
this ever happened before? Many people tried, though: Burrell, Mitchell,
Marsh, Lewis, etc. (sprints); Everett, Steve Lewis (200); Conley thought
he was going to make it in the long jump, but didn't do as well in the
final as he did in the qualifying. On the women's side a lot of doublers:
Devers, Torrence, Plumer, Price-Smith (though she will skip the shot at
* The lesson I took away from the meet is that a hell of a lot of world
class talent is not going to the Olympics. The depth in the men's 100,
200, 400, and 110H was amazing. I hope the Olympics will be restructured
in the future to allow all the best to compete.
* Men's 100 - What a shocker. Is this the end of the Carl Lewis era in the
sprints? In the absence of Lewis ***, Mitchell's victory is not all
that surprising. He was apparently doing brutal workouts all Spring. Ben
Johnson spent a month working out with him and couldn't even finish the
workouts, much less keep up.
* Men's 200 - Johnson and Marsh seemed guaranteed, based on their yearly
performances. That left the third spot from among Lewis, Burrell, and
Mitchell. Instead, Michael Bates, a relative unknown snuck in, edging out
Lewis. A sweep is probably less likely without Lewis in the third spot.
* Men's 400 - Probably the most exciting event of the meet. The first
round of qualifying was to be the first Saturday at 3:30. It was post-
poned until 5, then until 7, then until noon on Sunday before being put
in limbo. The legal brouhaha resolved, the first two rounds were run on
Tuesday, originally a rest day, at 3 and 8. I missed the first round but
saw the second. Entry to the stadium was free and 10,000 people showed
up for the second round--four heats of the 400--which was, in itself,
amazing. I was surprised when Reynolds, who hasn't raced much since his
suspension, had the fastest times of the first two rounds. He clearly was
out to prove a point, rather than just advance to the next round. His
intensity set up a monumental showdown in the first semi. He would be
racing Quincy Watts, the new 400 star who had just run 44 flat in the
NCAA meet. The two entered the final straight well ahead of the field,
with Watts two strides ahead. There was no doubt that both were going all
out for the win. They ran hard and fast to the line, Watts winning 43.97
to 44.14. Not bad for the third race in two days. Reynolds showed the two
years away hadn't cost him much. The question then became how much faster
could they run in the final after two days of rest. In a way, then, the
final was strangely anti-climactic when Danny Everett and Steve Lewis
charged out of the curve with a lock on first and second. Watts was a
solid third with no chance of moving up. Reynolds, in fourth, eased up
when he saw he was out of it and Valmon moved up on the outside to push
him back to fifth. With Michael Johnson as the fourth leg, the 4x4 squad
looks like a good chance to break the world record.
* Men's 800 - Grey's time electrified the crowd. He passed the quarter in
about 49.5 and was never threatened. He had really looked in control in
his quarterfinal, floating down the home straight with his head***ed to
one side to make sure no one tried anything funny. The final was brutal
with Kersh at 1:44.00 in fourth not making the team.
* Men's 1500 - Falcon fell on the first lap. He tried for a lap to catch up
but it was hopeless. Scott was never a factor.
* Men's steeplechase - Great race. Four runners finishing in a fast time
with less than a second separating them.
* Men's 5K - Who cares? We don't even have three guys with the Olympic
* Men's 10K - Todd Williams blazed the last six laps leaving everyone else
well behind. Considering the heat, his 28:19 is a pretty good time.
* Men's 110H - Kingdom was never in it, so the fact that he tripped over
the last hurdle didn't alter the outcome. This race marked the end of an
era since Kingdom has won the last two Olympics and Foster the last three
World Champs, and neither made the team.
* Men's 400H - Without Moses, this race has lost the pizazz he gave it. No
Danny Harris, no Andre Phillips, too. Moses tried to qualify for the meet
at the last minute but hurt his ankle. Running is not that important to
him anymore, so it seems his career will just fade into the sunset.
* Men's long jump - Powell looked *** in the qualifying: took one jump,
made it past the automatic qualifier, and retired for the evening. Mean-
while, Lewis was truggling to get over 26 feet. Clearly, the long-awaited
rematch of the titans was not coming off as hoped. Lewis finally responded
in the final's third round with a 28 foot jump. Powell quickly answered
in the same round with 28'3-1/2" and that was it. Except for one other
tepid attempt by Lewis, they passed the rest of their jumps. I have a
feeling they will go one-two in the Olympics but will not produce the kind
of fireworks we greedy fans will be looking for. Powell has been injured
since Modesto and has not been able to train well for two months. Lewis,
on the other hand, will not have the sprints to worry about. If he simply
had a bad week in the Trials, he may the man to beat at the Games.
* Decathalon - Argh! O'Brien's mishap will cost us a medal for sure. This
is one of the great disasters in track history. He had the world record
in the bag. Still, Dave could cop the gold and that ain't all bad.
* Women's 200 - If you're like me, your significant track experience was in
high school. That's why I can always relate to a high school star doing
something at the national level. This year it was Marion Jones. She just
missed with a fourth in a high school record 22.57. (She also attempted
the 100 but was not a factor.)
* Women's 1500 - We were sitting next to "Team Jacobs" in the stands, so
when Regina Jacobs came out of the pack to win the race in a brutal
finish that left Mary Slaney in fourth, there was a certain amount of
temporary insanity to deal with. The surprise was seeing Patti Sue Plumer
lose. She looked very good all week in both the 1500 and 3000.
Geez, what a week...