Team USA traditionally has dominated Olympic track and field action and figures to do so again in London.The Americans are a balance of battle-tested, veteran talent and young athletes relatively new to the international center stage. Many of them did big things at the 2011 world outdoor championships in Daegu, South Korea, and the 2012 world indoor championships in March in Istanbul, Turkey, and plan to keep on rolling. If there’s a single most-likely-to-succeed American in London, it’s Ashton Eaton, at 24 the new world record-holder in the decathlon, and sure to get far better. His top challenger is teammate and two-time world champion Trey Hardee.Four Americans who won gold at Beijing in 2008 return to defend: LaShawn Merritt in the men’s 400 meters; Angelo Taylor in the 400 hurdles; Dawn Harper in the women’s 100 hurdles and Stephanie Brown-Trafton in the discus.Merritt, back in action after a 21-month suspension (after alleged inadvertent use of a male enhancement product), is on target to become just the second man (after 1996-2000 winner Michael Johnson) to claim consecutive 400 crowns. He leads the 2012 world list with his 44.12 clocking. more
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has introduced the 2020 Olympic bid logo for Istanbul during a dinner for Turkish athletes, daily Hürriyet reported this morning.
The winning logo was picked from among five options via a public vote on the campaign’s official website.
The theme of the logo is inspired by the traditional Ottoman tulip.
Hasan Arat, head of the 2020 bid, said in a statement on the committee’s website that the logo would help Turkey promote its “dream” of hosting an Olympics that spans Europe and Asia.
Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid were shortlisted for the games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month. The host of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games will be announced on Sept. 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires. more
ATHENS—For Babis Bilinis, the legacy of the 2004 Athens Olympics is this depressing walk to the Aegean Sea.Carefully, first, across the four lanes of a road that still lacks the pedestrian crossing the government promised. Across the tracks of the light-rail line that runs where the beach used to begin. Under a low bridge, past the homeless Roma who spend their days in its shadows, into the abandoned 25,000-square-metre patch of dirt and scrub that used to be sea.Finally, down two steep steps, to the cement waterfront boardwalk that leads toward the Games’ 9,600-seat beach volleyball stadium — which has also been abandoned, weeds growing unchecked through its once-pristine sand, bird droppings staining its concourses, its folding seats flapping in the coastal breeze. You can walk right in.The Greek government wanted to build other Games venues on this reclaimed seaside property beside the volleyball stadium. After a fight from Bilinis’ community activist group, the government plunked the buildings elsewhere, then erected a fence around the prime land. In 2006, Bilinis’ group and hundreds of supporters tore the fence down. But save for the Roma and a few hardy recreational fishermen, the land remains unused — like numerous other Olympic facilities and properties in Athens. more
NCAA president Mark Emmert has decided to punish Penn State with severe penalties likely to include a significant loss of scholarships and loss of multiple bowls, a source close to the decision told ESPN’s Joe Schad on Sunday morning. But Penn State will not receive the so-called “death penalty” that would have suspended the program for at least one year, the source said.The penalties, however, are considered to be so harsh that the death penalty may have been preferable, the source said.The NCAA will announce “corrective and punitive measures” for Penn State on Monday morning, it said in a statement Sunday. Emmert will reveal the sanctions at 9 a.m. ET in Indianapolis at the organization’s headquarters along with Ed Ray, the chairman of the NCAA’s executive committee, and Oregon State’s president, the news release said. It is expected the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and/or the NCAA Executive Committee has granted Emmert the authority to punish through nontraditional methods, the source told Schad more
IT wasn’t just Steve Hooker who soared over the bar in Poland on Saturday. Australia’s team spirit went with him. Hooker cleared 5.72m to send a timely warning to his rivals that he may finally be over the case of the yips which threatened to ruin his career.But, perhaps just as crucially, his effort has raised the spirits of the entire Australian athletic team of which he is captain.The last thing Australia needed in London was a team captain struggling to complete his event which Hooker had in recent months.”Everyone will be inspired by the fact that he is building his confidence which we are all looking for as the leader of our team,” Australia’s Chef de Mission Nick Green said yesterday.”He is defending Olympic champion, a character and a real leader in his sport. I think the athletes were all looking for him to perform. He is one of those athletes who as a nation we look at.”I watched a video of him jumping and I noticed a sense of relief. He was very excited. If you look at the number, 5.72 compared to the 5.96 he jumped in Beijing, it is not the height. The Olympics is about competition. You don’t often break world records at the Olympics. Steve is a competitor.” more
MOBILE, Alabama— Dauphin Street in downtown became a runway today. Or, perhaps launching pad is more accurate. Dozens of competitors of varying skill and experience — including some Olympic-caliber athletes — participated in the second Dauphin Street Vault in the heart of the city’s entertainment district. Many are used to competing in track and field events, but this was like no scholastic track meet.“It’s a lot more adrenaline,” said Chanel Krause, a rising senior at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile. “I’m not used to all these people and the music. The runway is a lot faster.”Krause, 17, said that in school competitions, her coaches instruct her to vault high enough to win but to conserve energy for her other three events.This evening, with the luxury of a single event to concentrate on, she said she was hoping to clear 13 feet and shatter her personal best.The athletes took off down the narrow runway, moving from west to east, and propelled themselves above the fiberglass bar in front of the other kinds of bars — the ones that serve alcohol. Music blasted from speakers on the balcony of Grand Central.This was an event were the crowd was encouraged to make noise.“Come on,” the announcer intoned at one point, “we’re not at a golf tournament. Let’s clap.” more
MEDAL prospect Brad Walker goes to London 2012 knowing his latest crack at Olympic glory can’t fail to be better than his last.The pole vaulter, who is part of the US team staying in Birmingham for London 2012, is one of the favourites for gold.Just before he left for the UK the experienced American posted his highest jump for four years.And he insists he has learned to deal with the pressure that saw him bomb out in Beijing where not only did he miss out on the final – he didn’t even register a height. Walker described the qualifying competition as ‘‘a crazy situation’’ after it lasted four hours and took place after midnight in an empty stadium.Even worse Walker was made to wait for more than two hours between his practice and competitive jumps And he then had another 45-minute delay after the pole vault stand broke.“Beijing was devastating,” the 31-year-old former world champion admitted.“I went in there with the highest jump of the year and left without any hardware.“ Continue reading
Olympic records have been falling steadily for more than a century, largely because of improvements in physical fitness and training.The London Games, however, are putting a new focus on another factor pushing Olympic achievement to new heights: better technology.
Innovations in clothing get much of the attention at the Olympics.
From track suits to running shoes, new designs and re-engineered fabrics are aimed at making athletes faster. Compression garments are a big trend. Compression helps blood flow and keeps an area taut so there is less muscle pull and strain, said Mark Sunderland, a textile engineer at Philadelphia University and a performance-apparel expert.”The fabric itself is taking on some of the workload the muscles would have taken on,” he said One of the biggest attention grabbers so far: Nike’s full-body track suit made of recycled polyester and plastic bottles. On the arms and legs are raised dots, reminiscent of dimples on a golf ball, that are designed to reduce drag. The company claims the suit is 0.023 second faster in the 100-meter sprint than Nike’s previous suits. That may seem minuscule, but new world records in the 100 meters are often broken by tenths or hundredths of a second.On the shoe front, Nike is debuting a minimalist design, the Flyknit, a nearly seamless, meshlike shoe that is in keeping with the barefoot “less-is-more” approach to running. The 5.6-ounce weight is 19 percent lighter than the Nike shoes worn by marathoners in the men’s 2011 World Championships.Adidas is introducing a 3.5-ounce spiked sprinting shoe, adizero Prime SP. The idea behind the lightweight shoes, worn by U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay, is that lower mass allows runners to accelerate and change direction faster. Do changes work? Pole vault: Poles went from wood to bamboo and then to metal before switching to carbon or glass fiber; 27 percent of the 86 percent improvement in records was because of changes in materials. Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/sports/olympics/articles/2012/09/06/20120906olympics-new-performance-devices.html#ixzz21MipRwmI
Rather than just field typical questions from a local reporter, Bill Cosby had his own idea about his interview with The Bulletin.Why not, he wondered, ask a world record-holding decathlete to join in the fun?Cosby wanted to connect with Olympic gold medal hopeful Ashton Eaton. The 24-year-old track and field star grew up in Bend, but earlier this week he was in Nuremberg, Germany, training for the London Olympics.Why did Cosby want to talk with one of Bend’s most famous former residents?“Because I was a track man!” said Cosby.During his time at Temple University in the early 1960s, Cosby competed in many events, including javelin, shot put and high jump.Cosby was good — he even tried out for an Olympic team, though he didn’t make the cut.So we brought Cosby and Eaton together this week for a phone conversation. more
The shake-up of the Oregon track and field program continued on Saturday.Jenni Ashcroft, who was promoted to UO assistant coach in the summer of 2010 after four years as a volunteer coach, confirmed that she will not be returning to the Duck program.The 32-year-old Ashcroft worked with the UO women’s middle distance runners and pole vaulters, in addition to her duties with the cross country team.“I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to coach at the University of Oregon,” she said. “I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments and success we’ve achieved over the past six years, and I’m honored to have been a part of it.”During her time at Oregon, Ashcroft was instrumental in the development of seven-time all-American Melissa Gergel, and she is credited with guiding Gergel to the 2011 NCAA championship in the pole vault.She also worked with UO middle distance and distance stars such as Jordan Hasay, Becca Friday, Anne Kesselring and Alex Continue reading