ON YOUR MARKS — September/October

McNeese State’s track facility suffered notable damage when Hurricane Laura passed through. (COURTESY McNEESE STATE)

WHEN HURRICANE LAURA roared through Lake Charles, Louisiana, in August McNeese State’s outdoor track facility wasn’t spared. “We had some pretty bad damage,” says coach Brendon Gilroy. “Our new fencing was all blown down and broken and the track got sliced up by flying debris. Our offices and weight room had structural damage, and the hammer and discus cages were destroyed along with storage sheds. Our bleachers even flew across the street.”…

When Jakob Ingebrigtsen registered for the Norwegian Championships he kept his options open, signing up for the 800, 1500, steeple, 5000 and 10,000. Being the slacker he is, he settled for a mere winning double in the two shortest events, running 1:48.72 and 3:33.93…

Even though only Javier Sotomayor has ever jumped higher than he has, Mutaz Barshim says he is not big on chasing the high jump’s all-time high: “When it comes to the high jump record, I think no time is a good time to consider breaking it.”…

On the other hand, world champ Yulimar Rojas believes the triple jump World Record can be beaten. “16m [52-6] is a barrier that many will say is impossible,” she says, “but we, in each jump we know that we have a lot of room for improvement in every detail, and so I will continue to conquer more centimeters and more until reaching 16m.”…

With the closing of the books on the retesting of London ’12 doping samples, the gathering set a dubious new record, its 139 positives in all sports handily topping Beijing’s 81. The leading sport, unfortunately, was track at 91. The leading nation, not surprisingly, was Russia at 46…

Chandler, Arizona, will be hosting what is shaping up to be a solid 26-miler on December 20. With a limit of 50 men and 50 women, and open only to elites, The Marathon Project will be held on a 4.3M (6.9K) loop on the Gila River Indian Reservation.



ZAP Endurance, the post-collegiate training program based in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, has put its facility on the market, but head coach Pete Rea says he will continue coaching: “Times have changed.”…

Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen was thought to have broken the European Record in the hour run (21,131m/13.13M) in August, but his shoes did not adhere to new WA guidelines. “I feel sorry for myself, since I put so much training into it,” he said…

Brigid Kosgei’s coach, Erick Kimaiyo (himself a 2:07:43 marathoner), boldly says that if his pupil stays healthy, in the next 2-3 years she will run 2:12-2:13, and a half marathon in 63:00. He says she is running more than 155M (250K) a week at altitude…

When Joshua Cheptegei broke Kenenisa Bekele’s 5000 WR, he ended Bekele’s streak of holding both the 5K/10K records simultaneously. At 16 years, 67 days, it was the longest any runner has held both marks in modern times…

Cheptegei won fans on the distance running app Strava when he timed his own 5000 WR with a GPS watch and uploaded it to the service…

The cost of the Athletics Integrity Unit? $8.7 million in 2019—that resulted in 376 disciplinary cases involving 69 federations…

Reflecting on what might happen to track should Tokyo not come off, in August Seb Coe told BBC Radio, “We may have to think slightly out of the box about how we might have to create other types of events if—but I hope not—we have a very badly disrupted season generally.”…

Swiss sportswear manufacturer On has created the On Athletics Club, based in Boulder and coached by 3-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein. The inaugural roster includes Geordie Beamish, Leah Falland (née O’Connor), Oliver Hoare, Joe Klecker, Alicja Konieczek, Alicia Monson, Emily Oren and Carlos Villareal…

Northern Arizona Elite has renewed its sponsorship with Hoka One One for 4 years…

A tear in winner Daniel Ståhl’s tights was the cause for a protest by the 3rd-placer in the Swedish Championships discus, seeking to overturn Ståhl’s win. It went nowhere. Said the Swedish national coach, “all active people should focus on their own performance, it is usually a winning concept in the long run.”…

World 200 champ Dina Asher-Smith on why she only raced once—over 150m—in 2020: “I’m not in the mood for racing for racing’s sake this year. The stakes are a bit too high. I don’t fancy catching coronavirus at an event. Being a runner, it’s a respiratory disease, it’s a year before the Olympics. I don’t fancy running any risk.”…

Civil unrest in the Oromia region of Ethiopia led to the burning down of two hotels owned by Haile Gebrselassie

TV negotiations haven’t gone well for UK Athletics and the federation says that one or both of Britain’s Diamond League meets are in danger of not being held next year…

The USATF Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for Reno, December 4-8, will now be a virtual convention…

The state meet—no matter what state we’re talking about—is the highlight of the spring season for many prep fans. This year only one state managed to pull one off. Not officially, but the Rhode Island state coaches association hosted an outdoor championships…

USATF has cited athlete safety as the reason it is not sending a team to the World Half-Marathon Champs in Gdynia, Poland, in October. Japan is also not sending a team…



The NCAA’s Division I board has opted to grant another year of eligibility to fall athletes as part of a blanket waiver to cope with the effects of the pandemic…

Genetics works? Latest example is the son of Sweden’s Stefan Holm, ’04 Olympic high jump champ. Melwin Lyck Holm, now 15, cleared 7-1½ (2.17) this summer…

Cali, Colombia, has been awarded the ’22 World Junior (U20) Championships

Irish 800 runners Mark English and Nadia Power, both Euro medalists, were not allowed to compete in their national championships. Neither was able to fit in the required 14 days of self-quarantine after competing abroad…

The University of Oxford has tabbed the Tokyo Olympics—with the added cost of the pandemic delay—the most expensive in history at $15.84 billion and counting…

The Olympic postponement triggered something called “a right of abatement” in the IOC’s contract with NBC, which means that after the eventual Games there may be some renegotiating with the network, and a drop in fees paid to the IOC (and thence to the various sports federations)…

Ed Bowes died at 78 on July 31. The winner of the ’60 IC4A cross country title for Manhattan, he went on to become a legendary prep coach and founder of the Manhattan College XC Invitational, the nation’s largest 1-day high school meet…

After a delay of 6 months because of the pandemic, the ashes of ’52 Olympic javelin champion Dana Zátopková of the Czech Republic have been placed alongside her husband, Olympic legend Emil Zátopek, in a park in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm…

A new monument to high jump legend Valeriy Brumel has been dedicated at the Moscow cemetery where he was buried 17 years ago…

It took 3 years, but WA has finally ratified Niklas Kaul’s decathlon World Junior Record of 8435. The delay happened because the Grosseto stadium had been refurbished before the meet and didn’t have updated measurement certificates…

Interesting numbers gleaned by Scott M. Reid of the Orange County Register: “At a time when the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has repeatedly pledged to athletes, Congress and the public that it would become more athlete-centric, the organization spent nearly $20 million more in 2019 on its employees than it did on direct financial support to American athletes training for the Olympic Games and other major international competitions.”…

Speaking of federation finances, sportbusiness.com has reported that World Athletics registered a loss of $17.42M in ’19, “further eating into its cash reserves in the year before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the sports industry. Although revenues at the organization increased by 13% on the previous year to $51.1M, this was outstripped by expenditure for the same period, which stood at $67.8M.”…

As part of a new WADA Code that will come into play the first day of next year, sanctions for “substances of abuse” (drugs that do not have a performance-enhancing effect) will be reduced. Which “recreational” drugs will fall into this category and the specific penalties for their use remain to be revealed…

The new head of the Belarusian federation is Ivan Tikhon. You may recall him as a 2-time world hammer champ. Recall also that he served a 2-year doping ban. WA responded to the news by telling insidethegames.biz “Member Federations conduct their elections in line with their own constitutions and their own Congresses as we understand was done in this case. However, no one who has served a doping ban would be able to hold an official position on World Athletics bodies or structures today.”…

Kenya has committed to helping a new WA plan to dope test distance runners in the country, with group testing sessions to be held at various places in Kenya in September. A similar program will also be taking place in Ethiopia…

Just what the drug testers needed. A German investigation has revealed that a new drug may be making the rounds. Like EPO, it increases the blood’s oxygen-carrying capabilities. Called synthetic hemoglobin H7379, it is harder to detect than EPO. It is not currently tested for in an initial assessment but testers can spot it in a second-round test…

The White House recently presented a report to Congress that was highly critical of WADA and suggested withholding U.S. funding of the organization. The U.S. is the single largest contributor. In response, WADA officials threatened that the U.S. could be labeled “non-compliant” with the WADA Code, a move that could keep U.S. athletes out of the Olympics among other events. “To illegally threaten U.S. athletes is shameful,” shot back USADA head Travis Tygart…

RUSADA director Yuriy Ganus was fired after a recommendation by the Russian Olympic Committee, citing irregularities in the financial activities of the drug testing agency…

The latest round of elite athlete grants from the USATF Foundation (“Last Lap,” July/August) have brought the total up to $6.7 million since the program’s ’06 founding…

In what commentators are calling a brave and positive move, sprinter Noah Lyles has gone public with his struggle against depression, tweeting, “Recently I decided to get on antidepressant medication. That was one of the best decisions I have made in a while. Since then I have been able to think without the dark undertone in mind of nothing matters. Thank you God for mental Health.”…

Casey Wasserman, the chair of Los Angeles 2028, has written to the IOC to urge that controversial Rule 50 be changed. The rule currently forbids political, religious and racial protests in the Games…

The loss of the cross country season for Kenyan athletes is hurting them on the track, says national coach Julius Kirwa, explaining, “The cross country season has always given the athletes the necessary stamina and endurance.”…

With the death of Folke Alnevik (see Landmarks), Olympic historian supreme Bill Mallon notes that the oldest living medalist is now 98-year-old American Herb Douglas, the ’48 LJ silver winner. The oldest living track gold medalist is another Swede, ’48 TJ winner Arne Åhman, 95. And the oldest living track Olympian is Japan’s 100-year-old Etsuko Komiya, who ran in the ‘36 Berlin 100. She’ll turn 101 in October…

The Arizona Daily Star has reported that 8 former University of Arizona cross country athletes are charging the school with “abusive and neglectful practices” including sexual harassment. Since the initial report, another 12 women have come forward with supporting claims. Most said their complaints had not been dealt with appropriately by the school. A statement from the athletic department responded, in part: “[the department] will never stop trying to do better for our students.”…

Sydney Masciarelli’s “world record” for dribbling a basketball a mile, reported in this space last month, didn’t last long. Her 5:08.6 fell to BYU’s Whittni Orton, who crushed a 4:58.6 at altitude (sorry, we don’t do altitude conversions when basketball is involved). Said Orton, “I’d just like to send a huge shoutout to COVID-19 for making this all possible.” ◻︎

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