Tuesday, July 8

A break from the Trials and flying in a lawn chair ...

The US Olympic Track & Field Trials have eight days of competition with a two day break in the middle.

Tuesday, July 1
On Tuesday, the officials working the Trials loaded up in buses and went to the Pfeiffer Winery outside of Eugene. We were there as guests of the Men's and Women's Track Committees. The evening featured wine tasting and a very nice banquet, all underwritten by Nike. We also had a chance to meet the coaching staff of the Olympic teams.

In many ways, these have become the "Nike Trials." Nike, of course, is based close to Eugene and is a major financial supporter of USA Track and Field. But their presence was more obvious than normal and wasn't always appreciated by some. The conspiracy theorists felt that they had too much influence on some of the decisions on who got into the meet (see Adam Goucher). For us who were officials, we received Nike shoes to wear, as well as other clothing items. In fact, we weren't allowed to wear our usual uniform shirts because they didn't have a Nike logo. We were issued new shirts to wear, with the "Swoosh." That wasn't too well received.

Wednesday, July 2

On Wednesday, Bobby James (another official from Arkansas) and I spent the day driving up the Oregon coast. It's a beautiful drive - much like the coast of Central California - with lots of cliffs, sea lions, and some lighthouses. We also were able to see a whale when we stopped by the little town of Depoe Bay.

There are some who feel that the US way of picking their track and field Olympic Team - based on performances in this one meet - is not the best way. That maybe the team should be selected by a committee or by a series of meet set up over several months. Their thought is that one bad meet or one minor injury can keep your best athletes off of the team or that it causes athletes to peak for this meet rather than the Olympic games.

But I like the "do-or-die" nature of the Trials. Athletes have to peak at the right time and learn how to perform under pressure when it counts the most. There is no politics and no committee to complain about. You either perform or you don't. If you don't make the team, there is no one else to look to but yourself and your performance.

Here is a great article from the NY Times that deals with that.

A few months ago, I posted an article about a man from Oregon who attempted to fly to Idaho in a lawn chair that was carried along by about 150 helium balloons. He didn't make it.

BUT he recently attempted the feat again and this time succeeded. You can read about it here.


Jake T said...

nice juxtaposition of stories ;)

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