Friday, July 11

Olympic Trials (Part 4) and two world records in my home town!

Thursday, July 3

Something that you didn't notice if you watched the Track & Field Olympic Trials on TV was the amount of security that accompanies this meet. I also officiated the 2004 Trials, but the level of security in Eugene seemed even more intense that it was in Sacramento. Every night, the stadium and grounds were "swept" by bomb-sniffing dogs. Everyone who entered the stadium - fans, officials, and athletes - had to go through an airport-like security line with bag searches and metal-detectors. (Fortunately, we got to keep our shoes on!) Not only that, but in various places around the perimeter of the stadium were sniper nests! Security was intense.

One of the events on Thursday was the qualifying round of the women's pole vault. I mention it because it had three current or former Razorback athletes in it. In fact, there were at least four events during the Trials that had three athletes with Razorback ties - the women's pole vault, the men's 100 and 200 meter dashes, and the men's 1,500 meter run. There were at least 21 current or former Razorbacks (men and women) competing in the Trials. I don't know if anyone counted, but I doubt if there were many schools with that many representatives. When it was all said and done, there will be seven Razorbacks on the US Olympic Track and Field team (Tyson Gay, Wallace Spearmon, April Steiner, Nicole Teter, Christin Wurth Thomas, Amy Begley, and Deena Kastor) and at least two others representing other nations (Veronica Campbell Brown of Jamaica and Alistair Cragg of Ireland).

One of the upsets of the Trials occurred on this day as LaShawn Merritt defeated defending Olympic and two-time world champion Jeremy Wariner in the men's 400 meters.

Friday, July 4

One of the characters of US Track & Field - and one of the stars of the sport - is Breaux Greer - also known as "Hurricane" on American Gladiators. Breaux is by far our best javelin thrower and the only one we have who is really competitive on the international scene. But Breaux has had numerous surgeries on his knees and shoulder - the latest being rotator cuff surgery about six months ago. Because of that, Greer was unable to even make it out of the qualifying round this year.

Friday also was our first high jump final. The women's final went pretty much according to form with Chaunte Howard winning, Amy Acuff in second, and Sharon Day in third. Chaunte took last year off to have a baby and came back to win and make her second Olympic team. This will be Amy's fourth Olympics.

My home town of Ft. Scott, KS set two world records this week. One was for laying out a mile of pennies in the fastest time ever. The second was for laying out the longest row of pennies - over 40 miles worth! You can read the details here.

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