Friday, August 29, 2008

On the road

So I have a bronze medal now. I am an Olympic medal coach, thank you very much. It feels great, and the better part is the medalist is my wife too. Could not have come at a better time.

So I am sitting in the lobby in Zurich. For track junkies this is the place to be, anyone you want to see will walk through this lobby.

My girl Dawn just smacked in my ear with a chicken kebab. LOL She vows to never change, and she is sticking to it.
Bolt is a 21 year old kid. Unlike some other stars that never leave their rooms he is a constant sight moving through the lobby. The kid just enjoys himself, it is nice to watch.

The beauty of track is seemingly benign conversations are business meetings. All the big meet promoters are here. All the agents are here. I love this sport.

Tonight is the beginning of the second half. I have David Neville and a secret athlete lol, but for the most part I get to just be a fan tonight. Have some fun and then hit the road early in the morning. Gateshead is Sunday, Lausanne is Tuesday (finally making to the Alps), and Brussels on Friday. I really love this stuff.

On the 8th Jaden starts preschool!!!!! Now that's real.
My oldest son Ricky is a fireman officially. Just started with a station this week. I am so proud of him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beijing was a success

Any of you reading that knows me knows Tasha walked away with a bronze medal! Let me talk about that for a few ticks. Uhm, where am I with this? Absolutely, chuffed as my wife says. It is very good feeling when a plan comes together.
We had a long summer and only through the power of the mind and God's grace did this thing turn out successful. From an achilles issue in May to a hamstring strains throughout the summer, we did not have the smoothest of journeys. The beauty was her fitness base was superb and surprisingly sustained her through the whole summer. She never lost her fitness or strength, which meant all we had to do was get to the line healthy and hope her body was back in balance.
The results speak for themselves. It was a pleasure to watch her run around the track in full control and at the level we have always believed she could run at. It was tiring through the years watching women run times and win that were not more talented than Tasha. She has all the talent in her to do the things she dreams about. This medal was one of them. She is a part of history now, an Olympic medalist. As I always say, medals are forever. No one can change the result of that race. And she ran 53 seconds.

The funny part was she ran after Bolt's historic 19.30 and by the time I got to the mixed zone I had forgotten all about his run. Someone came up to me asking me what I thought about the race, and I really thought they were asking me about Tasha. LOL
In short, Bolt's run was mind blowing. Unlike MJ, who was a product of a moment, Mr. Bolt set out to run that fast. Can you imagine getting in the blocks thinking, "I am trying to run faster than 19.32!" Wow, that must be a helluva a feeling to have.

His display in the 100 was jaw dropping, and that's all I can say about that. Wait until Zurich, we may see a 9.5x.

I will blog on the relays later, lots to say there but I promise you it is not what most of you think. Back to cloud nine, I am happy as a clam. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

DJ from the Booth

The Games started in spectacular fashion. The Opening ceremony was great. This is the first time I have come to the Games and not gone to the ceremony. I encouraged all the first timers to go, but a lot of them took this experience for granted, and that is too bad. A huge part of this time is doing the ceremonies and the like. The Olympic experience is special and if you do not experience the little stuff, it is just a big track meet, and that is a tragedy.
In 2000 it was weird for me, I was with the Saudi team. So it was like Halloween for me in certain respects as I dressed in traditional Saudi gear. Then we walked in the Stadium and it was special. I was looking up at 100,000 fans and dignitaries, and then there was the realization that millions of people were watching, including my family. Find the TV cameras so they can see you! And then I had a marvelous thought, I was an Olympian. For my whole life I had associated being an Olympian with US trials and making the top three. not once had I ever thought about the coaches and officials that were a part of the team. Well it hit me the minute I walked out of the tunnel and onto the track. It is something I will always remember.

So fast forward to now. Phelps has already shattered a wr. China has already won a gold. Looks like everything is in order.
The IOC should be ashamed of itself for changing the swim schedule so the US audience could watch the finals live. I am not a fan of the amateur ideal that permeates the Games, but I am a fan of sanctity. We cannot afford to have TV circumventing the athletes. Phelps did well, but it is important to realize their semi final was last night and their final this morning. That is a dangerous precedent.

Sadly, 2 tragic things happened yesterday. Bernie Mac died and some psycho killed an innocent man in Beijing who came to watch volleyball. He was the father in law of one of the coaches. One was tragic because reports were Bernie Mac was stable. The other was tragic because it is senseless and maddening. A definite knock on the Games and China.

I promise you only in swimming is the 4x100 relay on the second day of competition.

Now I am off to laugh about the fact that I have yet to go to a Games as an American. LOL

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DJ on the Mic

So much off the track stuff happening I feel the need to speak on a couple of points.

In Jamaica they have an internal battle that has been raging for years. I am not an insider, so my take is based purely on what I have read and heard. In summary, Stephen Francis, franno, MVP coach, does not like (and that is stating it mildly) the JAAA, Jamaican federation. He has been feuding with them for years. It all came to the forefront this week when he refused a pass from them and did not want his athletes, 10 in all, to attend the Jamaican camp. He protested saying it would cost his athletes, ten percent in their performance.
Well, what a mess. I hold the position that the federation is the entity responsible for resolving this matter. Not saying they have to fold, I am saying they have to be the side that puts this thing to bed. franno is a personal coach and no matter what one thinks, he is only responsible for his charges, not the national team. The JAAA taking a hard stance against franno looks personal. We will see how this plays out. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when the MVP athletes arrived, they came with a letter forbidding them to participate in relay practice. The letter was written by franno and signed by the relevant athletes. As I said what a mess.

Meanwhile, back at the house, we have a new CEO, Doug Logan. He has decided that one way to connect to the public is to blog. Kudos for the effort, however the execution is terrible. He also wrote a letter to the president in opposition to Marion Jones being granted a presidential pardon for her perjury case. In his blog he has defended his by stating it is a way to show the world we, USATF, and the sport is taking a tough stance on drugs. This is completely wrong.
The request for a pardon is a personal one for Marion and has ZERO to do with our stance on drugs. Logan's continued defense that he is being tough and speaking tough is troubling.
It intimates that we have not been tough up until now, and that the attitude of those of us in the sport is one of acceptance. None of which is true.
What he needs to do is start to CHANGE the perspective of what he is perpetuating. Track is the most ardent defender of clean sport as any in the WORLD. We have been testing for decades, let me repeat, decades! We have never had less than a 2 year ban for first offenders, whereas most sports require multiple offenses for ONE year. We are catching designer drugs, doing blood test, collecting samples, have athletes volunteering for test, busting athletes regardless of their stature, and this has been going on for 20+ years. None of this is talked about by those in power. All we get is how bad the drug culture is and that track has a drug problem, Logan's first moves in office have done little to address these lies. And that I have a problem with.
Enough of the harping on the past druggies, the bust, and the talk of sponsors are afraid. Sponsors are about perception, and we will not get the big dollars until we start managing our news better. The NFL is busting folks left and right, but that is never their headline. This is the part where we drop the ball. We whine, and play victim, and then have folks like Logan coming around with tough talk. We have enough in place to prove our toughness, what we need now is clarity on who we are, productivity on our image, control of information. Many see this as secrecy, but that is cynicism. I am talking how to manage to flow of information as it FLOWS. Right now, we make a drug bust and it is a negative, where it should be a positive.

Ok, I am in Macau with the UK team. Tropical storm Kammuri passed by yesterday, so much for practice, it was a mandatory rest day. As you can imagine the hotel gym stayed busy. Now it is dragon flies and back to work. If you do not like humidity this is not the place for you. I love it. Any excuse to not where sleeves and pants is great to me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

DJ from Macau

Macau is a little island known as the Las Vegas of Asia. And I mean it is the Las Vegas of Asia, the casinos are exactly the same here as on the strip, Wynn's, the Venetian, MGM, etc. It is kind of weird seeing these hotels here knowing I am far from the States.
Today is the first day, so I am battling jetlag. Tried to stay up all night last night. made it to 5am and then slept until 10, went to the track, and now I am trying to not sleep. If I can make it, I will sleep all night and come out of the other side acclimatized. If I am lucky.
Meanwhile, in track I cannot believe the news from another little island, Jamaica. The internal battle that has become public is ridiculous. Grown men, some of who once competed at the highest level are now playing a game of roulette with athletes that were born long after their successes. Get out of these kids lives and allow them to fulfill their legacies. Whatever differences franno and JAAA have is between them. This is the Olympic Games, all pettiness should be tabled and dealt with afterwards. I feel bad for the athletes, as they are the bearers of the ultimate burden. Unbelievable is the word I think of.
Here in Macau everything is going according to plan. Nothing special in the works. All the athletes look happy and healthy. I have heard nothing special out of Dalian. Training reports are good, and folks are just looking forward to competing.

I do have one pet peeve. The federations have forgotten this is a once in a life time experience. This is the Olympics. People train their whole lives for this opportunity. That means experiencing the village, the opening ceremony and everything in between. The experience has been broken down to many as a track meet. Having been through this twice, and walking the opening twice, I am telling you there is nothing like this. As a track man walking into that stadium was magical, even as a coach. 100,000 people happy and cheering is something to experience and feel.
Weight room time.