First time to an Olympic Track Meet
Malinda and I are having our first Olympic experiences. On Sat night we watched the Men’s 100 on TV. Even in Chinese, Usain Bolt was fast! 9.69 and he was celebrating the last 20-30 meters. You won’t see an SHC sprinter not running through the finish line like that! Then Sun morning we were able to watch the Women’s marathon on TV. Too bad about Deena and Magda.
We came back into Beijing and on our way to pick up some more tickets we see an American woman walking on the street and Malinda goes “Is that Shalane’s mom?” Shalane, as in bronze medalist and American Record holder Shalane Flanagan. Because Shalane has the same coach as Shannon, we’ve gotten to know Shalane’s mom. So standing on a street in the middle of Beijing we got a first hand account from mom on her daughter’s 10,000. Shalane’s mom is a former World Record holder in the marathon so she knows the sport but still, you could feel her excitement and pride in her daughter. It was very cool.
We rushed to the Bird’s Nest on Sun night to catch our first Olympic competition. What a place! I’ll have some flip videos to show when we get home. Bolt’s medal ceremony, World Record in the Women’s Steeplechase, 1-2-3 sweep in the Women’s 100 by Jamaica, Lagat not making it to the 1500 Final, more hammer and triple jump than I’ve ever watched, and a 2nd straight 10,000 meter gold by Bekele (53 last lap; Gebriesallasie gave it a good fight, led for a lap late but faded to 6th). The Jamaicans and the Ethiopians were going nuts in the stands when their athletes did well. All very cool. On the way out we spotted a crowd of Chinese around a tall black man…..it was Lopez Lomong (US 1500 runner, US flag bearer for the Opening Ceremonies, and one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” of HBO documentary fame – Shannon seems to be good friends with him). I like Lopez a lot so it was nice to get a picture with him and shake his hand (I told him he did a good job holding the flag).
According to the IAAF schedule (www.iaaf.org), there is no Women’s 1500 prelim on Aug 19….so I think it is cancelled. This iaaf website is the best place for schedules and results. If you have time, enter their fantasy league – maybe you can beat the Track Widow or the Chanman.
We’re in a Holiday Inn Express with free internet (and laundry – thank God), so time permitting there should be some good updates coming. I’m almost disappointed Shannon’s 1st round race was cancelled…I am getting anxious to see her race in the Olympic Games!