Shannon’s 1500 Semi-Final
We had computer troubles last night after Shannon’s 1500 and were unable to send out anything.
Seeing Shannon competing for the first time in the “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing, in the 1500 semifinal evoked a lot of emotions for me. It’s hard to believe this is all happening. I almost can’t believe I am here, halfway around the world. There are 91,000 spectators here in the Bird’s Nest, and the energy level is extremely high. I don’t think I ever dreamed I would be at a meet like this, cheering for someone I know so well. I love that I had a nervous feeling in my stomach all day long. Although I’ve been anticipating this moment for a long time, I almost don’t want it to end. Shannon’s Olympics were about to begin.
Before Shannon’s race, she jumped up and down three times. Nothing unusual, just part of her routine. Other athletes went through their typical prerace routines, too, I’m sure. But Shannon’s three jumps just warmed my heart. I’ve seen her jump up and down three times before a race hundreds of times. She’s done it at SI, at Los Gatos, at Crystal Springs. Tonight she did it at the Bird’s Nest.
By now I assume it is pretty old news that she qualified for the 1500 Final. She was in the 3rd heat and her heat was by far the fastest. She came in 4th and qualified on time.
What’s most interesting is that of the 10 so-called medal contenders that I publicized on my chart, only 3 are still standing (guess I am not so expert). The 3 Russians were DQ’ed for doping a month ago, 2 did not enter the 1500, and 2 did not qualify out of the semi-final. The big three are Shannon, Jamul (Bahrain), Lishchynka (Ukraine). Of course there are 9 other women in the race chasing those precious medals, too. I am hoping for a fast pace….if the leaders are on 3:59-4:01 pace, I think Shannon can beat some people by being faster than them. If it’s a slow pace, anything can happen and things like international experience and your final kick speed become more important. We’ll see. It’s pretty exciting to be here thinking about the possibilities.
Malinda and I made a banner to wave around at the Bird’s Nest. We bought the material on Wed and then Thur morning had to go running in the rain to the Chinese equivalent of Target to get permanent markers to finish our art project.
We have an award for the first person to correctly indentify what the Chinese characters in the bottom mean. Any Chinese readers out there? E-mail your answers. Feel free to guess but just one guess per person.
Some other track & field/Olympic comments:
– We can’t believe both the men and women’s 4X1 dropped the baton. It was ugly and pretty embarrassing as all the foreigners in the stands around us were giving us a hard time. I came up with the idea that the US should send the NCAA champion 4X1 team to the Olympics/World Championships. Let the Tyson Gay’s concentrate on their individual events and let a college team that works together on the relay all year and would be willing to focus all their energy on just the relay, run it.
– The 1-2-3 US sweep in the 400 was bizarre because Jeremy Wariner was clearly disappointed and did not fake being happy very well.
– The men’s 200 from a couple days ago had a ton of controversy. Usain Bolt’s WR 19.30 was easily 1st and again amazing. But the original 3rd place (US’s Spearman) was DQ’ed for stepping on the line. The US protested. While reviewing the protest officials decided that the original 2nd place (Charunday something) should also be DQ’ed. So Americans Crawford and Dix (originally 4th and 5th across the line) were awarded the silver and bronze. Both looked awkward and uncomfortable on the medal stand.
– Today (Fri), we saw some boxing and volleyball. The men’s volleyball semi-final (Brazil over Italy) was quite exciting as the fans for both sides kept singing/cheering throughout the match.
Well, I am off to bed now. Sat is going to be a big day. Shannon races at 7:50pm Beijing time, so 4:50am in SF. I am not sure when it will be broadcast. Shannon’s mom told me that NBC did an interview with Shannon the other day so if that interview hasn’t been shown yet, maybe it will be part of the lead-in to the 1500 Final race coverage. It’s hard to believe this is all happening. I met Shannon about 10 years ago this week. I was in my first weeks as the SHC cross country coach and she was a freshman who decided to come out for the sport, despite having no running experience. And 10 years later she’s running the Olympic Final and I am in China to see it!