British sprinter Dwain Chambers has made the next stage in his bid to become a professional American Footballer, having been selected among 89 international players chosen for a six-week NFL Europe training camp in Tampa, Florida in March.
Chambers, the former European Champion over 100m, will not compete during the indoor athletics season, and he is almost certain to miss the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka in August.
Tony Allen, NFL Europe's director of international player development, said: "As well as his obvious speed, he has impressed us with his toughness, dedication and determination at the previous camps (blog link).
"Dwain is learning the sport quickly. He understands that he faces many tough challenges if he is to make a career for himself in the NFL.
"But he has shown us he deserves the chance to test himself against NFL players at the NFL Europe training camp."
I've followed Chambers' NFL development with keen appreciation, as I've had an opportunity to spend time with him one-on-one, and experience the sincerity he displays when he speaks about his life openly and with stunning candor.
The road ahead for Chambers will test him to wits' end, as he attempts to jump through hurdles and obstacles to further make the cut as the month of March concludes.
Chambers has been selected to attend a four-day mini camp for international players at the NFL Europe cam in Tampa, beginning on 5-March. Successful candidates will then be assigned to one of the six NFL Europe teams (Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Rhein Fire) at the conclusion of the camp, 8-March.
In what promises to be a taxing, whirlwind of a process, international players arrive at their respective camps 9-11 March, where they will vye for the 48 spots for the season (including eight non-Americans). If Chambers has made it through his boot camp of a process, he will then depart with a respective team 2-4 April for Europe.
According to BBC reports, 270 non-American players took part in NFL Europe trials for places on the Florida training camp last winter.
A very low total of between eight and nine of those have been chosen to line up alongside about 300 American players - mainly young players on the rosters of NFL teams in the USA - for the Florida camp.
Chambers will need an incredible amount of luck on his side in order to prove to selectors he not only has the talent to play the American sport, but that he should be entrusted to play the sport professionally despite lacking any grassroots training and development.
Chambers has faced tall odds previously in life, with his return to the athletics last season his biggest to date. His drive got him a look during training camp in Barcelona. His determination has gotten him to the next level, where all the grit in the world will not be sufficient enough - nor stretch far enough - to provide Chambers one of those precious few spots on an international field.
Chambers will need to bottle up all of his anger, every bit of his remorse, his entire stock and supply of hope and combine them with a genuinely large stroke of luck in order to look like he should be picked as a boy among men.
Combine those with tenacity, a powerful will and an iron-clad resolve aided by nothing more than the voices within screaming for respect and success in his endeavor, and Chambers may prompt a scout to raise his hand Chambers' direction, put a black checkmark next to his name, and bring the British sprinter back home to Europe for an enduring test of patience and bodily contact unknown to Chambers in the slightest degree.
Chambers has demonstrated remarkable composure and dedication to this venture. Will the men in charge at the next junction pick the last man standing, or will they pen a red line through his name, yell, "next?", and tell Chambers "thank you, you may go home now, goodbye"?
Chambers, who has been playing as a wide receiver, will not have to put on a spectacular display of raw speed which demonstrates he can run 100 yards from point A to point Z faster than his pursuers, rather that he can shake, roll, fake-out and out-maneuver his opponents at a rapid pace and break free and known when to look up - an instict he'll have to quickly develop - for a long pass invariably hauled his way from a quarterback under heavy scramble.
The NFL will be a completely new song and dance for Chambers, but he has shown remarkable poise in perfecting his plan to gain self-confidence and respect. He's remained on the field of practice long after hours, and has asked the right developmental questions reminiscent of rookie wide-outs attempting to better their game. He's taken his lumps and bruising, and learned to deal with the obvious pain mistakes on the field make.
Here's hoping to a changed man in Dwain Chambers the athlete as he puts his mind to its greatest test to date hoping he will find the lost needle in the haystack as time quickly runs down.
The European Athletics Asssociation reported today that Olympic 800m Champion, Yuriy Borzakovskiy, has announced he will not compete in any indoor competitions in 2007, instead opting to start his summer season at Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, USA in June.
Borzakovskiy, the 2001 IAAF World Indoor champion (1.44,49), insists that he wants to be in top form for the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Osaka, Japan. He competed on his native soil at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships, however he managed only a bronze (1.47,38) following seven races prior to the championships in Moscow.
He finished with a silver medal (1.44,51) in the 2005 World Championships in Finland after running five indoor races that winter - all victories.
Holder of two indoor records, Borzakovskiy has competed on the boards and under the roof in 33 races including finals over his eight-year career. He set the World Junior Indoor record (1.44,35) in Karlsruhe seven years ago, winning the event as a 19-year-old. He set the Russian Indoor record of 1.44,15 at the same venue the folowing year.
Borzakovskiy, the reigning 800m Olympic gold medalist, would also like to defend his title in Beijing next season. Borzakovskiy, running in his typical last-place fashion early in the race, made a move off the homestretch in Athens and timed his kick perfectly, running 1.44,45 for an upset over South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (1.44,61) and world-record holder Wilson Kipketer (1.44,65). His move, which is unorthodox and often fails to provide him the expected winning kick, was perfected on the biggest day of his life.
He competed in five indoor races - four finals - leading up to the Athens Games, his fastest a 1.44,58 at the GE Galan in Stockholm, which also serves as his fourth-fastest 800m indoors ever.
He set the Russian 800m outdoor record of 1.42,47 - which is also the European U-23 record - in an exciting race against Austria's André Bücher in Bruxelles six seasons ago, denying Bücher a share of the 2001 Golden League jackpot in the process. He set the European Junior record - 1.44,33 - seven years ago in Sydney.
Tragedy struck Borzakovskiy late in the autumn as he and his wife, Irina, were traveling home to Zhukovskiy, Russia, late at night when an unidentified man strolled across the street in the pitch black weather and was killed instantly as Borzakovskiy's vehicle struck the man head-on. Borzakovskiy is said to be back in strong training after recovering from minor injuries suffered from the car accident.
The Borzakovskiy family have one child, Yaroslav, who came to the world in 2005 November.
Born 1981-April-12 in Kratovo, Russia, Borzakovskiy trains under Russian coach Vyacheslav Evstratov, who also coaches Dmitry Bogdanov, Russia's other premiere male 800m runner.
Yuri Borzakovskiy's Portfolio:
- 200m: 22,56
- 400m: 45,84 Tula, 2000
- 800m: 1.42,47 Bruxelles, 2001 (24,45 - 26,44 - 25,46 - 26,12)
- 800m ind: 1.44,15 Sindelfingen, 2001
- 1.000m: 2.17,40 Nice, 2000
- 1.500m: 3.43,36 Moscow, 2003
- World Junior Indoor record holder, 1.44,35, Karlsruhe, 2000
- European U-23 record holder, 1.42,47, Bruxelles, 2001
- European Junior record holder, 1.44,33, Sydney, 2000
- Russian record holder 1.42,47, Bruxelles, 2001
- Russian indoor record holder, 1.44,15, Karlsruhe, 2001
- Gold, Olympic Games, Athens, 2004
- Gold World Indoor Championships, Lisbon, 2001
- Gold, European Indoor Championships, Gent, 2000
- Gold, European U23 Championships 400m, Amsterdam, 2001
- Gold, European Junior Championships, Riga, 1999
- Gold, World Youth Games, Moscow, 1998
- Silver, IAAF World Championships, Helsinki, 2005
- Silver, IAAF World Championships, Paris, 2003
- Silver, IAAF Grand Prix Final, Melbourne, 2001
- Silver, European Championships 4x400m, München, 2002
- Bronze, IAAF World Indoor Championships, Moscow, 2006
- Winner, European Cup Super League, Annecy, 2002
- Winner, European Cup Super League, Paris, 1999
Barbara Huebner, Boston Indoor Games
BOSTON (Jan. 16) – Sintayehu Taye (Ashburnham, MA), Craig Forys (Howell, NJ) and Steve Murdock (Clifton Park, NY) lead a field of 13 top middle-distance runners set to compete in the third-annual Boys’ Junior Invitational Mile at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Jan. 27, organizers announced today.
Athletics in the News has no affiliation with TixTrac, The Reebok Boston Indoor Games, nor with the Reggie Lewis Center. This release is broadcast as an independent and unaffiliated public service annoucement for athletics fans. Any ticket purchases, flights, plans and other related activities made as a result of this announcement are done so at the full discretion of the user, with no indemnity in whole or part to Athletics in the News
Lauryn Williams, the reigning world outdoor 100m champion, is not just swift with her feet.
Williams, who was recently named the Visa Humanitarian Athlete of the Year by USA Track & Field, knows her life-long journey will not end at a finish line, but beyond - well beyond - in cities across America where people may need an extra push, and are in need. Her focus on helping others was also recognised by the NAACP Detroit Chapter, which presented Williams as an honourary guest at the 51st Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner on 2006-April-30.
“Lauryn exemplifies the leadership qualities and commitment to excellence we want from our young people today,” stated NAACP Detroit Chapter officers.
“It is highly commendable for a person of such a young age to possess such determination, high morals and character. We honor her as a role model who we all – young and old – can learn from” (link).
She was featured in a Miami Herald article yesterday (link) which keenly focused on Williams' drive to give to those in need, and to help those behind her get a chance to make greater strides toward the future.
''I wasn't abused or abandoned or neglected or anything like that,'' Williams said. "But I have five sisters and two brothers and had my share of hard times with my mom being a single parent. So I know a little about the struggle,'' quotes the article.
"Lauryn is embarrassed by a dog story I tell, but it’s true. She was always running around racing, which is a common childhood play activity. I knew she was fast...I used to race her for fun.
"Anyway, she had beaten everyone in the neighbourhood including the big kids. They were outside playing and we had this really big dog, a German Shepherd called Ben. He scared folks. For once he was out of the yard and somehow or other he got into a race with Lauryn, and she beat him! The kids got all excited about it and told me to come outside, as they had something to show me. I thought something was wrong. There was another dog too, a shitz tzu. They took off running, and about four houses later. Lauryn passed the dogs. It is hard to outrun a dog.
"Anyhow, Lauryn beat them and even though I knew all along that she could run fast, sometimes when God taps you on the shoulder you need to pay attention! I got on the phone immediately to Parks and Recreation, where I knew the director, and he told me who to call, which I did. Lauryn was on the track the next afternoon. They told her to run as fast as she could for as long as she could round this dinky track. Well, she ran like 12.2 and the coach was like “wow”. Lauryn made it around the track in a flash and they said she was so good that she could make it to the Olympics. I knew it too when I heard it, and 'Flash' is my nickname for her now!" (read full interview).
A finance graduate from the University of Miami, Williams still trains at the University of Miami, and is coached by the Hurricanes' women's track coach Amy Deem.
Williams auctioned off an autographed pair of her competition spikes to raise money for the Ypsilanti East Middle School’s girls track team, which, in March of last year, experienced a tragic incident when a member of the team, 12-year-old Kayla Stanford, died following practice one afternoon.
Stanford's family was very touched by Williams' gesture and participated in the auction to show their gratitude for her thoughtfulness. The spikes were eventually won by Kayla’s uncle Dwight Hullm.
“I saw Lauryn compete at the Olympic trials in Sacramento," Williams' internet site quotes.
"It was very nice of her to auction off her shoes. This means a lot to the family.”
Williams supplemented the winning bid, sendng a check in the amount of $500 to Janice Sturdivant, principal of East Middle School, who was very grateful for Williams' gesture.
Williams further volunteers at Arcola Lakes Elementary School in Miami, Florida, USA assisting deaf students. A finance graduate from the University of Miami, Williams was also known to donate as much as $10,000 to Miami-area families during the Christmas holidays last year, enabling 20 families to help fulfill their Christmas wishes.
Williams also is involved in the USATF's Be a Champion youth outreach program.
''Just to know I'm making a difference in an inner-city neighborhood is gratifying,'' Williams said.
Williams has always maintained that hard work and being stubborn when it comes to setbacks have their ways of getting back to those who put one foot forward and continue on when times are tough.
"It's not so much the big things that always make the difference,'' continue the Miami Herald.
Today, Williams, who competes for Nike, is trying to overcome a left hamstring injury while training for the start of the spring campaign. She ended 2006 by missing a great portion of the remainder of the European season following her injury.
- 2006 World Indoor silver medal, 60m (7,01)
- 2005 World Champion, 100m (10,93), 4x100m relay (41,78)
- 2004 Olympic silver medal, 100m (10,96)
- 2004 NCAA Champion, 100m (10,97)
- 2003 PAN AM Champion, 100m (11,12), 4x100m relay (43,06)
- 2002 World Junior Champion, 100m (11,33)
- 2002 World Junior silver medal, 4x100m relay (43,66)
- 2002 US Junior Champion, 100m (11,42)
Christian Olsson has that look in his eye.
That may well be because he has clipped his hair, his 1,13 karat diamond is ever more sparkling, and he now dons a close shave similar to Johan Wissman, our national 200m record-holder (20,38).
Something is different about the former Golden League jackpot champion, and if he continues mesmerising folks with those piercing blue radars he calls eyes as he powers down runways at a stadium near you, John Christian Bert Olsson, the 2003 European Athlete-of-the-Year, will likely have a solo trip into territory in 2007 very few have ever legally touched with their own two feet.
Last time I saw Christian was at the media tent behind Ullevi Stadium following his medal ceremony at the European Championships here in Göteborg in August. He had a different look in his eye then.
Olsson had captured the European Championships here in his hometown - he grew up in a district named Angered down the road from me - and stood around taking questions from reporters - both in Swedish and in English.
He wore a blue cap backward and had the Swedish flag draped around his shoulders as he gleamed with enthusiasm and with spoke with the authority an accomplished man exudes after returning to a tent of shade following a long battle.
Relaxed and at ease back in his number one place in the sport - at least for a day, Olsson spoke freely and watched as journalists with thick Italian, French, Spanish and German accents scribbled and wrote notations of what the world would later read and appreciate.
He spoke with clarity into microphones as he was interviewed for radio spots, and he looked directly at the cameras pointed his way with red light indicators showing he was live and on-the-air, answering questions he's heard for the past two years.
Christian, are you fully recovered?
The reigning European Champion from 2002 had taken the long road, not the high road back to Göteborg following his 2004 Olympic victory in Athens, missing the entire 2005 season with an ankle injury which triggered after his first jump in the 2004 Olympic final. Olsson hoped, prayed and swore he'd be back on the runway again.
Three times he underwent surgeries to repair the damage, and three times the world indoor record holder appeared to be near the end of the line rather than at the mid-point. To Olsson, the elusive 18-metre barrier - and ultimately Jonathan Edwards' 18,29m world record - seemed to become more and more mere spectacular occurances in the history of the sport, but nothing to which Olsson could firmly attach his own name.
Olsson became the reigning Olympic, World, World Indoor, European & European Indoor Champion in 2004, a distinction no single, solitary person on the face of the earth has been able to do in holding all five titles simultaneously. He'd become used to breaking through barriers and establishing what no man thought possible of the 26-year-old Swede, who turns 27 in eight days.
So when Christian Olsson took one jump in the qualification round, jumping 17,51m with a slight wind (+0,3 m/s) - a full 28cm ahead of his nearest qualifier, Portugal's Nelson Èvora, who set a new national record with his 17,23m - Göteborg, Sweden, Europe and the world knew Olsson was back, and was hell bent on standing tallest on the medal stand.
"I would have like to do more jumps in front of this fantastic home crowd, I am sorry I had to deceive them (smiles): but at a qualification it is always better to do only one jump, " he stated directly after the event's qualification.
"I have the capacity to jump the World Record, but for Saturday I am rather set to jump a new National Record."
He had two clean jumps in the final, with his 17,67m into a slight wind (-0,7 m/s) eventually enough to win the competition by a whopping 46cm.
"When I was leading far in front of the others after my second attempt (17,67 metres), I really wanted to risk it and pushed really hard," he stated in his flash interview.
"So this is why all the next four jumps were foul: I touched the board because I tried too hard. After all my injuries it is unbelievable but at the same time perfect for me to win in front of this amazing and wonderful home crowd."
Yes, Christian Olsson was back, and Sweden had his back - through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, to never depart until he could bring on the real deal, namely a season when where he could compete injury-free, uninterrupted, and focussed on improvement rather than distracted by pain.
The seven-time national champion both indoors and out - who added an eighth to his credit, the long jump in 2006 - has appeared grandly recovered from his troublesome injuries, and competed in a short-runway competition at Friidrottens Hus Tuesday night here in Göteborg, jumping an astounding 16,07m with only a 20m allowance for his runup - less than half the customary distance which Olsson uses in his run-up to the line.
The mark was pleasing to Olsson, who competed with Per Krona (who has done a fantastic job developing in Olsson's injury absence) against boys - not men - in the annual event, his first-ever.
"It seemed like the youth thought it was fun that I jumped," he stated to Göteborgs-Postenlink), "but I assure you it was at least as fun for me, myself to do those three jumps."
Olsson has now undergone one of his best training periods ever, he says, and admits that he has broken some personal records in training, though he keeps hush about which ones those may be.
Though the measurements are secret, Olsson gave way to a huge smile, indicating he is again at the top of his game. Only small niggles remain, such which he states are to be expected by triple jumpers.
One triple jumper whom Olsson would like to emulate, not surprisingly, is Russian Tatiana Lebedeva, who, as Olsson states, is able to stay consistent in her competitions.
"Tatiana Lebedeva is admirable," he stated to Göteborgs-Posten.
"She can do a really long jump and follow it up with one just as good. I'd also like to jump like that. Perhaps I may be able to get there by focussing better on training. I am on the way."
Christian Olsson is visible again, both in an athletic and a personal sense. He has determination written over his face, which certainly shines brighter with the wave of blonde hair clipped away from his scalp. He has gotten his feet wet in a competition here in Göteborg - closer to "home" can he not get, though his house, money and post all belong in Monaco.
Glasgow is next up on the to-do list for Olsson, as he jumps indoors on a full runway for the first time in three years. He'll head back to Göteborg for the Eurojump four days later at Scandinavium, and his winter training and indoor competition will end with a go at the European Indoor Championships.
"It will be very fun to jump seriously," he says. "I have not done so indoors since I broke the world record three years ago."
Olsson owns the world indoor record of 17,83m, a mark which he set in Budapest on 2003-March-1.
Click here for Christian Olsson's homepage. (
First-year elite athlete Nick Symmonds of the Oregon Track Club became the 284th American sub-4 minute miler on Saturday, winning the Washington Preview Meet in Seattle, Washington, USA in 3 minutes 56,72 seconds.
Symmonds, whose previous personal best was a 4.03,85, won the race by nearly six seconds on the 307m unbanked, oversized track. Americans Courtney Jaworski (4.02,50) and Mike McGrath (4.04,08) finished second and third.
Symmonds, who graduated from Williamette University in the spring of 2006, was a seven-time NCAA DIII champion, winning both the 1.500m and 800m in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and winning the 800m in 2004.
Though he has shown promise as a 1.500m runner, Symmons' broke through last season in the 800m, winning his fourth-consecutive NCAA DIII 800m title, and finishing second at the USA Track and Field Championships, running 1.45,83 - a new personal record, school record and NCAA DIII record.
Khadevis Robinson won the race - his third national title - in 1.44,13, with Jebreh Harris finishing third (1.45,91). Symmonds sat comfortably behind the first half of the race, and moved from seventh to second as he picked runners off with a back-stretch move to the top of the home stretch curve.
Symmonds has done particularly well running in Oregon, as his outdoor personal mile best was set at the 2003 University of Oregon Twilight Meet.
Americans are now comparing Symmonds to David Krummenacker, the 800m/1.500m specialist who won the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships (1.45,69).
Symmonds has the 400m speed a good miler needs, possessing 48,15 (2006) speed over the one lap distance - a keen turnover component for a miler in a kicking situation.
He showed excellent ability last season with a 3.40,91 at Stanford in June - a time which demonstrated he was capable of running a 3.58 outdoor mile should he have been able to manage the pace over the full 1609 metre distance which is the mile.
"Its a big relief to break four (minutes)," Symmonds said to the Statesman Journal (link).
"It's phenomenal," said Willamette track and field coach Matt McGuirk. "When he came in his freshman year at Willamette, he ran a 1,000 meters in 2:27, and I new he was a sub-four-minute-runner."
"A lot of people out there say, 'I could have been a sub-four-minute-miler,' but didn't.
"He did," concluded McGuirk.
A product of Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho, USA, Symmonds was named 2006 NCAA Division III Male Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year - an award selected by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Symmonds was also named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Men’s All-Academic Team for NCAA Division III.
Symmonds graduated from Willamette with a 3,27 cumulative grade point average while majoring in chemistry. He was one of 79 student-athletes chosen for the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Men’s All-Academic Team.
Each All-Academic selection was honored for earning a cumulative GPA of 3,25 or higher, while achieving an NCAA qualifying standard in one or more events during the 2006 season.
After graduating from college in May, Symmonds began training in Eugene, Oregon under coach Frank Gagliano, the long-time Georgetown University coach (and one of America's premiere coaches) who then made a move to Palo Alto to coach the Nike Farm Team, and then headed to Oregon with Vin Lanana.
"It's been great training under Gagliano. I'll train under him as long as he'll let me."
"I have no excuses to run slow now," Symmonds said. "I just train and take care of my body."
Click here for a list of the Track & Field News chronological order USA sub-4 list (last updated 2005-February).
2006 University Season:
- 3.49,23 Willamette Opener (4-mar)
- 1.49,57 Oregon Preview (18-mar)
- 0.48,15 Charles Bowles Inv (24-mar)
- 3.45,75 Willamette Inv (7-apr)
- 0.49,1h NWC Champs (21-apr)
- 1.57,73 NWC Champs (21-apr)
- 4.04,75 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 0.49,56 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 1.55,39 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 1.47,34 TN Distance Classic (13-may)
- 3.50,57 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.51,42 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 3.49,24 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.49,59 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 3.52,77 Willamette Opener (5-mar)
- 1.54,62 Oregon Preview (19-mar)
- 3.47,04 Williamette Inv (2-apr)
- 0,49,0h Oregon Mini Meet (9-apr)
- 0,49,99 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 1.57,38 NWC Champs (22-apr)
- 0.48,41 NWC Champs (23-apr)
- 1.52,60 NWC Champs (23-apr)
- 1.48,82 Ken Foreman Inv (14-may)
- 3.58,24 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.52,67 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 3.54,20 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.49,87 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.52,0h Oregon Mini (10-apr)
- 1.57,12 NWC Champs (24-apr)
- 1.55,51 NWC Champs (25-apr)
- 3.50,91 Ken Shanon Inv (8-may)
- 0.48,84 Willamette Last Chance (22-may)
- 1.51,29 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.50,87 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 4.02,47 NWC 4-Way (15-mar)
- 1.51,18 Oregon Preview (22-mar)
- 3.57,63 Willamette Inv (5-apr)
- 3.54,1h Oregon Mini (12-apr)
- 1.57,43 NWC Champs (25-apr)
- 1.55,03 NWC Champs (26-apr)
- 3.54,92 NWC Champs (26-apr)
- 4.03,85 U of O Twilight Mile (3-may)
- 1.51,29 Stanford Qualifier (9-may)
- 3.55,04 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 1.50,48 NCAA DIII Qualifier
- 3.46,66 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 1.49,51 NCAA DIII CHAMPION
- 2006: 48,15 - 1.47,83 - 3.45,75
- 2005: 48,41 - 1.48,82 - 3.46,49
- 2004: 48,84 - 1.50,87 - 3.45,55
- 2003: 00,00 - 1.49,51 - 3.45,81 - 4.03,85y
Alan Webb joins Wanamaker Mile field
Top pole vaulters also set for 100th Millrose Games on Feb. 2
NEW YORK CITY (Jan. 16) – Alan Webb, who six years ago led the charge to revive American interest in the mile when he broke Jim Ryun’s 36-year-old national high-school record, will compete in the famed Wanamaker Mile at the 100th Millrose Games, organizers announced today.
Webb, 24, became a national celebrity in 2001 when he broke both the indoor and outdoor national high-school mile records, the former at the New York Armory track and the latter on national TV. He is a two-time U.S. outdoor champion at 1500 meters,and a 2004 Olympian. In 2005, he set the American Record for 2 Miles (8:11.48), and last spring ran the fastest 10,000-meter debut ever by an American (27:34.72). Webb is scheduled to run the mile at the New Balance Games at the Armory on Saturday,Jan. 20, six years to the day after setting the indoor high-school mark.
At Millrose, among those he will face are the previously announced American Record-holder Bernard Lagat, the defending champion of the Wanamaker Mile who will be seeking his fifth victory; and Australian Craig Mottram, the 2005 World Championships bronze medalist at 5000 meters who will be making his Millrose Games debut.
Organizers also announced that Steve Hooker, the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medalist ranked the #1 pole vaulter in the world for 2006, will go up against Americans Brad Walker,2005 World Championships silver medalist and reigning World Indoor Champion ranked #2 in the world; and Toby Stevenson, 2004 Olympic silver medalist.
The addition of Hooker means the 100th Millrose Games will feature both of the world’s top pole vaulters, with Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva making her U.S. debut here.
The 100th Millrose Games, the second stop in USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series, will be held Feb. 2 at Madison Square Garden beginning at 5:45 p.m.
For tickets or more information,visit www.Millrose-Games.com.
Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster (call 212-307-7171, visit www.Ticketmaster.com or at Ticketmaster outlets); or at the Madison Square Garden box office.
Athletics in the News has no affiliation with Ticketmaster, The Millrose Games, nor with Madision Square Garden. This release is broadcast as an independent and unaffiliated public service annoucement for athletics fans. Any ticket purchases, flights, plans and other related activities made as a result of this announcement are done so at the full discretion of the user, with no indemnity in whole or part to Athletics in the News.
Susanna Kallur's dream 2006 season could not have been any more justly rewarded, as the 25-year-old 100m hurdler was voted recipient of the coveted Jerringpriset by the Swedish public last evening during the annual award show held at Globen in Stockholm.
Tre Kronor, our celebrated national hockey team, led much of the voting during the evening, but votes for Kallur poured in as the evening called to a close, with the European 100m hurdles Champion - who turns 26 next month, recording 28 percent of the total vote.
"Honestly speaking, I thought I would never be able to beat Tre Kronor," said Kallur to Radiosporten following the ceremony. "I am very, very surprised."
Tre Kronor, led by Peter Forsberg and Mats Sundin, became the first-ever team in global hockey history to win both the Olympic Games and the World Championships in the same year, and received celebratory parades and accolades fit for royalty upon their return from the Olympics.
First indicators during last night's festive evening backed what was thought of prior to the first votes being registered, namely that the Swedish folks had cherished their hockey stars - most of whom play in the NHL - in a hockey nation during hockey season.
However, as she did on the European Circuit during Golden League competition, Kallur surprised when it counted, with voters registering 127.947 to 122.060 for Tre Kronor.
Kallur was visibly affected by winning the prize.
"My legs are shaking," she told Raiosporten after receiving the award. "I can hardly stand."
"I received the Newcomer-of-the-Year-Award here, and never believed that I would stand here five years later and get a prize like this," she said on national television after receiving the prize from King Carl XVI Gustav in front of a crowd on its feet in a standing ovation.
"This feels bigger. This beats everything. Absolutely wonderful to take the prize that the Swedish people have voted for. I want to thank all my coaches through the years, and also all of my training mates who have made sport so fun."
Kallur and Carolina Klüft were selected among the 10 finalists vying for the coveted award, and will be on hand tomorrow evening at Globen in Stockholm in anticipation of being selected highest among their peers in sports such as alpine skiing, curling, ice hockey, cross country skiing and biathlon (blog link).
Tre Kronor won Team-of-the-Year honours.
Klüft finished ninth in Jerringpriset voting.
Jerringpriset, which had its origin in 1979, is the only sports distinction in Sweden which is solely voted on by the Swedish people rather than by a panel.
The annual prize is handed out for the year's best Swedish sports performance, preferably against an international backdrop and perspective.
Kallur is no stranger to success or awards, having picked up Big Ten Female Outdoor Freshman of the Year and the University of Illinois Female Newcomer of the Year awards in 2001.
Susanna Kallur is a twin sister to Jenny Kallur, with both twins born 1981-16-February in Falun, where they both still live today.
Susanna began competing in athletics at the age of 16, and was picked Newcomer-of-the-Year in 2001. She first broke through internationally for us here in Sweden when, at 19-years-old, she competed in the 2000 European Cup, replacing injured Ludmila Engquist. Kallur won the competition in 13,10 seconds, establishing a new Swedish Junior Record and a new Nordic Junior record in the process.
Prior to that, she came near to standing in the spotlight, finishing third at the 1998 World Junior Championships in Annecy, France - 0,02-seconds out of first. She was to win the gold medal in 2000, however, running 13,02 - the fastest legal time in the history of the championships' 11-year history, and take home a bronze in the 4x100m.
Susanna has made three IAAF World Championships semi-final races in the 100m hurdles, with her greatest accomplishments, however, the 2005 European Indoor gold medal in the 60m hurdles, and then winning the 2006 European Outdoor Championships here in Sweden on her home turf.
Kallur has a very approachable style, and is personable - two excellent traits above and beyond her merits (eight national indoor titles and seven outdoor national titles), which reached far with the public at large voting on whom they most appreciated during 2006.
Jerringpriset through the years (Source: TV4):
1979: Ingemar Stenmark 1980: Ingemar Stenmark 1981: Annichen Kringstad 1982: IFK Göteborg 1983: Mats Wilander 1984: Gunde Svan 1985: Gunde Svan 1986: Tomas Johansson 1987: Marie-Helene "Billan" Westin 1988: Tomas Gustafsson 1989: Jan Boklöv 1990: National handboll team, men 1991: Pernilla Wiberg 1992: Pernilla Wiberg 1993: Torgny Mogren 1994: National fotboll team, men 1995: Annika Sörenstam 1996: Ludmila Engquist 1997: Magdalena Forsberg 1998: Magdalena Forsberg 1999: Ludmila Engquist 2000: Magdalena Forsberg 2001: Magdalena Forsberg 2002: Carolina Klüft 2003: Annika Sörenstam 2004: Stefan Holm 2005: Tony Rickardsson 2006: Susanna Kallur
WADA, suffering an apparent international rebellion by international sports officials over the current anti-drug enforcement system - one which is regarded by critics as harsh and inflexible, has been called upon to havemajor rules revisions, according to documents released Monday.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that among the international sports officials' main concerns is WADA's stance on trace amounts of banned substances which provide the same consequence as intentional drug use - cases which, the LA Times states, often impose identical penalties in either case (source).
The current system, the LA Times quotes, is "far too oversimplified" and can lead to "absurd" results according to the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations. WADA is being pressed to give anti-doping enforcement authorities around the world more flexibility and autonomy to reduce sanctions — or impose none at all — as they see fit on specific athlete cases where drug violations are found to be accidental or trivial.
The comments from agencies ranging from the International Olympic Committee and other agencies - including world-wide athletics national governing bodies - were solicited by WADA and collected over a six-month period as part of a checks-and-balances review process for the World Anti-doping Code, which was first implemented four years ago.
WADA officials have portrayed a united front in both its goals for drug-free competition and its enforcement methods, and it is not known how much influence the criticisms and proposed changes made by the officials would have on revised Anti-doping Code language when it is submitted for approval by the 36-member WADA board at WADA's annual meeting, World Conference on Doping in Sport, 15-17 November in Madrid.
Among the most harsher points brought up in the documents, sports officials have criticized WADA for two main issues: punishing athletes on the basis of unreliable lab tests and WADA's principle of "strict liability," whereby athletes are sanctioned for drugs violations when banned substances in an athlete's blood or urine sample are found at trace-amount levels.
"It does not seem fair that athletes who 'innocently' transgress the rules, strict liability notwithstanding, receive the same penalty as those who have purposely set out to cheat," stated David Gerrard, New Zealand's anti-doping agency chairman.
One area which has been of great concern to athletics is the three Carl Lewis "positive" tests from the USA Olympic Trials in 1988.
Pound, though not having been mentioned by name, was understood as having been criticized in the international documents for appearing prejudgiced of accused athletes who were awaiting pending appeals processes for their cases.
American Marion Jones was not mentioned, however, nor was her EPO test which Pound stated he would have re-analysed to the extent that he nearly crossed a line in calling the UCLA laboratory negligent for not calling the "B"-sample reading positive. Pound has been critical of Jones since her alleged involvement with BALCO - making it a mission to bring her to some sort of justice in the fight against dopers.
The LA Times wrote today that the WADA code has set strict-liability relief standards which are virtually impossible to meet according to sports officials.
One problematic area which is certain to come under fire is the degree which countries should be allowed to call a trace-amount positive and malfeasance, and when one has inadvertantly tested positive.
Pound considers the 1988 Carl Lewis three positive tests anti-doping violations, and has stated that Lewis' participation in Seoul was illegal.
United States officials took action into its own hands in 1988 when Lewis stated to them he had taken cold medication which later was found to contain a banned substance, causing him to test positive on three separate occasions before he competed in the Summer Olympics.
Lewis, who did not inform anti-doping officers of the substances found in his medication - violating a rule already set in place, was found to have born little or no fault/no negligence when trace amounts of banned substances where found in his system on three separate occasions - substances, he claimed, were from taking cold medications.
Pound has made no secret that he believes the USA is involved in cover-ups, especially when it comes to Lewis having tested positive for low levels of drugs found in the Sudafed he stated he had taken, and subsequently being permitted to participate in the 1988 Olympics, nonethless.
Pound, engaging the United States directly – one of his biggest targets in the fight against doping due to what can be perceived as cover-ups, sounded off in a New York Times article, stating:
“There aren’t too many people who are prepared to point the finger at America and say: ‘Hey, take off the [expletive] halo. You’re just like everybody else.’ That’s a problem in America. America has a singular ability to delude itself.” (blog link).
WADA has a load of issues to consider as it attempts to shore up its anti-doping efforts around the globe in an attempt to unify organisations' strategies and stances to combat doping - inadvertant or not.
Should they be oberseved as seriously taking into consideration measures and efforts to unify the world agencies' request without diluting the purpose for which WADA has been created, sports officials and atheltes may put more faith into the processes and procedures WADA has on the table, and will perhaps buy into a system which may seem fairer and more just than the current model.
Kenenisa Bekele, who on Saturday displayed one of the most specatacular winning performances of his career at the Event Scotland Great Edinburgh International Cross Country 9,3km race, is at odds with the IAAF, stating he is receiving unfair treatment from the international federation due to being African.
Bekele, who was selected IAAF World Athlete-of-the-Year in 2004 and again in 2005, received no compensation for winning the international prize. However, neither did Yelena Isinbayeva, the women's winner those same two seasons.
"That cannot be right," said Bekele (source), "did they treat me differently because I am an African?"
The argument stems over Asafa Powell and Sanya Richards having both winning $100.000 for their selections this past year - a new style nomination system the IAAF has put into place to award the top athletes in the world.
"I am adamant that I will not be going to Mombassa," said Bekele following his victory Saturday.
Bekele's exclusion is thought to draw a marketing blow to the IAAF, as the 10-time world cross country champion has decideded against contending for an 11th title, and has warded off rumours that he will be pressured by Ethiopia's Athletics federation to run, nonetheless.
"That is not true, I have spoken with them and they accept my decision," said Bekele, stressing his non-appearance has nothing to do with his belief the IAAF have treated him unfairly, nor an acting out against the location of the meet - in arch-rival Kenya's backyard.
Bekele's adamant stance toward the championship event could be a blow to the IAAF, as Kenyan Mike Kigen, who was fifth in the 2006 IAAF Championships event in Japan, will not compete in Mombasa due to an injury, and Isaac Songok, the reigning 4km silver medallist, and Augustine Choge have quit cross country running all together.
However, The Herald (source), quotes Bekele playing a different tune.
"If there is something special, I may run," he said. "If there's a special challenge, specially for the world champion man. I won many years, the world cross. It's the same every time, and there's nothing special.
"Maybe the organisation, the IAAF, they should put something special for the world champion man. Some special prize money? Yes. If I lose this race, for me it is a big thing.
"They could pay a performance bonus for me to run. Maybe it's possible for them. If they encourage sport, or something. Every time you run, nothing is achieved."
Bekele started his amazing run at cross country stardom was borne in 2001 - his final year as junior athlete, when he completed an astonishing double at 2001 World Cross Country Championships, finishing 2nd in the elite men's short-course (4km) race to Kenyan Enock Koech on the first day, and returning the following day to add an overwhelming 33 second victory in the junior race.
The following year, Bekele went on to win both the long course race and the short course events - becoming the first man to ever win both events, and has never looked back, winning both events again in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, for a whopping 10-straight indivudal titles to go along with his junior title.
Bekele's first global track gold came at the front of an intimidating Ethiopian sweep in the 2003 IAAF World Championships 10.000m in Paris, where Bekele broke the field with a 12.57,24 final 5.000m for a 26.49,57 championship record.
Ryan Hall, who set a national 20km record (57.54) while finishing 11th in the IAAF World Road Running Championships in Debrecen, Hungary in October, set his second American record in as many races, winning the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, in Houston, Texas, in 59.43 - a mark which also set a new continental record.
Hall, 24, broke the previous American record - 1.00.55 set in Philadelphia in 1985 by of Mark Curp - by three minutes, hitting the 10km marker in 28.21 en-route to his astounding victory.
The previous North American half marathon best was shared by two Mexican athletes, Dionicio Cerón (1994-January-23 in Tokyo) andGérman Silva (1994-September-24 in Oslo), who both ran 1.00,28.
Hall defeated Fasil Bizuneh (1.02.20) and 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist Mebrahtom Keflezighi (2.11.29) in the process.
Hall has found his groove in the longer races after being a strict 1.500m runner entering his collegiate career at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, USA.
Hall completed his collegiate career a 5.000m runner after suffering a series of setbacks and injuries with 1.500m training. In June 2005, the Stanford star won his first-ever NCAA title, running 13.22,22 for a new Stanford record in the 5.000m. Teammate Ian Dobson followed in 13.22,55.
Two weeks later, at the USA Track and Field Championships, Hall finished third in 13.16,03 to qualify for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships - he finished 16th in his heat, trailing only Dobson, and winner Tim Broe.
Hall's cross country brilliance was finally brought forth to life when he finished 2nd at the 2003 NCAA Championships to Dathan Ritzenhein, his old high school nemesis.
A USA high school cross country star - he was 3rd at the 2000 Footlocker High School Cross Country Championships behind Ritzenhein, who finished sixth at yesterday's Edinburgh Cross Country meet, and miler Alan Webb, who has churned on the motors to record 3.32,52/3.48,92/8.11,48 bests in the middle distances, Hall was known more for being a 1.500m star in high school, running 3.42,70 - the third fastest high school performance ever for the distance.
Hall was also the California state cross country champion during his junior and senior seasons at Big Bear High School.
Hall's younger brother Chad, is also a two-time California cross country champion, equalling his brother's family bragging rights. Chad, however, went one step further in winning the Footlocker Cross Country Championships, a feat which Ryan did not accomplish at that age.
Men's Racing, a New York Road Runners website, interviewed Hall after his terrific spring campaign in 2005, citing:
"To be honest, I haven't thought about that [being part of a US running renaissance] a lot. I hope that I can help inspire people to run faster and to train hard. I get really encouraged when I see guys like Broe running fast times. We need guys to run fast in the states too, so Americans can actually see it and be inspired by it. The more guys we have breaking down barriers, the better off American distance running will be. We still have a long ways to go but we have a good start. As far as me being a part of it all, I just train hard and give God the outcomes. Sometimes I think as Americans we think too much. We think about how fast 62 second pace is for 5Ks. I have a feeling the runners who are running sub 13:00 5Ks aren't caught up in thinking how fast 62s are, they just go out there and run gutsy races" (click here for full interview).
Indeed, Hall appears to have put his mind to rest when dealing with pacing chores, as he averaged 52 laps and change at a clip of 67,92 seconds per round today in his record run.
A question which arises is whether Hall will run a marathon in the near future, or if he will eye perhaps the 10.000m run. Hall seems capable of maintaining a 66-flat pace for 25 laps, a clip which will drop him to a 27.30 and likely spot at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka.
Only time will tell, however, as Hall eases into an easy run tomorrow, and sets his sights on the next prize, the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kenya in March. Hall has twice run in the World Cross Country Championships, finishing 43rd in last year's long course race in Fukuoka, and doubling back for a 19th placing in the short course race the following day.
1 Ryan Hall, USA, 59.43
2 Fasil Bizuneh, USA, 1.02.20
3 Mebrahtom Keflezighi, USA, 1.02.22
4 Andrew Carlson, USA, 1.02.43
5 Jason Lehmkule, USA, 1.02.50, 1.02.20
Ryan Hall's Personal Bests:
- 1.500 Metres: 3.42,70, Stanford, 2001-June-9
- Two Miles: 8.26,26, Carson, CA, 2006-May-21
- 5.000 Metres: 13.16,03, Carson, CA 2005-June-24
- 15 KM 43.25, Debrecen, 2006-October-8
- 20 KM 57.54, Debrecen, 2006-October-8
- Half Marathon: 59.42, Houston, 2007-January-14
Two athletics competitors have made the final cut for tomorrow's Jerringspriset - a prestigious annual Swedish award sponsored by Sveriges Radio which honours our nation's best sports performance of the year.
Susanna Kallur and Carolina Klüft have been selected among the 10 finalists vying for the coveted award, and will be on hand tomorrow evening at Globen in Stockholm in anticipation of being selected highest among their peers in sports such as alpine skiing, curling, ice hockey, cross country skiing and biathlon.
Jerringpriset, which had its origin in 1979, is the only sports distinction in Sweden which is solely voted on by the Swedish people rather than by a panel.
The annual prize is handed out for the year's best Swedish sports performance, preferably against an international backdrop and perspective.
Winners can be selected on more than one occasion during their careers - as either individuals or an entire team, and the prize is not limited to athletes. Coaches can also be selected for the award.
Jerringpriset was borne 28 years ago out of the memory of legendary Sveriges Radio's Sven Jerring, who got his start with Sveriges Radio (then called Radiotjänst) in 1925 with calling the shots from Vasaloppet, among other sporting events.
The nominees are selected by Radiosporten's editorial staff, and the total number of candidates can vary from year to year. Fifteen nominees were presented at the end of 2006, with the year's best Swedish sports performance voted upon by the public through several methods including telephone and internet.
Christian Olsson was nominated as well, but did not make the cut.
Kallur seems a very likely candidate from an athletics perspective, having won the European Championships here on our home soil - our third gold of the August championships (Olsson and Klüft won the others).
Kallur handily won the European Championships short hurdles race, winning by 0,13 seconds over Irishwoman Derval O'Rourke, the 2006 World Indoor Champion, who set a new Irish national record with her 12,72 performance. Germany's Kirsten Bolm took home the bronze with the same time clocking as O'Rourke.
Klüft, who won the 2005 Women's Athlete-of-the-Year (video link), the 2003 and 2004 Performance-of-the-year (video link) and the 2003 Jerringpriset award, became historic with her victory in the heptathlon, becoming the first woman to ever win five-consecutive outdoor heptathlon championships. She is trained by Agne Bergwall, and has continued to compete for her hometown IFK Växjö despite living down in Karlskrona.
The categories which athletes will be voted on to win prizes are: The Year's Best Women's Athlete; The Year's Best Men's Athlete; The Year's Best Sports Team; The Year's Best Performance; The Year's Top Newcomer; The Year's Best Sports Leader; The Year's Best Functionally-hindered Athlete; and the Year's Honour Prize.
Other prizes which will be dealt out on Tuesday are the Jerringpriset, itself, as well as TV Sportens Sportspegelpris - an award of honour which is handed out to one recipient who has been on the Sportspegeln programme during the year; Svenska Spel Stipendiet - an award which will enable youth involved in sports at the national team level to both study and compete parallel to those studies; and Forskarpriset - an award which is designated for an established researcher who deepens knowledge for others through their research.
Though both Kallur and Klüft had remarkable seasons, it appears that Anja Pärson may have had the greater success, having captured gold in the Giant Slalom and Super-G at the Winter Olympics in Torino, and taking the overall Super-G grand prix as well.
Stefan Holm was the last athletics winner, taking home the honours in 2004 as well as taking home both the 2005 Men's Athlete of the Year distinction (video link) and the Year's Best Sports Performance (video link). Holm's father, Johnny, took home the TV-Sportens Sportspegelpris (video link).
The year 2005 was also kind to Yannick Tregaro, as he was selected The Year's Top Coach (video link).
Sanna Kallur contests the 100 metre hurdles. She was born on 1981-February-16. She is 170 cm tall and weighs 61 kg at optimum competition. She competes for Falu IK under coaches Agne Bergwall and Karin Torneklint. Sanna won the 2006 European Championships in the 100m hurdles to compliment her 2005 European indoor gold at 60m hurdles. "Sanna", as she is called by fans, has 15 national titles - both indoors and out - to her credit She placed third in the 2006 World Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles.
Carolina contests the heptathlon and long jump. She was born on 1983-February-2. She is 178 cm tall and weighs 65 kg at optimum competition. Klüft competes for IFK Växjö under coach Agne Bergwall. Klüft's record to date: 2006 European Champion in the heptathlon. 2005 World Champion in the heptathlon. 2004 Olympic Gold medalist (heptathlon). 2003 World Champion in the heptathlon. 2003 Indoor World Champion in the pentathlon. 2003 Under-23 European Gold medalist in the long jump. 2002 European Champion in the heptathlon. 2002 World Junior Champion in the heptathlon. 2000 World Junior Champion in the heptathlon. 2004 Indoor World Championships bronze medalist in the long jump. 2002 European Indoor bronze medalist in the pentathlon. 1999 Gold medalist in the high jump at the Junior Olympics.
2006 Nominees: Alpine: Anja Pärson; Curling: Team and Anette Norberg; Hockey: Tre Kronor; Hockey: Damkronorna (women's national team); Athletics: Susanna Kallur; Athletics: Carolina Klüft, Diving: Anna Lindberg; Skiing: Anna Dahlberg–Lina Andersson; Skiing: Björn Lind; Biathlon: Anna Carin Olofsson.
Did Not Make Cut: Golf: Annika Sörenstam; Innebandy: Men's National Team; Swimming: Therese Alshammar; Athletics: Christian Olsson; Canoe: Markus Oscarsson.
Source: Sveriges Radio