Sunday, August 31, 2008
The city of Lausanne has a lot of history in regards to track and field. They are host to the sport's largest Olympic Museum. In Beijing, I have the chance to meet Hicham El Guerrouj, the all world distance runner from Morocco. He helps out with the organization that heads the track and field part of the museum. He asked for, and of course, I gave him my singlet and shorts I wore in the final at the Games, and they are putting it in the Olympic Museum here in Lausanne.
It has been very good weather here in Switzerland, which is very uncharacteristic for this time of year. It was 80 degrees when I came back from training this morning! I really hope the weather holds up. Last year this competition was in the middle of July, and it was 9 degrees Celsius by the time we got finished running.
This is a special venue, there have been some very special performances here, I'm hoping to add my name to the list of memorable performances.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I ended up running very well, but lost the race by one hundredth of a second in the long run. 12.97 for Robles, 12.98 for myself.
110 Hurdles (+0.3)
1) Robles 12.97
2) D.O. 12.98
3) Noga 13.37
4) Merritt 13.41
5) Svoboda 13.48
6) Yo-El 13.55
7) Phillips 13.60
8) Van der Westen 13.68
9) Moore DNF
I really thought that I had a chance to pull of the win, but I floated the first hurdle and was playing catch up the entire race, which I did a good job of. I haven't seen the race yet, but I will watch it on the Slingbox tomorrow. I am happy with my performance this evening, but not satisfied.
On another note, my good friend Anwar Moore went down with what seems to be a season ending quad injury. That is very unfortunate and I really wish him a speedy recovery so we can get back to running fast again next season.
I'm off to Lausanne, Switzerland tomorrow morning. Robles and I will have another face off there. This is the track where Liu Xiang ran the World Record and Dominique Arnold ran the American Record here in 2006, will there be a possible repeat? Who knows.
David Payne dropped out unfortunately, so all the medalist from Beijing won't be starting here tonight. But the loss is an actual gain for me, as due to Payne not starting, my training partner Joel got invited to the meet. Since he's been here, things picked up right where they left off at the house.
The lane assignments are:
1: Yo-El Brown (USA)
2: Petr Svobada (CZE)
3: Anwar Moore (USA)
4: D.O. The King
5: Dayron Robles (CUB)
6: Aries Merritt (USA)
7: Artur Noga (POL)
8: Richard Phillips (JAM)
9: Marcel Vander Westen (NED)
My main goal today will be just to get on the ground quicker, by that I mean I'm going to focus on nothing but accelerating my lead leg down to the ground early. I usually do it as the race goes on, but I'm going to try to do it from the first hurdle all the way to the finish. We will see what happens. I don't have a time goal or anything for today, the lead leg action is all I want to accomplish, that and the win of course.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Today, I had the world renowned Zurich Kid's Clinic. This has been a staple of the Zurich Golden League for years, and I was honored that I was chosen to participate this year.
It was about 1,500 kids at the stadium and the were more than ready to meet us. Allen Johnson, Maria Mutola, Janeth Jepkosgi, Chaunte Howard, Bershawn Jackson and Kerron Clement were just a few of the other athletes that were there.
I teamed up with Olympic hurdle champion, Dawn Harper and we took the kids through a few hurdle drills and we split up the kids in to teams for a shuttle hurdle race. Of course my team beat her team, but we did have a little help, I ran the anchor leg because we were short a kid.
After our individual training sessions, we had autograph tents set up for each of us to sign stuff for the kids. I felt like my left hand was going to fall off, so I took a break and had the kids autograph stuff for me! One of my favorites from my group, Mira, autographed my hand, I took a pic of it.
I had a wonderful time out there with the kids, they are the future of the sport, and who knows, the next world record holder in an event might have been out there and I might have been an inspiration to one of the kids this afternoon.
I came home and they gave each of us a gift, along with a nice apperance fee for the event, they gave each of us ipods! That's what's up.
IAAF Report HERE
P.S. I'm not getting married this weekend, I have had a lot of blog posts about that, I have no idea where that came from.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
One of the biggest things they had set up for us here is they gave us a big bag to put our laundry in and they will do it for you on the house! For those of you who don't understand, this is a very big thing. Its big for one, because no other meet does this for its athletes and two, the cost for the hotel to do your laundry is high as all get out! I always bring over some laundry detergent and thug it out, washing stuff in the bathtub and have it air drying all over the room. You fellow track runners know what I'm talking about. I'm happy that I can give my forearms a break this week, I'm not going to be doing any wringing out of laundry.
It has been very hard for me to get out of bed too. After coming off of those harder than brick beds in Beijing, I feel like I am one of those Heavenly Beds. I'm so comfortable, that I don't even feel like getting out of the bed to go eat, and that's saying a lot! Anyone that knows me, knows I don't let anything get in the way of a meal. Like I said before, you'll never hear of D.O. having missed meal cramps!
I went to the ATM today and they had me on the machine screen. It was a picture from the race last year. They have your boy and Anwar on the meet posters, they're everywhere throughout the city. I really don't like the picture, but you know how we over critique things we see of ourselves.
I've had a couple of good training sessions since I've been here. Tomorrow I am doing the Kids Clinic, I'm very much looking forward to doing it.
Monday, August 25, 2008
While there, I also met John Hendershott of T&F News. I finally got to put a face to a name that I have interview with several times. I enjoyed the lunch and meeting the several individuals that I had the opportunity to get to know.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Well, I slept very little last night. That's to be expected. The adrenaline rush and emotional high you are on after accomplishing one of your ultimate goals as an athlete is unexplainable. I probably got a good three hours in.
I had several press engagements this morning in to the afternoon. My favorite was the USOC press conference. I finally got a chance to answer questions that weren't track related. I got to talk about my experience here in Beijing and I got to comment on a variety of topics as well. I got to spend a good amount of time with a good friend of mine and USATF media relations woman, Susan Hazzard, along with my manager Marisa. After we finished all of that up, I spent the rest of the day with Bren and Harold, we hit NIKE for a while, the Hometown Hopefuls place and the USA House.
At the USA House, they gave me a medal for Brooks, which is bigger than the one I have! It is to recognize outstanding coaching and is named in honor of one of the first known Greek coaches back in the 444 b.c. Olympics.
I'm leaving for Zurich tomorrow afternoon, I have another engagement to attend before I head out, it's kind of disappointing that all of this has to come to an end. I had a great time in Beijing and all of the people that were behind me the whole time I really, really thank you. You never know how many lives that you may touch in even a small way. Being a top-tier athlete afforded me the opportunity to affect a lot of peoples lives in a positive way and the Olympics gave me and all of my fellow athletes a platform to really get out there.
I talk to a lot of people on the team, some did as well as they would have liked to, some didn't. At the end of the day, there are billions of people who will never get the opportunity to partake in the Olympic Games or represent their country in any fashion, so I really cherished every moment I had here, from the time I stepped off the plane on July 31st, until the time my plane departs Beijing International tomorrow.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I sort of missed a step on my third one out of the blocks, which instantly put me in hole, plus me and Doucore came in to contact at around hurdle seven. I was able to clean those mishaps up, run and execute well enough to come up for the bronze. I am so happy that I was able to come away from the Olympic Games with a medal! They only pass out three of them every four years, and for me to win one is amazing.
I was so happy to be able to drape the American flag over myself and run a victory lap, I instantly saw Bren and Harold and got to share the moment with them. My mom was so happy.
Standing on the medal stand and watching the flags being strung up the pole was when I think it hit me. I thought to myself, "That flag on the right represents all the hard work I have put in since November".
I was also overjoyed for David Payne, he had been through so much this year in terms of injuries and endured enough pain (no pun intended) for a few seasons. For him to win the silver medal is also a testament to his will and desire too.
You might be wondering while I'm still up, me and Payne had this red carpet thing to do tonight, which was cool, hanging out with fellow athletes. I really need to hop in the bed, we have a loooong day tomorrow!
The problem I had with my race last night was that when I got clear of the field, I started thinking too much about what Brooks wanted me to work on for the race and got too complacent. I never think in a race, I just go. At the end of the day, I didn't feel like I did anything. In my cool down, I was feeling way more loose and fresh, which indicates to me I need to have a more aggressive warm-up for the finals.
The final is set up like this:
2- Wignall (JAM)
3- Phillips (JAM)
4- Noga (POL)
5- Payne (USA)
6- Robles (CUB)
7- D.O. (USA)
8- Doucoure (FRA)
9- Quinonez (ESP)
I'm feeling fresh this morning and I am going to go out and let it all hang loose, no need in saving anything for the junior prom!
30 down, 10 to go.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I have gotten so many emails and posts on my site from them. They were the original people to take up a collection for my mom to attend these Olympic Games and the outpouring of love was really overwhelming for her and myself.
Scott really built the foundation for which I stand on to this day.
I also want to personally thank her co-workers at UPS and The Gates Corporation for what they did privately for her as well. Anyone who knows Bren, knows she doesn't like to receive a whole lot of attention for things, but without her, where would I be?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
It was a late one last night, I didn't get back to my room until around midnight, so sorry for not getting the update in last night.
I spent the early part of the day yesterday downloading and listning to music, doing basically nothing at all.
I hit the track around 6pm and started my warm-up at 6:30. I got a great warm-up in too. Like I said earlier, the main focus for this race was to go out and start better than I did in the first round, which I clearly did, and work on getting the lead leg down faster from the first hurdle on down the track instead of getting in to a float stage like I did in the first round. I accomplished that goal as well.
I ran the fastest quarterfinal time, I posted 13.16, it was an easy run for me, I spent the time focusing on my cues that I mentioned earlier. I am feeling very good as well. We are getting a lot of recovery time for some odd reason, just one race per day for four straight days.
I am having an absolute ball out there. I love walking in to the stadium and hear the crowd cheering and the energy is so electric! I can't wait to get back there tonight. I am feeling very good and I am feeling very competent in my abilities to win the ultimate prize in our sport.
The semifinals are tonight at 9:30pm, I am in the second heat, lane 6. Startlists are posted HERE. I am not sure yet what our secondary focus for this round will be, I know what the main one will be, survive and advance to tomorrow's final.
20 down, 20 more to go.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Before I get to my performance, I would be remissed if I didn't mention the loss of two of the best 110 hurdlers in the history of the event, forced out by injury in the first round. Once again, it is unfortunate how freak injuries turn what seem like invincible athletes, in to mere mortals. Terrence and Liu were both dealt that bad hand and never got a chance to fulfill their Olympic dream. It is a very hard pill to swallow for me because I believe that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best, heads up, and we will not get to see a such matchup here.
I went out and got a very good warmup going. I felt fresh and everything was working like I wanted it to. I went out and ran a clean race and won my heat in a time of 13.30, which was good enough for the top performance of the day. My main focus was to react better to the gun, which I did, I reacted in a time of .167, which is better than the .22x I'm usually getting. I stayed very relaxed throughout the race and I didn't expend that much energy. Fortunately enough for me, I avoided any injury or mishaps. All in all, I had a performance that I felt was similar to the one I had in the opening round at the trials.
The stadium was jam packed! It was very hot on the track as well, it felt like a 20 degree increase in temperature from the warmup track to the stadium. I dripped more sweat out there than I did warming up.
My quarterfinal heat goes off tomorrow night at 9:09pm China time. I am in the fourth and final heat of the day, in lane five. Heat sheets are HERE.
My focus tomorrow will be to react better to the gun and be more quick than I was today. I really just need to do whatever it takes to survive and advance, that's the name of the game. I came to run 40 great hurdles, now I have 30 left.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I'm in heat two, lane six. In my heat are Shamar Sands (BAH), Gregory Sedoc (NED), Mikel Thomas (TRI), Jackson Quinonez (ESP), Damjan Zlatner and Jung Joon-Lee (KOR).
My heat kicks off at 11:18am China time (11:18pm eastern, Sunday). My main focus for this round is to go out there and try to react to the gun better and work on quickness because I heard this track is pretty quick. I'm not going out to re-invent the wheel or anything, so I will just keep it consistent.
If I do that, I should come back tomorrow afternoon with a good update.
I really would like to know what the time would have been had he floored it the entire 100 meters. 9.4x, 9.5x, or 9.69, who knows. To me, Bolt is a pure specimen of speed. He has better running mechanics than every 100 meter runner out there. The way he fully extends through the hip and his heel recovery are phenomenal. With the levers he has, he totally dominates the concept of the conservation of angular momentum as well.
If I were Bolt, I would have saved the celebration for after the finish because I would have been trying to put that record out of reach on the biggest stage in our sport. At the same time, I love the way he enjoyed every moment the camera was on him, from the time they walked out until his post-victory press conference.
I wonder how low he will take the record before it is all said and done.
Congratulations as well to the two youngsters of the final, who ran entire collegiate seasons and were still competent enough to pick up medals in, Richard Thompson and Walter Dix for their great performances.
On the other hand, your heart has to go out to Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, both for two totally different reasons.
With Tyson, I know how it feels to compete on a high stage at well less than 100% health. I knew he would do well here dating back to his performances last season. It just wasn't meant to be this time.
For Asafa, he is one of the best sprinters ever, but he just couldn't get it done. I feel for him because all of these arm-chair quarterbacks are going to have their opinion of him and his performance, but they aren't out there dealing with all that stress along with the other things that come with being a high level athlete. I know he will come back strong.
I headed over to the hotel where they will be staying yesterday, I needed to drop off the tickets to my races so they will have them when they get here. I wanted to knock out all the logistic stuff we in advance.
They have very nice accommodations, I really would like to thank the good people from UPS for assisting the family in this endeavor.
(P.S. I'm sure Bren is going to hate that picture I put up)
Friday, August 15, 2008
Every major city in America has Chinatown, so I was wondering if they have some sort of Americatown here.
Pretty valid question if you ask me. I haven't come across any symbolance of it though. Just a random thought I felt the need to share.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Got up, ate, picked up my laundry I dropped off yesterday. It's about a 12 hour turnaround on the laundry here, but it sure beats hand washing in the tub every three days like in Europe! They do a great job too.
I hopped on line and talked to my mom for a while, they have everything set up for their travels to Beijing on Saturday, I'm pretty excited. I hollered at Aub-Rida for a minute too.
I hit the arcade up with Dayron Robles, we played the arcade basketball game for a minute. I hit the bank up and watched one of the swimming relays with Phelps in it. It was pretty exciting, the anchor leg was a beast and they won Gold. It came down to the wire and when he touched the wall in first, I yelled out "Yes" and everybody turned around looking at me, like look at this big, loud American, typical. I couldn't help it though.
I hit NIKE up with Pate and Abdi, got some exclusive Maxcats in red, white and blue spikes, they are the ones I wear at all the meets, just in different colors. Picked up some more gear, ate some great food and cabbed it back to the village.
I hit the USA v China women's basketball game, it was a good time too. China was down about 30, but everytime they scored, the crowd erupted! I never have heard that much home team love ever. The "Redeem Team" were posted up a couple rows away, the Chinese fans LOVE Kobe Bryant. USA ended up winning by about 40. After the game, we just hopped on the New Zealand women's team bus and rode back to the village and we made some new friends.
I'm back at practice today for a little maintenance work later on, I will get back.
The basketball venue
Pics courtesy of my Blackberry Curve
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It's a week away from my opening round today. As you know, I came back to the village yesterday. Brooks, Tiff, Kenta and myself went over to the Birdsnest Stadium to the warm-up facility. Our trip was mainly to see how long it took to get from point A to point B. The stadium isn't very far from our housing.
Of course, I had to eat in the dinning hall of the village and it's crazy, you sit down at a table and you have Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol on one end across from you.
I don't have very much planned for the day, just a little lifting. I will be back on the track tomorrow for some light work. I will more than likely head down to the NIKE place later on with Miguel Pate. Later tonight, me and Kenta are going to go catch the Team USA women's basketball game, we tried to get tickets to last nights men's basketball game against China, but you know that was sold out. My goal for sometime this week is to head down to the aquatic center and catch Micheal Phelps win one of those Golds!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
At practice the other day I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Lynn Zinser from the NY Times. It was pretty fun and I had a great time entertaining her questions.
NY Times Article
On other fronts here, Lopez Lomong was selected to carry our flag at the Opening Ceremonies coming up tomorrow. Like I said there couldn't be a better person to do it.
Resse Hoffa and Aretha Thrumond were selected as team captains as well.
I'm not going to Opening Ceremonies, I'm not really in to all that type of pomp and circumstance. If you know me, you know I get very bored of things easily, I heard that it is about a four hour process to walk around the stadium for 15 minutes, so I will pass, plus I'd much rather stay here and get these last couple of training sessions in uninterrupted.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I have gotten back on the track with some very heavy workouts from Brooks, which have included our 16 hurdle drill Monday, following that up with race modeling over 10 today. Training has been very fun and I think it has been ratcheted up for everyone. Imagine going to practice with Sanya, Kerron Clement, Lauryn Williams, Abdi, Doc etc. You have no choice but to go hard in the paint! Andy, the video guy has taped everything, so I have had the ability to break down each practice.
Training has been pretty funny too, the Chinese media has filmed every step I have taken at practice and has taken massive amounts of pictures. I have done interviews with all types of media outlets after practice.
Today I had a sit down with NBC Sports announcers Lewis Johnson and Ato Bolden for a piece I guess they will air during the Games.
We had a team meeting today, where we voted Lopez Lomong the team representative for the Flag Bearer at Opening Ceremonies. He shared his story from being one of the Lost Boys of Sudan to his days here in the States. It was very inspiring and I couldn't think of a better candidate for my vote, someone who embodied the Olympic spirit and the meaning of the American flag better than Lopez.
Now I am leaving back to Beijing on the 10th now, so I have a few more hard workout days before tapering off to get ready for the races.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
SIKIDS.com Q&A: David Oliver
Olympics-hopeful David Oliver took a brief timeout from hurdles training to talk with SIKIDS.com
Oliver's will have his eyes trained on a gold medal when the Olympic Games kick off next week
Courtesy of Disney
David Oliver won 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Jaunary and will go for the gold in Bejing next week. Hurdling runs in the family. Oliver's mother, Brenda Chambers, was a world-class hurdler in the late 70s and early 80s. She actually competed in Beijing in 1980 for the U.S. National team.
Oliver took time out from training at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida to talk to SIKIDS.com about his unexpected rise to the top, running the same event as his world-class mom, and what he's most looking forward to at the Games.
SIKIDS.com: What has your schedule been like since your win at the Olympic trials?
David Oliver: Oh, I haven't been doing anything but training. I left the trials on Monday, I came back home to Orlando, Florida, took Tuesday off and got right back to practice on Wednesday. You can't really settle on what happened at the trials. It's in the past. Now you've got to look forward to the big things going on the games of course. So you can't sit back and rest while everyone else is working. That's how you get beat.
You were great at Howard University (2001-04), but not quite considered world class. Are you surprised by where you are now?
No, I'm not surprised at all by the point I've gotten to. I knew exactly what my talent level was, I just came to an environment with my coach where it was nurtured and I was given the blue print in order to accomplish exactly what it is that I needed to accomplish. Of course when I came out of college I was All-American twice, but I had only fourth and fifth place finishes [in NCAA meets]. When I talked to [coach] Brooks [Johnson] he told me it was going to be a three to four year process in order to get to the top. And I just listened to exactly what he had to say. I did exactly what he asked me to do to the T, because I figured if I did everything in my power to be an elite 110 hurdler and it didn't happen, then it just wasn't meant to be. But I didn't want to look back and think "man if I had listened to him a little more, I could have done this." And I just am starting to see the fruits of my labor.
Hurdling is in your genes because of your mom. How and why did you get involved in hurdling specifically?
As a junior in high school I was out on the track one day and we ran a shuttle hurdle relay. My coach, Betsy Allen, found out who my mom was and knew her from the University of Colorado. She was like, "man, hurdling is in your genes." I ran a shuttle hurdle relay and I was competitive in that relay and she told me that I have a new event. It just kind of took off there. If never happened I might have still be out there scratching all my jumps in the long jump, and I might have quit the sport.
Was it strange at first to be doing the hurdles considering who your mom is?
You know, I don't ever really dwell on that. You're just like another runner out there on the track. People don't really care who your mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, aunt are. It's all about you and what you're going to accomplish. Those types of things are irrelevant when you get on the line because I'm pretty sure when I got out to the finals at the Olympic trials, no one was really like "man, he's probably going to win because his mom ran track and field." It's all about the work you put in. The genetics definitely help. But there's a lot of people whose dads were in the NFL and things like that, and they don't pan out. There are more of them than the guys that become successful.
Does she give you advice on running?
No, she never gives me coaching advice. Whatever I do is, like, the best, even when I run poorly. She's always like "you're afforded opportunities that I never was. So you're still basically winning anyway. You're traveling all around the world, you've already stamped up once full passport and you're 26 years old. And I only have a couple of stamps in my passport and I'm 47 years old."
She competed in Beijing once. Has she told you anything about it?
No, she's just letting me experience it on my own. It's changed so drastically. It's been 28 years so it's probably not the same as she remembers it. She just is overexcited for me and I'm excited that she's able to share this experience with me. She was my role model and inspiration and a lot of other kids too. Not all kids have supportive parents, which is unfortunate. So I'm just glad that I was blessed to have a loving mother.
What are you most looking forward to at the Games?
I'm just looking forward to being part of the Olympics. That's just something nobody can ever take away from you. There will never be another 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China ever again. Being a track and field athlete with our careers span, maybe you'll be lucky enough to compete at two or maybe three Olympic trials. I'm just going to try to take everything in. But I'll keep in mind the goal at hand: win the gold medal out there, and make my country, my family and my local area proud of me.
I was suppose to have training today, but no sooner did I leave my room did the people from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) come to get your boy. I'm expecting that at least another two times before we get out of here, I will be shocked if I don't get tested again. I don't mind testing because that means you are doing well in the sport, which is much better than the alternative.
We have ESPN and HBO in the room, so I'm in business! I might go move these weights around tomorrow, I had a couple people tell me I was looking small on TV at the Monaco meet.