Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Keeping Track

I've been sleep deprived all week. Yesterday, I took a power nap instead of eating lunch and drank lots of caffeine just to stay awake. It's not that I'm having trouble sleeping. It's just that I've been watching the IAAF World Championships in Berlin for the past week or so. Every two years, the IAAF holds World Championships in many sporting events, including some that aren't included in the Olympics. I'm a huge fan of track and field--and I was on the track team in high school, so you can imagine my excitement at watching the World Championships. I try not to read the sports news as I want to watch the events themselves, and they come on tv late at night and well into the dawn. And what an incredible World Championships it has been!

How about Usain Bolt? He is the fastest man in the world! He broke his own Beijing Olympics world records and set new ones in the 100m (9.58sec) and 200m dash (19.19sec)!

And he did it all in the same stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympics, where Jesse Owens won four Olympic golds, disproving Hitler's Aryan superiority theory, and inspired thousands of cheering German fans.

Jesse Owens' accomplishments earned the admiration of millions around the world. It was during a dark time when the US was segregated, when Jesse Owens wouldn't have been served in restaurants and forced to use separate facilities because of his color. But Jesse Owens proved that the spirit of a sportsmanship is not about ideology or politics. The true spirit of sportsmanship is about merit, skills, and heart. And while not everyone can be a champion, a champion can be anyone.

Let's face it, Usain Bolt is the best thing to ever happen to track and field in a long time! He re energized the sport, and he brought an excitement and appreciation in the field that has long been plagued by doping scandals and boredom. I like that he's so enthusiastic! Remember during the Beijing Olympics, when that IOC jackass, Jacques Rogge, said that Bolt's celebration was unsporting and Bolt should show more respect!?! I was like, get that paddle out of your ass, Jacques, you out of touch, outdated bastard! Let Bolt celebrate his wins! The crowd loves it! He earned it! And it's his joy and honest enthusiasm that has given track and field a new respect and a new thrill that has been missing from the sport in a long time!

As in all events, there will be controversy. Sometimes, it's utterly ridiculous! South Africa's Caster Semenya won the women's 800m race to win gold. However, the teenager has been accused of being a boy, because she doesn't look like a typical female! WTF?

Weeks before winning this event, the IAAF ordered Caster Semenya to undergo gender testing, and the results are pending. Part of me understands why the IAAF wants this done. During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, a young man named Hermann Ratjen was forced by the Nazis to change his first name to Dora and compete as a woman in the high jump! The goals was to improve Germany's chances of winning most gold. Ironically, 3 real women beat out "Dora"! Since then, there have been other cases of gender bending in the sports world. But in the case of Caster Semenya, something more disturbing is taking place.

I feel bad for Semenya, because this whole gender controversy is overshadowing her win. What bugs me about this whole thing is the fact that she is being singled out. Why not gender test all athletes? You test them all for dope, so why not test them all for gender? That would be fair. What's worse, this whole matter could have been handled more appropriately. Where is the confidentiality and respect for basic privacy and sensitivity to this issue? Because if the results come back that this teenager is in fact a female, what was the purpose of embarrassing her and sullying her win in the first place? What does it say for the IAAF when it looks like they single out athletes who don't fit a certain ideal?

Another controversy that took place occurred in the women's 1500m. During the last lap of the race, gold medal favorite, Gelete Burka (Ethiopia) was leading. Then Natalia Rodriguez (Spain) elbowed Gelete Burka, causing Burka to fall! Natalia Rodriguez then finishes first as Gelete Burka hobbles across the finish line last and collapses with her injuries. Rodriguez is met with boos from the crowd. Rodriguez then goes over to where Burka is and tries to offer sympathy until the medics arrive.

My bad! I thought I saw tapas at the finish line!

Too late, bitch! We got you on video!

Natalia Rodriguez was disqualified! Ha!

Getele Burka wasn't the only injured athlete. Muna Lee (US) pulled a hamstring during the baton pass and couldn't run, disqualifying the US in the women's 4x100m relay heat.

Sadly, the US men in the 4x100m also failed to qualify. They didn't drop the baton like they did at the Beijing Olympics. But they did illegally pass it before they got to the passing zone! So instead of failing to grab the stick, they're getting it off too early! Sigh. Fundamentals people! Fundamentals!

But it's not just the US short sprint relay teams that came up short. Other medal favorites also failed to deliver. Most surprising of all is Yelena Isinbayeva failing to win the women's pole vault! She was the defending world champion with two Olympic golds, having dominated the sport for five years. But she was off her game and failed to clear the pole! And with that, Anna Rogowska of Poland wins the gold, showing the world why she's a champion at working poles!

But don't worry Yelena Isinbayeva! You still look hot! And if you can't win, you might as well look good! It's the next best thing.

Meanwhile, Australian Steven Hooker once again wins gold in mens pole vaulting, repeating his feat at the Beijing Olympics. Hooker gets better and better every time!

Aussie Hooker is still the best at handling poles!

I'm a little wary of those Australians, though, especially their relay teams. I'm talking about their uniforms--such horrible, ghastly green uniforms! I've a feeling this was a dirty distraction strategy to throw off the other runners. I'd've filed a complaint to have these fashion atrocities removed and banned from the track!

Australia, along with the Brits, have made an incredible showing at the World Championships. The Brits are clearly making headway, and being the host country for the next summer Olympics (London 2012), they are on their way to becoming a track powerhouse--if they can keep up the momentum and training. They cannot be complacent, or they'll end up like the US short sprint program. Once again, Jamaica has emerged as the newest powerhouse of short sprint track, knocking off the Americans from the top spot. Is it just me or are the Americans up against the Commonwealth? Is the empire about to strike back? And why come the British athletes are using Great Britain and Northern Ireland as their country's name instead of the UK?

America still has hope. Thank goodness for Allyson Felix, winning gold in the women's 200m dash!

LaShawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner win gold and silver respectively in the 400m dash. Sanya Richards silences her critics by winning gold in the women's 400m dash. And once again, it was the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams that brought home the gold, salvaging America's track reputation.

The next World Championships are in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea. I'm looking forward to the event, and I'm hoping to see more amazing athletes excel on the track and field. Until then, I've got a lot of sleep to catch up on!


  1. You, sir, are a dedicated and knowledgeable fan of the sport!

    Disclosure: I only pay any attention to it during the summer Olympics.

  2. XL, Thanks! I luv the Olympics, and track and field is my favorite sport!

    But I've to admit that the Olympics are fun because I get to see other fantastic and entertaining sports, like rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming!

  3. Hooker is wearing nice socks.
    Re Caster Semenya , she sure does look like a fella.....very unfortunate if she is a girl . Oddly enough I saw her running on the TV and then being interviewed afterwards but was only half watching , it never occured to me it was possibly a woman until the news anchor started talking about the contreversy .
    I go with my un biased first impression , I reckon its a man.

  4. Beast, The socks must be Hooker's secret to winning pole vaulting--I wonder if those socks have been tested for dope.

    As for Caster Semenya, I sure as hell don't see a penis bulge or an Adam's apple. Is this why the ancient Greeks competed nekkid, to make sure the athletes had nothing to hide? The other female athletes (who've showered with Semenya) say she is a female!

    *Takes a short pause to imagine female athletes showering*

    Perhaps someone at Cafe C with their experience and expertise can enlighten us if she tucks under her frock.

  5. Mr E , there are many uses for duct tape :-)

  6. Yes, Beast, there ARE many uses for duct tape.

    Why don't you try taping your gaping orifices (is that the plural of orifice?) shut?

  7. Thanks for this informative review..As a Canadian I am still licking my wounds from that dumbass f*cker Ben Johnson! What an ass!

    Is Bolt really his name? Wait I'm going to wiki it..
    Yup and he's 6'5" and only 23! I watched in utter amazement..I still don't understand how these sprinters turn off the jets and cruise over the finish??? He is amazing..how can he NOT be on the juice?

    Caster must have been tested years ago to compete as a girl right? She does looks like a Y Chromer so she should get her hair did like Flo-JO!..she must get tested for being cranked up on steroids right? Poor thing.

    Rodriguez will burn in hell and be despoised for the rest of her career anyway so she might as well quit now...then again if canine killa Michael Vick can come back to the NFL?

    What red blooded boy wouldn't dream of pole vaultin' in Yelena's Isinbayeva..HE-LLO! She would have warmed up the Cold War eh?

    Unfortunately I have been turned off by Sports for over 2 decades now..maybe more..the Olympic Committee is one of the most corrupt, antiquated, elitist organisations in the world. What a waste of money.

    I'd watch it if they got rid of any reference to any country or sponsor...if it was just about the individual and their effort.

    Thanks for the great review I feel like I really missed something now :)

  8. Beast, Well, these athletes sure luv tape. I mean, check out the blue tape on Jamaican 200m silver medalist Veronica Campbell Brown's legs (last pic)--either it helped her win 2nd place or the pot is affecting her fashion sense.

    MJ, I'm sure there are easier (and less painful) ways for Beast to remove hair from down there!

    Donn, Thanks! I know, right? It does make you wonder who's on dope? I'm putting faith in that Bolt isn't using any, since I'm pretty sure he's always getting tested.

    But I can understand the frustration and embarrassment from doping athletes. Remember Marion Jones (US)? What a let down!

    Poor Caster. If only the South African track team included a hairstylist and make up person on the staff. Although, for some reason, she reminds me of Grace Jones!

    That Natalia Rodriguez screwed up big time! And it's all on tape (and the internet) for all the world (and future generations) to see. She's going to have to do a whole lot of work (and some serious PR) to stay on top of the track game!

    You're right, the IOC is a bunch of corrupt bastards! Remember Skategate, 2002 Winter Olympics? Such drama when they tried to screw over the Canadian pairs!

    One of my favorite part of the Olympics though is the parade of nations in the opening ceremonies--especially since the countries keep changing! It's like a fun geography lesson!

  9. I don't think I've ever taken a power nap during a work day. I'd be afraid to oversleep, even if I had the alarm set up. I'd rather eat. :)

  10. Tara, Luckily, my current assignment is right next to where I'm staying. All I need is a 15-20 minutes nap to recharge and be alert and awake the rest of the day! It's funny because when given the choice between sleep and food, I usually choose sleep :)

  11. when given the choice between sleep and food, I usually choose sleep :)

  12. Beast, I can always eat later when I wake up.

  13. I think he died of malnutrition during the night Miss MJ......he wouldnt be told

  14. Is he still catching up on his sleep?

  15. MJ, Still here...

    Beast, I still have some pancakes to keep me alive for the next day or so.

    MJ, Yes, still catching up on my sleep--I'm having a lazy weekend.