The USA has the largest team that will be in Sopot, Poland for the World Indoor Championships. Two years ago at Instanbul, team USA had 10 gold medals for the World Indoor, plus twice as many medals than any other country. Through the years, there have been critics on how our athletes are chosen for championship events. There will be a few errors along the way, but overall the system is the best in the world. Some athletes get elevated, some walk away in defeat, and others shoot for a better performance on another day. All in all, the USA team is solid and should do well in Sopot.
Olympian Alan Webb has had a great career. After Millrose, he plans to retire from running and do some triathlons. He rose early on the scene by setting the high school record in the mile by running 3:53.43, taking down Jim Ryun's record of 3:55.3. Also, he eventually broke the American record in the mile by running 3:46.91. Phenomenal! Yes, there are critics that expected medals in international competition. However, Webb brought respect to the middle distances that has not been seen for awhile. I believe that part of the reason USA athletes are starting to medal in the middle distances is a result of his work.
It is going to be very cold during the last few days of 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. Some days, I wonder what I am doing here in the winter, when I could be in warmer climates encouraging athletes. However, the other seasons are very nice. There is no perfect place on this earth. With the close of this year, I am looking forward to the 2014 season. This is a pivotal season for those preparing for the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics.
It is not every day that I get to report on a fellow cross country runner from Minnesota State University in Mankato. We ran together in the late 1970s. Dave Emmans has the top ranked girls cross country team in the United States according to the National High School Coaches Association Power Rankings. He is a PE teacher at Wayzata, Minnesota and has become the best coach in the United States. Impressive and congratulations!
This is the year to experiment a little for world-class athletes. I see Christian Taylor will run a few 400s. Why not? He has the gold in the triple jump and could use a little adventure. His fourth place finish in the triple jump at the World Championships this past summer was not what he wanted. The 400 will give him a little more endurance. Maybe, he can do a 400 and triple jump double in 2016 in Rio?
The International Olympic Committee would like for the USA to apply for the 2024 Olympics. The USA put a lot of effort to get the 2016 Olympics here and that effort failed. It will be good to see the USA in the running again for the Games. We were very successful in hosting the Olympics in Los Angeles (1984) and Atlanta (1996).
Two great American track and field athletes have retired: long jumper Dwight Phillips and sprinter Doc Patton. Dwight won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, plus four golds and one bronze at the World Championships. Doc won two 4x100 silvers at the Olympics and two 4x100 golds and the 200 silver at the World Championships. New talent will replace the older athletes, but it is hard to see two great athletes leave the scene. Doc may try his hand at bobsledding.
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