Andrews-BlankenshipR-USOlyTr16.jpGRobbie Andrews, Ben Blankenship, photo by PhotoRun.net

Robbie Andrews and Ben Blankenship were among the athletes who came back to Eugene for the first Tracktown Summer Series on Friday, July 29, 2016. Here is our story from Lindsay Rossmiller, who has been writing prodigiously for RunBlogRun at the World Indoors, US Olympic Trials and Tracktown Summer series.

Norman_MichaelFHR-Poland16.jpgMichael Norman, photo by PhotoRun.net

LOS ANGELES (USA): World U20 200m champion Michael Norman has no immediate plans on turning professional after a stellar summer campaign in which he also finished fifth at the US 200m Olympic Trials. "I have intentions on going pro but I don't know when that opportunity will come up but as of right now, I'm going to college," he said. Norman will be training and studying at University of South California where he will be coached by Caryl Smith Gilbert and Quincy Watts.

Norman_MichaelM-Poland16.jpgMichael Norman, World U20 Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

RunBlogRun opines: Micheal Norman is a single example of this wonderful class of new athletes in our sport. In this day and age, I think, athletes should have choices on whether to go pro, go through the college system and then go pro, or something in between. An education is an important part of the life experience. Good luck, Micheal Norman, and make the right decision for you and your family.

Elliott Denman uses the experiences of Bobby Smith, the winner in the javelin in 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, to support his argument on the standards at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The story is compelling.

Smith_Bobby-USOlyT08.jpgBobby Smith, 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, photo by PhotoRun.net

Coe_Sebastian1a-IAAFpc15.jpgPresident Seb Coe, IAAF, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Summer Olympics are a week away, and many are scrambling. I am scrambling over finding housing that not only is secure but that does not take half of the day to get to the Olympic track stadium. I am not worried, at all, about Zika virus. I am worried about getting mugged, and making it back and forth to the stadium without loosing phones and computers. I must say, in the previous Summer Olympics I have attended, being shived for a iphone 6 or 1, for that matter, has not been top on my list of worries.

But that pails in comparison to the eighteen days ahead of Sebastian Coe, the President of the IAAF.

Toth_MatejFV-World15.jpgMatej Toth, photo by PhotoRun.net

Toth will be ready
LIVIGNO (ITA): Slovak 50 km walking world champion from last year Matej Toth is in full preparation for the Olympic race currently at 2208 m altitude in Livigno, Italy. "Training is going well, I was able to achieve all what was planned in the same quantity and quality as last year before Beijing," said Toth who will fly to Brazil on August 6 but will be at Juiz de Fora camp before moving to Rio just 2 days before his race on August 19.

RunBlogRun Opines: I posted pieces on Yohan Deniz and Matej Toth to remind our dear readers that these guys are rock stars. Walking 50,000 meters, 31.6 miles in heat and humidity, while keeping allowable form is not something anyone can do. The Vo2 Max of race walkers is parallel to cross country skiers and highly trained distance runners. For Slovakia, Matej Toth is one of their finest athletes and millions will watch him on TV, rooting for Mr. Toth to bring home the hardward.

Diniz_YohannH1a-Euros14.jpgYohan Diniz, photo by PhotoRun.net

Diniz confirms only 50 km
FONT ROMEU (FRA): French walking world record holder Yohan Diniz confirmed he will not compete in both walking events in Rio but will concentrate on the 50 km. This week he had last trainings on the track and next two weeks will be devoted to work on the asphalt. "I had allergy problems (asthma attack related to pollen) and I put myself on the side. It is difficult to recover in these conditions. I thought that finally I was taking a risk by doubling. The 50 km distance is that I learned to master, I really know it well, while in the 20 km Im not so sure," he said for L´Équipe. He knows it will be his last olympic chance at age of 38.

Bolt_UsainHS-LondonDL15.jpgUsain Bolt, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bolt in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO (BRA): Agencies are informing that World fastest man Usain Bolt touched down in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday night. The Jamaican sprinter arrived at Rio International Airport at 9.02pm local time, after a transatlantic flight from London, where he competed in the Anniversary Games last week. Bolt was greeted by a scrum of media, excited airport staff and members of the public. He briefly posed for photos but said nothing before being whisked off in a private car. "I know the sport needs me to win and come out on top,"says Usain Bolt. He joined with the rest of the Jamaican team members - including Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake - who are already at a pre-Games training camp, which is based at a nearby naval academy.

RunBlogRun opines: Usain Bolt is one of my favorites. He is a few years old than my son, Adam, and I get a kick out of how he comports himself. Usain has a sense of humor, as well as prodigious talent, and a work ethic. Anyone who thinks the guy has not puked along the side of the track in Jamaica, after he survives one of Coach Francis's workouts, is hallucinating. One does not run world records at 100 meters or 200 meters without a lot of hard work, talent and drive. Why does everyone love Usain? Because he has fun, and he shares his fun, his victories and his joy of life with his fans. Hell, in Glasgow, Scotland, the guy even tried Haegis (something I ate for seventeen straight days)! Keeping sport light is part of why he is so beloved. And in an Olympics where Zika virus, water pollution, muggings, Russian sports doping, IOC appeasement of said Russian sports federations, global politics has reared its ugly head, we will need some athletes with great smiles, huge talents and big hearts.

We live in a world where the fingers on total destruction seem to be possessed, more and more by absolute madmen. For eighteen days, every four years, the world deserves those nearly three weeks of sports to be uninterupted by all the detritus I noted above. But, alas, we are human. When I feel really concerned, I think of Venuste Nyongabo, the 5000 meter champion from 1996, the first champion from his country, Burundi, which was in a civil war in 1995 and not much better in 1996. Venuste won the World Champs 1,500m in 1995, and then, won his country's first medal in 1996 in the Olympics. He had seen terrible things in his country, but his focus, his hard won victories and his smile afterwards said much to the world.

Athletes like Usain Bolt remind us that sports should be fun. That is what I am looking forward to, August 12-21.

HaywardFieldFE1a-USOlyTr16.jpGHayward Field, July 1, 2016, photo by PhotoRun.net

The idea makes total sense. Bring the team concept to track & field. The ITA tried it in the early 1970s, and I remember watching the meets on TV as a teenager. But, besides the Olympics and World Champs, team events are few and far between. This time, with all of the trappings of the other pro sports, the Tracktown Summer series is premeiring tomorrow, and on ESPN as well!

Lori Shontz, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon, who, many will recall, worked with RunBlogRun.com to manage a team of journalism students to write daily about the Olympic Trials for RBR, is one of our two writers covering the Tracktown Series tomorrow evening.

Here is her piece on the press conference that preceeded the event.

Our friend, Carles Baronet, has surpassed even his own reports for 2016 so far. This report, 12, provides you with all of the results from around Europe through July 24. A perfect supplement to what you might need for our upcoming Olpmic track & field schedule. A fine summer in Europe so far, and RunBlogRun expects many of the finest Europeans to shine in Rio.

Special thanks once again, to our friend from Catalonia, Carles Baronet!

Storl_David1-Euro16.jpgDavid Storl, European Champs, July 2016, photo by PhotoRun.net

In ten years of competing in USATF finals for the 1,500 meters, Leo Manzano's worst finish was third. In his eleventh year in the USATF finals, this year, the US Olympic Trials, Leo Manzano finished an oh so close fourth place.

Manzano_Leo1-USOlyTr16.jpGLeo Manzano, photo by PhotoRun.net

About an hour after the final, I saw Leo cooling down on the track. We greeted each other and I told him he had done himself proud. And he had.

Leo Manzano wrote this piece to encourage people to fight for their dreams. Please pass it around to your teams and athletes.

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