Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Track and Field Nationals Waddup!

Simpson brings the pain in Daegu, 2011 WC
Track and Field Nationals start up this week - Thursday-Sunday in Des Moines, IA. Top three finishers in each event provisionally qualify for this fall's World Championships in Moscow. The way elite running is set up right now, months will go by without seeing the heavyweight matchups. Smaller meets through the early summer and spring and even back into indoor season and cross country nationals will bring out a few of the top runners but many will stay home either because they're targeting a different meet or race, or they're working through injury, or there's no money in it (i.e. cross country), or they do show up only to race down in distance to sharpen speed or up in distance to hammer on strength. Nationals however, brings out all the Big Dogs to battle their marquee rivals over their natural race distances. Get it on, man. The only athletes that get a pass to Worlds without a podium finish at Nationals are the defending World Champions, and our only distance runner returning to defend a title is Jenny Simpson (of CU Boulder!) in the 1500m. Steeple champ Emma Coburn (Go Buffs!) was the only sure thing on the women's side but she's out with a back injury after winning NCAA's. The men's distance talent has become so deep that other than Olympians Galen Rupp and Evan Jager, just about every other WC qualifying spot is up for grabs. Shit is gonna get real.

Steeplers battle at last year's Olympic Trials
in Eugene. Cabral and Jager (c,r) earned
their tickets to London, Olinger (l) crumbled.
Beyond the big battles on the track there are a couple of interesting developments for this year's meet:  Live streaming coverage will be available at USA Track & Fields' new internet broadcast outlet USATF.TV in what looks like a joint venture with Runnerspace. This is a big departure from the ordinary non-Olympic year coverage wherein NBC will sometimes provide edited broadcast coverage with comically bad announcing the following day - after it's well known who won and who crapped-the-bed. Of late, Universal Sports Online occasionally provides coverage at a fee, notably for European Diamond League events. Bandwith and login issues often plague the service. We'll see if the USATF can avoid similar issues in what amounts to their rollout of a new platform (I won't hold my breath). This is nonetheless a very positive development for a sport that can be difficult to follow even for the faithful.

Interestingly, without general access to live coverage on the cable networks or streaming coverage on the net, the best source to spring up (by a long shot) for major race event coverage has become Twitter. The platform doesn't crash, or stall, or attract nonsense and garbage as with the message boards. You can source your tweets direct from the top journalists and bloggers in the sport, from folks in the stands at the meet, and even from the athletes themselves. I've recently become a convert and have setup an account if only for the daily news feed (I've pinned a widget to the sidebar). For race previews and coverage as well as some of the best twitter feeds, I'd advise heading over to the Daily Relay.

Update: The link has been changed to one that works -
Shocking, I know.

Update II (6/21): The first link is now the functioning one again -
Coverage and streaming last night for the 10000m were surprisingly good.

Related Posts:
 - Olympic 10000m Recap
 - Olympic Steeplechase Recap


  1. This weekend was filled with amazing performances. Can't wait for Worlds.

  2. Agreed, if one were only focused on the distance events (natch), you would have missed out on several American records in the women's events, an up-and-coming decathlete, the return of Tyson Gay, a no-name javelin thrower that heaved a miracle, and Adam Nelson awarded a belated Olympic gold medal.



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