Tag Archives: Beijing Olympics

Samuel Wanjiru : How He Won Beijing Olympic Marathon Gold

I have  just finished reading an Interview of Samuel Wanjiru on Daily Nation Newspaper, on how he won Beijing Olympic Marathon. If you thought lack of sleep, anxiety, fear and self doubt is the stuff of amateur runners, you will be interested to know Samuel Wanjiru didn’t sleep on the eve of the marathon.

Samuel Wanjiru Couldn’t sleep on the eve of the marathon.

The 21 year Olympic medal winner admitted he spent the whole night thinking about the marathon. He only relaxed in the morning when he met fellow runners, Martin Lel and Luke Kibet who also admitted they had also not slept at all.

Lack of sleep on the eve of a marathon afflict all runners, the best advice I read was on the runners guide book of my first Stanchart Nairobi marathon: If you cant sleep you can try to relax. If that is hard you can check my previous post, Foods you can eat to help you sleep on the eve of a marathon

Samuel had doubts about his chances

He was confident of a Kenyan win but he knew team mate Martin Lel would win  the race because he has a stronger finishing kick.

Who said progression running is the best race strategy?

In soccer they say the best defence is attack. Samuel hit the tarmac on a fast pace because according to the assumptions of his Japanese coach, “It was hot and humid in Beijing and thats why it was important for Wanjiru to run fast in the lead group so that by the time the temperatures rose, it was difficult for the chasing pack to catch him. I think that is what happened. A perfect strategy by the coach!

The Pounding heart

I remember as he zoomed into the bird nest, I  saw a smiling face but according to Samuel, his heart was pounding heavily. Sometimes looks can be deceiving!

Samuel Wanjiru Beijing 5K split times

1st 5 Kms – 14 mins 52 secs

2nd 5  Kms (10Km) – 14 mins 34 secs

3rd 5 Km (15Km) – 15 Min 11 Secs

4th 5 Km (20Km) – 14 Min 33 Secs

5th 5 Km (25Km) – 14 Min 48 Secs

6th 5 km (30Km) – 15 Min 16 Secs

7th 5 Km (35 Km) – 15 Min 23 secs

8th 5 Km ( 40 Km) – 15 Min 17 Secs

At 21 years, you can expect to hear more from this young man.

Bye Bye Beijing Olympics

It was a beautiful month, it’s so sad the Olympics happen once in 4 years. Let me share my best moments from Beijing:-

Michael Phelps winning the 100 meter freestyle

After seeing the Serbian swimmer lead from start to near the finish I thought Phelps would miss his 8th gold medal. But Phelps made a stunning jump at the final metre to win Gold.

Usain Bolt  jog to win 100 metre gold

I didn’t watch this race on TV but listened to it on BBC sports radio. The fact Usain Bolt  jogged the final 10 metres to win the 100M gold means sooner or later a sprinter somewhere will dash 100m in 9.6 flat.

Constatina Tomescu break

I love marathon running and as I watched Romanian Tomescu break from the other runners, I just wished one day I will be able to run at such a high pace and not implode at the 32K mark. The point most novice runners hit the wall!

Kenenisa Bekele Final Kick

As a Kenyan it is disheartening to see Kenenisa Bekele make that final kick and there is no Kenyan runner to match him.

Samwel Kamau Wanjiru  Winner Mens Olympic marathon

I loved the salute he made as he entered the Birds nest stadium on his way to break the Olympic marathon record. At 21 I never rated the guy to win the mens marathon but he was the strongest on the day it mattered most.

If you are already feeling the hangover of Beijing Olympics don’t go to sleep yet,  the Paraolympics are just getting started!

Olympic Scandals: Women Athletes Suspected To Be Men

The beijing olympics has been a success, no scandals have been reported. I did a google search on Olympic scandals and I only got scandals from the past. The most interesting bits were about the following women athletes who were suspected to be men.

Polish Runner Ewar Kobukkowska

She was the first woman to be caught in a gender test in 1967. In 1964 summer olympics in Tokyo, She won gold medal in women 4 x 100 meter relay and the bronze in womens 100 meters sprint.

She was found to have a rare genetic condition which gave her no advantage over other athletes, but was nonetheless banned from competing in the Olympics and professional sports.

Indian Runner Santhi Soundarajan.

She won the silver medal in the 800 meters track event at the 2006 Asian games in Doha, Qatar. She failed a the sex determination test and was stripped of her medal. Her case is yet to be concluded however.

Soundarajan  is reported to have lived her entire life as woman.

Brazilian Judo, Edinanci Silva,

At Sydney, she beat Australian Judoka Natalie Jenkins. At a press conference Jenkins raised the issue of Silva’s gender by constantly referring to her as “he” Eventually Silva was confirmed as female but not without some considerable embarrassment.

German athlete, Dora Ratjen 

In 1936 a German athlete named Dora Ratjen finished fourth in the women’s high jump. Twenty years later, Ratjen disclosed the he was in fact Hermann Ratjen and that the Nazis had forced him to compete as a woman.

Brazil Women Vollyeball team

After 2000 Sydney Olympics I remember reading about How volleyball teams had complained about the Brazilian volley team. The team officials admitted some of their players were formerly hermaphrodite but they had undertook an operation to be women. Even after the IOC confirmed the players to be men, most girls from the other teams continue insist they had played against men.

Usain Bolt : His Slave Origins & Where in Africa did he come from?

After watching Jamaican Usain Bolt smash the 100 metres record, I asked myself, “From which part of Africa did his slave ancestors come from?”

All Jamaicans are descendants of Slaves from Africa. Did his slave ancestors come from Kenya? I don’t think so. If they came from my country Kenya, Usain Bolt would have been a long distance runner.

Ethiopia? No. Ethiopia is good at middle distance running.

 

What about Nigeria? probably yes.

Nigeria is the only country in Africa that has been able to produce sprinters that compete in Olympics.

At 2008 Beijing summer Olympics, sprinters Olusoji Fasuba and Damola Osayemi represented Nigeria in the sprints. Fasuba holds the African record in the 100 meters with a time of 9.85 seconds. Nigeria won a bronze medal at the mens 4 x 100 meter relay.

I won’t mind if Nigeria gloat about Usain Bolt being their own!

Small Business Owners Competing at Beijing Summer Olympics

Running your own business is hardwork, all the time is spent attending to the needs of your customer. Most business people admit they don’t have time for family let alone hobbies.

I have just finished reading a BusinessWeek magazine story about six entrepreneurs who have been able to balance business and time to train for Olympics. I loved the following four entrepreneur/athletes who have been sweating at Beijing Summer Olympics.

Melanie Roach

She is an American weight lifter, A bronze medalist at 2007 Pan American games. She runs a 17 employee Gym with her husband.  “To be a good business owner,” she says, “you have to put in the work, have the vision, and be goal-oriented. It’s the same in athletics. You’re never off the clock. There’s always something you can do better.”

Christie Ramphone

She is in Beijing as captain of the women’s soccer team and is co-owner of Airship Self Storage, a three-person company in Manchester, N.J.

George Hincapie

This cyclist has competed in every Summer Olympics since 1992. Hincapie and his brother Rich are the owners of Hincapie Sportswear, a six-employee, $4 million maker of cycling apparel in Greenville, S.C.

Sailor, Austin Sperry

When Austin got married he discovered that his new father in-law had tried to qualify for Olympics for 40 years. Austin teamed up with his father in-law, John Dane III the oldest American athlete competing in Beijing. They are now in Beijing!

Austin runs a 10 person, 500,000 mobile home business. He told businessweek “I look at sailing as a job. I look at the other business stuff as what I love to do,”

Catherine Shocked! : Wasn’t Aware Tomescu was Ahead of her

My local daily has an interview with Catherine Ndereba after she won the silver medal at Beijing Women Olympics. Catherine confessed she wasn’t aware that the gold winner, Romanian Constatina Tomescu was ahead of her.

When she entered the stadium she thought the only marathoner ahead of her was the Chinese Zhou Chunxiu. But when she looked ahead she saw Constatina Tomescu crossing the finish line. She was surprised but it was already to late. How did that happen?

I watched the race on TV and I remember Ndereba ran behind the leading pack. When Tomescu sprinted ahead at around 25K mark Ndereba couldn’t see her run away because her vision was blocked by runners ahead of her.

She sweared if she had seen Tomescu sprint ahead she would have stepped her game.

When asked if she was disappointed  with her second Olympic silver she said “Not at all, there is nothing like disappointment in my vocabulary!”

At 36 has Ndereba best chance for Olympic gold passed her? I don’t think so. Tomescu 38 is now the oldest female Olympic marathon winner and she looks like the energizer bunny. Something else that might inspire Ndereba is to look at the large  number of  Old athletes  competing at this year’s Beijing Summer Olympics. Keep in mind Israel marathoner, Haile Satayin at 53 will be the oldest marathon runner at the start of the men Beijing Olympic marathon.

If she works hard and health permits, she will have a chance to fight another day in London Olympics 2012.

America’s Shelane : Progression Running Strategy Lands Olympic Bronze

Yesterday’s Women Olympics 10,000 meters was a good example why its important to stick with your own pace and not to sprint with the herd. America’s Shelane Flanagan seems to have been the only athlete who followed that advice and was rewarded with a Bronze Medal.

 

Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba won the women’s 10,000m in a new Olympic record by beating Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse in a thrilling battle in Beijing. The winning time was the second fastest ever!

 

The charge took off immediately they started, It was Lornah Kiplagat, formerly of Kenya, who took control early on dragging the runners through the first kilometre in astonishing three minutes. The majority of the runners paid the price of this high pace, the number of runners in contention was cut to just Abeylegesse and Dibaba with six laps left

 

British athlete Jo Pavey who slipped off the main group with 11 laps to go told BBC Sport “I’m disappointed, you feel like you’ve made a fool of yourself,” “It was such a blistering pace.”

 

Progression Running Tactic

 

America’s Shelane Flanagan did what her fellow county woman Deena Kostar did four years ago in Athens Olympic Marathon: Run a conservative race!

 

The advantage of starting slow is you save your energy for the last stage. As the bell rung for the final lap I saw only two strong athletes, Shelane and Dibaba. If there was an extra lap, Shelane might have caught up with Silver medal winner, Turkey’s Abeylegesse.

Sailor, John Dane : Oldest American Athlete in Beijing Olympics

After 40 years of trying to make it in US Olympic team a 58 year old Athlete John Dane III is finally in Beijing Summer Olympic.

The inspiring story of John Dane was emailed to me by one of my readers from New Orleans. Thanks Harriet!

Never Give Up

Dane tried to make the Olympics in 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1984, coming close with a second-place finish, a third and two fourths at the trials. He also came up short in 1996 and 2004, when he figured his Olympic dream was done.

His big break came via his daughter. Dane’s daughter, Sally, married a top sailor in Austin Sperry, 30. Dane has teamed with his son-in-law to make the team in the Star event.

The US has some of the oldest athletes in Beijing games, five competitors are 50 or over and 17 competitors are over 40 including 41 year old swimming sensation, Dara Torres.

To all the dreamers out there, dream big, ITS FREE!

Olympics : History of Nude Athletes

During the ancient Olympics games normally only young men could participate. The sportsmen usually competed nude.

This was due in part to the weather and also because the festival was meant to be a celebration of the achievements of the human body.

Today try to run nude in public and you will get yourself behind bars!

If the IOC wanted a solution to the high temperatures in Beijing Games they might just look at ancient games for an answer!

 

 

Wrestlers at ancient games 

The practice of running nude ended when the Roman Empire gained power in Greece and introduced Christianity and it’s mannerism.

Emperor Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity the religion of the Empire in AD 393 and banned pagan rites, the Olympic Games were outlawed as a pagan festival.

Fan Behaviour Banned at 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

While the rest of the world is concerned with the bad Air at Beijing, the Chinese authorities believe one of their biggest problem at Beijing Summer Olympics will be the bad behaviour of Chinese crowd.

According to a news Item I just read on Fox news australia, Chinese spectators are amongst the worst in the world, they spit, swear, shout and scream. They constantly hurl abuse, refuse to turn off their mobile phones when silence is needed, never sit still and are often negative.

hooligan.jpgI thought those are qualities of a good sports fan! But for Chinese authorities, the local crowds are a problem they have been trying to address for the past year.

The Chinese authority have come up with what I can describe as the first professional cheer leading squad in the world. They call it the Worker’s Civilised Cheerleading Squad, they have been trained on etiquette and manners of a sports fan.

According to Huang Keying, the Deputy Director of Spectator Services Division at the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games they have banned the following traditional habits of sports fans:

1) International spectator pastime, Streaking (So Obvious!)

2) Gambling

3) Drunkness

Spectators have been warned to keep banners supporting China at home and that disruptive behaviour could result in several days’ detention.