The greatest performance in track and field was not Usain Bolt's records, but David Neville's bronze medal in the 400 meters (followed by gold in the 4x400 relay). He managed to get to the finals by just barely qualifying; if he'd run any faster, he wouldn't have had enough left for the final. Instant replay has shown that his lunge for the tape (and fall) was absolutely necessary for his getting third place. He ran as hard as his body was capable of running, ran smart and was a class act all the way - he even sang the national anthem on the podium! - Usain Bolt could learn a lot from him.
The greatest athlete was not Michael Phelps, but Sheila Taormina, who finished 19th in the modern pentathlon. This was her fourth Olympics and her third sport. She started as a swimmer, then a triathlete. She learned how to ride a horse, fire a gun and fence all in the past four years and was good enough to make the Olympics! That's even better, in my book, than Dave Winfield's being drafted in three professional sports. Look for her in 2012 in the heptathlon (triathlon, then pentathlon, then...).
As everyone seems to expect me to say something outrageous... Yelena Slesarenko is hot. I'm just saying... http://www.jamd.com/search?assettype=g&assetid=74153456&text=Yelena+Slesarenko
The last I saw, Belgium had won a medal at the Olympics and Estonia had not, so Belgium must be better. Belgium also won my poll 6 to 5.
Tapering and nothingness
I managed a good 5 hours at Afton Saturday, but it seemed harder than it should've with only two weeks to go until the 100 miler. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten so much two days (!) earlier and not eaten at all Saturday until 6PM. I'm not worried about being out of shape and not finishing the race, though maybe I should be a little worried; I'm just trying to get my head right.
I've been asked by a couple of people to make predictions about the Superior 100. Leadville showed that no one can predict these things - who'd've guessed Allan Holtz would finish, but Kurt Decker, Paul Hasse and Julie Berg wouldn't? I can, I think, say what I think will be the biggest challenge for each of those trying to make Superior their first finish.
Joe Ziegenfuss - I know less about Joe than about all who follow below, but he seems to be a racer and thus his biggest problem will be running his own race and not following someone else's pace. 90% chance of finishing.
Adam Harmer - Adam's in great shape and well-trained, ran 75 miles in 12 hours at FANS and ran the 50 mile at Superior in 9 hours last year. His biggest obstacle will be in not going out too fast. 75% chance of finishing (I told him 50% recently).
Helen Lavin - Helen's set a reasonable, but very fast goal for the 100, has made it a point to do night runs and has run the whole Superior course. She's shown she has the mental toughness to finish. Her biggest obstacle will probably be the possibility of injury - she seems to fall a lot when tired and will have trouble not throwing in one last hard workout during her taper. 95%
Matt Patten - Matt's biggest obstacle is the mental hurdle of thinking how hard it's going to be. If he runs reasonably and the weather's good, he should have no problem. 65% (sorry, Matt!)
Carl Gammon - This is Carl's race. He's set. 100%. Go get 'em Carl!
Steve Quick - Steve's a headcase that manages to derail his own plans and then suffer to the end. His biggest obstacle? Spontaneous Human Combustion, probably. 80-85%
Christian Griffith - Unless he's better prepared than he's let on, he's dead meat. 25%
Jim Jahoda - I just met Jim and really like him, but don't know a whole lot about him. Since two-thirds of all runners finish and he seems better prepared than average, with a great attitude, 75%.
Kami Holtz - People with the "let's make this a party" attitude just seem to do well. 85%
I don't know if Jason Boon or Chris Gardner have finished 100's. If not, Jason's 75% (he didn't finish last year, but now has some experience). Chris, who said at Voyageur that he's not been training well, but still was in the lead pack, 85%.
Addenda: forgotten runners
Londell Pease - Londell quit last year, but seems much better prepared mentally this year. 80% Biggest obstacle? looking for a left turn before Sonju and getting lost. :)
Larry Rode - I think Larry timed out at the half-way mark last year. From what I've heard, he's keen to finish, but I don't think the training's gone as well as he planned. 40%
Phillip Gary Smith - I have to be careful here, as Phil could make me homeless at the race. He looks to be in better shape than last year, when he was just under the halfway cut-off. No one wants to finish this more than him, but the last 10 hours might be tough. 45-50%
Molly Cochran - From what I've heard, she only decided to start training for this race very recently. If she hasn't finished a 100 before, that's not a good sign. Even with the ever-present smile, that only nets her 35-40%