Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Track and field

U.S. No. 1 overall — in fast-changing world

BEIJING — With images of Jesse Owens and Luz Long on the big screens, Owens’ grand-daughter kicked off the final night of the 2015 track and field championships by presenting Usain Bolt his gold medal from the men’s 4×100 relay the night before.

This was, in a nutshell, the past and present of the sport. The future?

Justin Gatlin in June at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, after running 19.57 to win the 200 at the U.S. nationals // Getty Images

Justin Gatlin in June at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, after running 19.57 to win the 200 at the U.S. nationals // Getty Images

Track and field

Justin Gatlin, and a run for redemption

When Justin Gatlin first got the news — this was nine years ago — that he had tested positive for the banned substance testosterone, he literally fell out of the truck he was driving.

“While we were on the phone,” his mother, Jeanette, would later testify, “all I could hear was him screaming and screaming on the other end, and how, no, no, no, no, I’m dead, I’m dead. And we were afraid that he was going to do something to himself. He was in North Carolina, and we were in Florida. You know, to — you can’t get there. You can’t keep him safe from doing whatever. He was just — he was — he was — he was screaming. He was screaming and yelling, and he was driving, and he was in his truck, and he fell out. He stopped, and he fell out, and he fell apart. He just kept on saying, ‘I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead. It’s over, it’s over, it’s — I’m dead, Mommy, I’m dead.’ ”

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Track and field

USATF and the notion of homework

For years, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field were the two reliable punching bags in the American Olympic scene. The problem at both was much the same: constant management turnover and an unwieldy governance structure, each encumbered by a board of directors numbering in the triple digits that created an environment rife with petty politics.

Over the past several years, both have turned it around. But with USATF in particular, there remains a dissident cohort for whom seemingly nothing seems to be good enough. Case in point: there’s a new, professionally produced commercial featuring several track-and-field stars, and it’s even airing on network television. This has to be a huge win, right? Exposure for a sport that needs it? For some, apparently not.

Uncategorized

On the lookout for shiny Eagles over Hayward

EUGENE, Ore. — The way this is most likely going to end up is that Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix are going to have a run-off, probably Sunday, the day after the women’s 200 meters, to decide who gets the third and final spot in the 100 meters on the U.S. team that goes to London.

It’s not a done deal, of course. A jillion things could happen between now and then. But that’s the most probable. After all, it was improbable enough to see a dead heat that ended with both runners timed in 11.068 seconds, and more improbable yet that USA Track & Field didn’t have a process in place to resolve this kind of thing.