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Not just what's happening in and around the Olympic Movement and International Sports but what it all means.
BIRMINGHAM, England — The men’s 400 meters here Saturday night at the 2018 world indoor track and field championships was awesome. Until, suddenly, it was not.
Spain’s Oscar Husillos crossed the line in a championship-record 44.92, followed by Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, the London 2012 400 silver medalist. Husillos was instantly met with precisely the sort of joyous theater that track and field needs: a rooting section made up of dudes in costumes, a banana, a cow and (Batman sidekick) Robin, who dashed to the grandstand railing and threw him a Spanish flag.
And then it was announced that both Husillos and Luguelin had been disqualified for lane violations — the latest victims in a tsunami of ticky-tack DQs that have swept over these championships.
Why does track and field insist on such buzzkill?
BIRMINGHAM, England — Predictably, the American sprinter Christian Coleman is already being hailed as the next this, the next that, already being asked if he can run 100 meters faster than 9.58 seconds.
What is it about track and field, this almost-desperate need -- in some if not many quarters -- to anoint someone as savior?
No one is savior. No one needs to be the almighty. It’s an unfair ask. Who, alone, carries a sport in baseball, basketball, football, hockey or soccer? Why, then, track and field?
Coleman, just 21, is an outrageous talent. A few weeks ago, at the U.S. nationals, at altitude in Albuquerque, he broke the world indoor record for 60 meters, running 6.34 seconds. On Saturday night, here at the 2018 world indoor championships, he went a championship-record 6.37, five ticks faster than Mo Greene's 6.42 from 1999.
For the last month, it has been all Winter Olympics in South Korea. Now, amid a blowing snowstorm in Birmingham, England, the world indoor track and field championships are on. All this cold, wind and snow — there’s time to think about this and that:
1. Of course the Russian Olympic Committee was reinstated just days after the close of the PyeongChang Games.
To reiterate a point made in this space frequently, sports doping is bad. But sports doping is not the measure of all things. Also, sports doping happens in every country.
It is way more important to the International Olympic Committee, and has been since the days when Juan Antonio Samaranch was president, to keep the so-called Olympic family together. This proposition is key. Indeed, when he was running for the office, the current president, Thomas Bach, made it his motto: “Unity in diversity.”
When the U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams won the gold medals at the Summer Games at both London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, that was the work of USA Basketball, the players, staff, coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Geno Auriemma and chairman Jerry Colangelo. What did the chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Scott Blackmun, do to help USA Basketball win those gold medals? Answer: pretty much zero.
When tennis star Serena Williams won the women’s singles gold medal at the 2012 Games at Wimbledon, what did Scott Blackmun have to do with that?
When the U.S. women’s soccer team won gold before 80,000 fans at famed Wembley Stadium in London, the team’s six-win run to the championship including a come-from-behind semifinal victory over Canada, Carli Lloyd scoring goals in the 2-1 gold-medal game over Japan — how much did Scott Blackmun have to do with that?
The USOC announced Wednesday that Blackmun is resigning amid the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal that has rocked USA Gymnastics.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The 2018 Winter Olympics shivered Sunday to a close, surely defined by cold and wind but destined — just as in Seoul 30 years before — to mark a key chapter in history on the Korean peninsula.
These Games are likely to be recalled as an inflection point in Olympic history, too. After logistical dramas and more at Rio 2016 and Sochi 2014, the Olympic scene needed a Games at which the venues were built, the buses ran on time, security was subtle, the volunteers were super-friendly -- organizationally, everything more or less just worked -- and the spotlight shone on the athletes and their stories of inspiration.
That’s what PyeongChang delivered.
A low-key Games on a far more human scale.
For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com: http://bit.ly/2HKT3hn
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Contemplative and reflective, Lindsey Vonn on Friday wrapped up her competitive Olympic life by saying, “I gave it absolutely everything I had.”
Describing her two races at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, she said, “I didn’t ski nervous. I skied with passion and with my heart.” In a reference to the bronze medal she won in the downhill, she said, “A bronze honestly does feel like gold to me.” And, she said, “It has been an amazing Olympics and a great way to close out my career — in the Olympics.”
Vonn, 33, is assuredly going to keep ski racing. She is five wins behind the all-time mark for World Cup victories, 86, held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark. She said she plans to race next in mid-March at Are, Sweden. “I’m not going to stop ski racing until I break it,” she said of Stenmark’s record.
For more, please visit NBCOlympics.com http://bit.ly/2onE1WI
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About Alan Abrahamson
Alan Abrahamson is an award-winning sportswriter, best-selling author and in-demand television analyst. In 2010, he launched his own website, 3 Wire Sports, described in James Patterson and Mark Sullivan's 2012 best-selling novel Private Games as "the world's best source of information about the [Olympic] Games and the culture that surrounds them." Read full bio.