I missed out on the chance to do a preview and review of the NCAA Cross Country Championships, but here are a few thoughts on the races and some recent news. If you've not seen them, results for NCAAs can be downloaded in pdf format here.
NCAA Champs online video streaming: This is awesome. The ability to sit and watch the races on my computer was incredible. Really, I don't want to complain. But...
(You knew it was coming.)
Why was there no video footage of the chase pack in either race? Why was there very little discussion of the team races at all, specifically team score status updates (especially in the women's race)? Why do the announcers seem to only know about four to six runners (Kipyego, Rupp, Chelanga, Fernandez, Puskedra, Kiptoo-Biwott)? Why does the camera follow the winner for a full two minutes after they cross the line instead of showing all the other runners crossing the line? Why doesn't CBS put a little more thought into how cross country should be presented?!
Men's Race: Galen Rupp ran an absolutely perfect race. Chelanga has quite a future in front of him, but yesterday Rupp was the better man. I certainly wasn't confident he'd win at about 9k, but I guess he's got a new gear now. Puskedra and Derrick finishing 5-6 is incredible. To think that German Fernandez had just about caught up to them when he hurt his Achilles--destined to be a classic "what if?" moment in NCAA cross country history--and there could have been three freshman in the top 10. Wow. Anybody else notice that Andrew Wheating, an 800m runner, finished ahead of every other team's 5th man?
Women's Race: I believe Washington will be better next year. They are bound to land a couple top runners from this year's senior class, and their core is already outstanding. Like Oregon's men, had their top finisher DNF'd, they still would have won the race. Kipyego's three-peat is truly amazing, but I'm not convinced she's a professional star in the making. My hunch is the competition's been a bit weaker these past years, but I've absolutely no data to back that up.
Hall to run Boston: I love that Ryan Hall is going to run the Boston Marathon next year. He could have gone back to London in search of a PR (which he won't get in Boston) but he chose to go for experience and legacy. Awesome. You can tell me what you think he'll do at the poll here!
Ritz to run London: Thanks to The Final Sprint for covering this. I'm even more excited to see this than Hall in Boston. Ritz showed he can run with Ryan in the marathon in Beijing. But his PR is still 5 minutes slower. Not after April 26th of next year! You gotta see the field he's going up against, too! Check out the bio lens I made on him and answer the poll about how fast you predict he will run here!
Swimming records are tainted: Science of Sport breaks down the FINA swimsuit controversy and the relative irrelevance of swimming world records. I made this case earlier when I made my Michael Phelps vs Usain Bolt lens. Personally, I felt it had to be Bolt but plenty of people disagreed. When you read about the times people were swimming in Beijing--and you should--I think you'll agree that swimming has completely lost its connection to its history.
My Thoughts on the London Olympics: I wrote a piece on the London Olympics with some thoughts on how they can use this economic crisis as an opportunity. Specifically to get out of the shadow of Beijing. But also to change the focus of the Olympics. And maybe even change their logo. (Please.) The article is posted at Runnerstribe. You can read it here.
Happy Thanksgiving!: That's all. Just wanted to say it.