We Are Family (apologies to Sister Sledge)
All kinds of family rivalries in the opening days. In Thursday’s 20k walk, Maria Michta-Coffey won the event, besting sister Katie, who finished a creditable 12th. Not as a bad as stealing your sister’s prom date, but probably will come up at the dinner table occasionally.
Then, we ran into Kaitlin Gregg-Goodman on our way out of Hayward Field on Friday night. She noted that her brother, Brendan Gregg, had come in 8th in the men’s 10k that night, kind of setting a goal for her in women’s 10k the next day. She was competitive, staying with the front pack for a while until the pace got too quick. She hung on to finish 11th overall. Not bad but the loss of family bragging rights could hurt.
Sibling rivalries are one thing – what about a husband/wife match-up? Dave Talcott competed in the men’s 20k walk on Thursday, finishing 13th. His wife, ABer Erin Taylor-Talcott finished 7th in the women’s walk. Ooh, hope there wasn’t any bet that involved taking out the trash.
Changing of the Guard (apologies to Bob Dylan)
One of the sad things about the Trials is that it often marks the end of Olympic careers for some of the sports icons. It’s only Saturday but we’ve probably seen the final OT appearances for Amy Acuff, Adam Nelson, DeeDee Trotter, Sanya Richards-Ross and Brad Walker. Some of the finales got more attention than the others but all will be missed.
The Waiting (apologies to Tom Petty)
Liz Podominick was not having a great day in qualifying. She threw 182-11 in the first flight of the preliminaries, far off her season best of 202-04. She sat in 7th, which meant if six of the 12 throwers in the second flight bettered her mark, she would not make the Saturday’s final. We waited anxiously as she slipped to 8th, then 9th and then 11th. Fortunately, that’s where she stayed, living to fight another day. Afterwards Liz said, “…now I get another chance to do what I am prepared for.”
To finish her story, “another day” was Saturday. Tia Brooks sat with us, cheering Liz on as she competed in the final. She opened with a foul. Next throw was 188-9, a step in the right direction, good enough to ensure she’d probably be in the top eight after three throws but still a long way from Rio. Third toss was not an improvement. Finally, she got untracked with her 4th throw; the 195-9 moved her into 4th, 16 inches out of the last qualifying spot. Her fifth throw brought even more improvement – a 197-1, just two agonizing inches short of third. A game final attempt only got to 191-8 and she was consigned to the dreaded fourth spot.
I Go to Rio (apologies to Peter Allen)
So far three ABers have secured their spots in Rio. Maria Michta-Coffey and Miranda Melville, with their 1-2 finish in the 20k walk are in; Melville’s 2nd was all the more sweet as she hit the Olympic qualifying standard in the race. Whitney Ashley needed only two throws in the competition to punch her ticket. On Friday she tossed 200-8 on her first throw, automatically qualifying her for Saturday’s final and in the final her opening toss of 201-04 was plenty good for first, even though she would better it in subsequent attempts.