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Get Rid of the Decathlon? If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Break It

Four years ago I left my hotel room to head for the London Olympic stadium. We got an early start to navigate the public transportation, security queues, and ticket lines. We still got to our seats an hour before the competition started, but I felt like we were late as the stadium was already packed. It was immediately clear they were not there to see the men’s hammer throw qualification like I was. Neither were they there to watch the steeplechase qualifying round. They were there to see one person: Jessica Ennis. The people in front of us brought their five-year-old daughter to witness the spectacle and her scream nearly blew out my eardrums once Ennis started the competition with a national record in the hurdles. The event’s power to draw in fans was on full display in London. The multi-events are a two-day test to crown the world’s greatest athletes and fans stand in awe of the diverse skill-set the top athletes possess. Therefore it was a bit odd when I learned that a new proposal from European Athletics would get rid of the heptathlon and decathlon forever in favor of newer formats. Read more

How the IAAF Missed the Target With Its Qualification System

When the IAAF changed its qualifying system a few years ago, one of the major goals was to provide a better method to estimate and cap athlete participation throughout all events. The prior qualification system used in London resulted in the IAAF being more than 10% over the athlete quota given to them by the International Olympic Committee. The new system tried to remedy this by making the standards much harder so that fewer athletes qualified, and then handing out special invitations if any surplus existed. With such a system the IAAF would be able to hold its quota, and perhaps prepare itself for potential future reductions to that quota as a result of new IOC President Thomas Bach’s Project 2020. Read more

Ranking the Best Throwing Nations

At the end of the day medals are important, but they can be a misleading metric of which countries are powerhouses in the world of throwing. Just a few athletes can lead you to the top of the medal tables, but a true throwing nation is about more than the strength of a few athletes. Therefore, with the help of Nick Garcia, we have once again taken a look at two different metrics to rank the top throwing nations in the world: points totals and number of finalists. The points table is a basic weighted calculation of the top eight finishers in each event. Nick has scored the Olympics as if it were an American high school or university championship: give the top eight places 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points respectively. The number of finalists is just a basic count of how many athletes each country placed in the top 12 to make it past the qualification round. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 70: Records and Rio (with Kibwé Johnson and Benn Harradine)

Elite throwers Benn Harradine and Kibwé Johnson join the podcast for an end of season chat on a variety of topics. We discuss their impressions of Rio, preparing for the biggest stage, and how to deal with unexpected situations at major championships. In addition, we debate whether the men’s world records will fall and, if so, what it will take for someone to reach them. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 65: Olympic Recap

With the Olympics behind us, Nick and I take a look back at Rio to highlight our favorite moments, the best performances, the worst performances, and more. Read more

Who Will Be On the Rio Podium in 10 Years?

Over the past week new Olympic medalists were crowned in track and field. We’ve seen dramatic performances, amazing back stories, and new stars emerge. But while the competition on the field has finished, unfortunately the results have not yet been finalized. Read more

2016 Olympic Preview: Men’s Hammer Throw

I don’t know if you could ask much more of yetersday’s women’s hammer final. As I predicted it was the Anita show. But she did it in style by breaking 80 meters three times, surpassing her own world record twice, and setting the new mark out an amazing 1.21 meters beyond her old world record. In addition Sophie Hitchon captured the UK’s first medal in the event with a clutch sixth round national record. And two Americans placed in the top eight. Thankfully, that was just the start of the hammer throw action. The men join in on the fun tomorrow. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 63: Field Work + Olympic Preview

Coaches have many options for developing athletes. On the strength and conditioning side you have numerous options in the weight room and outside of it. On this episode of the podcast Nick talks about an experiment he recently ran with his incoming freshman to compare the value of work inside of and outside of the weight room. In addition, we also preview the Olympic shot put and hammer events, and analyze Jacko Gill’s latest YouTube training video. Read more

2016 Olympic Preview: Women’s Hammer Throw

After a four year wait, Olympic track and field action starts up today and one of the first events will be the women’s hammer throw. And I can’t think of a better event to start with. The hammer throw not only features high level action with the best chance of a world record in Rio, but it also adds drama as a wide open field will make for an interesting battle to get on the podium. We don’t have time to preview every event in depth, but as the hammer is closest to our hearts we will provide you all that you need to know. Check out the women’s preview below and come back next week to read up on the men’s action. Read more

Let the “Games” Begin

As the games begin I run the gamut of emotions from the excitement of seeing the best of the best go head to head to deep despair and disappointment. As young coach in 1972 and 76 the Olympics was pure excitement, it was in my mind the pinnacle of athlete excellence. I trained with some Olympians and getting to see them in the big show was special. I got to go to Montreal as a spectator. It was so exciting I was like a kid in a candy store I was oblivious to the politics going on. I was there, I went to the practice track every day from day literally from dawn to dusk until track & field competition began. When the competition began I would watch the warm-ups at the practice track and run to my seat in the stadium for the competition. What an inspirational learning experience. It was heady times for a naïve young coach who thought it was all about technique and training and good coaching. Little did I know what was to come? Read more