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nick_rant

HMMR Podcast Episode 60: Nick Rants

Nick is easily irritated, and sometimes he needs to let off some of that steam. On this episode we dive into a few of Nick’s most recent rants and pet peeves on a wide variety of topics. Read more

iaaf_doping

The IAAF Admitted it Failed, But No One Listened

Tomorrow the World Anti-Doping Agency will release the McLaren Report, which will provide a detailed look at allegations that arose in May regarding systemic cheating by Russia to win medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. While the main focus is on winter sports, it is expected that the report will take a broader look at Russian doping practices across many sports. These allegations will no doubt be used by the IAAF in defending its decision to ban Russia track and field team from the 2016 Olympics. Russia no doubt is doing things wrong, but don’t let us be distracted from the fact that the IAAF is equally culpable. The IAAF needs to implement major changes if track and field has any chance of being cleaned up. Read more

Litvinov went to the European Championships this week, but unfortunately only as a spectator.

7 Facts About Doping And The Russian Situation

Earlier this morning Sergej Litvinov was informed by the IAAF that his application for exceptional eligibility to compete at the 2016 Olympics was declined along with 66 other athletes. (The rejection did not address all of the grounds for exception raised in Litvinov’s 13-page application, and we are in further communication with them to clarify these points.) In reading through the decision, some initial social media reactions, and media reports it is clear that the big picture is being overlooked. With that in mind, I’ve put together a primer on the topic that helps put the Russia doping issue in context. Read more

Athletes of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team pose for pictures during the unveiling of the new U.S. Olympic uniforms at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon Monday during the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials. (Photo by Les Walker/Corbis via Getty Images)

Clarifying the US Olympic Selection Procedures

Most people thought that with the elimination of Olympic B qualifying standards, the Olympic Trials selection process would be simpler this time around. For the most part, it will be. There will just be a fixed standard, a fixed team size, and a fixed deadline (i.e. no time to chase it after the Trials). But if things were that clear cut, I wouldn’t need to write this post. Despite some last minute adjustments, the Olympic qualifying standards are still absurdly high in some events. The IAAF has set a target field size of each event and plans to send out extra invitations if not enough people meet the standard. That will indeed be the case in the field and multi events, even though the size is limited to just 32 athletes. As of last week less than half the events have reached that number, including just 3 of the 9 events on the men’s side. (And this is before taking into account that more and more countries are now electing to leave home athletes that have met these already rigid standards.) The IAAF’s procedures to fill up the field based on descending order lists was an administrative failure last year and leaves everyone with a bit of uncertainty with one month left in the Olympic qualifying period. So I’ve dug into the USATF selection procedures in hopes of bringing clarity to the athletes competing for a chance at glory next month. Read more

seb_coe

The IAAF is Out of Touch With Our Sport

On Thursday the IAAF announced that they would be lowering the Olympic qualifying standards in 17 events. This is undoubtedly good news to everyone in our sport as the previous standards were unrealistically high. But it also begs the question: why did the IAAF have to lower the qualifying standard in the first place? Did the quality suddenly drop in 40% of the events? Or is the IAAF just out of touch with our sport? One cannot help but think this after following the recent athletics news. Read more

blake-oneill

Situational Practice

This weekend, I witnessed via my television screen one of the biggest blunders in college football. The situation of course was the fumbled snap, the re-fumbled recovery of that snap, and the subsequent recovery of that fumble for a last second touchdown. Michigan State wins and beats Michigan in their big in-state rivalry, and one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the football. The person who fumbled that snap has a name, and his name is Blake O’Neill. After October 17, 2015, every Michigan football fan will know his name. @blakewoneill on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets went crazy! The comparison of this young man’s blunder and Ray Finkle, the fictional character from the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective movie, are alive. I don’t know a lot about Blake O’Neill, but the little that I do know, and the bit of science has grown to help us understand performance, should tell us all he alone is not the only one to blame. Given his lack of situational experience any one of us could do the same thing, and the coaches had the primary responsibility to give him more situational practice. Read more

BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 19:  IAAF President Lamine Diack addresses congress during the 50th IAAF Congress at the China National Convention Centre, CNCC on August 19, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)

Where the IAAF’s Qualifying Procedures Failed

Back in April one of my articles went viral when I wrote that under the new Olympic standards are so high that Olympic javelin champion Keshorn Walcott would not have even qualified for the Games. The point of the article was that the standards are way out of line in some events, yet many people missed that point and quickly pointed out that Walcott would have never these been an Olympian. Even though he didn’t have the standard, the new qualifying system invites additional athletes to ensure a minimum field size of 32 athletes. Ranked 22nd in the world in 2012, Walcott would have been in London. It seemed so clear to the people responding to my article, but I was skeptical. Read more

comparing_standards

So Just How Unequal are the Olympic Standards?

The new Olympic qualifying standards are clearly unequal, as 6-time Olympian Terry McHugh and I have written about this week. But how unequal are they? The charts below break it down by the numbers. Read more

terry_javelin

How Sensible Standards Kept Me in the Sport for Life

When I read last week that the IAAF announced the Olympic qualifying standards, including an unbelievable qualifying standard of 83 metres in the javelin, my first thought was:

Please please can somebody stop these people from killing our sport!

Read more

rio-2016-logo

Which Olympic Champion Wouldn’t Have Qualified Under the New Standards?

rio-2016-logoI thought the IAAF was moving in the right direction after they released the new World Championships qualifying structure in November. As Kibwé wrote about last fall, the World Championship standards looked like they could help resurrect the hammer in America. They were tough, but gave athletes leaving college an achievable goal so that they would continue with the sport. But that honeymoon was short-lived. This week the IAAF announced the qualifying standards for the 2016 Olympics and the sport as a whole has taken a giant step backwards. Read more