The Prefontaine Classic
I watched the Prefontaine Classic, the last major meet before the United States Track and Field Championships in the next couple of weeks. Steve Prefontaine was one gutsy middle distance runner that tried to bring the United States back to the forefront of middle distance racing. He had a style where he pushed the pace and hoped to take the sting out of other runner's kicks.
Well the meet in Eugene, Oregon, is one of the finest track and field meets in the world. It will actually be the location for next year's Olympic Trials.
This time of year is so amazing to me. You have the NCAA athletes coming off of the NCAA Championships, usually having some of the fastest times in the world. You have the pros rounding into shape, some just starting their outdoor season, others running different events to either build speed or endurance.
You know what's funny is I didn't think about any of the athletes using performance enhancing drugs. The times weren't out of the ordinary. Some were quick, a few really slow. There were mostly a lot of close races. This included Lui Xang of China, the defending Olympic Champion at the 110 meter hurdles and world record holder (who nipped Anwar Moore at the tape), Xavier Carter nipping Wallace Spearmon at the tape in the 200 meters--both leaving World Record Holder Asafa Powell in their wake. You saw Allison Felix trying to work on her sprint speed after running a blistering 11.01 in New York (finishing third behind Veronica Campbell and this week's winner Tory Edwards).
You had so many people trying to round into form. It makes me once again optimistic that track and field can get clean again, and that the next generation of athletes can have their Olympic glory without being suspected of using performance enhancing drugs instead of training and god given talent.