Israeli M50 hammer thrower suspected of doping, Rio-bound or not

Oleksandr Dryhol self-portrait on Instagram

Oleksandr Dryhol self-portrait on Instagram.

Remember the 50-year-old hammer thrower with the too-good-to-be-true 77.70 mark — an apparent world age-group record? He tops a list of suspected drug cheats. See this report. Soviet-born Oleksandr Dryhol, now of Israel, is being called out for his precipitous drop in 2012 – from 79.42 meters to 69.57 at the London Games. “At the Olympics, Dryhol [placed] nearly dead last. Then the next year he tested positive for steroids. This year he is back from his suspension and competing now for Israel. At the age of 50 he hit a season’s best of 77.70 meters at the same venue as his big 2012 throw. To put the mark in perspective, it is not only 6 meters beyond Jud Logan’s world record for the 50-year-old age group, but also with a heavier hammer as Logan’s mark was with the 6-kilogram hammer. Not surprisingly, he lost nearly 10 meters at a major championship, managing just 68.10 meters at this month’s European Championships.”

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July 26, 2016  5 Comments

Michigan memories: Hall of Fame inductions highlight banquet

About 250 people attended the Athletes Banquet at Michigan nationals July 15. Meal was OK, but a first-ever ceremony was exceptional — 14 members of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame forming a reception line to greet 2015 inductees Phil Brusca, George Mathews and Oscar Peyton. (It starts 9:50 into tape.) The video includes the comic stylings of Gary Snyder, overseeing his final masters nationals as USATF national masters chair. Actually, he offered some substantive info on Perth worlds, so check out the start of video. At the end of video is a portion of Robert Thomas’ remarks after he announces his run for national chair.

July 25, 2016  4 Comments

Michigan memories: Champion Goldy warms up for M100 in year

Champion heads for finish of 100 and arms of a teammate.

Champ heads for 100 finish and teammate’s arms.

In December 2002, the Rev. Champion Goldy told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “My goal is to run the 100 [meters] when I’m 100. That’s what I’m shooting for.” He doesn’t have long to go. At Michigan nationals, Champ was 99, winning five events — shot, discus, weight, javelin and, of course, the 100. I spoke to him several times. Always entertaining. (Here’s a good bio.) At Grand Valley State University, I shot his sprint — straight into the arms of Philadelphia Masters teammate David Marovich, an M70 multi-eventer. Here are some favorite images from nationals. Grab any you like from my Google Drive. Some will require cropping, rotating and stuff.

Renee Shepherd beats Sue McCarthy in W50 100 13.48  to 13.92  with a 2.5 mps headwind.

Renee Shepherd beats Sue McCarthy in W50 100 with a 2.5 mps headwind.

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July 24, 2016  One Comment

Bernard Lagat lowers M40 WR in 5000 by teensy-tiniest of margins

At Michigan nationals, the fastest 5000 was run by 41-year-old Ken Richendollar of Ohio. He clocked a nifty 16:04.51. The M40 winner at 2015 Lyon worlds was Jose Luis Blanco Quevedo of Spain in 15:40.88. So how are we to fathom Bernard Lagat’s latest sensation? The 41-year-old took third Friday in London to Olympic champ Mo Farah. Bernard’s time? Merely 13:14.96 — or a hundredth faster than his listed M40 WR of 13:14.97 set last year in Eugene. Kip made the Olympic team with his 13:35.50 two weeks ago, and we’re happy to see him in world-class shape ahead of Rio. How much faster can the geezer go? Sub 13:10? At age 36, he ran 12:53.60.

July 23, 2016  One Comment

Allen Woodard wins USATF Athlete of the Week for M45 WR 400

Allen outlegs Antwon Dussett in 4x4.

Allen outlegs Antwon Dussett in nationals 4×4.

Allen Woodard was named USATF Athlete of the Week just in time. Had Indy waited a few more hours, the winner would have been Keni Harrison for her WR 12.20 in the 100-meter hurdles in London. M45 Allen was a star at Michigan nationals. As USATF recounted: “Woodard (Houston, Texas) improved the M45-49 record he set in April 2015 by over three-tenths of a second, as he ran a 49.32 … in Grand Rapids, Michigan.” Allen told USATF: “It took a lot of hard work and dedication. I just had to do what I do in practice and execute. I try to lead by example as a [youth] coach and inspire other people.” He now hopes to go faster. “What I can do now, go back to the drawing board and get [sub-49] for next year. I plan on having a more intense offseason, get stronger, work on my flexibility. I still have a lot of things that I can work on to get faster as I get older. Maybe sub-48.” Allen is one of the 200-meter winners I caught in slow-mo at Grand Valley State University.

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July 22, 2016  12 Comments

Greg Pizza catches break from USADA: Only 20-month suspension

Greg at recent Mt. SAC.

USADA on Wednesday announced that a three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association Commercial Arbitration Tribunal has opted to recommend a 20-month sanction for M60 sprinter Greg Pizza for his doping positive at 2015 Jacksonville nationals. He originally faced a 4-year competition ban. Now he can return in May 2017. “His sample tested positive for the presence of an exogenous anabolic steroid which was confirmed by CIR analysis,” USADA said. “Exogenous Anabolic Steroids are listed as Prohibited Substances under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the USATF Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the WADA Code and the WADA Prohibited List.” Among other things, Greg said National Masters News had not been given info on doping rules. Read the 18-page decision.
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July 21, 2016  23 Comments

Bill Benson dies at 96; prolific distance runner set M85 mile record

Bill Benson in early 2016.

Bill Benson in early 2016 still had big goals.

Bill “Billy” Benson of Valley Stream, New York, a former M85 mile record-holder who was profiled earlier this year about his goal of running 1,000 races and aimed to finish the Fifth Avenue Mile for the umpteenth time, has died at age 96, Mary Trotto reports. Bill was a member of her USATF Masters Awards Committee. Mary writes: “Bill has been involved in masters track and field and masters long distance running for the past 35 years. … He has been a major help to me in selecting the nominees for the yearly awards. Bill lives on Long Island and is a lifelong friend. I ran at his 90th birthday 5K run and enjoyed cheering him on at local 5K and 1 mile races. I also ran at his 95th 5K run in which he lead for the first mile. … He was a wonderful person, a great competitor and an inspiration to all of us.” Last September, he was the oldest entrant at the Fifth Avenue Mile.

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July 20, 2016  2 Comments

Michigan memories: Sunday relayists fought ‘hurricane’ headwind

Wind was about to smack these gents in the face.

Wind was about to smack these gents in the face.

The only relay leg you’d enjoy Sunday at Michigan nationals was anchor of the 4×100. Others had to contend with the strongest headwinds I’ve experienced in any of my dozen-plus nationals. Weather data for that area said winds were at mid-30s mph with gusts in the low 40s. The second leg of the 4×1 was run into a “hurricane,” said one sprinter. If you ran the 4×800, you had to navigate the horrific backstretch twice. An M40 world record attempt in the 4×8 was doomed from the start, but the team of Christian Blondin, 43, Peter Brady, 44, Mark Williams, 43, and Randy Wasinger, 41, clocked a creditable 8:19.25. (The listed nonclub record of 7:58.61 included Christian and Peter.) I experimented with panned shots, and here are 135 raw images from Grand Valley State University. “Complete” results are here.

Julie Sands signals pleasre with her SoCal TC team. She ran both the 4x4 and 4x8.

Julie Sands signals delight with her SoCal TC team. She ran the 4×4 and 4×8.

July 19, 2016  3 Comments

Michigan memories: Steeplechase photos available for grabbing

M50 David Jackson bravely hurdled the barriers.

M50 David Jackson bravely hurdled the barriers.

Even though he was nearly 10 minutes off Charlie Ross’ M90 world record, George Roudebush at 91 was incredible at Michigan nationals in the 2000 steeple (and many other events). The barriers were 30 inches (instead of the 27 for hurdles in his age group). Safety judge Carroll DeWeese never made a move to yank him from the race (as European officials are wont to do with slow finishers.) So his 28:00.10 may go down as the slowest but most inspirational steeple effort. For the sake of splashy images, I used a fisheye lens at the water jump. (See 200-plus images here.) Thanks to all who provided a show Saturday. Notice how Carroll kept refilling the pool to proper depth. The oldest lady entered was Flo Meiler at 82, whose 15:58.43 was 15 seconds off her own W80 world record. Please credit Ken Stone / if you share photos with your local paper. Look for more photo sets in coming days.

M70 Eric Jones had a great time at Michigan, entering many events.

M70 Eric Jones had a great time at Michigan, entering many events.

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July 18, 2016  7 Comments

Michigan nationals Day 4: Woodard tops Dussett in electrifying 4×4

Storm system passed north and south of us.

Storm system passed north and south of us.

Official results don’t show it, but the most exciting moment of Day 4 at Michigan nationals was an unexpected showdown between two of the best fortysomething quarter-milers in the world. Allen Woodard, 47, and Antwon Dussett, 40, didn’t know until just before the 4×4 relay they would be their teams’ respective anchors. As fate would have it, they took batons about even on a day of extreme winds. They battled each other and a tremendous headwind on the back stretch. I haven’t heard their splits, but Allen prevailed by about the same margin he did in winning his 400 to Antwon’s 400 — 49.32 to 49.88. USATF covered other highlights. I’ll have more to say in coming days, but I thought the facility was fantastic and treatment of athletes better than most meets (no anal half-hour deadline on declaring for a race). I saw a guy pouring ice water into a big Gatorade dispenser with only hours left in the meet. But online results are still a mess. (Tip: In Google Chrome, do a right-click on a specific event and select Open Link in New Tab.) In coming days, I’ll upload hundreds of photos to my Google Drive — for printing, Facebook sharing and use by your local paper. First up: Shuttle hurdle relays.
Allen reaches finish line ahead of Antwon in a sizzling relay on a day that dodged rain bullet.

Allen reaches finish line ahead of Antwon on a day that dodged a rain bullet.

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July 17, 2016  4 Comments