It’s a light news morning, so we’ll start in Sochi. Yesterday, Sochi police detained two band members of the Russian punk band “Pussy Riot” (along with three other unidentified individuals) based on a theft that occurred at a Sochi hotel. IOC spokesperson Mark Adams emphasized that the detainment was unrelated “to any protest against the Olympics,” despite the police detaining the band on another occasion, perhaps because the band prepared to play a protest song of the Olympics at an earlier point in time. Previously, the two band members that were detained spent 21 months in prison due to their protest performance at a cathedral in Moscow. At that time, the two were charged with hooliganism and blasphemy. The detainment was not based on any imminent protest. Given their questionable background, it isn’t totally surprising that they might be stopped.
It was the second incident in as many days this week. On Monday, Vladimir Luxuria, an ex-Italian parliament member and a known transgender activist “was escorted out of Olympic park after attempting to enter one of the hockey venues.” In addition, she was shouting, “it’s OK to be gay” for about an hour in the park, as well as wearing donning a rainbow-colored outfit. While she was not detained, she did lose her Olympic spectator pass.
Two years ago, Brooks Running decided to create an elite alliterative running club (“Brooks Beasts”) in an area already dominated by elite Nike-sponsored athletic clubs. Their dream is beginning to pay off: Brooks Beasts is coached by Danny Mackey, who is happy with his results thus far. They have a mix of developmental athletes and athletes “ready to go” and win, such as two-time Olympian and silver medalist at last year’s IAAF’s Outdoor Championships Nick Symmonds (formerly of the Oregon Track Club – Eugene-based, Nike sponsored). Last year, they had three athletes: now, they have 14. They’ve picked up some heavy talent – including numerous runner-ups at last year’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. Specifically, they seek to represent elite athletes who have the potential to make a World or Olympic team. Their focus is mid-distance to distance running, but that may change in the future. What is fascinating about this “growing movement” is the fact that the Northwest “boom” in increasing the amount of professional track clubs is having an effect on the east coast, too. New York-New Jersey Track Club is already in existence (coached by former OTC Coach Frank Gagliano), but keep an eye out in Massachusetts. New Balance hired “Dartmouth distance coach Mark Coogan, apparently to put together an elite Boston-based team.” It is fantastic to see more sponsors out there looking to develop great talent to make the sport even more competitive. Moreover, it gives athletes more opportunities to earn money as professional track and field athletes – a need that pervades the sport.
Yesterday, an article appeared in Standard Digital News which highlighted the faults Team Kenya displayed in its failure to “show up” at the 2012 Olympics in London. Team Kenya suffered due to “sabotage, discipline, and divided loyalty.” A report was made but not seen by some Kenyan officials (for instance, AK boss Isaiah Kiplagat). The report has not been released to the public, and is currently maintained by the Kenyan government. Allegedly, part of the report includes an accusation against Vivian Cheruiyot (bronze in the 10k, silver in the 5k) for indiscipline when she demanded that her husband “be accommodated at the Olympic Village without prior arrangement.” Two big issues also included in the “scathing report” were the extreme lack of communication between the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and the AK Chairman Kiplagat. It turns out there was a lot of “he said, she said” type allegations being thrown around, especially with how the training up to the Olympics was to be run. The issue was where athletes were supposed to conduct its pre-Olympic training camp. NOC-K pushed for Bristol, while Kiplagat refused the move, and pushed for athletes to go to Bedford. The article goes into detail about what the difference between them was (both offered the low-altitude training benefits, but allegedly Kiplagat already signed an agreement with Bedford). It is clear that those managing these decisions must change, and that the lines of communication need to improve drastically.
Finally, it was announced Monday that Haile Gebrselassie will serve as the pacesetter for the 2014 London Marathon, and in BBC news, 3,000 meter leader Kate Avery will not be representing the British at the World Indoor Games in Poland.