The Olympic Track and Field Trials wore me out after 3 days! I can’t imagine what 10 events over 2 days must feel like, and the men who do this are certainly among the most
amazing and best athletes in the world.
The Ancient Games had a five event finale called the Pentathlon which was held to determine the best all-around athlete. It consisted of javelin, discus, long jump and ended (if the winner had not yet been determined) with a wrestling match. The ancient Pentathlon was first held in 708 BC, and continued every four years for over a millinium! The last one was held in 241 AD. Like modern “World’s Greatest Athletes”, those ancient decathletes were also highly revered, highly honored by their city states and were handsomely rewarded.
A variety of pre-modern Olympic Games multi events evolved in Scotland, Scandinavia and Germany, and came to the US with immigrants along with increasing popularity of Track and Field. In 1884 a ten event “All Around” was created in the US which evolved into a close proximity of modern Decathlon, only all events occurred in a single day. 100 yard dash, shot put, high jump, hammer throw, pole vault, 120 yard hurdles, 56 pound weight throw, long jump, 880 yard walk, and a 1 mile run, with only 5 minutes between events.
Yikes! Good thing they got to walk the 880.
In 1912 the Swedes, apparently into multiple Greatest Athletes, organized not only a ten event Track and Field Decathlon, but a Track and Field 5 event Pentathlon substituting a 1500 M run for the Greek event of wrestling. They also created the “Modern Pentathlon” based on the five military events of running, swimming, fencing, shooting and riding.
Jim Thorpe won the first Decathlon in the Modern Games, in Stockholm in 1912 and was proclaimed by the Swedish King as the World’s Greatest Athlete. The AAU subsequently stripped him of his medals when they discovered that he had played baseball as a student for money. He went on to play professional football and baseball, and become the NFL’s first president. Finally, in 1982 the IOC restored him to the record books and presented new medals to his family.
Jim Thorpe was the first of many great American Decathletes. In 1924 Harold Osborn took the Gold and in 1932 it was Jim Bausch. Glenn Morris surprised the world and especially the Germans in 1936, beating the German star Sievert’s world record in only his second meet and leading a US 1-2-3 sweep. The great Bob Mathias, only 17 in London in 1948, won the Gold and repeated in 1952 in Helsinki, a feat only matched by Daley Thompson in 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles. 1956 Melbourne saw Milt Campbell win the gold, and Rafer Johnson the silver. Rafer would take the gold four years later in Rome in 1960. Bill Toomey would win Gold, in 1968 in Mexico City, and Bruce Jenner in 1976 In Montreal. Dan O’Brien won in in Atlanta, 1996 and Bryan Clay in Beijing 2008.
We were honored to be among some of these American legends, Olympic champions and men crowned each time as was Jim Thorpe, the Best Athlete in the World.
Jim Thorpe’s two sons joined Milt Campbell, Rafer Johnson, Bill Toomey, Bruce Jenner and Dan O’Brien for the 100 years of Decathlon celebration in Eugene, at the US Track and Field Olympic Trials. It was held on the evening of day two and we got to sit with them during the two day Decathlon competition which proved to be both exciting and historic beyond expectation. And expectations were running pretty high.
A little history: Ashton Eaton and teammate Trey Hardee went to Daegu for the IAAF Worlds last year. Ashton did not have a good meet and Trey came home 2011 World Champion. Before the Trials, they trained together and decided they would push each other and it would be the two of them 1-2 either way.
As it happened, in the pouring rain, Ashton Eaton overcame Daegu in spectacular fashion. He came out for event 1 and broke the decathlon world record in long jump with a 27+’ jump long enough to qualify for the long jump team. In Event 2, he broke the 100 record and finished day one only 10 points behind Dan O’Brien’s World Record pace.
By the final event of 1500, every one in the stands was on their feet, knowing he was in reach of Dan’s record. His pace was fast, although it was raining, and at the split he needed to pick up the pace by 2 seconds. The crowd willed him forward to gain those two seconds, cheering for all the athletes, and when he finished he was the new World Champion and on his way to London, with his friend Trey in second place.
The most amazing part was the group who greeted him on his victory lap: Bruce, Milt, Bill, Rafer, JIm Thorpe’s two sons, and Dan, whose record was just broken.
Dick left for camp right after this, taking the red-eye back to Maine, and at dinner the next evening I was seated across from Rafer and Toomey. The two longest standing records were both set in 1968: Beamon’s long jump is still the Olympic record, and Toomey holds both world and olympic records for the Decathlon 400M. I asked Bill if he thinks Ashton will take that too, and he said no doubt, that Ashton is not close to his potential, and we will see much more from him over time. We will have to watch Ashton in the 400 in London to see if Toomey's record will fall too.
On Sunday night, the 100 Years of Decathlon was celebrated with a lovely reception, complete with live music, and was attended by all the decathletes including Bryan Clay, Trey and Ashton, as well as what was so politically correctly called the ‘Heritage Athletes‘ most notably Rafer Johnson, Milt Campbell, Dan O’Brien and Bill Toomey. Jim Thorpe’s two sons were in attendance and I made a date to go to Oklahoma City to two-step with Bill Thorpe... can’t wait for that!
Dick’s friend Bob Beamon couldn’t make it to the annual Legends of the Game Golf Tournament in Reno this year. Dick’s Guardian Angel, of whom there is ever increasing evidence,
once again placed him in the right place at the right time, and so he was invited to attend. My guardian angel decided to put in a rare appearance and i got to go also.
I’ve never been to Reno before, and enjoyed watching the topography evolve from 40,000 feet, changing from barren deltas of sand to the mountains and suddenly a oasis of green. Several small lakes fooled me until I saw the real Lake Tahoe: gigantic, stunningly dark blue and even from the plane, extraordinarily cold.
The event is called Legends of the Game and proceeds from the weekend will go to three charities: the Nevada Diabetes Foundation, Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Evelyn Mount Community Outreach.
Friday was fun, Dick went out to a practice round, i sat by the pool, and in the evening was the pairings party, where they posted tee times and teams and we danced to a 70’s band after a
On Saturday I decided to go with Dick. It was really fun just to drive around in the cart and watch the guys play. Everybody teed off and they picked the best shot which they all hit from that position, and we got to bomb around in the carts trying to find the other balls. Dick’s team turned out to be incredibly nice, fun guys, and we had a blast!
The course, gorgeous LakeRidge, was up on the side of the mountain. Saturday night found us out to dinner with new friends and on Sunday I went back out for the whole 18 holes. I can see why golf is so addictive. It’s incredibly hard to hit that little ball consistently and accurately.
It seems that the only time something good for the country can be adopted by Congress lately is when it’s so obviously good that a Republican and a Democrat come together to sponsor the
idea. Then their respective parties have a more difficult time spinning and manipulating whatever it is and adopting a stance automatically for or against it, no matter the merit or lack
thereof, but simply based on whoever proposed it.
Why can’t this happen more often? Well, at least this excellent bit of legislation can be used a model and maybe help to create a pathway which should be followed much more often by Congress.
Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Begich (D-AK) joined forces to extend the US Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program through 2018, with Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) sponsoring the House version of the bill. The US Olympic Committee is partnering with the Department of Veteran Affairs and local organizations to create adaptive sports programs for wounded and disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces. Wow! An undeniablly excellent idea gets through Congress!!
There have been over 40,000 soldiers wounded since 2003 and it has thankfully become a matter of national consensus to not only care for them physically but also to recognize their emotional wounds. The healing power of sport is unparalleled and it is most gratifying to see the US Congress recognize the value of Adaptive Sports Programs on local levels throughout the country and join together across party lines to vote for extending their financial support. Not only that, but to use the expertise of the US Olympic Committee: addtional kudos to Congress on including another obvious good choice.
Yesterday we drove the two hours over to Boise for the Idaho Walk to London event. It was a brisk and breezy rocky mountain spring day, about 60 with occasional sun peaking through the clouds.
The Walk to London is a United States Olympians initiative, with the miles being added to make the distance from Los Angeles to London. As President of the Idaho Chapter of the US Olympians, I worked with Melanie Simboli who was really instrumental in the organization of this event. Melanie won a gold medal in Freestyle Skiing in 1988. She did an outstanding job of putting our Walk to London together.
The Boise health industry includes doctors, hospitals, health insurance providers, drug companies and pharmacies. The Idaho medical community focuses mainly on treating illnesses after they are
For example, oncologists administer chemo and radiation treatment to Idaho cancer patients, primary care doctors write prescriptions for antibiotics, cardiologists prescribe beta-blockers for patients with high blood pressure, and endocrinologists treat diabetics.
The Idaho health and wellness market is a related industry with an important difference. The health and wellness industry aims to prevent illness and disease.
The best selling health and wellness products/services in Boise are nutritional supplements, chiropractic care, osteopathic doctors, holistic health services, and exercise facilities.
The Boise health and wellness industry has experienced significant growth in the past few years, despite the global recession. Part of the reason is directly related to the weak Idaho economy. When people lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance and COBRA premiums are often too expensive. Even insured Idahoans have less money to pay co-pays. A lot of Idaho people use health and wellness products in an effort to avoid expensive professional medical care.
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Wingate Congress March 2012, Netanya Israel
I first met Professor Michael Bar-Eli in 1998 on a bus somewhere near Olympia, Greece, on the occasion of the first World Congress of Olympic Winners. He asked about my story and I explained the techniques I developed on my own since they weren’t being taught at that time, not only the Flop technique, but how I prepared myself mentally. I described how I visualized my body clearing the bar and would not start my run up until I had completely convinced myself that I was going to succeed. I used my mind to prepare my body for whatever the action, in this case clearing the high jump bar. The conversation led us to a discussion about visualization and positive attitude as they impact achievement and success in sports in particular, and how this carries over to using the same strategies to help in achieving success in any endeavor. He invited me to come to Israel someday and we have stayed in touch by email over the last decade.
Michael Bar-Eli teaches at Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Business Administration and is associated with the Zinman College of Physical Education and Sports Sciences located in the Wingate Institute, Israel’s National Centre for Physical Education and Sports in Netanya Israel. I received an invitation to participate in the 2nd Wingate Congress in March of 2012, which I was honored to accept. I was very pleased to see my old friend’s name in the email trail.
The Wingate Congress of Exercise and Sport Sciences was chaired by Dr. Yoav Meckel and was a great source of inspiration for me. I was asked to be one of the keynote speakers, and prepared a short discussion of the challenges and benefits of using Olympians to promote physical education and sport. The many benefits are obvious, as Olympians are heroes to our youth in all countries and can be used as ambassadors to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to everyone, young and old. Olympians can help garner interest, participation and support for sport programs by citizens of all ages.
One of the major challenges can be how to get the Olympians themselves motivated to take part in community service: how to get them to visit schools or to act as spokespeople for various causes such as nutritional education or fighting adolescent obesity. I proposed that part of the initial education of young athletes, before they achieved fame on an international level, would be instilling the expectation in them that with success comes the responsibility to use it to benefit others.
I participated on a Panel examining The Meaning of an Olympic Medal. Yael Arad, the first Israeli medalist, Shay-Oren Smadga, (both Judo) and Gal Fridman (sailing) participated with me. We talked about our own stories, how we won our medals and what the Medals meant to us individually: how our lives changed and and the impact of winning a medal. For me, I don’t think I fully realized what I had accomplished until I had an opportunity to reflect on it with the perspective of distance and as the impact on my life truly unfolded. The medal created a title for me that I would carry for the rest of my life. I gained confidence and a strong belief that following a program towards success works: create a plan, work hard at it, and that the same pattern of a set program to achieve success carries over to everything in life. I had confidence that I could be successful because I learned the lessons of how to focus, how to develop a schedule, and how to work with coaches and team mates toward a goal.
One of the topics which I found most interesting was a presentation by Brian Martin on the development in Physical Education in Europe. Denmark has one of the highest levels of development in terms of programs and participation but most of the countries are challenged with lack of programs and lack of facilities. In the last 20 years there has been a push to have more broad-based programs, and European countries have begun to meet with each other to coordinate and collaborate in the creation and sustainment of programs, and with problem solving. It has yet to be determined if this approach is working, but it is a good effort. Because the efforts are on a Continental scale the coordination has not been fully developed or implemented. There were a few organizations to help facilitate broad-based programs but funding issues with the Central European Commission have been limiting to their development.
Another interesting presentation was given on the genetic determinants and genetic mapping. I learned that 99.99% of our genetic code is the same, and the .01% that makes each of us unique is where the propensity and talent for a given sport lies. It confirmed that we are all unique and have special talents which are bestowed on a genetically determined basis. I was also interested in hearing from Professor John Ivy, from the University of Texas at Austin, about various dietary supplements for good health. and how we should proportion our intake of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in order to have the right energy level for physical activity.
Finally, I was inspired by a presentation by Daniel Rosenberg from Barry University, Miami. of some of Bud Greenspan’s films. This re-confirmed once again the importance of telling our stories, not about winning medals but of the struggle and how we as individuals can express ourselves through sport.
In the world of Direct Marketing, Jeanette L. Brooks is known as a dynamic leader and savvy marketer. She is the co-founder of MXI, the company behind Xocai healthy chocolate. Smart business people in Idaho are teaming up with Xocai, the company that manufactures the original antioxidant chocolate. Jeanette is leading the acai chocolate revolution that's gaining momentum in Idaho and around the USA.
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Entrepreneurs Dick and Robin Fosbury
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Published May 13, 2012 Sports Network
"Dallas, TX – Gail Devers, who won back-to-back gold medals in the 100-meter sprint, and five-time gold medalist swimmer Gary Hall Jr. were among a large group named as the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
The announcement was made on Sunday during the U.S. Olympic Committee
The newest Hall of Famers also included soccer player Kristine Lilly, softball player Lisa Fernandez and the entire 2004 U.S. team, decathlete Dan O'Brien, swimmer Jenny Thompson, track & field Paralympian Jean Driscoll, track & field coach Ed Temple, early track & field Olympian James Connolly and late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.
They will become the 15th class inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of
Fame in an awards ceremony August 24 at the Harris Theater in Chicago, 12
days after the close of the London Games."
This from the Sports Network, announcing this year's inductees into the US Olympic Hall of Fame. Allstate Insurance has supported the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies and we have had the honor of attending several times in the last few years. Dick presented with John Naber, who is past president of the US Olympians, and a multiple Gold Medal winner in Swimming. They gave a special award to Dick Ebersol, head of NBC Sports, who was responsible for NBC's coverage of the Olympics, creating the look and feel we Americans experience during the Olympic Games. At the last Hall of Fame Ceremony, Dick was honored to induct Alice Coachman. Alice was the first African American woman to win a gold medal, in the High Jump, in 1948. Alice was not able to attend the Chicago Olympic Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies, but did attend the 100-day countdown to the London Olympic Games. The USOC held a big celebration in Times Square. Alice is now 90 and what a trooper! She was honored along with other 48 Olympians Sammy Lee (diving), Mal Whitfield (track) and Ray Lump (basketball).
While at Loughborough Univeristy in England for a clinic a few years ago, Dick met another amazing woman, Dorothy Odam, the English high jumper who won the silver and shared the podium with Alice Coachman in 1948. She had also won a silver in 1936, the last time the Games was held before the war, when she was only 16. She managed to attend the games 12 years later and win another silver medal.
Dorothy Odam told Dick a very interesting story, that she had actually jumped highest in 1936 but had been disqualified on that jump because her head went over the bar first. The rules have since been modified that you must take off on one foot, and clearing the bar is the only other criteria, the jumper must go over and not under it. this does seem obvious but apparently it's still in the rule book for the High Jump. This paved the way for the Fosbury Flop to become the only technique used for elite jumpers now.
We are especially excited to see Dan O'Brien will be inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame as there is a new Dan O'Brien Track and Field Complex at the University of Idaho up in Moscow Idaho.
The US Olympians are holding events called Walk to London in cities across the USA this spring. Dick is a VP on the board of the US Olympians, the alumni of the Games, and has worked hard to create a chapter of Olympians here in Idaho.
The Olympians here in the Sun Valley area are mostly Winter Olympians, of course, but we do have several summer Olympians as well. Most Olympians in the state are either in Boise or here, so our Walk will take place on May 23rd in Boise. The Idaho Olympians are partnering with the Exergy Women's Cycling Tour for their walk which is being masterminded by Melanie Simboli, free style skier and Olympic Champiion in aerials. Dick will be in Boise on May 22 to meet with the Mayor of Boise, David Bieter, and to sign the Mayor's Proclamation for the Boise Walk to London.
Click here to see the Press Release from Exergy and find out more about the Exergy Tour and Walk to London by the US Olympians. You can follow the Walk to London on Facebook too! Find out where a Walk will take place near you and add your miles to the total, to reach from Los Angeles to London!
Paul Stamets is a Mycologist who has spoken at TED several times. This is about eleven minute video. He talks about the insect repellent/attractant nature of the mycelium in its pre-or post-sport phases, anti-inflammatory effects and the success of turkeytale mushrooms. Well worth watching. Click to view it here.
Also don't miss the Q & A: here