zondag 28 december 2008

Pictures of the year...Off the track!

Carolina Klüft
Usain Bolt

Yelena Isinbayeva

With the end of the year fast approaching I want to put the spotlight on those athletes who provided me with numerous possibilities of putting up a fantastic athletics photo on my blog. And great athletics photos aren't always taken on the track. Athlete don't nececarelly look outstanding while in action. Over the last few months I have found some pictures of athletes that were absolutely astonishing though, not taken on the track at all. Not even in practice or in the mids of their activities as an athlete. Several athletes have been working as real, big time models after their hours. And proof has been given that some of these top runners are not only gifted athletes but also know how to work the camera. This all let to some surprising but amazing pictures of today's elite athletes.

maandag 15 december 2008

Where is the competition?

Surprise, surprise, who won the 15th SPAR European Cross Country Championships for men? Right, Sergiy Lebid. Again.

Lebid brought his amazing winning streak on 8 yesterday in Brussels. It was another smooth and sound victory for the Ukrainian who seems to be unbeatable when put on the grass/mud of a European cross country course. 8 wins is absolutely incredible in a competitive and fierce branch of athletics. You are truly a great competitor if you can perform at the highest level for 8 years in a row. Nothing but respect for this men. However, I wonder, where is the competition at these championships? How come the same man can win a single championship 8 times in a row without hardly being challenged? Is Lebid really such an extraordinary person that nobody on the continent can even come to his knees? Or should we just go ahead and believe the critics who insist that the European Cross Country Championships are nothing more but fast food entertainment for athletics fans in a from competition deprived period? I'm afraid the latter might be closest to the truth, and watching the 15th SPAR European Cross Country championships has unfortunately not been able to change my opinion.

maandag 8 december 2008

Surprise retirement

Tia Hellebaut surprised the world when winning the Olympic high jump gold in Beijing this august. Yesterday, at a press conference with the local media Tia pulled another big upset. Hellebaut, the reigning Olympic and European high jump champion as well as winner of the world indoor hepthatlon gold medal, has decided to put an immediate end to her career. She is 3 months pregnant with her first child and feels she lacks the motivation to continue competing at the highest level. Talking about post Olympic euphoria, coach and parter is the father.
It's a sad day for Belgian athletics as they lose yet again one of their biggest champions. Earlier this season superstar Kim Gevaert had already stepped off the track and into motherhood. I wish both these extraordinary woman all the best in their future endeavours. May they enjoy the same success in their daily life as they have in their respective events.

maandag 1 december 2008

Geb Supreme

'The emperor' Gebresellassie showed his dominance once again. From the gun the inaugural Great Australian Run in Melbourne, Australia developed as a run with three. A quality field which included World Championship and Commonwealth Games medallists and the World record holder for the Marathon Gebrselassie. Although the attempted world record seemed to fade away after only a few kilometers, Gebresellassie never looked in serious trouble. In the end it all came down to a tactical race that saw Geb, Makau and Mottram battle for victory. "It was not easy," he mentioned after the race. "The weather is fantastic, the course is not bad - the only problem is that I could not sleep because of the jet lag. Especially yesterday, I only had 2 hours sleep." Well, who said sleep was necessary for a top performance?

maandag 24 november 2008

World Athletes Of The Year

Last night the IAAF announced the world athlete of the year during their World Athletics Gala in Monaco. Rightfully, Usain Bolt took the prize home as male athlete of the year. I feel that an explanation of why Bolt deserves this honour is not even close to necessary. No athlete has taken the Olympic Games by surprise as did Bolt. For everybody who doubted Athletics is the nr 1 Olympic sport, Bolt stood up and showed them where the spotlight should undoubtly be.

Female athlete of the year was once again Yelena Isinbayeva. After a very difficult past 2 seasons, this year she showed us once again what an extraordinary athlete she is. She's been undefeated in nine outdoor competitions this year. She's raised her own World record on three occasions and defended her Olympic title, also with a World record. Congrats to both athletes!

dinsdag 18 november 2008

Post-jump entertainment

Germaine Mason
British high jumper Germaine Mason caused a major upset when winning a silver medal in this summer's Olympics. I bet, most of you will remember his entertaining post-jump celebrations. Gemaine recently admitted that he had been up all night before the final just thinking about fun stuff to get his mind off of the very next day. He tought about Usain Bolt and his carnavalesque celebrations and figured he could also celebrate in his own fashion. This apparently ment putting his hand to his ear, according to Germaine he went for it just to get a reaction from the crowd. And sure did he get his response. Germaine's performance was the talk of the day, and even now, months after the Olympic Games, people still talk about his post-jump entertainment.

dinsdag 11 november 2008

The Mighty Burner"

This picture is a trip to memory lane. On the far right you see G. Larry Evans, he is surrounded by his U.S teammates Ron Freeman, Vince Matthews and Lee Evans while they are leaving the track after receiving their gold medals in the 4x4. Why is this picture so important this week? For sure because of its historical value. This picture is not coincidentally taking during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, and these men are not randomly putting their fists in the air. They all had two great men showing them the way, and following in the path of Tommie Smith and John Carlos must not have been easy. Unfortunately G. Larry Evans died this week. He was the first man to ever run under 44 seconds on a relay and a fierce competitor. In remembrance of a this world class runner, this picture will be up here as photo of the week.