The US men's triathlon team didn't do so hot in Athens despite Hunter Kemper having the fastest run split in the race and Andy Potts having the fastest swim. Kemper finished 9th and Potts finished 22nd - Victor Plata finished in no man's land - 27th.
I don't think the results are a case of bad luck as much as they are of bad emphasis.
USA Triathlon - who selects athletes for development and sets the criteria for national team qualifications - seems to think that cycling is not an important part of draft-legal triathlons. Check out the qualifications criteria for the national team development programs. You can make a US national development team without having demonstrated any cycling prowess whatsoever.
I think it's a shame that Kemper came out of the water less than 30 seconds behind the leaders, ran the fastest run split of the day and finished nineth. He just got smoked on the bike. And it may just be a coincidence, but I have always thought it was strange that USA Triathlon's criteria for aspiring national teamster doesn't even mention cycling. Call me crazy.
Nicole just called to tell me the news. Tyler Hamilton took time trial gold in Athens! He beat Ekimov by a healthy 18+ seconds and absolutely smoked Ulrich - the favorite - by over a minute.
It must feel good to finally let it all come out. The Tugboat incident, the spoiled tour, the ho-hum road race. That's what time trials are good for: venting. Especially when you should be winning and you're not.
I don't know if any of y'all saw the men's 4x100 freestyle relay last night, but the US team - who have only once settled for less than Olympic gold - got absolutely destroyed by the South African team. Times and splits aside, the image of a US relay team behind by what appeared to be more than two body lengths at the midpoint of the race was stunning and almost incomprehensible for swimming insiders to behold. That was one of the most convincing beat-downs I've ever witnessed.
But it seems to be a theme this year. The US is getting smoked left and right.
But hey, we just had a rough weekend, right?
If you were reading before my wedding, you'll remember I was just getting into an interesting discussion with Adam Smith. But then, I went and got married and he went and moved and we sort of lost touch and stopped blogging for a bit - marriage and moving may have that effect.
But in between then and now, we did exchange a few e-mails and Adam even wrote a really funny/ironic piece to help me at my day job.
As for our personal beef, here's a recap. He was worried that fundamentalist Christians were attempting to gain power and influence in order to use that power and influence to hasten the end of the world, and I said there may be a few of those folks, but not enough to merit hysteria.
So Adam got in the last word, posting this just a few days before my wedding. After reading that post, which I must confess was only yesterday, I now see that we're onto another topic: strident utopians.
I agree with Adam on this one, but, it seems he is picking on one particular type of utopians (some small % of fundy christians) and leaving others alone (some small % of capitalists, some small % of scientists, some small % of socialists, etc.). Crazy utopians are alive and well in many camps, attempting to bring about what they think is a more perfect world, usually at the expense of other groups. That's pretty much the way history works.
I think Adam and I would agree that it would be more preferable to have "moderates" in charge of everything from the schools to the busnisses to the government. Unfortunately, there's a lot of money to be made and power to be wielded if things were otherwise. So we're left always scrambling to find wholesome folks, whatever their stripes, to struggle against those who have been a bit more tainted by those vapory things - money and power and all those naughty things.
Now it's getting late and I have to go to bed. But, as I sit listening to the 7 train rumble past my front window, I wonder . . . who is this neat-handed buck instructing me on the ways of my borough? Maybe I should add the CitiBank building to my header image to clear up any confusion there.
I had a slightly longer than usual commute this morning on account of eating breakfast on the upper east side. So instead of the usual 1.5 miles down 2nd Avenue, I had about 2.5 miles. That may seem trivial, but the extra mile on a straight street gave me time to notice something that I do.
I randomly ring my little bell sometimes as I'm wisking around cars or sweeping across three or four lanes to avoid a congestion. I also sometimes mimic car horn patterns with my bell. So if a taxi honks at me with a beep beep beeeeep - I'll shoot back with a ding ding diiiing as I float out of his lane and into the next.
It's all a dance. And maybe only fixed-gear riders know this, but when you get your groove on, the street sounds like a symphony.
I can't decide how I feel about Alan Keyes (a long time Maryland resident) flying out to Illinois to run for Senate. Mr. Keyes is a smart guy, but I think I agree more with Keyes four years ago.
In 2000, when Hillary Clinton had moved up to New York to run for Senate, some Empire State republicans approached Keyes (after Guliani had dropped out of the race) about moving up there and run against her. At that point he said:
I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it.
There certainly is something to be said for principles being the same no matter what state you're in - Hillary embodies the New York spirit or Alan has the same moral compass as Illinoians - but there's something distasteful about it as well.
To me it smacks too much of "because we can." I think it's a bad thing to smack of.
Well, according to the University of Wisconsin, it's the midwest. that's right kids, read it and weep. With scant representation from either coast, it looks like the most well read people in the country live in the "fly-over" states of Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Check out the top ten there on the right.
Who's missing? How about the two cities who are most likely to tell you if you're cool or not:
New York City, 49th.
Los Angeles, 68th.