Friday, 17 August 2012

Olympic Marathon

Sunday was the conclusion of the 16 day Olympic festival. Many of us woke feeling slightly blue, sadly aware of there being no more Fencing, Canoeing, Race Walking or Cycling to watch on the telly. 

On Sunday, along with hundreds of thousands of other supporters, I watched the Men’s Marathon. This was a late decision as I knew the city streets would be lined with people and viewing space would be at a premium, however something inside urged me to go. I positioned myself along the Embankment right opposite one of the drink/aid stations, the Kenyan, Korean and Japanese ones to be precise. But it was while walking past this station and looking at all the national flags, an overwhelming sense of disappointment came over me - not to see our national flag represented.

Why did we not you may ask?

The answer, in my opinion, is quite simple I suppose. To represent NZ in the marathon an athlete would have had to run under the standard qualifying time (2.13) or a time that has been consistently within the top 16 at previous Olympic marathons. This was the criteria, let’s say, ‘best of my knowledge’, I couldn’t find the actual document to support this. Yes, no NZ Athlete ran the listed NZ Athletics qualifying time, however 2 did run under Olympic ‘B’ standards (2.18); ‘A’ standard was set at 2.15 (you’ll notice 2 minutes slower than the NZA qualifying standard!). I’m not going to name drop here but one lives in London (ran at least 2 or 3 ‘B’ standards within 18 months or so) and the other in Christchurch. Both have performed extremely well over the course of several years and would have done the black singlet proud on Sunday. I can only hope and imagine a set-back such as this will add fuel to the fire for the next 4 years and come 2016, in Rio, we may have a contingent of runners fighting it out for the prestigious black singlet. To be able to pick from a handful would be fantastic. So from here on it’s a real opportunity for NZ athletes to achieve this and make up for the misses of 2012. With this in mind, and thinking about the two athletes who could have been there on Sunday, took some of the gloss away from the event. I started to think about whether this Olympic Games was about bums on seats and budgets or athletes and PB’s? NZA, being a small establishment, has to prioritise each of their athletes in order of medal contention and likelihood of an overall place. When more athletes are taken does it equate to more money out of our ‘Olympic’ budget? NZ being a small country must mean we have a roughly small budget? Anyway, if this may be remotely true, should it be this way? What does it cost NZA to send an athlete to the Olympic Games?
These are questions I’m very interested in finding out the answers to and will investigate over the upcoming weeks.

On an Olympic note I have to mention my top 5 viewing pleasures:

1)      David Rudisha’s 800m world record. Wicked!
2)      Mo Farah’s 5 and 10 double.
3)      NZ Rowing gold medals and Lisa Carrington’s golden moment!
4)      Jamaica’s 4x100m relay world record.
5)      Robert Harting’s exploits after he won gold. I have had many an experience falling asleep on public transport. Recently a friend fell asleep before getting on public transport only to be awoken by a stranger 3 hours later, but this effort was surpasses most!

On a personal note my injury has taken a turn for the worse, and I am taking the rest of the month off. Still stretching and foam rolling but as for the running, well that’ll have to wait for the new horizons of Korea which we depart to on Wednesday, hopefully I’ll squeeze a post in before then.
Sorry for the long wait, when you’re not running it’s tricky to write running related things!

No comments:

Post a Comment