Tuesday, July 24, 2007

FLP: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

Yesterday I wrote that there is no resurgence in American middle-distance running. Today I received a challenge from Christina and Ash Huzenlaub to back up my words. They wrote:

Would you be prepared to shave your head should you be proven wrong (that with the exception of Webb, the US grabs a middle distance medal in Osaka) and post the picture on your blog?

I immediately accepted their challenge in an e-mail reply. Let's define terms: I consider middle-distance running to be events that are between 800m and 3000m long. Other than Alan Webb, whom I expect to be crowned world champion in the men's 1500m run, if any American – man or woman – wins a gold, silver or bronze medal in either the 800m Run, 1500m Run or 3000m Steeplechase, I will shave my head and post a photo on my website. I could be persuaded to include the 5000m Run, but I would need to see some compelling evidence that the 5000m Run is a middle-distance, not a long-distance, race. Since no American has ever medaled in a WC 5000m Run, I think it's safe to say that I'm not risking much by allowing that event to be included in the bet. Still, for those of you who think it should categorized as a middle-distance event, I'd like to hear your arguments.

As for the challenge I received from Christina and Ash Huzenlaub today, I would imagine that Ash, a former 1500m runner at TCU with a PB of 4:13.89, is banking on Khadevis Robinson (a fellow Horned-Frog) to medal in Osaka. Let me say this: I would dearly love to be proven wrong. Nobody is a bigger fan of middle-distance running than I am. If the Americans actually do have a resurgence, nobody would be more thrilled than the Finish Line Pundit. Unfortunately, I just don't think it's going to happen anytime soon. Why not? Two words: the Kenyans. Here's a list of all medals won by American middle-distance runners since the inception of the World Championships in Athletics in 1983:

Steve Scott, 1500m, silver
Mary Slaney, 1500m, gold
Mary Slaney, 3000m, gold

Jim Spivey, 1500m, bronze

Mark Everett, 800m, bronze



Rich Kenah, 800m, bronze
Regina Jacobs, 1500m, silver

Regina Jacobs, 1500m, silver





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