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  • Eyewitness Millrose report

    Here’s my feedback on the Millrose Games which I attended on Friday night. Firstly it should be renamed to, “The Millrose High School Games and Invitational”. Despite a cursory look at the schedule I hadn’t realized how high school orientated it was, and what a paucity of top class events there would be. Nothing wrong with that necessarily and I enjoyed it, despite my elitist comments in a previous thread.

    These comments are all based on my memory as I forgot to TiVo it and have seen no TV coverage. Firstly Marion. I know she’s had a long break and was obviously going to be rusty but she was not close to where I thought she would be. I was expecting around 7.10-715 as that’s still about 0.2secs down from her pb. Start was obviously very suspect and she looked like she momentarily lost form at about 30m. However she won and beat Torri but if I was one of her main rivals I’d be encouraged. Devers and Johnson both looked fantastic. My main hope for Athens is that Gail finally wins Gold. Woody looked very strong in the 600yds although with that distance I have absolutely no idea whether his time was any good or not. Both high jumps were poor, but because of the tiny area and number of people hanging around the in field, the conditions were very tough for the athletes. Also, in terms of presentation, they had a parade of about 30 past and present Olympians. This in itself was nice, however they literally turned all the lights off just as Charles Clinger was about to make an attempt. Couldn’t they have waited 10 secs? The parade itself took place under very dimmed lights so you could hardly see the athletes.

    The shot was very odd. They marked out two lines (straight across, not curved and no indicators of distance) and made a point that there had never been a 70’ throw at Millrose. When Cantwell threw past the furthest line I assumed it was over 70’ as did the crowd and the commentator. When he then threw even further by about a foot I assumed he’d thrown about 21.60-70m and was one of about 6 people in the crowd to yell out. The scoreboard then came up with 68’10”. It was very confusing and I assume that although they were reporting the competition in feet, the lines they’d marked out were 20 and 21m. What on earth is that about? Also they only had 4 throwers with 4 throws each, the competition lasted about 15 mins. It looked more like a demonstration than a competition and, as a field event fan, I almost found it insulting.

    The PV was fairly average as well. In the context of another thread all the men wore the same kit (English for uniforms). Hey Nike, do something about that will you. I understand the importance of branding but it just looks boring and unimaginative. When Stacy changed coaches last year and decided to re-vamp her technique I was a little concerned that she’d made a bad decision. Nothing I saw Friday changed that opinion. She had what looked like to me and inordinate amount of flat-out, stripped down, warm-up jumps. Didn’t count them but she had a lot. That to me indicated she was/has been having technical challenges. Again, with the naked eye, it looked to me like she was all over the place coming off the pole. Changing technique when you’re in your 30’s is always going to be a challenge. I hope it’s a decision she won’t regret in Athens.

    How long was the track? Looked about 150m which is ridiculous, there were many more falls, collisions, obstructions etc. than you probably saw on TV. For proper pure racing it has to be 200m imho. The crowd was impressive, I heard over 14,000. Not sure what the norm is but it was a lot more than I imagined. I assumed Marion was the reason but was surprised that about 30% left before she raced. Much more than half the crowd were more into the youngsters events. Begs the question are they really into the sport or just supporting friends and family no matter what activity they are doing? Unfortunately, with the drop off of interest in major events I suspect the latter. The people sitting around me were nowhere near as attentive during the invitational events.

    Finally the commentating was absolutely appalling. Who were these guys? Obviously knew nothing about what was going on, we’d have been better off with Rawson and Lewis (Carol, not Michael E.)….OK, I’m joking, our hero’s at T&F did a great job and GH looked quite spiffy in his tux! When Bob got an award I half expected Phil Shinnick to run onto the track to protest (Phil, word of warning. In a post last week Bob used the words “malicious” and “defamatory”. I learned Friday that he’s an attorney. I’d be careful in future as he might use “vigorous” next). Would I spend $160 again on two tickets? No, of course not, but if I was in NYC I’d cough up $25 for a cheap seat.

    (jeeez...just hit edit and saw how long this was. A new PB (PR) for me...!)

  • #2
    Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

    Great post Mark. And thanks for answering my question of a couple weeks ago: Would you do it again? The 600y time was slow--L.E. Myers ran nearly as fast in 1880. By the way, wasn't that a fast mile walk? Ooops, sorry, that was a mile RUN...

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    • #3
      Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

      Yes, thanks so much, Mark.

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      • #4
        Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

        thanks mark. My only comment re the multiplicity of high school races is don't get rid of them at all, just bring the open/elite stuff up to snuff. That way, you are attracting 2 different cadres of fans, which also should overlap to a good extent.

        Personally, from a spectator standpoint, I love the 160 yard/11 laps to the mile track. I just they would go "back to the boards", getting rid of the tartan cover. What does it really add ?

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        • #5
          Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

          I like the idea of the old 11-lap indoor tracks, but ONLY the idea. In my opinion, if US indoor track is going to get with the (new) times, we have to conform to standard Euro practice and run on 200m ovals (and this from the advocate of yards!). The big problem with this is that many of the older venues (such as Mad. Sq. Garden) can't even begin to accomodate a 200m track. The bigger tracks make it less like roller derby and more like "real" track running.

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          • #6
            Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

            By the way, wasn't that a fast mile walk? Ooops, sorry, that was a
            >mile RUN...

            What you probably didn't get to see on TV was they actually did have a one mile WALK! Mean no disrespect to the athletes but it looked even more ridiculous indoors than out and probably wasted 10 mins in what was a very crowded schedule. I remember the great mile races at the Millrose from TV back home, this one was a pale shadow. An English guy came second and I'd never heard of him.

            Steve...agree with keeping the high schoolers and adding more invitational events but must disagree about the track size. Even the kids had trouble negotiating the curves in the 4x40's.

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            • #7
              Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

              I know well the great tradition of the indoor mile walk at the Millrose and other NYC meets. How many remember names such as Dave Romansky, etc? I have to say that the quality of the mile was shockingly poor--if we need one symbol of the low state of American indoor track, this would do it. Even with a pace maker the winner barely broke 4:03. Truly, the best milers of the mid-1950s would have been right in the hunt!

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              • #8
                Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                I can't understand how anyone can say they support or like the 160y track, it is just ridiculously unreasonable. It is also impractical to expect much racing after the first lap and position has been established. I even hate 200m tracks for the same reason. But on this track the runners really do look like rodents on a spinning wheel.

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                • #9
                  Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                  Firstly Marion. I
                  >know she’s had a long break and was obviously going to be rusty but she was not
                  >close to where I thought she would be. I was expecting around 7.10-715 as
                  >that’s still about 0.2secs down from her pb. Start was obviously very suspect
                  >and she looked like she momentarily lost form at about 30m. However she won and
                  >beat Torri but if I was one of her main rivals I’d be encouraged.



                  Great post, Mark, but I don't really see where you're coming from with the above post.

                  In 2003, we had a handful of women all vying for the top spot in womens sprints, now that Marion wasn't there to get in the way. We saw some great performances in 2003 (White, Gaines, Edwards, Sturrup, etc...) and it seemed as though a break from Marion did them good - gave them confidence that they can hold their own against the greatest in the world and can win medals and set PBs in the process.

                  So. 2004 saw Marion's return. It was a chance for these girls to really show Marion that she can't expect it her own way anymore. Marion hadn't raced for 18 months. She hadn't raced indoors for 6 years. She was running in one of her weaker sprint events. And she beats them all.

                  This was a perfect opportunity for all the other girls to really apply the pressure on to Marion and if they could put doubts in Marion's mind and boost their own confidence in the process, then all the better. However, no-one really rose to the occasion apart from Marion (Daigle did well, considering she's not as established as some of the others in that race). Despite Marion's bad start (and pregnancy and 18 months away from competing), she still beat them all. OK, the time wasn't amazing, but it was decent. Decent enough to be improved upon (which she will most probably do in Birmingham on the 20th Feb) when she faces Zhanna Block.

                  So we're right back to where we were in 2002. Most of the female athletes will now be scared of Marion again (maybe Zhanna won't be... we'll see in Birmingham).

                  But for Torri Edwards, who medalled both indoors and outdoors last year, running PBs in both, she's had her chance to apply pressure on to Marion, and she's blown it. Inger Miller ran her fastest 60m time since 2000 and it still wasn't enough to beat Marion. I doubt Kelli White will be running at the same level in 2004 as she was in 2003 - she's missed months off training with this 'knee injury' and hasn't exactly got the support of the whole world behind her. Similar situation for Chryste Gaines, who (although she isn't injured at the moment) is used to playing second-fiddle to Marion and, at 33 years old, isn't getting any younger.

                  As it stands, the ball is in Marion's court and she's done very well to reach that stage. The Birmingham GP will be a big test for her; probably more so than the Millrose Games, as she'll face Zhanna Block in the 60m, and will do the indoors long jump for the first time in her career.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                    I haven't read any news accounts of the meet (or seen the TV), but did it come out anywhere that the meet was within minutes of being canceled completely?

                    The nasty rainstorm that plagued the city most of the day generated a leak in the ceiling of MSG at one point a few hours before the meet. Someone who was there told me it created a "full-blown waterfall" onto the floor of the arena. Fortunately, there was no sign of it by the time the meet started.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                      Jon...I'm not stupid enough to get into a statistical or historic comparison debate with you! However, Marion simply didn't look like she was close to replicating her previous form. I know it's early, I know the last 40m. in the 100m. is her strength, I know she's coming back from a lay-off. We've all seen thousands of races and sometimes one has a gut feeling about an athlete. I had that feeling watching her on Friday. One race, especially the first doesn't mean a lot, necessarily, so it's going to be an interesting month. One thing I did ask myself after Friday is how sensible is it for her to be focusing on the LJ again?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                        >Jon...I'm not stupid enough to get into a statistical or historic comparison
                        >debate with you! However, Marion simply didn't look like she was close to
                        >replicating her previous form. I know it's early, I know the last 40m. in the
                        >100m. is her strength, I know she's coming back from a lay-off. We've all seen
                        >thousands of races and sometimes one has a gut feeling about an athlete. I had
                        >that feeling watching her on Friday. One race, especially the first doesn't
                        >mean a lot, necessarily, so it's going to be an interesting month. One thing I
                        >did ask myself after Friday is how sensible is it for her to be focusing on the
                        >LJ again?



                        Fair enough Mark. I'm a firm believer of gut instincts, and so maybe I'll get a similar feeling when I watch her in Birmingham. (I haven't actually seen the Millrose race yet... I'm just going by what I've read in reports, etc).

                        Her 7.21 isn't as quick as I would have expected but with the same token, it's not exactly a disaster either. It's enough to give us hope, I reckon.

                        Your point re: LJ is a good one. If this is her comeback year, surely it'd be a better move for her to just concentrate on the 100 & 200 (i.e. her strongest events). However, 2004 IS Olympic year and it kinda makes people pull out all the stops in the hope of acheiving Olympic glory.

                        If she goes to Athens and gets gold medals (or even minor medals), then great. However, by doing so many events she also runs the risk of being beaten in them all! (and how embarrassing would it be if she gets beaten by two heptathletes in the LJ...!)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                          Just spotted this on letsrun. It's a post by James Thie who came second in the mile. Interesting comments about the track.

                          http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read. ... ead=334856

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                          • #14
                            Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                            Question(s):

                            When did they re-do the old board track by laying tartan on top of it ?

                            Or is it a whole new track not laid on the old boards?

                            And the old Board track must have been pretty darn fast if Eamonn ( Chairman of the BOARDS ) Coughlan could rip off a sub-3:50 on it !

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Eyewitness Millrose report

                              It was a brand-new piece of equipment specially constructed for Millrose. The surface was state of the art, but Thie's comments back up what we've observed from trackside for years: it's a sloooow track. High class athletes in decent shape look like they're working their asses off and produce times that if we didn't know better would think came from a too-long track.

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