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  • Mary Slaney

    Again with the ESPN Classic. When there's no new track on TV, you get what you can.

    The other night they covered 1984, and spent a few minutes revisiting the Mary Slaney incident at the '84 OG. I'm curious what others here think about it, as I've rarely discussed it with real track fans.

    At the time, my experience in the sport was one season of junior high cross country (where I was usually so far back that there weren't many people for me to trip over). I remember immediately thinking that contact was part of the sport, and she sure looked like a real crybaby out there. I couldn't bear to watch the other night because her general attitude still makes me cringe -- you shouldn't be angry about falling when you run right up someone's back.

    What's the general consensus? Or isn't there one?

  • #2
    Re: Mary Slaney

    I thought it was just one of those things... Mary at that point was very uncomfortable in pack running which she never had to do in the US and simply could not deal with running in a group. Zola Budd was probably in a similar position. Put those two things together and someone is likely to go down. I do remember very distinctly the look on Mary's face which said "How dare you ruin my Olympic Victory". Sad display. However she did mature with age and experience and was a joy in the mid 90's on when she was a little more humble and seasoned with others.

    (all this is strictly my opinion of course)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mary Slaney

      >you shouldn't be angry about falling when you run right up someone's back.<

      You got that one right.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Mary Slaney

        Yeah, she was humble all right. Does anyone remember her taking a victory lap at the '96 trials after the 5K? Like she'd won the thing? Have some class Mary. The winner goes around first. She was/is an unclassy individual. She never changed in that regard.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mary Slaney

          In my view there is nothing wrong with an athlete who has gone thru "hell and high water" (including multiple injuries and operations) in making a difficult comeback taking a victory lap. I loved seeing her make the team and I cheered her all the way thru her victory lap.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mary Slaney

            I have a friend who made several international teams when Mary was a young teen. The coaches assisgned someone daily to 'babysit' Mary. While the others toured European cities, someone had to hang with Mary. She says it was unbearable. Mary was very difficult, whiner, demanding, temper outbursts, etc. Of course Mary then kicked butt in the meets, thus got even more attention. The women bribed each other to take their turn with Mary. I am not knocking Mary as such a young person. God knows I wouldn't want judged on my behavior and attitude at 14. I was just passing on what I think is a humerous story.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mary Slaney

              I was present in the stadium in Atlanta during that race. Libbie Hickman, who didn't make the team, took it out on the pentultimate lap and made the race, yet didn't place. The stadium was going wild and believe me, the fact that Mary made the team was popularly received. I was so pumped that after I got back to my hotel in Buckhead after the meet, I went out and ran a hard five miles, despite the late hour.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mary Slaney

                Coincidentally, I was watching a tape with that very race on it this evening. I felt bad for Libbie. What else was she going to do? She couldn't think she was going to match kicks with Jennings, Slaney, or Rudolph, but grinding it out wasn't going to work either. While disappointed, she should be proud she gave her best effort and strategy available at the time. Please don't say she should've gone earlier as she appeared to be hanging on for a while. Slaney was definately popular that night and it was good to see someone come all the way back who had been at the top and so far down.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mary Slaney

                  Certainly gutsier than that sorry 1500m (men's) last weekend at Stanford!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mary Slaney

                    Here are the top finishers in that 1996 Women's 5000m trials race:

                    1-Lynn Jennings 15:28.18
                    2-Mary Slaney 15:29.39
                    3-Amy Rudolf 15:29.91
                    4-Libbie Johnson 15:30.77
                    5-Annette Peters 15:39.91
                    6-Cheri Goddard 15:41.80

                    This was a typical hot and humid Atlanta night. Not New Orleans, but not Oslo, either. I rode the same MARTA train back to town as Annette Peters, who told me that her time "sucked". Three weeks later, Peters popped a 15:00 at Bislett, while Rudloph got a 14:56 at Stockholm. Slaney's and Johnson's (Hickman) times that night was her season best.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mary Slaney

                      >Again with the ESPN Classic. When there's no new
                      >track on TV, you get what you can.

                      The other
                      >night they covered 1984, and spent a few minutes
                      >revisiting the Mary Slaney incident at the '84
                      >OG. I'm curious what others here think about it,
                      >as I've rarely discussed it with real track
                      >fans.

                      At the time, my experience in the sport
                      >was one season of junior high cross country
                      >(where I was usually so far back that there
                      >weren't many people for me to trip over). I
                      >remember immediately thinking that contact was
                      >part of the sport, and she sure looked like a
                      >real crybaby out there. I couldn't bear to watch
                      >the other night because her general attitude
                      >still makes me cringe -- you shouldn't be angry
                      >about falling when you run right up someone's
                      >back.

                      What's the general consensus? Or isn't
                      >there one?

                      Ironic topic. I had just listened to an ex-Arkansas assistant coach(won't name him) who was speaking about the Paralympics and Special Olympics. He actually talked for quite some time
                      about heart and perseverance. But he went on to talk about a 200 meter paralympian whose prosthetic leg actualy came off during the race. He tried to put it back on and couldn't, so he hopped the rest of the way on one leg. Everybody was tearing up and could barely compose themselves. Then coach brought up how embarassed he was for a certain athlete(Mary Slaney), who thought that everything was owed her. Who fell during the Olympics and instead of immediately
                      getting up, started crying like the race was over. Well, it wasn't over. It puts everything into perspective. One had the balls to finish, to do something about it. One didn't.

                      I wholeheartedly agree.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mary Slaney

                        she shoulda let Jennings go first who did win the race afterall...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Mary Slaney

                          Gee, folks. Why no mention that she was DIRTY in that race and that she placed second but that she tested positive. She cheated. Not much class in that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mary Slaney

                            I'll tackle a few with opinions. After all, one is as good as the next. I feel Mary has always had trouble focusing on a race when others were around. Watch her. Whether leading alone or in a pack, her eyes go from her own feet, to the stands, to the big screen, to the leader, to the ground, etc. Any wonder she bumps and collides. With 200 to go in the '96 OT 5K, she drifts in front of Rudolph and gets her heels clipped nearly falling. Few remember that. Was she dirty? I love T&F too much to go on anything besides what the testing says. I am not naive, but I do believe that if she beat the test, then many others did as well, so I take it for what it's worth. No negative test for THAT race, then I accept it. If I want to see our sport as more than professional wrestling, and I do, what other attitude can I take?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Mary Slaney

                              400 guy spewed:

                              >Ironic topic. I had just listened to an ex-Arkansas
                              >assistant coach(won't name him) who was speaking
                              >about the Paralympics and Special Olympics. He
                              >actually talked for quite some time
                              about heart >and perseverance. But he went on to talk about >a 200 meter paralympian whose prosthetic leg
                              >actualy came off during the race. He tried to
                              >put it back on and couldn't, so he hopped the
                              >rest of the way on one leg. Everybody was
                              >tearing up and could barely compose themselves.
                              >Then coach brought up how embarassed he was for
                              >r a certain athlete(Mary Slaney), who thought
                              >that everything was owed her. Who fell during
                              >the Olympics and instead of immediately
                              getting
                              >up, started crying like the race was over. Well,
                              >it wasn't over. It puts everything into
                              >perspective. One had the balls to finish, to do
                              >something about it. One didn't.
                              I wholeheartedly agree.>>

                              What a crock of shit. Were you there at either incident? Logic says the guy without the prothesis suffered a moment of minor discomfort. Slany (who was a bitch, but why tar and feather her where not appropriate?) went down hard, tried to get up and couldn't. She needed a significant rehab period for her damaged hip.

                              If you had seen her double golds at the World Championships the years before you'd have a new definition of what "balls" are all about. You're undoubtedly pissed off because she could beat you at any distance she wanted, including the 400. When she was 14.

                              Comment

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