Posts from — April 2012
2012 is a big year for track and field participants and enthusiasts. The London Olympics are naturally the biggest event on the calendar, but there are a multitude of other events that should make this a very interesting season.
Already in 2012 we have had the World Indoor Championships, which featured a great couple of races for Sanya Richards-Ross, (400 meters and anchoring the silver medal 4×400 team) and a triumphant Justin Gatlin winning his first championship since his drug suspension, taking the 60 meter in a season best 6.46 seconds.
We also had the Boys and Girls Championships in Jamaica, where Calabar High School won the boys title with a great team effort. The girls title was won by Edwin Allen HS (R) breaking the nearly decade long stranglehold of Holmwood on first place.
And now, on the last weekend of April, comes the Penn Relays. This year Penn will be missing some of the biggest names. No Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake or Asafa Powell for Jamaica, but that doesn’t mean the stars wont be present.
Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix, the aforementioned Gatlin, Nesta Carter, Walter Dix and Kirani James are all named as participants in what should be a great weekend of races. I don’t see any real challenges to the American teams in the USA versus the World events, as while they have loaded teams competing in Philly this year, the other countries don’t seem to have the depth this year to beat them. As history has shown however, upsets at Franklin Field do happen.
Watch the Great Britain team competing in the Women’s 4×400 relay in particular; they could spring a major surprise.
The high school relays are of particular interest to Jamaicans living in the US. Coming into this week, the top schools by time and event are as follows:
High school boys 4×100:
Kingston College 40.17
Wolmers’ Boys School 40.21
Munro College 40.41
St. Elizabeth Technical High 40.44
Herbert Morrison Tech. 40.55
Jamaica College (under 16 team) 40.75
DeSoto HS (Texas) 40.59
High School Boys 4×400:
Calabar HS(R) 3:10.19
DeSoto, Tx 3:14.88
Kingston College 3:12.64
Laurel HS (Maryland) 3:15:65
Boys & Girls, Brooklyn, NY 3:15.12
Jamaica College 3:13.64
Long Beach Poly 3:18:55
High School Girls 4×100:
Edwin Allen 45.28
Herbert Morrison 45.61
Boyd Anderson HS (Florida) 45.66
Long Beach Poly 46.04
Vere Technical 46.00
St. Jago HS 46.60
St. Andrews HS 46.93
High School Girls 4×400:
Vere Technical High 3:38.91
American Heritage HS (Florida) 3:43:15
St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) 3:44:50
Holmwood Technical 3:44.04
Edwin Allen High 3:44.51
St. Andrew High 3:45.07
There should also be some great college races, with UWI, UTech and GC Foster competing with the traditional US college relay powerhouses; Florida, Texas A&M, LSU and Arkansas, who have all run under 39.70 this season.
One thing is for sure, this meet is not going to disappoint fans of track and field, and should give us a early look at some of the names we will see in London and also, maybe Brazil 2016.
April 24, 2012 Comments Off
The modern footballer is a wealthy, globally recognizable star. The top players on the big teams, elite guys like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are icons, and the players who are not on that level or playing for non-traditional powers are still well known and major attractions for advertisers and headlines. With that being said, I also say this: Lionel Messi, as great as he is, is not Pele. He’s not even Maradona. And he may never be.
Messi is so good that the mythical title of world’s greatest player has not been in dispute the last two years. Actually Messi and Ronaldo, the clear second best player have separated themselves so much from the rest of the pack the only comparisons for them that can be made are with the all time greats. And therein lies the biggest knock on Messi.
As great a player as Messi has been, his achievements have been almost exclusively on the club level. Barcelona has used their considerable resources to surround Messi with some of the most talented players in the world. They, along with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City have created a chasm between themselves and the other teams domestically by throwing millions of dollars at player after player to win every year. George Steinbrenner would be proud of the zeal in which these team owners collect stars and assemble teams.
More than half of the World Cup winning team from Spain wears the red and blue of Barcelona and that incredible collection of talent and cohesiveness is breath taking to watch and almost impossible to defeat. Champions League, La Liga and World Club titles have all been won by Barcelona in the last three years, prompting talk of them being the best club team of all time.
Messi has not been able to even come close to matching those accomplishments with his Argentine national team. And when you want to be named among the greatest of all time, the measuring stick is World Cup titles. Pele won his first at seventeen in 1958 and his 3rd in 1970. Maradona went to two finals, winning in 1986 and finishing second in 1990.
While the Brazil teams of Pele and Maradona’s Argentina teams were comprised of some of the best talent in their eras, the Argentina team that played in the 2010 World Cup also had very good not great players and a plethora of world class strikers. But led by Messi and coached by Maradona they couldn’t even make the semi-finals. Its worth noting that the only international title Messi has won is the 2008 Olympics gold medal.
One of the true marks of greatness is elevating the play of others around you. While the current crop of Argentine players may not be as good as some of years past, they are still one of the top 10 national teams, and that doesn’t figure to change before the next World Cup.
Having the transcendent best player of this generation should make them the prohibitive favorite for the next trophy in 2014, but if Messi doesn’t raise his game even higher when he puts on the Albiceleste jersey, his place in the pantheon of greats will reside below the likes of Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo (Brazil) and Zidane.
I’ve been closely following this crazy NBA season, and the more I see him, the more I think Derrick Rose’s playing style is the closest I have seen to Allen Iverson (minus the cornrows.) Like Iverson, I don’t see him having a long NBA career, because at the rate he’s getting dinged up, he will quickly lose his speed and once he does, he’s an average PG.
The baseball season starts this week, and my NY Yankees are reloaded for another pennant run. The AL is going to be stacked this year, with Texas, Detroit, Anaheim, Boston and Tampa Bay all legitimate contenders for a World Series spot.
In the National League, I don’t think any team can beat the Phillies, but I do think the Washington Nationals will be a contender this year. They are putting together a good young team in DC, and they will make the NL East interesting this year. Pitching is the major factor in a 162 game season, and the Nationals have some good arms on their team. They will be fun to watch.
Congrats to Calabar High School and Edwin Allen High School for winning the 2012 Boys and Girls Champs respectively. Penn Relays is coming up, and should be quite competitive. Some of the best individual performers at Champs; Shauna Helps, Delano Williams, Tiffany James and Shericka Jackson look like they will have very bright futures in track.
Check out the times below for the fastest US high school 4×400 times in all of 2012:
3:14.88 DeSoto, Tx
3:15.12 Boys & Girls, Brooklyn, NY (indoor.)
3:15.16 Timberview, Mansfield, Tx
Below are the times for the top three boys finishers at Champs 2012:
3:10.19 Calabar HS
3:12.64 Kingston College
3:13.64 Jamaica College
The Girls 4×400 breaks down like this:
3:43.01 Wakefield, Raleigh (indoor)
3:45.16 Lancaster, Tx
3:47.49 Garden City, NY ( indoor)
3:47.56 Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale
3:47.70 DeSoto, Tx
3:48.86 American Heritage, Plantation, Fl
3:49.25 Medgar Evers, Brooklyn (indoor)
The top three HS girls finishers at Champs 2012:
3:38.91 Vere Tech
3:44.51 Edwin Allen
Here’s to a great, competitive track season coming up in 2012!
April 2, 2012 Comments Off