Monday, February 24, 2014

And the Stench from Albuquerque Is None Too Good

The big stink in Fort Myers aimed at a race that raises a ton of dough for sick kids by a selfish mom, is nothing compared to the shitfest delivered in Albuquerque by USATF.  I am mildly amused at the crazy crap that happened Saturday night during the women's 3000 meter.

Cancer survivor Gabe Grunewald steamrolled her way to victory, literally.  As I watched the race unfold live from the comfort of my couch, Grunewald first attempted to run up Jordan Hasay's backside on the final lap, and then nearly ran over Shannon Rowbury on the backstretch before finally sprinting to an easy victory.  I remember looking over to the Czarina and saying, she could be disqualified for all that nonsense.  She was, eventually, after a lot of monkey business, a lot of it by the 800 pound gorilla at the meet, NIKE.

The fact is an official did flag Grunewald for a foul.  The fact is the meet judge discussed it with the official and they agreed the bump didn't rise to the level of disqualification.  The fact is, a protest was filed, again and apparently again and the a jury decided to leave Grunewald as champion.  Then sometime in the murky minutes following the end of Saturday's session somebody, whether it was Alberto Salazar, or a big name at NIKE, someone obviously yanked the right chain at USATF and Grunewald was disqualified.

That meant Salazar's athletes, Shannon Rowbury who finished 2nd and Jordan Hasay who ended up in 4th, would go to the world championships.  The 3rd place finisher, Sara Vaughn, didn't have the necessary qualifying time for the trip to Poland.  Hasay remained remarkably mute about all that was unfolding through the weekend.  Rowbury didn't mention the controversy at the post race news conference.

By Saturday night social media was on fire and USATF was pulling up its drawbridge around the its shit-filled mote.  It got even more interesting during Sunday's final sessions.  After the women's 1500, a group of non-NIKE affiliated women joined hands and walked down the homestretch in a show of solidarity for Grunewald.  Then after the men's 1500, race runner-up Will Leer threw USATF back into the shit-filled mote and champion Lopez Lomong wholeheartedly agreed with Will's takedown right on national television. 

I give credit to Jordan Hasay.  She did the classy thing on Monday and withdrew her (Salazar's) protest.  All the while USATF hasn't explained the debacle of Saturday night.  Salazar has laid low, while the catcalls continue over his outrageous behavior at the meet.  I won't go into all of the BS but the women's 3000 disaster was only part of the outrage on parade. 

I think Salazar is a great coach.  But I think he's ego is out of control.  NIKE is out of control.  USATF needs to find financing that doesn't leave it so reliant on NIKE support to stay afloat.  You can smell the shit in the air, the athletes are ready to revolt.

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