Monday, August 6, 2012

Not much to say

As most of you know by now, the competition didn't go our way.  There really isn't much to say about the meet.  A foul on her first jump, which was probably her best jump of the day (but most likely not far enough to get into the finals) certainly didn't help, but that happens.  For whatever reason, it just wasn't there on the day.  Amanda finished 26th overall.

Since the day of the competition, I've continued to tour around the city with Michelle, my roommate, and with Julie Stackhouse, who is staying at the apartment with us.  Below are some pictures from some of our adventures.

A view inside of the Olympic Park:

Just outside of the Olympic Stadium:

The Olympic Flame:

A raven at the Tower of London:

A view of the Thames from the Tate modern:

The Sherlock Holmes museum:

That is all for now.  I head back to the States on Friday.  In the meantime I'll continue my adventures.  Thanks to everyone for following along.  Hopefully I've provided a small insight into my experiences here in London and throughout Europe.  Who knows, maybe I'll be writing another blog from Brazil in 2016.  Destination Rio!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Big Day Approaches

Tomorrow is the big day.  Amanda jumps at 10:25 London time, which is 5:25 am on the East Coast and 4:25 am in Nashville.  She will be competing against 34 of the best female triple jumpers in the World.  You can find results and all sorts of information relating to the track and field events here:

It should be fun!!  Until next time

Monday, July 30, 2012

The big wait

Some of you might be wondering what I've been up to over the past few days.  Well, I know my parents have.  To be honest, there really isn't a whole lot going on right now.  Unlike 2008 when tickets to multiple events were easy to get, for a small price, tickets here in London are very difficult to get.  I think there are a few reasons for that:

1.  Proximity to Europe and the ease of travel to London made it much easier to get here than to Beijing.
2.  Apparently any person that bought a ticket had their name printed on the ticket, so it is a personal ticket.  That makes it kind of hard to buy tickets on the street.

All that being said, I have continued to explore around the city, and of course, our practices have continued.  Amanda took Saturday and Sunday off, so we were back at some training this morning and again tomorrow.  Wednesday will be a rest day and then we will have a quick practice Thursday before she competes on Friday.

Here are a few pictures from my most recent explorations, this time with some travel partners: my roommate Michelle and another coach, Andreas, who is coaching one of the Gold medal favorites in the Men's 110 Hurdles, Aries Merritt.

That's all for now.  Until next time...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back to London

Sorry for taking so long to write another post.  I'll try to catch you all up on what's been going on over the past few days.

We had a solid training day yesterday as we got back to some more intense work.  The weather was still very nice so that certainly helped.  Yesterday was an approach day, so the plan was to do 6 and then follow that up with some multiple throws with a light med ball (around 3 kilograms).  I'll post videos of all of this below.  At the end Amanda had a quick lift.  Everything looked really good, so that was certainly very exciting.

Approach video, at least the last few steps.  This is from Mel Ramey, one of the USATF biomechanists.  This was my favorite run that Amanda did yesterday:

Here's some video of Amanda doing our multiple throws.  These are very common in the track world.  The first video is called an overhead backwards throw while the second is an between the legs forward throw:

Finally, here is a quick video of Amanda in the weight room doing some jump squats.  We do these during the end of the season to stay sharp and explosive.  These are with weights in both hands:

I didn't do too much yesterday after practice, just went and explored a bit.  Here are some pictures from me and Jeremy's adventures:

Today was another long travel day.  All of the athletes, coaches and support staff that were in Birmingham travelled down to London.  The athletes who have already processed at the Olympic Village left at 10:00.  Athletes who haven't been to the Village yet to get their credentials left at 10:45, and all of the coaches and support staff left at 11:30.  It took us 2:30 to get to the USOC facility at the Docklands facility in the Southeast of the city.  We were able to pick up our passes that will allow us to go to the practice track and then we headed on our way to our apartment.  It took us another 30 minutes to get over here near the Bethnal Green tube stop.  We finally found our place, dropped off our bags and then went to grab some food.  After lunch we headed over to the practice track, located at the Mile End park.  It's literally in the middle of a park and is only open for US athletes so we don't have to share the track with any other country.

Here are a few pictures from the track:

This should give you all an idea of what I've been up to over the past few days.  Tomorrow we have another practice where we will have our last technical session leading up to the Games.  Tomorrow night Amanda will walk in the Opening Ceremonies, an amazing honor that I am so jealous of.  Oh yeah, tomorrow is also me and Amanda's birthday!!  Things couldn't have worked out any better!!

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Birmingham Training Camp

Now that I've recovered from the fun travels of a few days ago, I thought I would write about the Training Camp here in Birmingham.  This training camp, or holding camp as they are sometimes called, was not mandatory for the athletes, so it appears that there is a little over half of the entire team here.  That's still a pretty large group, probably around 70 total athletes covering all of the event disciplines: Sprints, Jumps, Throws, Multis, Distance and even Race Walks.

The hotel is certainly very nice.  There are security guards to get into the hotel, to go onto the elevators, and in the elevator waiting area on each floor that US athletes are staying on.  We were given credentials to show them, so they know we are allowed to come and go.  There are practice times in the morning (9:30 departure and 10:30 departure) and afternoon (3:30 departure and 4:30 departure).  Three meals a day are covered.  We are even able to get into the movie theater for free with our credential.  Needless to say, there's a lot more to do here than there was in Dalian, China.

Today, after lunch, the team captains and the US Track and Field nominee for flag bearer were chosen by all of the athletes who are here at the camp.  After a vote, the Men's team captain is Angelo Taylor, a two time Gold Medalist in the 400 hurdles and a four time Olympian.  The Women's team captain is Aretha Thurmond, a four time Olympian in the Discus and an incredibly outgoing person that everyone seems to love.  The flag bearer voting was very interesting.  I'm not sure if I am allowed to say who was chosen, or who was nominated, so I won't write anything about that here.  I will say, that the people who are nominated and chosen often have incredible life stories of overcoming adversity and struggle.  In 2008, the US flag bearer was a track athlete, Lopez Lomong, who had been a lost boy in Sudan and come over to the US.  In this years group was an athlete who was adopted after setting his parents house on fire, an athlete who overcame Epileptic seizures as a child, an athlete who was injured in 2008 and the doctors had essentially given up on them, and an athlete who was shot in both legs in a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and who was told they would never again be able to compete at this level ever again.

As usual, I wandered around a bit yesterday and I'll put up some pictures below.  I also went to see the new Batman movie with Jeremy and a few of the others here.

We have had a few fairly easy days of training while recovering from the competition last weekend and the travel and will have our first hard session tomorrow.  We head back to London on Thursday and the Opening Ceremonies take place on Friday, the 27th of July.  That day is actually my birthday, and, ironically enough, is Amanda's birthday as well!  It's certainly a small world.

Here's a video of some of the athletes at the practice track from a few days ago.  Amanda is in here a few times:

This is adjacent to the hotel:

This building is directly across from the hotel:

Apparently the Jamaican team is here in Birmingham as well.

There are a series of canals that run through this portion of the city with restaurants and coffee shops lining them.

This is actually the grandstand on the backstretch of the track.  A pretty impressive structure for a track facility

Lastly, the small crowd in the stands are reporters who are here covering Team USA.

That's all for now!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

58th Memorial Janusza KusociƄskiego Invitational

Sorry it's taken so long to post anything, but it's been a long day.  I left the hotel at 9:30 am for my shuttle to the Berlin Tegel Airport for my 4:00 pm flight.  Connected through Frankfurt and then flew to London where I then took an express train to Birmingham to come to the training camp for the next four days.  I finally arrived at 10:00 pm.

My roommate at the camp is Jeremy Fischer, who coaches Will Claye, one of only two athletes for the US team in multiple events, the Long Jump and the Triple Jump.  Will won a silver medal in the triple jump last year at the World Championships and could medal in both events at the Games.  Needless to say, he's a stud.

The hotel is really nice and there's a bunch of security here as well so it should be an interesting few days.  Very different than the training camp in Dalian, China.  Sorry Shani!!

OK.  On to the meet.  Amanda didn't compete until 8:10 pm last night.  Yesterday was one of the nicest days we've had since we have been over here, but the fact that the meet was so late meant that the temps were a little cooler than they could have been.  At the end of the day, anything is better than cold rain with headwinds!

There were 8 girls in the field, all solid jumpers.  Amanda jumped 13.90 (45' 7) on her second jump and was poised to move up in the finals.  Annoyingly, the awards podium was right next to the runway, so every time they did an awards ceremony, the athletes had to wait.  It was a minor deal, but I'll complain nonetheless.  Going into the final three jumps, Amanda was in third place.  Her fifth jump was probably her best of the night, but it was a foul by about 2 inches.  Her last jump was also really good, but she just buckled just a little bit on her step landing (her last contact before jumping into the pit), so it wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.  Unfortunately, the girl who was in fourth place jumped far enough to pass Amanda based on their second best jumps.  If you see the results linked below, (page 10) it will hopefully make sense to you non-track people:

Other cool things from last night: Dan Pfaff's pole vaulter, Steve Lewis, broke the Great Britain national record with a jump of 5.82 (19' 1).  After the meet I actually ended up grabbing dinner with Dan, Steve, Steve Hooker (the defending Olympic Champion and Australian National record holder), Brad Walker (the US national record holder), and a couple of the Australian team support staff.  It certainly made for an interesting night.

I'll try to load up some pictures tomorrow of the meet and of my adventures here in Birmingham.  That's all for now!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Meet credentials

Whenever you go to a meet, as a coach or an athlete, you have to get your credential.  This is what lets the security guards, etc, know that you as a coach or athlete are allowed to go to certain parts of the facility that the fans are not allowed to go to.  Here is a picture of my credential from the meet here in Poland:

As you can see, under the Trener/Coach designation in the top right corner are the numbers 1 and 5.  Those numbers state where we are allowed to go:

1 = VIP area
5 = Warm-up area

We are not allowed into the competition area or the track.  This is common at track meets, unlike most other sports.  In track, coaches have to essentially coach from the stands.  The event your athlete is competing in, and where that event is in the venue, can really affect how that interaction goes.  Sometimes, the event takes place very close to the stands.  Sometimes you have to yell across all 8 lanes of the track.  This can get a little crazy when races are taking place, especially if you're in a big stadium with thousands of people who are yelling and screaming.

I'll try to post some pictures of the facility after we go this afternoon.