Tokyo Olympics

No doubt interest here would be mainly in the T&F Athletics events, but really any discipline or event is fair game as there will be cool, amazing, and unexpected performances and outcomes over the next couple weeks to motivate and inspire us all!

I love volleyball and have been keeping tabs on men's and women's, indoor and beach. My wife loves the gymnastics so I've been under orders to witness the greatness of Simone Biles, her teammates, and competitors. Softball and soccer have been fun to watch, too.

Specific to running, local guy and ex-Buff Joe Klecker is in Tokyo now and posted his first run on the warm-up track in the Olympic Village to Strava (with pics) from there yesterday:

Another local, Jake Riley, is still stateside and posted what is probably his last long run of his build-up yesterday on one of my old favorite routes:
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Running is obviously all relative but I always crack up when elites bust out a 35 minute 6 miler (5:50 pace) and post it as an "easy run in the village".

As team sports go, soccer is always a favorite of mine and I have loved to see the growth of international competition in baseball and basketball over the years. Apart from that, racing sports always draw my interest. Road cycling makes for compelling viewing and I was surprised how interesting track cycling can be (pursuit is such a cool competition format). Then there is the triathlon, whose competitors are just unreal in terms of athleticism.
Right, Klecker could pace a lot of people to a 10K PR on his easy run, but then that is about a minute per mile slower than his race pace. :cool:

My favorite story from the Games so far:
Such a good quote:
I started to realise that all those people who say they know, they actually don’t know. Many of them don’t know, and especially those who say that they know, don’t know, because those who do know say that they don’t know.
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In an interesting twist, yesterday Japan's medal contender in the men's marathon, Osako Suguru announced his retirement... to come at the finish line in Sapporo:
Really nicely done video, with footage of his recent altitude block in Flagstaff.
Anything can happen in the marathon, especially when the conditions play a larger part. It would be wild to see Suguru presented with a medal during the closing ceremonies on his home turf. Whatever happens, I think it is going to be a fantastic race this year.
Plenty of exciting action happening still. It was interesting to see the US men's volleyball eliminated by Argentina and US women's soccer relegated to the bronze medal match by Canada. It's been a few packed days of track yet I'm still most looking forward to the marathons next weekend. A bit less polished than the Nike video above, here's Jake Riley's final tempo prior to leaving town:

And Molly Seidel getting sharp:
Sweat Elite is putting out a lot of great content (workout videos + podcasts) over the past month, running fans will definitely want to check it out.
Probably no surprise, those were both outstanding marathon races! They played out like masterclasses in marathon racing.

Kipchoge further cemented his GOAT status by employing similar tactics (a hard 5K at 30K) to his Rio win to run clear of the field for gold. Nice comeback from his letdown in London last year. The chase pack battle for silver and bronze was also good! Gotta feel for Osako (it was perturbing to hear Kara Goucher and the other commentator refer to him as "Osaka" multiple times) in his swan song. He ran the fastest ever Japanese mark in the Olympic marathon, with his trademark late race side stitch he went a minute faster than he ran for 3rd at the MGC Race in remarkably similar conditions.

Jepchirchir separated from WR holder Kosgei late to win the women's race. The homer in me loved seeing Molly Seidel battle for her bronze!

I have run a couple of warm weather marathons, one was 68 and breezy at the start and turned into a really rough day and the other was 50s at the start and warmed to the 70s by the finish under clear skies. My trick hamstring was affected to my detriment in those races, yet humidity was relatively low and I didn't feel too poorly otherwise. The conditions in Sapporo looked absolutely brutal, with high humidity on top of the warm temperatures. Having run in Japan a few summers ago -- basically just surviving 3-5 mile morning jogs -- it is a wonder to me that so many ran well or finished these races. Here's just one report of one of the men's finishers, I'm certain there were many similar stories in both races: Marathon Head Coach Kawano Reports Hattori Had >40˚C Skin Temperature Post-Race, Symptoms of Heat Stroke

I kept having flashbacks to this footage from Tokyo '64:

Also, the men's 1500m final was stellar, with a bit of a surprise (young) winner in OR time:
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You nailed it, not much to add other than agreeing that neither of the two marathons disappointed.

I think running a marathon, under any conditions, really puts the effort of an Olympian into perspective. I believe Kipchoge's winning time comes out to about 4:54 per mile, despite the conditions. Most of the marathons I've run have been favorable (55F or lower) but I ran Chicago 2017, which was lingered in the low 70s for much of the race. What the field accomplished at Tokyo is Herculean so far as I am concerned. It really is a testament to how long these athletes can redline their engines...

I was sad to see that the "major" story coming out of the men's race was that of the Frenchman knocking over water at one of the aid stations. I recently ran a marathon that was self-service and I can vouch for the fact that it is very difficult to grab a cup off a table at even a more pedestrian pace of 7/mile. In my case, that was often without any other runners around me. Did it look bad? Yes. But, I 100% believe him when he says that it was accidental, especially when the conditions are taken into consideration.