Phillips rises to occasion, honors Owens with world long jump gold
Throughout the week, the organizers paid tribute to
The wonderful idea for the recognition came from
Before the event, Kai Long spoke movingly about the friendship his father shared with a sports legend that many people in his country and during his time had expected him to hate. "I think it is not a question of race, of black and white," Long said. "It's about the spirit of the amateur athletes, the action of the clean amateurs. I was told it was absolutely that in amateur sports to help each other."
Nobody felt the spirit of Owens more than
In fact, Phillips won the competition with his first two jumps. He took the lead in round one with a leap of 8.40 meters and then extended it on his next attempt, 8.54. South Africa's
The medal had a double meaning for Phillips, who won the Olympics in 2004 and world titles in 2003 and 2005, but finished fourth at the Olympic trials last year and was horribly out of shape by last winter. "That was an extremely low point for me," said Phillips "I had been injured seven weeks prior to the meet. I thought it would be hard for me to make the Olympic team, but I also thought I was Superman and three men couldn't beat me."
In the following months, Phillips got a degree in broadcast communications, but fell horribly out of shape, ballooning by 26 pounds to 198, the heaviest of his life. His new coach,
"All this week I've been thinking of my weight," Phillips said. "I've been pretty obsessed with it . . .They had written the obit. The undertaker had taken out my organs and I was dead. Today I was able to rise."
We've seen this car wreck before. The last time was actually . . . last night. The U.S. 4x100-meter relay team was disqualified again. On Friday night it was the men. On Saturday it was the women. It is a pattern of self-infliction that has been going on for the past two decades.
This was one night after the U.S. men's 4x100-meter relay team was disqualified for a highly unusual illegal pass before the designated passing zone. When teams don't pass the baton correctly, they usually stumble and fumble and finally make the exchange once they have run past the allowable zone. The U.S. men also messed up the baton pass during the heats at the Beijing Olympics and have now suffered disqualification in six of the last 16 world and Olympic competitions.
After the women's race,
Fitzgerald-Mosley said she spoke to Lee as she was receiving medical attention and that Lee told her, "We should have had a few more steps -- in other words give the receiving runner a little more time to get up to maximum speed so they're not crowded in the zone."
U.S. relay teams have often been criticized for not getting in enough practice time before major competitions, but Anderson pointed out that she had passed the baton to Lee at least a dozen times over the past month.
USATF informed the athletes whether they would be in the relay pool on July 6. At a subsequent meet in Cottbus, Germany, the U.S. men ran a strong 37.85. The women ran a solid 41.58, with
Perhaps the most telling thing we learned from Mosley was that a lack of a unified approach and understanding still existed as to how the runners were going to pass the baton around the track. "Clinics would be helpful," she said. "We have to develop a [unified] philosophy. Is it a silent pass or do we yell 'stick?'" Without elaborating, Fitzgerald--Mosley said, "there was a level of confusion, even last night" when speaking of the men's relay.
Later in the evening, the Jamaican team of