Daily Archives: December 9, 2010

Terrence Trammell and the Elusive Gold Medal

People say that one doesn’t win the silver, he/she loses the gold. The Celebrate Humanity ad featuring Robin Williams debunks the aforesaid statement with a weightlifter jumping wild with joy at winning an Olympic silver medal. For mortals like myself who can only dream of competing in the Olympics, a silver medal in the quadrennial games is a pipe dream.

But when one is among the elite of sports, would multiple silver medals be more of a curse?

Terrence Trammell is an athlete with an extensive collection of silverware. As a 22-year old collegiate champion, he won the first of his Olympic sprint hurdling  silvers in 2000, behind the Cuban Anier Garcia. 4 years later in Athens, Trammell again fell short of the gold, this time against Liu Xiang 刘翔. In Trammell’s third Olympic Games in Beijing, the veteran failed to advance to the final because of a hamstring injury.

The University of South Carolina graduate replicated his streak of silver medals in the three editions of the IAAF World Championships as well, finishing 1st-runner up in 2003, 2007 and 2009.  Trammell was edged out by a fast-finishing Liu Xiang in Osaka 2007 by two-hundredths of a second. Despite stopping the clock at 12.99s, the top spot remained elusive.

2009 should have been Trammell’s year to win that elusive major outdoor crown, with Liu Xiang and  Dayron Robles out with injuries. But Ryan Brathwaithe of the Bahamas played the role of spoilsport.
Trammell had won a total of six silver medals in three Olympic Games and three World Outdoor Championships.

Being a near-10 seconds flat 100m sprinter, Trammell has had more success in the shorter 60m hurdle indoor race. During the 2006 Moscow World Indoor Championships, the American notched a unique Gold-Bronze combination in the 60m hurdles and the 60m dash, respectively, winning his 2nd indoor hurdling title. Aside from Harrison Dillard and  Gail Devers, no other track athlete had as much success as Trammell in both the hurdles and the sprints.

Read “Harrison Dillard: The Man Who Won the Wrong Event”

According to the legendary Renaldo Nehemiah, having too much speed in the sprint hurdles causes “crowding out.” Without lightning fast reflexes that can cope with near 10-second speeds, a sprint hurdler’s sprinting prowess becomes a curse. Trammell’s inability to land an outdoor crown can be attributed to his prolific sprinting talent. Despite leading in the first few hurdles, Trammell almost always seem to fade at the latter parts – especially when pitted against excellent finishers like Liu Xiang.

Although not in the same caliber as Liu and Colin Jackson, the American has a  fine hurdling technique reminiscent of his former training partner, Allen Johnson. The former NCAA champion Trammell, with his (1) aggressive style, (2) slightly elevated lead arm carriage, and (3) slightly flailing trail arm, tends to hit hurdles. When pitted against accomplished hurdling technicians like Liu, these little things spell the difference between victory and defeat.

With the emergence of David Oliver as the pre-eminent American hurdler and Liu’s and Dayron Robles’ recovery from injury, 2011 seems like another exciting year for the sprint hurdles.

Do not count out the 33-year veteran just yet. Trammell, with his monstrous flat out speed, might just surprise the top dogs.

Second Wind (7 December 2010)

Last Tuesday’s training session started slow. Too slow, in fact, that I almost grew frustrated. When I got to Ultra at around 6pm, the stadium was barely lit. I had to set-up the hurdles in reverse, to take full advantage of lighting. I must admit that the darkened track somehow affected my hurdling. Also, I wasn’t used to sprinting in the opposite the direction.

I kept on floating over the hurdles. I couldn’t seem to go full speed considering the circumstances. Everything changed for the better once the stadium lights were turned on, thanks to the Ultimate folks. My heartfelt thanks to those disc-throwing men and women for being bright beacons (quite literally)!

I felt so pumped up with the track basking in the floodlights. I always loved training at night. In a sense, this is the closest I’ll ever get to the feeling of competing at night. Back in college, I imagined myself competing in the SEA Games (or even the Olympics!) final. The floodlights seem to accentuate the expanse of the stadium, no matter how small the Ultra track is. I can almost imagine the cheers of the thousands of fans – the electricity of the competition.

Read “Tuesday Night Lights”

The sudden change in ambiance lifted my game. At the final rep of the workout, I finally found the optimal speed. I burst out of the non-existent starting block like a maniac, aggressively clearing the first hurdle. I had no problems transitioning into the quick three-stride pattern, in light of my faster-than-usual start. Everything felt so smooth and easy as I cleared all four hurdles with much vigor. And boy did I fell fast! I dove to the imaginary finish line ala Colin Jackson.

As I slowed down, I clenched my right palm into a fist. I wanted to scream out loud and scream to the high heavens “great workout!” Thankfully, I was prudent enough not to do so.

It was the best hurdle training session I had in months.

Track workout

Hurdle walk-overs

Five step hurdle clearances

2x40m sprint starts

3×1 hurdle starts

2×2 hurdle starts

3×3 hurdles, 3×4 hurdles

3x70m sprints

Reposting: An Official Statement from the Azkals

I missed the Philippines – Burma game last night. With host country Vietnam beating Singapore, 1-0, the Azkals earned a spot in the supposed home-and-away semis with their scoreless draw against the Burmese. But then again, there shan’t be a “home” game for the erstwhile whipping boys of Southeast Asian football. According to the AFF, the Philippines “will not be able to play a leg of their semi-final or subsequent final at a home venue due to no available stadia in the country meeting the requirements for the AFF Suzuki Cup.”

According to a tweet by Inquirer sports scribe Cedelf Tupas, “the AFF wants a stadium with a minimum capacity of 30,000” – the Panaad Stadium in Negros Occidental only seats 20,000.

The Azkals express their thoughts in an official statement (originally posted in Rick Olivares’ Bleachers Brew).

An Official Statement from the Philippine Men’s National Football Team

Mabuhay!

The Philippine National Men’s Football Team would like to offer to every Filipino this great triumph achieved in the football fields of Vietnam.

In the 14-history of the Suzuki Cup, the Philippines only qualified twice in the biennial competition that is at once the most prestigious tournament in the Asean region.

To get through the final rounds competition in Vietnam, we played three qualifying matches Laos where we finished second to the host country to advance to Vietnam.

And for the first time, we have advanced to the semifinals where the Philippines will play Indonesia in a home and away series where the winner, determined through the aggregate goal score, will play for the championship.

As we drew 1-1 with mighty Singapore and beat the defending champions Vietnam on their home turf 2-nil with 40,000 people in the stands cheering them on, we got word of how you, our fellow Filipinos watched us, cheered us, and sent us messages of support.

Believe us when we say that it was fantastic to hear and see all of that considering how the sport has largely gone unnoticed back home. We hope that this will be the start of football taking its rightful place as a premier sport In the Philippines.

As we drew Myanmar in a scoreless affair that saw us finish second to Vietnam in our Group, we received word that the Asean Football Federation has deemed that our homefield of Panaad, Bacolod to not be up to the requirements of the AFF Suzuki Cup after consultations with PFF President Jose Mari Martinez and therefore our hard-fought “home game” will be played either in a neutral venue or at the homefield of the other semis winner.

We deplore this decision that was arrived at without consulting the national team management team or even having the facilities inspected. We believe that this is an opportunity to provide Filipinos with a chance to watch some world-class football action that will inspire our countrymen to take up the sport and break new ground for the Philippines.

Just as you were all on our side when we were playing in Vietnam, we ask that every Filipino and football fan out there to express this indignation with regard to this decision in every venue, fora, or media so that we may treat the country to Azkals football. We implore you to express yourself on twitter, facebook, messenger, and everywhere else.

After all, the home field game is rightfully ours.

The Philippine National Men’s Football Team

Team Manager – Dan Palami, Head Coach – Simon McMenemy, Assistant Coaches – Edwin Cabalida, Edzel Bracamonte, Roland Piñero, Trainers — Wally Javier and Josef Malinay, Media Officer – Rick Olivares, and the players — Ian Araneta, Jerry Barbaso, Yanti Barsales, David Mark Basa, Joebel Bermejo, Alexander Borromeo, Emelio Caligdong, Christopher Camcam, Jason de Jong, Anton del Rosario, Neil Etheridge, Mark Ferrer, Roel Gener, Robert Gier, Christopher Greatwich, Peter Jaugan, Ray Jonsson, Nestor Margarse, Reymark Palmes, Kristopher Relucio, Eduard Sacapaño, James Younghusband, and Philip Younghusband.

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