*WARNING - SPOILER ALERT
Beijing. China. Olympics. 2008. The Super Bowl of running on the world's biggest stage took place. The Americans? They were poised to compete with the best thanks to the emergence of one Ryan Hall (along with Ritz and Sell). The result?
Seriously though, a great win (first gold for a Kenyan?!) by Samuel Wanjiru. A new Olympic Marathon record on a tough day (heat + humidity). Very impressed by how he kept his foot on the gas from start to finish.
Hall? 10th - a place behind Dathan Ritzenheim who ran a fantastic race (by his standards). For Ryan? I can't help but say that we expected better results.
He ran too conservative a race, possibly respecting the conditions a little too much when guys like Wanjiru and fellow Kenyan Martin Lel took off almost from the gun. Sure, one by one guys started dropping off...but it seemed like he was trying to eek into medal contention instead of actually trying to win. At the Flora London Marathon a few months ago, boy...he did his best to hang with the boys all the way through. And he nearly did. Just didn't happen this time.
Oh well. Still proud of my boys. US distance running will be in good shape for a few more years since guys like Hall and Ritz are still in their early to mid-twenties. But someone like Hall with the god-given talent that he possesses needs to do more to be the best. And although it happened on the world's biggest stage, I think he learned his lesson. As an elite runner you have to respect the course, respect the conditions...but respect your competitors even more.