Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The New “Medal” Watch List

Allyson Felix of the U.S. celebrates after winning the women's 400m race during the London Grand Prix Diamond League athletics tournament at Crystal Palace in London August 14, 2010. REUTERS/Paul Hackett (UNITED KINGDOM - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS)

At the beginning of his short reign as CEO of USATF, Doug Logan set 30 medals as a goal for the US squad at the 2012 London Olympics. That bit of goal setting was the impetus for the creation of my “Thirty Watch List” – to  monitor our progress towards that goal.

With Logan’s departure as CEO, I’ve asked myself if I should continue with this list. And after much consideration I’ve decided that keeping track of our progress towards earning medals is indeed a worthwhile endeavor. As part of any good plan involves some sort of monitoring progress towards the stated goals. With Logan gone, however, I’m not sure if USATF as a body, or whomever becomes his replacement, will continue with the number “30” as the goal.

To make the list relevant regardless of the goal, this current incarnation has been renamed the “Medal Watch List”. Since in essence that is what is being monitored – our progress towards earning medals in Majors.

So with the 2010 season now closed and athletes beginning preparations for 2011, here is how I see our medal hopes for Daegu:


The Medal Watch List

  Athlete Event
1. Tyson Gay 100 Meters
2. Carmelita Jeter 100 Meters
3. Tyson Gay 200 Meters
4. Wallace Spearmon 200 Meters
5. Allyson Felix 200 Meters
6. Jeremy Wariner 400 Meters
7. Lashawn Merritt 400 Meters
8. Sanya Richards 400 Meters
9. Allyson Felix 400 Meters
10. Anna Pierce 800 Meters
11. Andrew Wheating 1500 Meters
12. Rowbury / Barringer 1500 Meters
13. Bernard Lagat 5000 Meters
14. David Oliver 110 Hurdles
15. Terrence Trammell 110 Hurdles
16. Bershawn Jackson 400 Hurdles
17. Lashinda Demus 400 Hurdles
18. Lolo Jones 100 Hurdles
19. 4x1 Men Relay
20. 4x1 Women Relay
21. 4x4 Men Relay
22. 4x4 Women Relay
23. Dwight Phillips Long Jump
24. Brittney Reese Long Jump
25. Chaunte Howard Lowe High Jump
26. Jennifer Suhr Pole Vault
27. Derek Miles Pole Vault
28. Kara Patterson Javelin
29. Christian Cantwell Shot Put
30. Hoffa / Whiting Shot Put
31. Bryan Clay Decathlon
32. Ashton Eaton Decathlon
33. Hyleas Fountain Heptathlon

Yes I know, I'm a tad past that magical 30 medal mark. I figured that since we're in between seasons and no one is actually competing I would take a few liberties.

For example, in the middle distances Anna Pierce, Andrew Wheating, Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Barringer have what it takes to medal. And with a touch improvement "could" score in those events. So I'm going out on a limb with this foursome.

Similarly in the field events I'm thinking that Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting and Derek Miles have the goods if they just get it right on the right day. So I'm stepping out there on that limb with them as well.

Allyson Felix has proven that she can double effectively over the season. So I'm betting that she attempts the double in Daegu and medals in both. I'm also betting that Sanya Richards and Terrence Trammell come back healthy and that both Bernard Lagat and Dwight Phillips keep defying age.

So basically this version of the list is an "if everything goes perfectly" list of medal possibilities. It's also my way of saying that 30 medals IS possible. Things have to go just right. Injuries have to be avoided. Athletes have to be motivated and focused. And everyone from coaches, trainers, and physios, to the athletes and management of the sport have to come to the table in 2011 with their game faces on.

We have the athletes and the potential to do something extraordinary. Let's see if we can do it.


  1. Very interesting..and also very ambitious.Well I would say 25 medals is more realistic. I dont see the USA coming away with medals for the 800m-500om. Lagat is not that competitive anymore. Javelin and Pole vault no way. I also have an asterick beside Lolo and Demus. They both suffer from Asafa Powell syndrome. Even Spearman will have to step is game up.The others are reasonable medal hopefuls.

  2. Note that I said "if everything goes perfectly" .. So yes, very ambitious … But as I said I decided to take a bit of liberty with no one competing …

    Having said that, I do think that they all have some possibility … Our female middle distance runners have gotten to the point of being in breathing distance … If someone like Pierce or Barringer or Rowbury can get on a roll it's possible … And note that Rowbury did take bronze in Berlin …

    If the pace goes tactical Lagat will medal - and in Majors the pace typically goes tactical … And Wheating .. That kid has the most potential I've seen in a very long time … Not just physically like Steve Scott or Alan Webb, but he knows how to RACE like Jim Spivey …

    I am ready to say that Patterson will medal in the javelin … She has gotten very consistent and she is very competitive … Just needs to adjust her peak next year … Pole vault for men and women are possible, matter of things going right … But not as solid as Patterson … Though Suhr could be if completely healthy …

    Lolo and Demus I agree … Both seem to have an aversion to success … Should medal, but just as easily may not … Spearmon, if healthy as he appeared this year will be hell to keep off the podium … Only Bolt and Gay are truly better, and he has the potential to be in that range … Injuries have held him back …

    Having said all that, I think 30 is possible, but 25 to 27 is realistic …

  3. My view on why america middle and distance running will never cath up with ( especially the East Africans) is the lack of historical success in this event and the drive and hunger is not there. Too many times in america as soon as a youngster shows some promise they are way too over-hyped and by the time you turn around he or she has gone pro along with a generous shoe contract without proving zilch!Alan Web and Galen Rupp comes to mind. Nike state of the art long distance training facility in Oregon will only make marginal difference. Another thing some of these youngster cannot get pass the mystical aura of Pre-fontaine in the USA. Pre was a averge success if I might say.