Crazy USTF Indoor

Women’s 3,000: Gabe Grunewald Blows Away The Field Over The Last Lap And Wins Her First US National Championship – Or Does She? – Status Of Alberto Salazar’s DQ Protest Still Unknown

Sara Vaughn Speaks on Indoor Championship's Athlete Atmosphere, 3000m controversy, by Jon Gugala

By Larry Eder on February 23, 2014 8:50 AM| 0 Comments
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The women's 3,000 meters, Saturday, February 22, 2014, photo byPhotoRun.net

This is our morning feature by Jon Gugala on the continuing story of the women's 3,000 meters. Jon's focus on this piece is with Sara Vaugh, who placed third in the original 3,000 meters. 

Sara Vaughn Speaks on Indoor Championships Athlete Atmosphere, 3000m Controversy


by Jon Gugala


Just after her third-place finish in the women's 3,000-meters final at the 2014 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Sara Vaughn was preparing to leave the track for her warm-down when USATF officials instructed her not to leave because she "might be affected" by the petition going on. It was at this time, Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker says, that Alberto Salazar had filed a petition for the disqualification of Gabe Grunewald, the winner of the race, for interference. 


So Vaughn stayed. Ten to 15 minutes later, she says, USATF officials told her the Salazar petition wasn't going to go through and that it was OK for her to leave the track because nothing was going to change. 


"That's the last I heard of it," she says, "until, of course, Twitter blew up last night."


In events that they have not yet commented on, USATF overturned its previous ruling, disqualifying Grunewald, and then judging against her favor in two subsequent appeals. Barker and Grunewald's agent have vowed to file a section nine arbitration petition to USATF on Monday if she is not reinstated. 


Vaughn says since the news broke of Grunewald's disqualification, she has texted with Grunewald to say that her thoughts are with her, and asking Grunewald to let her know what she could do to help. "[Grunewald's] obviously very upset [and] kind of feels like there's not much she or anyone can do," she says. 


As far as the national team selection, Vaughn says that when USATF officials came up to her and told her to stay in the area pending the initial appeal by Salazar, Vaughn told them she didn't have the IAAF World Indoor Championships standard. USATF officials then looked at the results list, and said, "Oh, well then it would be Jordan [Hasay, fourth in initial results]. Let's go find her and get her through team processing."


Vaughn says she doesn't know if Hasay actually went through team processing or not.


At the time of this writing (8:45 a.m. MST on Sunday), Vaughn has still not been contacted by USATF officials since their initial request she stay at the track before her warm-down, and she remains in possession of her third-place medal, which would be upgraded to runner-up if the disqualification of winner Gabe Grunewald stands. 


USATF has not released the official results, but the official timing company lists Grunewald as a "DQ" in the unofficial results, with Rowbury, initially runner-up, credited with the win (http://branchsportstech.com/2014_Meets/indoor/02-21-USATF/Result-Track.php?EN=6&RN=1&ST=Pending&D=2). Grunewald's coach Dennis Barker and agent Paul Doyle both confirmed on Saturday evening that Grunewald had been disqualified. 


USATF has not returned multiple requests for a statement.


"If everything is confirmed, I'll have a medal swap," Vaughn says. "But I'm not going to make an effort to go clear that up. [USATF] can come find me if they need to."


Vaughn says the atmosphere among the athletes in Albuquerque is hushed. "Beyond the people who are brave enough to tweet something, I don't know," she says, but assumes that many will voice their opinions later today at the track. 


"A lot of people are in a position of wanting to just focus on their races today," she says. "It's kind of a tough spot to be in when even if you might feel one way about Gabe's race and her result, you came here to race."


When asked if some of the hushed tones are because of the threat of USATF retaliation, she says, "I don't know if I would call it intimidation, but there's definitely hesitation. You have to think how stirring things up might you affect you getting into a future race or a future sponsorship deal."


I spoke with one prominent athlete on Saturday evening off the record, and he said the same, saying he can't be as vocal as he'd like until after his final today for fear of retaliation by USATF.




Albuquerque, NM - What a race. The women’s 3,000m at the 2014 US Indoor Track and Field Championships was so good that it’s actually a race that is still going on as we approach midnight. 

On the track, after a tactical beginning, cancer survivor and 4:01 1,500 runnerGabe Grunewald flew by Nike Oregon Project teammates Jordan Hasay andShannon Rowbury on the last lap to get a dominant victory – her first US title – in 9:23.15. Rowbury ended up a well-beaten second in 9:25.49 as no one could match Grunewald’s 30.67 final lap. Hasay ended up fourth in 9:27:40 as she was passed late by Sara Vaughn (9:26.46).

But surely given the dominant margin of victory, no protest would be filed right? Wrong.

Surely, the protest by Hasay’s coach Alberto Salazar wouldn’t be upheld? Well, we’re not sure.

Yes, that’s right – we’re not sure. Yet again, in a scene reminiscent of Felix-Tarmoh, USATF has managed to find a way to have the status of a high profile race be in doubt hours after the fact. (editor’s note: USATF eventually dq’d Grunewald, then a couple days later reinstated her. See here)

Anderson_GabrielleFHH-USind14

Gabriele Grunewald Wins It (click for photo gallery)

Jon Gugala has reported that Salazar’s protest was initially denied and his appeal was denied. But then, in what Gugala says might be a violation of USATF rules, there was an appeal of his appeal. Gugala claims this has been accepted and Grunewald has been DQed. You can read Gugala’s piece on RunBlogRun: A Rudderless Ship: USATF Overrules Itself, Disqualifies Gabe Grunewald by Jon Gugala (he had an earlier article about it here).

The official results website still lists the race as “Pending” and says a decision will come Sunday.

Grunewald, herself, at first acted like she was DQed as she tweeted around 10 pm Albuquerque time,”God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I will FIGHT the #USATFCorruption.” But since then, just before midnight she tweeted, “Sincere thank you to everyone for the support today — I’m not sure what the outcome will be but I hope we can spark some @usatf changes.”

So, it sounds like a fourth appeal will be decided upon on Sunday morning so keep coming back and you’ll eventually find out who won this race. We’ll recap what happened on the track below.

Editor’s update on 2/23: Unbelievably, USATF has DQed Grunewald.

USATF won’t speak to anyone, but their website says, “Several protests were filed in relation to the women’s 3,000m final. After two reviews, including enhanced video evidence, Gabe Grunewald was disqualified by the Jury of Appeals for clipping and impeding the stride of Jordan Hasay.”

The 3k That Was Really A 600 (And Then A Lobbying Match)

The race was for the most part on the track exactly the kind of race you’d expect when at altitude and in a championship setting – slow and tactical.

It started at close to marathon pace, but in the end you would have needed to close in close to 30 seconds flat for the last 200m to win as that’s about Gabe Grunewald did, running her last lap in 30.65 and last 400 in 62.69 to get a dominating victory over Shannon Rowbury, Sarah Vaughn and Jordan Hasay.

The race started out at a jog with Jordan Hasay leading the first 300m or so before Boulder Track Club’s Laura Thweatt took over the pacing duties and took the field through 400m in 84 seconds and 800 in 2:48. To put that in perspective, that’s on pace for a 2:27:40 marathon, which wouldn’t even put you within 10 minutes of the women’s WR. Thweatt would continue leading at a relatively slow pace (running mostly 36-37 per 200) taking the field through the mile in 5:18 and the 2K in 6:32. It was at this point that the 3-favorites in Hasay, Grunewald and Rowbury really positioned themselves as they all sat in positions 3-5.

However, Thweatt continued to lead and it wouldn’t be until a full 2 laps later, just after 600m to go, that the field behind her would start making moves. At this point, Rowbury and Hasay made a move to finally pass Thweatt, but Sarah Vaughn beat them to it, making a big surge to take the lead with 500 to go and running a 33.67 for that lap. Vaughn’s lead would be short-lived, however, as with just under 2 laps to go, Rowbury, Hasay and then Grunewald all blew by her and started the drive for home.

At the bell, Rowbury had a small gap on Hasay with Grunewald right on Hasay’s heels. On the first turn, Grunewald made contact with Hasay when she tried to pass her, which let Rowbury open up a larger gap on the backstretch, but it wouldn’t matter as Grunewald just blew it open, taking huge strides, blowing by Rowbury and putting more than 2 seconds on her in the last 80m.

Grunewald closed in 30.67 to win in 9:23.15 to Rowbury’s 9:25.49. Hasay, as has been the case in all of her big races in 2014, would struggle over the last lap, only closing in 35.11 and getting passed by Vaughn in the final meters as the two took spots 3 and 4.

Quick takes, results, an interview with Rowbury and the screen shots from the race appear below. Click on the photos to get a larger version.

Note: The quick takes were written when we thought Grunewald was the winner.

Quick Take #1: A great victory for Grunewald. Four years ago, she ran her first USA championships here in Albuquerque. She still had outdoor eligibility left and came into USAs as a 4:40+ miler (her 1,500 PR was 4:22). She lost a shoe and left with a 10th place finish. Four years later, the cancer survivor is 4:01 1,500 runner and US champion.

On the NBCSN telecast, Grunewald was pumped to have won, “It’s been a long journey for me,” said Grunewald after the race on NBCSN. “I did expect it for it to be a furious finish and i just tried to be patient.”

“I couldn’t be happier to be a US champion. I hope I inspire people – that’s why I run.”

Note: After the race we tried to get an interview with Gruenwald, but she didn’t want to give one officially at that point yet as she had been informed of the protest by Alberto Salazar and was waiting to see if she’d be DQed. (More on this below.)

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Grunewald and Hasay made contact on the last lap. Click for larger image.

Quick Take #2: There was contact between Grunewald and Hasay on the first turn of the lat lap (see photo to the right). Grunewald also may have bumped Rowbury just before the last turn. Given the large margin of victory, we’re happy that she wasn’t DQed (Editor’s note: or was she?). MB: Employee 1.1 just texted to say Salazar is trying to get Grunewald DQed

Quick Take #3: We’re sure Hasay is disappointed not to be going to Worlds but she’s had a great indoor season – with PRs at the 800, mile and 3k/2mile. Her Achilles heel was her last 400 was not good at all and that cost her here tonight. Losing to two runners that you beat by 16+ seconds (Rowbury) and 19+ (Grunewald) in a 2-mile two weeks ago isn’t fun, but outkicking 4:00 and 4:01 runners isn’t easy.

Right now, Hasay is like Galen Rupp was a few years ago. Pretty good but with no wheels. Rupp’s work with Salazar has given him wheels – will it work for Hasay?

Quick Take #4: After the race we spoke with Shannon Rowbury, who talked about her race and season. She’s been dealing with coming back from a bursitis issue, so for a long time wasn’t confident about this race, but started feeling better in the days before so thought she could get top 2. She said it’s been an adjustment getting used to being in Alberto Salazar’s Oregon Project, but the biggest benefit is having training partners, an on-site coach, separate strength and conditioning coach, and all the extensive resources of the Nike training base in Portland.

In regards to her own contact with Grunewald in the last lap, Rowbury blew it off and saying, “Gabe has a tendency to be … she just has a big arm swing. So there were a few times I had to try to protect myself and defend myself, but nothing that I felt was throwing me off my game that much. And in the early stages there were so many people so closely packed you know there’s going to be arms and legs all over.”

Quick Take #5: We’ve embedded the video of the alleged foul. Decide for yourself: Video Of Controversial DQ Of Gabriele Grunewald In Women’s 3,000m

*Lap by lap splits can be found here.



Alberto Salazar to Gabe Grunewald’s Husband: “Get the f— out of my face”; Grunewald to Salazar, “She’s had cancer twice. This is bullshit. How do you sleep at night? You’ve got a defibrillator in your chest.”

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2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

by Jon Gugala
February 23, 2014 (published on LRC 3:53 am central 2/24)

Editor’s note: LetsRun.com was initially offered this piece by Jon Gugala but turned it down because we felt it was gratuitous and would put the focus on Alberto Salazar and not the injustice of the DQ in the 3000m and in our belief, USATF not following its own rules. After RunBlogRun which had been carrying many of Gugala’s pieced turned down the piece and then the Daily Relay published the piece but then took it off its website we decided to publish it, People already saw it when it was up on The Daily Relay and it is a great but small example of how people tread very lightly when it comes to Nike because Nike invests a disproportionate amount of the dollars in pro track and field in the US. This piece really is just an aside to our more detailed piece on the DQ here that has much more on the context of these quotes.  As of 10:50 am on 2/24 we are adding the context to this piece and putting Grunewald’s quotes to Salazar in the title so in case someone just reads this piece on their own via social media they will have the fuller context. We encourage you to read our longer article here.

Justin Grunewald, husband of disqualified 3000m champion Gabe Grunewald, says he and coach Alberto Salazar, who filed the protest to get Gabe disqualified in the 3k, had a confrontation in an elevator that spilled over into the lobby of the host hotel Marriott this morning in Albuquerque.

10:50 am central Editor’s note: Justin Grunewald told LRC that after learning of his wife’s DQ in the 3000m, he lost his composure Saturday night and lashed out at Alberto Salazar at the meet and screamed at Salazar, “She’s had cancer twice. This is bullshit. How do you sleep at night? You’ve got a defibrillator in your chest.” (Grunewald is a two-time cancer survivor and Salazar is a heart attack survivor who survived 14 minutes without a pulse). This elevator incident took place the next morning.

The meeting in the elevator wasn’t planned, but Grunewald says he hopped on the elevator and the Nike Oregon Project coach just so happened to be there.

Grunewald says he immediately recognized Salazar. “I looked at him, and then he looked up, and I kept looking at him, and then he said, ‘Who the hell are you?’” Grunewald says.

The elevator stopped, and Grunewald says he said to Salazar, “If you push me hard enough, I’m going to break.”

Salazar reportedly dismissed the comment, and then Grunewald says Salazar called him a “nobody.”

“I said, ‘I’m Justin Grunewald. I’m going to be a doctor, and I have a good life,’” Grunewald says.

Grunewald then says Salazar said, “Oh, I know who the f— you are. Get the f— out of my face.” Update: Alberto Salazar’s son Alex has written us, disputing Alberto said, “I know who the f— you are. Get the f— out of my face”. Full email two pargraphs below.

Drew Wartenburg, director of track and field and cross country at UC Davis and the coach of several post-collegiate athletes, was within earshot in the lobby. Though Wartenburg says he cannot confirm was Salazar said, he does confirm he saw Salazar and Grunewald talking.

Grunewald then left for a coffee shop to study, and he says Salazar headed to the other side of the lobby, toward the area of the meet shuttle.

Salazar has not returned a request for comment on the incident.

Update: 2/24 12:05 pm central Alberto Salazar’s son Alex has written us. His email is below.

“I’m not going to comment on the rest of the story as there will be a time for that.

I do want to clear up this “altercation with Justin Grunewald.  Below is your story that you released this morning.  You link to the story and quotes from Gugala so you know the whole story yet this is all you choose to write? Why? Because it makes Alberto come across as this crazy guy which only helps your story?

Put yourself in Albertos shoes.  This guy screams something in his face on Saturday night about his defibrillator.  Then confronts him in an elevator 12 hours later in a very threatening manner.

Justin: “You can only push me so far before I break”.   Alberto: “Do I know you?”  Justin: “You’re gonna know who I am”  Alberto: “I don’t know who you are” Justin “I’m going to be a doctor, I’m Justin Grunewald”

Alberto never said “I know who the f***you are, get the F*** out of my face”.  On Sunday at the track we had to have him identified so we knew to steer clear of him.  So Alberto still didn’t know who he was on Sunday afternoon, so of course he wouldn’t say “I know who the f*** you are”.  Let’s face it, we have a very unfortunate incident that will be cleared up in the next 48 hours and you have a team of people Grunewald and Dennis Barker doing everything they can to smear Alberto and Nike which helps there story.

I just ask you report the truth, not 2nd and 3rd hand stories that are tweeted and emailed to you by biased parties.

After losing his cool last night with Alberto Salazar, Justin Grunewald in a stroke of pure coincidence ended up in the same elevator as Alberto Salazar on Sunday morning, but this time it was Salazar who lost his cool. Salazar didn’t recognize Justin Grunewald from the night before but did realize that Grunewald was staring at him so Salazar asked him who he was. Grunewald deadpanned, “I’m Justin Grunewald. I’m going to be a doctor, and I have a good life.”

Salazar then responded according to Grunewald, “Oh, I know who the f— you are. Get the f— out of my face.”

 

(The last 2 paragraphs in italics was Alex pasting from the fuller LRC story on this)

 

 

LRC2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014 
Albuquerque, NM

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The Inside Story Of Gabriele Grunewald’s DQ – Insider Access, False Promises And A Violation Of USATF’s Own Rules?

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by LetsRun.com
February 24, 2014

Editor’s note: Jordan Hasay has withdrawn her appeal and Gabriele Grunewald has been reinstated as USATF 3000m champion. The article below is still a must read on a crazy story and process at the USATF national championships.

By now, you know that Gabriele Grunewald has been disqualified after running away from Nike Oregon Project teammates Shannon Rowbury and Jordan Hasay on the last lap of yesterday’s women’s 3,000 at the 2014 USA Indoor Track and Field meet.

Grunewald was the dominant winner on the track but the winner off the track was Nike coach Alberto Salazar, who protested Grunewald’s win and ultimately got her disqualified and now, barring a win by Grunewald in arbitration or the courts, Salazar’s athlete Jordan Hasay, not Grunewald, is going to Worlds.

What you don’t know is how the disqualification went down. We have the inside story and it raises many disturbing questions surrounding insider access and potential violation of USATF rules.

We spoke today with Gabriele Grunewald’s husband Justin as well as her agent Paul Doyle and her coach Dennis Barker of Team USA Minnesota. Here is the inside story of Grunewald’s DQ.

Doyle said that after the race was over, the head referee went over to talk to the official on the turn who had raised his or her flag after Grunewald and Hasay made contact with roughly 180 meters remaining in the race. They talked things over and determined no foul had occurred.

Alberto Salazar (or someone working for him) protested the race result and said his athlete Hasay had been fouled.

How the Grunewald camp learned of the protest is certainly interesting. In industry circles, it’s long been known that Salazar and fellow Nike coach Jerry Schumacher have a frosty relationship to say the least. Their relationship, or lack thereof, reached a new low yesterday when after the men’s 3,000, Salazar was physically restrained during a confrontation with Schumacher.

“Alberto is protesting and he’ll get his way.”

Before that happened, Justin Grunewald revealed to us today that it was Schumacher, whom Grunewald called a “saint,” who tipped the Grunewald camp off about the Salazar appeal and ominously predicated exactly what was about to happen.

“You need to do something ASAP, Alberto is protesting and he’ll get his way,” Justin Grunewald says Schumacher told them after Schumacher saw Salazar file a protest.

Once aware that a protest was going on, Justin Grunewald ran over to the officials tent and asked if he could learn what was being alleged in the protest. He was told he could not. About 20 or 30 minutes later, Justin Grunewald says “a blonde-haired official, in her 50s”came out and told him, “The protest was easily denied. You have nothing to worry about. There was nothing to protest even.”

Alberto Salazar then appealed the referee’s decision to the Jury of Appeals.

For Salazar’s appeal to be successful, he faced a high hurdle according to the USATF rule book. The USATF rules are written much like the rules in the NFL – you are supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to the initial ruling unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Rule 119 4a) says,“The decision of the Referee or the Chief Race Walking Judge shall be upheld unless shown to be clearly erroneous.”

Doyle said three people are on the Jury of Appeals and two of them are Sue Humphrey, who is the chair of USATF’s Women’s Track and Field Committee, and women’s committee member Anne Timmons. He didn’t know who the third person on the Jury of Appeals was. They looked at video evidence from the television broadcast of the race and declined Salazar’s appeal.

“The three-person jury reviewed the video and determined that there was no infraction,” said Doyle.

USATF Says Grunewald Is The Champion – You Can Go Home Now – Oh, Wait, Alberto’s “Sticking His Head” Into The Officials Tent

At this point, Gabriele Grunewald’s representatives were told everything was over – Grunewald was the champion and everyone could go home. That makes sense as according to the USATF rule book, a ruling by the Jury of Appeals is final unless “new conclusive evidence” is presented.

Rule 119 4a) says,“The decision of the Jury of Appeal shall be final. There shall be no further right to appeal. The Jury of Appeal may, however, reconsider decisions if new conclusive evidence is presented. In Youth Athletics, only video designated as official by the Games Committee before the competition may be used.”

Doyle’s employee, Piotrek Buciarski (the CFO of Doyle Management) was told he could leave as Grunewald was in the clear:

Grunewald was smiling why she was on the track

Grunewald was smiling while she was on the track.

“(Piotrek) actually said (to USATF), ‘Can I leave you my phone number in case anything changes and there is any further appeal?’ and they said, ‘No that’s not necessary this is a final decision,’” said Doyle. “He went on about his business but about 20 minutes later, he happened to be walking by the protest area again and saw that Alberto Salazar was talking to the jury and apparently the appeal had been re-opened.”

Barker tells a similar story.

“The appeal was ruled unanimously in our favor twice and they said everything was done. They said there were no more appeals to be done. We were actually leaving the place and as we were leaving I looked over at the curtains where the (jury) was and I saw Alberto sticking his head through the curtains, talking to them. So I went back to the table and I said, ‘So we’re good?’ And they said, ‘Yeah we’re good. There is absolutely no evidence there was a foul based on our findings. It’s done.’”

“But I thought, ‘This doesn’t look good’ as there were a few other Nike people starting to congregate around the curtains. So I decided I’d just hang out for a little while and then all of a sudden one of the Nike guys started writing another appeal and I said “Based on the rule-book, it says no other appeals can be made (once the Jury of Appeals rules). The decision is final unless there is new evidence. But they said, ‘Well there is new evidence.’”

The Smoking Gun? Eagle Eye Admits There Was No New Video Evidence

This is where it gets interesting.

Both Doyle and Barker say that the people who work for Eagle Eye, those in charge of instant replay, said no new evidence was presented. As Barker explained:

“So I went over the Eagle Eye guys and said, ‘Has new evidence been uncovered?’

A couple of the Eagle Eye guys said to me directly. ‘No. We just replayed the exact same footage that we had. There was no new footage – nothing new at all.’ As soon as they said that, some (USATF) official came over and talked to them and then they weren’t allowed to talk to us anymore.”

Doyle says Piotrek Buciarski’s experience was similar:

“The supervisor from Eagle Eye heard him (Piotrek) talking to the technicians and told them not to answer any questions. (The supervisor) then went over and spoke to a member of the jury and came back and told Piotrek that they can’t confirm or deny anything and they aren’t going to answer any questions.”

The third appeal didn’t go well for the Grunewald camp as she was disqualified. The Grunewald camp appealed that disqualification but were rebuffed.

Very Simple – What Is The “New Conclusive Evidence?”

In general, courts don’t like to get involved in sporting disputes.The problem for the Salazar camp and USATF, from a legal standpoint, is USATF’s own rules say that a decision by the Jury of Appeals is final and can’t even be appealed unless “new conclusive evidence was presented.”

More than 24 hours after the fact, USATF has failed to respond to multiple requests by both the Grunewald camp and LetsRun.com to provide proof that any such new evidence was presented, let alone conclusive evidence.

As Justin Grunewald said, “They don’t communicate at all. They won’t talk to us. They won’t do anything. They just said she’s disqualified. They won’t let us see the video as to why she was disqualified.”

One would think, given the uproa in the track and field world that has taken place over the last 24 hours. that culminated with most of the women in the women’s 1500m walking off the track after the race hand-in-hand in protest, that if such new evidence existed that USATF would simply release the information to dampen the public relations disaster.One also would think such new additional evidence would have found its way onto the telecast today on NBCSN, but nothing new was shown.

The only comment that USATF did issue was in press release where they claimed “The Jury of Appeal then reviewed additional video evidence and reversed their initial ruling.”

Real simple, USATF, please release the “additional video evidence.” If not, you clearly have acted in violation of your own rule book.

24 hours after the fact, Barker isn’t buying the line that such evidence exists:

“What they say is enhanced video – well that’s total bs. The Eagle Eye guys said to me it was the exact same footage they had played twice before that they used before to rule on our behalf. Now they are digging in to protect themselves and saying what they need to say to protect the company line. Even if the officials (wanted to say something else), I feel a couple of them feel like they are being coerced to say what they are saying.”

We asked both Barker and Doyle why would a Jury of Appeals reverse a decision without seeing new evidence.

Doyle, who as an agent receives a significant portion of his income from contracts that his athletes have with Nike, refused to speculate.

“I don’t want to speculate. I definitely don’t want to speculate,” said Doyle slowly. “I just know the end result is not the correct result and I’m hoping the USOC intervenes and gets this thing right because it’s a tragedy from Gabe’s standpoint if she’s not given the national title and the chance to run in Poland.”

“I think it was coercion from Nike”

Alberto Salazar

Alberto Salazar

Dennis Barker held nothing back.

“I think it was coercion from Nike,” said Barker about the shoe giant who is USATF’s #1 sponsor (reports have stated Nike contributes north of $10 million per year to USATF’s $23 million budget). “It just seemed to me that Alberto sticking his head in there and talking to the committee while they were meeting and the other Nike people hovering around there, I think there was intimidation.”

Speaking of coercion, when the Grunewald camp appealed the DQ to the Jury of Appeals, Doyle says Alberto Salazar was allowed to speak to the jury, but the reverse wasn’t allowed:

“Meanwhile when our appeal was going through Alberto Salazar was there, sticking his head through the curtain and speaking to the jury members and he then turned to Darren Treasure (the sports psychologist Salazar’s camp uses) and gave him a thumbs up.

Piotrek, (Buciarski), who works for me went over to stand by there to see if there was anything he needed to hear. The jury member asked Piotrek who he was and he said, ‘I’m a representative for Gabe Grunewald,’ and they said, ‘Ok I need to talk to Alberto – will you please step away.’ They actually made him step away and then they came back and announced that Gabe had been disqualified.”

To think that Alberto Salazar doesn’t have special access with USATF would be wrong if Doyle’s account is accurate. (Editor’s note: We reached out for Alberto Salazar several times this weekend searching for a comment but have not received a response).

Justin Grunewald Loses His Cool to Alberto: “This is bullshit. How do you sleep at night? You’ve got a defibrillator in your chest.”

Justin Grunewald admitted to us that when he was notified that his wife was disqualified, he lost his composure and lashed out at Salazar and screamed at Salazar, “She’s had cancer twice. This is bullshit. How do you sleep at night? You’ve got a defibrillator in your chest.” (Editor’s note: Gabe Grunewald is a two-time cancer survivor and Salazar is a heart attack survivor who survived 14 minutes without a pulse)

USATF employee Jim Estes grabbed Grunewald and said according to Grunewald, “You can’t talk to Alberto Salazar like that.”

So What’s Next?

When we spoke to Doyle on Sunday afternoon, he said that his camp had contacted the United States Olympic Committee and they were informally trying to have USATF resolve things.

“Hopefully we learn something tonight, but if not we’re definitely filing arbitration tomorrow,” said Doyle. “Right now the USOC is unofficially trying to prevent this from happening and trying to talk USATF into finding a solution. But if we file the Section 9 (Arbitration) with the USOC, they will officially come in and try to rectify the result, and if we’re not happy with the result, then we file with the courts.”

At 11:15 pm Mountain Time we spoke with Doyle again. He said the unofficial attempts to get USATF to reconsider with unofficial pressure from the USOC had failed. He said therefore they had filed an official arbitration request with the USOC and notified USATF of their actions. He said the arbitration request should be approved on Monday and they are hoping to have a hearing by Wednesday or Thursday.

Quick Thought #1: This is very simple to us – USATF needs to show the “new conclusive” evidence that a foul took place or raise the white flag.

Jordan Hasay before the DQ

Jordan Hasay before the DQ.

Paul Doyle summed things up perfectly:

At first the officials said there was no infraction. Then it was appealed and they said again, “No infraction.” They appealed again and all three of the jury members reviewed the tape and they said there was no infraction. Now all of the sudden it changes?

Why? …

They haven’t provided us with any new evidence. To our knowledge and what we’ve been told , there is no new evidence.

And conclusive evidence – those are the key words. Even if they do prove they have new video evidence, it has to be conclusive to reopen the appeal – simply new video evidence won’t reopen the appeal.

We are very confident that we will win (in arbitration).”

Quick Thought #2: While Doyle is focused on the technicalities of the appeal process and whether they were followed correctly, he believes that there were zero grounds for Grunewald to be DQed, let alone conclusive evidence for a Grunewald DQ. He actually believes that the person most responsible for the contact and the one committing a foul, if there was one, was Hasay, not Grunewald.

Doyle thought that no foul worthy of a DQ occurred, but urged us to go back and watch a race replay which he said he’d done a hundred times. He said the contact between Hasay and Grunewald was caused because Hasay moved to the outside on the homestretch hoping to pass Rowbury. When Hasay realized that wasn’t going to happen, a tiring Hasay moved back into the inside which is where Grunewald was throughout and contact was made with Grunewald.

Here are two screen shots of what Doyle is talking about.

Hasay on the outside of lane one approaching the bell

Hasay on the outside of lane one approaching the bell.

Hasay comes back in the contact occurs

Hasay comes back in and the contact occurs.

We highly urge you to watch the video replay here at the 10:00 mark. Remember, for the Jury of Appeals to overturn the referee’s initial decision not to DQ Grunewald, the evidence has to show the referee was “clearly erroneous” in his or her initial decision. And for the Jury of Appeals to hear an appeal of their initial ruling to not overturn the referee, they have to be provided with “new conclusive” evidence.

Doyle also added that the television viewers (like ourselves initially) who thought Grunewald bumped Rowbury from behind later in the lap were incorrect. He said slow motion replays (which were shown on NBCSN today which we watched and confirmed) showed that Grunewald caught up to Rowbury so quickly she was caught off guard and had to jump outside to avoid her. Grunewald’s jerk outside caused some to assume she had run into Rowbury from behind which he said wasn’t the case, except for possibly grazing her arm incidentally. Rowbury even admitted to LRC that no foul occurred.

Quick Thought #3: If you don’t think lots of people in the sport are indirectly intimidated or influenced by the financial might of Nike, then you don’t understand how things work. Case in point: Justin Grunewald confirmed Sunday that a story hinted at by Jon Gugala on twitter was true.

After losing his cool last night with Alberto Salazar (editor’s note added at 12:05 pm central 2/24: when Justin says he yelled at Salazar, “This is bullshit. How do you sleep at night? You’ve got a defibrillator in your chest”), Justin Grunewald in a stroke of pure coincidence ended up in the same elevator as Alberto Salazar on Sunday morning, but this time it was Salazar who lost his cool according to Grunewald. Salazar didn’t recognize Justin Grunewald from the night before but did realize that Grunewald was staring at him so Salazar asked him who he was. Grunewald deadpanned, “I’m Justin Grunewald. I’m going to be a doctor, and I have a good life.”

Salazar then responded according to Grunewald, “Oh, I know who the f— you are. Get the f— out of my face.”

Update 12:05 pm central 2/24: Alberto Salazar’s son Alex has written disputing his dad said ”I know who the f— you are. Get the f— out of my face” and asking viewers to remember the context.

Main portion of Alex Salazar’s email to LRC indented below:

“I’m not going to comment on the rest of the story as there will be a time for that.

I do want to clear up this “altercation with Justin Grunewald.  Below is your story that you released this morning.  You link to the story and quotes from Gugala so you know the whole story yet this is all you choose to write? Why? Because it makes Alberto come across as this crazy guy which only helps your story?

Put yourself in Albertos shoes.  This guy screams something in his face on Saturday night about his defibrillator.  Then confronts him in an elevator 12 hours later in a very threatening manner.

Justin: “You can only push me so far before I break”.   Alberto: “Do I know you?”  Justin: “You’re gonna know who I am”  Alberto: “I don’t know who you are” Justin “I’m going to be a doctor, I’m Justin Grunewald”

Alberto never said “I know who the fuck you are, get the Fuck out of my face”.  On Sunday at the track we had to have him identified so we knew to steer clear of him.  So Alberto still didn’t know who he was on Sunday afternoon, so of course he wouldn’t say “I know who the fuck you are”.  Let’s face it, we have a very unfortunate incident that will be cleared up in the next 48 hours and you have a team of people Grunewald and Dennis Barker doing everything they can to smear Alberto and Nike which helps there story.

I just ask you report the truth, not 2nd and 3rd hand stories that are tweeted and emailed to you by biased parties. 

LRC editor’s note 12:05 central 2/24: You will see in the next two paragraphs we explained with initial publication of this story why LRC initially declined to run the elevator incident story, but changed our mind. We also note that this was the version of events from Grunewald and Baker and that we had reached out to Salazar for comment without receiving one. We also included the incident of Grunewald yelling at Salazar on Saturday night in our story and in the editing process have given Grunewald’s comments, “This is bullshit. How do you sleep at night? You’ve got a defibrillator in your chest” their own bold headline.

Jon Gugala wrote a piece on their encounter but Run Blog Run which had been carrying his pieces this week didn’t want to carry it. The Daily Relay initially published it but then took it down. Getting on the bad side of Nike can be a very expensive decision for a website/magazine.

We ourselves were offered it but weren’t going to publish, not out of advertising fears, but simply because we felt it was gratuitous and would put the focus on Salazar and take away from the focus on USATF in our estimation not following their own rules. But we changed our minds once the piece was published and then taken down on The Daily Relay as people already saw it when it was up and it is a great small example of how people tread very lightly when it comes to Nike because they invest a disproportionate amount of the dollars in pro track and field in the US.

Quick Thought #4: Dennis Barker ended our discussion talking optimistically, hoping that the Grunewald situation would be an event that leads to some much-needed change with USATF.

“I told Jim Estes, ‘This isn’t the end of this, it’s just the beginning.’ There needs to be changes in the organization – there’s cronyism and corruption. This kind of crap happens meet after meet. Every athlete knows the next time it could be them and that’s why now there is this groundswell of people who want to change the organization.

And I think it’s going to be changed – whether they like it or not.

Every national meet you go to, it’s like they’ve never run a meet before. If they put the rules out there and let everybody follow exactly what the rules are, like how many people are going to get in (to each event), what the deadlines are, what happens if there are scratches, then people would accept it and be okay with it. But they don’t do that. They just have this secrecy and they jump people over other people (to get into the meet) and it gets to the point where you don’t have any confidence in them at all.

That’s why I’ve asked for USATF members nationwide to send a vote of no confidence to USATF. How can you have confidence in an organization that consistently screws the athletes?”

One thing though that likely won’t be changed for the better is Barker’s view of his fellow coach, Alberto Salazar.

“I don’t think this is about (Jordan Hasay) at all. It’s been all about Alberto. I mean he’s basically an egomaniac and this has all been his doing. The fact of the matter is with 400 meters to go, you could see on Jordan Haasy’s face that she was not going to be a factor in that race.

I know Gabriele really well and I knew (by looking at her) she was loaded for the last 400. The only impediment Jordan Hasay had in the last 200 meters was a lack of training for what was needed to get on the team. And if she is honest with herself, she’d admit she was toast with 200 to go. I’m sure she’s very nice and would maybe admit that if you asked her, but I don’t think she’s allowed to admit that. Alberto has such tight control over his athletes – they aren’t making those decisions and aren’t saying anything so the decision isn’t really theirs.”

The thing with Gabriele was just the beginning (for Salazar). After the men’s 3,000, he came storming back there red-faced and went after Jerry Schumacher. He had a lot going on – he was popping down protests at 100 dollars a pop – one for Gabriele and then one they did to DQ Andrew Bumbalough.

He had his two minions walking around with him trying to intimidate people. It was quite a scene, really embarrassing for him, pathetic really.

He’s a guy I used to look up to, but I have absolutely zero respect for him any more.”

Editor’s note: We reached out for Alberto Salazar several times this weekend searching for a comment but he never responded.

 More: Gabe Grunewald Blows Away The Field Over The Last Lap & Wins Her First US National Championship – Or Does She?
*Alberto Salazar To Gabe Grunewald’s Husband: “Get the f— out of my face.”

LRC2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014 
Albuquerque, NM




Women’s 3,000 Resolution: Gabriele Grunewald Reinstated As USATF Champion

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2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

by Robert Johnson, LetsRun.com
February 24, 2014

4:35pm ET – A trusted source has told us that Jordan Hasay will not be going to the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Our source said that Hasay is returning home to California to get rejuvenated for an outdoor campaign. That means Gabriele Grunewald will be on the team.

In trying to confirm our initial source’s information, we called another source and they went a step further and confirmed that a resolution had been made with USATF. Full details are expected to show up on the USATF website momentarily.

More to come.

Gabriele Anderson Finally Getting What She Deserved

Gabriele Anderson Grunewald Finally Getting What She Deserved (Click for USATF photo Gallery)

Editor’s note: USATF statement is now out here and posted below. Grunewald is reinstated as champion after USATF CEO Max Siegel spoke to the parties involved and Jordan Hasay decided to withdraw her protest, meaning Grunewald is the champion.

However, this should just be step one of the fight. Now Siegel needs to get to the bottom of how the protest succeeded in the first place. For more on the initial DQ, click here.

Jordan Hasay has released the folllowing statement: “As with all of the competitors who lined up on Saturday, I desperately wanted to make the team to represent the United States at the upcoming World Indoor Track and Field Championships. Since Saturday evening my emotions have ranged from despair to determination to go to Poland and represent my country as best I can. After much thought and consideration, however, I have decided to withdraw my protest as I do not want to make a national team under these circumstances. I wish all members of the USA team going to Poland my best and look forward to continuing to train hard and competing to represent the USA in future World Championship and Olympic Games.”

Discuss on the message board: Breaking news: Resolution has been reached – Jordan Hasay will not be going to 2014 World Indoors

USATF Statement: Grunewald reinstated as USA indoor women’s 3,000m champion

INDIANAPOLIS – Gabriele Grunewald has been reinstated as the 2014 USA indoor women’s 3,000-meter champion and named to Team USA for the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, USATF CEO Max Siegel announced Monday. Grunewald will be joined by Shannon Rowbury in the women’s 3,000m at World Indoors, March 7-9 in Sopot, Poland.

Siegel on Monday spoke with representatives for Grunewald and Jordan Hasay, the two athletes involved in jostling during the women’s 3,000 contested Saturday at the 2014 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque. Grunewald won the race, followed by Rowbury, Sara Vaughn and Hasay, but she was ultimately disqualified by the Jury of Appeal for clipping Hasay’s stride. The final disqualification was made on the basis of enlarged, digital footage of the legs and feet of both athletes.

Siegel’s conversations included Paul Doyle, Grunewald’s representative, and Alberto Salazar, Hasay’s coach who had filed the initial protest and subsequent appeals. Salazar made clear that Hasay felt withdrawal was the right thing to do, and with the agreement of all parties, Grunewald was reinstated.

“I had productive discussions with both Paul and Alberto,” Siegel said. “Both are passionate people who passionately advocate for their athletes. And both want what is best for the sport and as well and its athletes.”

“Our women’s track & field meet officials, who volunteer their time to serve the sport, made a field-of-play decision based on the video evidence they saw,” Siegel said. “They followed the process laid out in our competition rules, with no USATF employee or officer part of the appeal or the decision. We are all looking forward and will address our processes to try to minimize the potential for controversy or misunderstanding in the future.”

“As with all of the competitors who lined up on Saturday, I desperately wanted to make the team to represent the United States at the upcoming World Indoor Track and Field Championships.  Since Saturday evening my emotions have ranged from despair to determination to go to Poland and represent my country as best I can.  After much thought and consideration, however, I have decided to withdraw my protest as I do not want to make a national team under these circumstances.  I wish all members of the USA team going to Poland my best and look forward to continuing to train hard and competing to represent the USA in future World Championship and Olympic Games.” said Hasay.

“I want to thank Max for his leadership in resolving this issue and Jordan for her withdrawal,” Doyle said. “Everyone was in a difficult situation. Jordan is a first-rate athlete and a class act. We appreciate getting this resolved.”

“My intention was what every coach wants – to advocate for my athlete,” Salazar said. “It was a physical race and when I saw the contact and the flag go up, I filed a protest. I appreciate Max’s involvement and wish nothing but the best for Gabe and Shannon in Sopot.”




Quote Of The Day

“The appeal was ruled unanimously in our favor twice and they said everything was done. They (USATF) said there were no more appeals to be done. We were actually leaving the place and as we were leaving I looked over at the curtains where the (Jury of Appeals) was and I saw Alberto sticking his head through the curtains, talking to them. So I went back to the table and I said, ‘So we’re good?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, we’re good. There is absolutely no evidence there was a foul based on our findings. It’s done.’

But I thought, ‘This doesn’t look good’ as there were a few other Nike people starting to congregate around the curtains. So I decided I’d just hang out for a little while and then all of a sudden one of the Nike guys started writing another appeal and I said “Based on the rule book, it says no other appeals can be made (once the Jury of Appeals rules). The decision is final unless there is new evidence. But they said, ‘Well, there is new evidence.’

What they say (now is there was) is enhanced video – well, that’s total bs. The Eagle Eye guys said to me it was the exact same footage they had played twice before that they used before to rule on our behalf. Now they are digging in to protect themselves and saying what they need to say to protect the company line.”

- Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker, also the coach of Gabriele Grunewald, talking about this weekend’s DQ of Grunewald, which isn’t 100% in the books yet as arbitration was submitted Sunday night.

Grunewald reinstated as USA indoor women’s 3,000m champion

2/24/2014
 

INDIANAPOLIS – Gabriele Grunewald has been reinstated as the 2014 USA indoor women’s 3,000-meter champion and named to Team USA for the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, USATF CEO Max Siegel announced Monday. Grunewald will be joined by Shannon Rowbury in the women’s 3,000m at World Indoors, March 7-9 in Sopot, Poland.

 

Siegel on Monday spoke with representatives for Grunewald and Jordan Hasay, the two athletes involved in jostling during the women’s 3,000 contested Saturday at the 2014 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque. Grunewald won the race, followed by Rowbury, Sara Vaughn and Hasay, but she was ultimately disqualified by the Jury of Appeal for clipping Hasay’s stride. The final disqualification was made on the basis of enlarged, digital footage of the legs and feet of both athletes.

 

Siegel’s conversations included Paul Doyle, Grunewald’s representative, and Alberto Salazar, Hasay’s coach who had filed the initial protest and subsequent appeals. Salazar made clear that Hasay felt withdrawal was the right thing to do, and with the agreement of all parties, Grunewald was reinstated.

 

“I had productive discussions with both Paul and Alberto,” Siegel said. “Both are passionate people who passionately advocate for their athletes. And both want what is best for the sport and as well and its athletes.

 

“Our women’s track & field meet officials, who volunteer their time to serve the sport, made a field-of-play decision based on the video evidence they saw,” Siegel said. “They followed the process laid out in our competition rules, with no USATF employee or officer part of the appeal or the decision. We are all looking forward and will address our processes to try to minimize the potential for controversy or misunderstanding in the future.”

 

“As with all of the competitors who lined up on Saturday, I desperately wanted to make the team to represent the United States at the upcoming World Indoor Track and Field Championships.  Since Saturday evening my emotions have ranged from despair to determination to go to Poland and represent my country as best I can.  After much thought and consideration, however, I have decided to withdraw my protest as I do not want to make a national team under these circumstances.  I wish all members of the USA team going to Poland my best and look forward to continuing to train hard and competing to represent the USA in future World Championship and Olympic Games.” said Hasay.

 

“I want to thank Max for his leadership in resolving this issue and Jordan for her withdrawal,” Doyle said. “Everyone was in a difficult situation. Jordan is a first-rate athlete and a class act. We appreciate getting this resolved.”

 

“My intention was what every coach wants - to advocate for my athlete,” Salazar said. “It was a physical race and when I saw the contact and the flag go up, I filed a protest. I appreciate Max’s involvement and wish nothing but the best for Gabe and Shannon in Sopot.”








Women’s 1,500: Mary Cain Remains Unbeatable As She Defends Her US Title With A Blazing Time; After Race 7 Women Walk off Track Hand-in-Hand of Protest of USATF 3k DQ

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2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

32-Year-Old Treniere Moser Finishes Runner-Up; Many Non-Nike Athletes Hold Hands In Sign Of Solidarity For Gabe Grunewald

by LetsRun.com
February 23, 2014

Mary Cain Wins Again

Mary Cain Wins Again (click for photo gallery)

Albuquerque, NM - In our preview of the women’s 1,500 at the 2014 US Indoor Track and Field Championships we said that based on 2014 results, it was a pretty easy call to make that Mary Cain would defend her US indoor title and be joined on the team for Poland by Nike Oregon Project teammate Treniere Moser. And that is exactly what happened, as Cain continued the dominance we’ve come to expect from her this indoor season as she won the fast paced race in 4:07.05 thanks to a brilliant last 400 of 61. Moser was well beaten, but still quick finishing second in 4:09.93 as Team USA Minnesota’s Heather Kampf ran a solid race for 3rd (4:13.04).

The Race (video at bottom of article)

The start of this race was similar to the women’s 800 in the sense that there was an unofficial rabbit leading most of the way at a fast pace with not a ton of movement going on behind her. Right from the break Kampf took the lead and took the field through a 66.7 first 400 and 2:16 for 800. Behind her, Cain sat in 2nd and Moser in 3rd. Then at 1,000m, the real racing started as Cain made a surge around her and was followed by Morgan Uceny, who had moved from 6th to 4th on the previous lap. Moser followed those two and with 2 laps to go (3:06), Cain had just under a half a second lead on Uceny and Moser.

From this point it was the Mary Cain show. After breaking the race open with a 32.86 on the previous lap, she ran a penultimate lap of 31.06 and a then closed in 30.02 to win convincingly in 4:07.05, 2.88 seconds in front of Moser, who only managed a 32.26 last lap. Behind those two, Uceny had died badly as she went from 4th to 8th in the last 200m, closing in about 40 seconds. On the flip side, early rabbit Kampf had fallen back to 6th with 400 to go, but fought back hard to take 3rd over Oiselle’s Amanda Winslow.

Post Race Most of Field Walks off the Track in Protest of DQ in 3000m

#FreeGabe

After the race, many of the non-Nike athletes left the track holding hands in a sign of protest against USATF’s controversial decision to DQ Gabe Grunewald from the 3,000. (Editor’s note: Message board posters have noted we were incorrect when initially in this this story said “the non-Nike athletes” left the track holding hands as there were 13 non-Nike athlete in the field and only 7 of them walked off together in protest) Nike athlete Will Leer criticized the DQ on national TV after the men’s 1,500, and with so many athletes united against the DQ, USATF should be ashamed that it’s come this far. (If you have no idea what the 3000m DQ controversy is about, click here.)

Quick takes, results and interviews are below.

Quick Thought #1: Mary Cain keeps getting better. After she won Millrose some people were complaining about how her competitors never gave themselves a chance because they let the race go out so slow. Here Kampf took the race out fast and still Cain responded and won unchallenged. Her 4:07.05 at altitude is truly impressive. That converts to a 4:01.67 at sea level which is an outright PR for her as she ran 4:04.67 last year outdoors. Even if you take her 4:24.11 mile from this season, her race today was still more impressive, as 4:24 for the mile is also 4:04 and change for 1,500.

QT#2: Cain is ranked 3rd in the world this year and the fact that she just ran a converted 4:01 only makes her more of a medal possibility at Worlds. Obviously she’s still a long way from the top 2 women in the world, but a bronze medal is completely realistic for the 17-year-old Cain, as aside from the top 2, no one in the world has ran under 4:05 this year. It’ll be exciting to see what she can do in a race in a race where she’s really pushed to the line in competition as she’s won all her races this year pretty handily.

QT #3: On the post-race NBCSN broadcast, Cain was asked about the 3k controversy. She said something along the lines of, “It’s always tough but I know the officials went through and they watched the race and I trust US Track and Field.”

Our post-race interview with Cain appears on the right. Cain’s interview was a whole 39 seconds as you can see Salazar hovering in the background telling the USATF escort to move her along. She did say that today gave her a lot of confidence going into World Indoors and even joked about beating WR holder Genzebe Dibaba.

QT#4: A great performance for Heather Kampf. All the women in the field who ran altitude-converted PRs can thank her as she made this a fast race as she took it out hard and rabbited the field through 1,000. A lot of times you see the early leader die and fade badly, but here she battled back from 6th to 3rd and finished hard with a 32.15 (a faster last lap than Moser actually). The only two who beat her were the two who were clearly the class of the field coming in.

QT#5: It was great to see Morgan Uceny mixing it up there for a while. After her crushing falls in the finals at 2011 Worlds and the 2012 Olympics, she had a rough 2013 as she struggled with injury and just never seemed like herself in races. Here, even though she eventually faded to 8th, she was up challenging for a leading position and trying to follow Cain and was in 2nd place with 400m left. And this was in a fast, honest race, too. Maybe she’s not quite back yet fitness-wise, but it’s good to see her making moves in big races again.

QT#6: Our interview with Moser is below. Moser was asked about the controversy yesterday with her coach Alberto Salazar, but she didn’t have much to say, stating that her coaches do a good job of keeping all that away from them.







Men’s 800: Erik Sowinski Dominates As Robby Andrews Grabs Second But Nick Symmonds Is Going To Poland

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2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

Andrews Finished Second But Doesn’t Have The Standard, So 3rd-Place Symmonds Will Represent USA In Poland

by LetsRun.com
February 23, 2014

Albuquerque, NM - The men’s 800 final at the 2014 US Indoor Championships was set up to be thrilling race and it did not disappoint. In the end, based on 2014 form, the winner was no surprise as Erik Sowinki has looked great in almost every race this indoor season and he continued that here, winning comfortably in 1:47.86, just completely controlling the race over the last 300m. Behind him there was a battle for second as Nick Symmonds had it going into the final straight, but Robby Andrews, in his trademark come-from-behind style of racing, came back from last place on the last lap to finish .04 ahead of Symmonds for runner-up honors.

But Andrews’ nipping Symmonds at the line didn’t cost Symmonds a spot on the Worlds team as Symmonds has the World Indoor qualifying while Andrews does not. Andrews has run 1:47.07 – the standard is 1:47.00 indoors.

Erik Sowinski Wins It

Erik Sowinski Wins It (click for photo gallery)

The Race (video at bottom of article)

OTC’s Tyler Mulder led the first two laps, going through 200 in 25.56 and 400 at 53.68. Michael Rutt, who came in as the US leader and has looked great this season (but not so much in yesterday’s first round as he only got in as the last time qualifier), sat in second with Sowinski in 3rd and Symmonds back in last after lap 1 and second to last after 400. With about 300m to go, Sowinski made his move for glory and and took the lead from Mulder. He was pretty much unchallenged the rest of the way. Around the same time, Symmonds started to move up from the back of the pack as Mulder tried to hold on to second.

With a lap to go, Sowinski had a small lead on Mulder and Symmonds, and Andrews meanwhile had fallen back from 4th at 400 to last with less than 200 to go. Rutt (the only one in the field besides Sowinski and Symmonds who had the Worlds qualifier) was working hard in 5th.

Going around the final turn, Sowinski was powering away and looked to have his second indoor national title wrapped up while Symmonds had moved up to second. Andrews was still in dead last going into the last 100m, but unleashed a monster kick coming out of the last turn and went wide to pass Symmonds just before the line.

Sowinski closed his last lap in 26.47 to defend his title and Andrews had the fastest last lap of the day with 26.37 to take 2nd in 1:48.44.

Quick takes, results and interviews are below.

Quick Thought #1: No one should be surprised that Erik Sowinski is your champion as he had ran great races coming into the meet and looked dominant in his first round yesterday. An under-the-weather Symmonds considered Sowinski the favorite and he clearly delivered today. We spoke with Sowinski after the race, and he said he was just thrilled to get his first USA singlet as this is the first team he’s made. He burst onto the scene last year by surprisingly setting the AR at 600m in Millrose, but kind of puttered out outdoors where he only finished 6th at USAs. Here he proved he wasn’t just a one-season-wonder.


QT#2: This was a nice race for Robby Andrews, who looked like the Andrews from a few years ago that won the 2011 NCAA Championships in 1:44.71, after already having won the NCAA indoor title as well. It was typical Andrews style racing going from last to 2nd on the last lap. However, speaking with him after the race he said that wasn’t the plan at all. Andrews talked about how he was boxed in and wasn’t thrilled with his tactics. He said, “The game plan was to win. … [Coach Gags] made a deal with me that every time I’m in last at 400 I owe him 100 bucks. That hasn’t been the game plan of late, I just didn’t quite have the room I wanted. I had tons left the last turn and wish I could have had a little more room, but that’s on me, I should have been better positioned.”

Andrews wasn’t bitter at all about Symmonds going over him. He said, “He (Symmonds) is the World silver medalist. I think he deserves to go over a little 22-year-old.”

QT#3: After the race today, Symmonds admitted that today he was just racing to make the team as he was sick and and exhausted and was “just hanging on for dear life” the entire race. He said, “I had to kind of view this as a qualification round rather than an attempt at a national title. I knew yesterday watching the way Rutt didn’t look good and Sowinski looked unbeatable that I just needed to race Rutt today and that’s what I did. It was chicken shit running and I’ll admit it, but I just had survive today to get over to Sopot.”

Symmonds said his “heart went out to Robby Andrews, who should probably be going” and said he didn’t feel good about taking his spot. He criticized USATF’s “brilliant decision making” of having US Champs at altitude where it was harder to get the standard. In USATF’s defense (and we’re not defending them on much this weekend), Andrews had a year to get the time as he could use times from last year even outdoors, but he had a horrible 2013 and hadn’t chased the time this year so was out of luck. Andrews said going into the final he was more worried about trying to win rather than going after the 1:47 standard and didn’t seem that upset not to be going to Worlds. Plus, sending a World silver medalist to Poland doesn’t hurt Team USA’s medal chances. Hopefully Symmonds gets healthy and sharpens up in these next two weeks.

*Full Lap-By-Lap Results Here

PlaceAthleteTime200m400m600m>>
1Erik Sowinski
Nike
1:47.8625.76

Rnk: 3
53.98
28.22
Rnk: 3   
1:21.39
27.41
Rnk: 1   ↑ 2
2Robby Andrews
adidas
1:48.4425.95

Rnk: 5
54.14
28.19
Rnk: 4   ↑ 1
1:22.07
27.94
Rnk: 6   ↓ 2
3Nick Symmonds
Brooks
1:48.4826.22

Rnk: 6
54.18
27.97
Rnk: 5   ↑ 1
1:21.63
27.45
Rnk: 3   ↑ 2
4Tyler Mulder
Nike / Oregon TC Elite
1:48.6825.56

Rnk: 1
53.68
28.13
Rnk: 1   
1:21.61
27.93
Rnk: 2   ↓ 1
5Mark Wieczorek
Brooks
1:49.0325.86

Rnk: 4
54.34
28.48
Rnk: 6   ↓ 2
1:21.78
27.45
Rnk: 4   ↑ 2
6Michael Rutt
New Jersey New York Track Club
1:49.1425.64

Rnk: 2
53.75
28.11
Rnk: 2   
1:21.85
28.11
Rnk: 5   ↓ 3




Nike Coaches Alberto Salazar And Jerry Schumacher Have Heated Exchange, Have To Be Separated After Men’s 3,000 At 2014 USA Indoors

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2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

by LetsRun.com
February 22, 2014

Chaos and controversy reigned supreme on day 1 of the 2014 USA Indoors – the national track and field championships – in Albuquerque, NM.

After the men’s 3,000, rival Nike coaches Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacherhad a very heated exchange and they had to be physically separated from each other.

A well-placed source tells us that after the men’s 3,000, where Galen Ruppqualified for World Indoors with a second place showing ahead of Jerry Schumacher-coached athletes Ryan Hill (third), Lopez Lomong (fourth) and pace-setter Andrew Bumbalough (DQ), that Alberto Salazar was very angry because he felt the Schumacher-coached athletes had tried to work together to defeat Salazar’s prize pupil Galen Rupp.

After the race, our source says Salazar got in the face of one of Schumacher’s athletes and yelled at him. Later, Schumacher and Salazar encountered each other and Salazar once again got very vocal. Our source says Salazar “had to be restrained as he tried to physically put his hands” on Schumacher. A shouting match ensued as the guys were separated by other Nike employees. Schumacher supposedly told Salazar if he’s got a problem with any of his athletes to stay away from his athletes and come directly to him.

Update: Jon Gugala has now come out with his own story on the Schumacher-Salazar exchange on RunBlogRun. Gugala’s story is based on the eyewitness account of 3-time Olympic marathoner Lee Troop, who is the coach of women’s 3,000 runnerLaura Thweatt. You’ve got to read it as it’s got even more details. His articles includes the following description:

One of Salazar’s “posse” intervened before Salazar made contact (with Schumacher), but Troop says that though Salazar didn’t have a clenched fist, indicating a punch was imminent, there definitely would have been a push.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Salazar takes running seriously

Troop said Salazar was very much out of control so much so that Troop pushed him away as he feared Salazar was going to hurt Thweatt.

“To be perfectly honest, it was just bad for the sport, the way the whole thing was conducted. It looked poor; it was bad; I think a lot of people are going to be walking away with a really bad taste in their mouth. It’s just not right on so many levels,” said Troop to Gugala.

“It was like a volcano that was just building up to erupt and we saw the complete eruption and the meltdown.”

Quick Take: Wow!!!

This may be a shocker for the casual fan who wouldn’t understand why two Nike coaches would go at it. But in industry circles, this isn’t a big surprise. We’ve long known that the Salazar and Schumacher camps have a very frosty relationship to say the least. To be honest, we basically were under the impression that the two really don’t even speak to each other.

We actually think rivalries like this are good for the sport. In the NFL, coaches snub each other, get after if fairly often as shown here:




Men’s 3,000: Bernard Lagat Proves Age Is Just A Number As He Puts On A Clinic For Galen Rupp And Ryan Hill In The Last Lap To Win In Albuquerque

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2014 USA Indoor Championships

February 21, 2014 to February 23, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

Rupp And Hill Battle For Second With Rupp Taking The Last Spot To Poland

by LetsRun.com
February 22, 2014

Albuquerque, NM - We guess in the end, the final results to the men’s 3,000 at the 2014 US Indoor Track and Field Championships ended up as people would have expected.

Bernard Lagat first, Galen Rupp second, Ryan Hill third, Lopez Lomong fourth.

But to say this race went as expected would be totally inaccurate. Both the pace and the 39-year-old Lagat’s ultimate margin of victory were stunning. Lagat simply destroyed both Hill and Rupp over the final 200 to win by two-plus seconds in 7:46.01 as Rupp fought back from third to second on the final 200 to punch his ticket to Poland as the runner-up in 7:48.19 with Hill third in 7:49.62.

Fast Early Pace

Coming in, people assumed a 3,000 at 5,000 feet altitude was bound to be tactical, right?

US Indoor Champs Men's 3K

A 4:10 first mile breaks most of the pack and leaves the top 5 you expected.

Well, the first lap was 30.00. But guys are just getting out fast to get out of traffic, right? Nope, the first 400 was 60.85 and first 1,600 4:10.38. Andy Bumbalough was making this a true race as he served as the unofficial rabbit for 2,000 (5:13.07). Hill then went to the lead and ran a 64 400 (Bumbalough faded badly, finishing 8th in 8:12 before ultimately being DQed). Just before the end of that 400, Galen Rupp went to the lead with just over 600 remaining.

Rupp dropped the pace down to 31.12 for the next 200, but Lagat was feeling good and threw down a 29.40 penultimate lap to grab the lead. At the bell, Lagat was about to put on a clinic on how to finish off a race.

Hill was .13 behind Lagat and Rupp another quarter-second behind. Lagat was in total control as he slammed home a 27.78 final lap to win convincingly. Neither Rupp or Hill could break 30 (Rupp ran 30.01 and Hill 31.26).

Quick takes, interviews, results and the screen shots from the race appear below. Click on the photos to get a larger version.

Quick Thought #1: Bernard Lagat still has it. At age 39, he is simply incredible. He destroyed two studs who are still in their 20s by more than 2 seconds over the final 200. NBCSN commentator Tim Hutchings was very impressed after watching that one, “I’ll tell you what, that could be world title number four in a few weeks.” With Hagos Gebrihwet and Dejen Gebremeskelin there, it’s not going to be easy (Lagat was only 4th in a 3k in Germany on February 1 with neither of them in the race but that was his opener). But Lagat the reigning indoor champ certainly has a chance.

Quick Thought #2: After this one was over, the bad blood that insiders have long known to exist between Nike coaches Jerry Schumacher and Alberto Salazar reached a new level as the two had to be restrained after Salazar expressed his disapproval for what he thought was Schumacher’s athletes trying to gang up to beat Galen Rupp.

Nike coaches Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacher have heated exchanged, have to be separated after men’s 3000 at 2014 USA Indoors
MB: Post-race day 1 USA Indoor drama: Nike coaches Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacher have to be physically restrained.

The ironic thing is if Bumbalough was the unofficial rabbit here for 2k – a fast pace in our minds likely helps Rupp, who has been setting American records all Winter. Maybe Schumacher’s guys realized Rupp did lose in an honest race two years ago (Lagat won in 7:47) and thought he doesn’t do well in an honest race at altitude.

On a related note, Bumbalough was DQed after the race for “impeding an athlete.” We’ll try to figure out on Sunday, given the altercation mentioned above, whether the DQ was the results of a Salazar protest similar to the one that came from him in thewomen’s 3000 with Gabe Grunewald and Jordan Hasay. Update: We received no official response from USATF, but in his post-1500 interview Ryan Hill talked about the 3,000 and said that Bumbalough was DQ’d because of contact with Rupp, but that looking at the video he didn’t think it was justified. And in our article on the women’s DQ controversy, Gabe Grunewald‘s coach Dennis Barker said, “After the men’s 3000, [Alberto Salazar] came storming back there red-race and went after Jerry Schumacher. He had a lot going on – he was popping down protests at 100 dollars a pop – one for Gabriele and then one they did to DQ Andrew Bumbalough.”

Lagat had a lot of guys to get around on the last lap

Lagat had a lot of guys to get around on the last lap

Quick Thought #3: It was a good thing Lagat crushed Rupp and Hill at the end here as there were a lot of guys getting lapped an many of them didn’t get out of the way. USATF should tell the guys, “If you are about to get lapped, get off the track or get out in lane 4.”

Look on the right at the carnage that Lagat had to get through at the end of this one. We’ve always criticized USATF for not filling the fields at the Olympic Trials when they needlessly have left lanes open when people could put on their resume they were an Olympic Trials qualifier.

Here they let everyone in and the it messed up the appreciation of Lagat’s dominance. Casual viewers likely didn’t realize how dominant Lagat was as there were tons of lapped runners between him and Rupp/Hill. Let’s hope this lapping debacle doesn’t give them ammo for restricting the field sizes at the Trials in the future.

Quick Thought #4: In post-race interviews (scroll down), Lagat explains the genius behind his tactics, Rupp talks about being out of qualifying position with a lap to go and Bumbalough explains why the hot early pace. (Separate article: LRC Men’s 3K Interviews: The Genius Behind Bernard Lagat’s Tactics, Galen Rupp Talks About Being In 3rd With A Lap To Go And Andrew Bumbalough Explains The Hot Early Pace)

Quick Thought #5: Rupp officially said he won’t be doing the 1,500 tomorrow now that he’s already on the team for Poland. He did another one of Salazar’s patented post-race workouts today and you can read a little more on that here.


Men's 3000 Meter Run (Final)
  3:47pm - Saturday February 22




PlaceAthleteTime   200m400m600m>>
1Bernard Lagat
Nike
7:46.01   30.58
 
Rnk: 5
1:01.93
31.35
Rnk: 6   ↓ 1
1:34.17
32.25
Rnk: 6   
 
2Galen Rupp
Nike
7:48.19   30.70
 
Rnk: 6
1:02.09
31.40
Rnk: 7   ↓ 1
1:34.32
32.24
Rnk: 7   
 
3Ryan Hill
Nike
7:49.62   30.11
 
Rnk: 2
1:01.10
30.99
Rnk: 2   
1:33.30
32.21
Rnk: 2   
 
4Lopez Lomong
Nike
7:56.65   30.25
 
Rnk: 3
1:01.32
31.07
Rnk: 3   
1:33.53
32.22
Rnk: 3   
 
5Ben Blankenship
Nike / Oregon TC Elite
8:04.70   30.38
 
Rnk: 4
1:01.81
31.43
Rnk: 5   ↓ 1
1:34.00
32.19
Rnk: 5   
 
6Donald Cabral
Nike
8:04.81   30.73
 
Rnk: 7
1:02.56
31.84
Rnk: 9   ↓ 2
1:34.82
32.26
Rnk: 9   
 
7William Nelson
Unattached
8:10.89   31.76
 
Rnk: 16
1:04.24
32.48
Rnk: 18   ↓ 2
1:36.89
32.65
Rnk: 18   
 
8Jim Spisak
Duquesne
8:15.23   31.88
 
Rnk: 18
1:04.04
32.16
Rnk: 17   ↑ 1
1:36.58
32.55
Rnk: 17   
 
9Craig Forys
New York Athletic Club (NYAC)
8:18.33   31.84
 
Rnk: 17
1:01.56
29.73
Rnk: 4   ↑ 13
1:33.76
32.21
Rnk: 4   
 
10Dan Lowry
Playmakers Elite/New Balance
8:18.82  
...

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