Maybe the Strib is holding back the news so it will be a surprise when NBC shows the race, but Carrie Tollefson didn't advance to the 1500m final.
Excellent running to make it to the Olympic semis after her training was geared to 5000m until 6 weeks ago.
Can the Russians sweep the women's 1500m? Or will Kelly Holmes win a fantastic double? We only have to wait 'til Saturday.
here it is! The table that makes the chests of people from small countries swell with parochial pride ... Olympic golds won per million people.
You'll note -- or I noted -- that this being a New Zealand website that they slyly/stupidly calculated this as golds per million population, a metric on which New Zealand is doing very well after this morning's triathlon. If you look at medals per head of population, then Australia is well in front, a genuine testament to the money and commitment that country has put behind sportspeople who compete at an elite level.
To be sure, Olympic sports such as swimming, triathlon and yachting get more attention in Australia than they do in America. But it's not as if the Olympic sports are Australia's most popular sports -- as in the United States the real path to sporting riches is in the non-Olympic team sports; including one sport they don't really play anywhere else in the world.
Some random thoughts on the Olympics:
UPDATE (4.10pm CDT): A silver medal for Clay.
After 3 days of track and field, what to say ...
Athens in August is not California in April. A bunch of U.S. and N.Z. athletes who ran Olympic qualifying times at the Cardinal Invitational (Dathan Ritzenhein and John Henwood) and the Mt. Sac Relays (Shalene Flanagan and Kim Smith) didn't do so well. Cool California nights are ideal for running quick times, but bear little resemblance to the humidity of Athens.
Flanagan and Smith did not appear to have awful races, but were well down on qualifying for the finals; hopefully both will be around in 2008.
On the other side of the ledger, Deena Kastor's bronze! Wow. What a well-paced race, and an amazingly quick finish. Kastor appears to be one of those athletes who has worked hard, and reaped the benefits. (Click on the athletes' names for a bio, which often has a performance progression chart).
Over at the NZ Herald website there is/was a picture accompanying an article on New Zealand's traditionally "slow" (read: no medals yet!) start to the games which is of Blyth Tait on his famous-in-New-Zealand horse, but is labelled as being of the much more attractive (unless you're really into horses) Evers-Swindell double sculls team.
In case they catch on, I have preserved it here for your benefit (PDF).
The article itself is worth a read, if only for a laugh at how the tone of the article, "let's hope we win some medals next week ..." compares to the overall coverage of American efforts.
Perhaps I was being too harsh on Katie Couric on Friday -- she did note that NZ sends a large team to the Olympics, for its size (the traditional New Zealand qualifier that inflates all achievements to world leading ones!).
If you think the coverage in the New Zealand papers is hopeful and fawning, the coverage in Denmark is apparently similar; since both countries find themselves in the position of being too small to just expect to win lots and lots of medals (like Germany or the United States), but too large to make winning medals a surprise (like Suriname).