I got back from the Olympic Track & Field Trials on Tuesday. Now that I’ve landed back in the real world, I’ve had the time to think about my experience in Track Town. A few conclusions stand out in my mind:
The Olympics are hard to get into.
Kind of obvious I know, but hear me out.
I knew before I went to Eugene that Olympians were incredibly talented. I also knew I would never run in the Games, despite my girlhood fantasies. But until I stood inside Hayward Field and watched women like Molly Huddle and Julia Lucas sprint around the track at a pace I couldn’t keep up for 300 meters, much less three miles, I didn’t fully get it. These women are truly superhuman.
Even superhuman-athletes need luck.
If you used the internet sometime in the past week, you may have heard about the Allyson Felix-Jeneba Tarmoh 100 meter tie. I don’t know about you, but I always assumed that NASA provides USATF with a hair-trigger supercomputer laser beam at the finish line that can detect whose big toenail crossed first by a billionth of a second. A tie? Impossible. But it really did happen. If Felix had leaned forward a fraction of an inch, or if Tarmoh had jumped off the blocks a split second later, there would have been no controversy. If you’re not convinced, consider this: Kim Conley beat Julia Lucas in the 5k by 0.04 seconds. The blink of an eye separates the great athletes from the Olympians.
Field events are awesome.
As a runner, I tend to forget about the the “Field” part of “Track and Field.” As it turns out, they are not only insanely talented but breathtaking to watch. Try to wrap your mind around this one: I witnessed a woman jump 6-feet, 7-inches off the ground and another heave an 8.8-pound piece of metal nearly 63 feet.
I’ve used 8-pound dumbbells at the gym, and they are not light. It’s hard enough lifting it above my head, let alone throwing the thing into the next parking lot. I would kill for the strength these women have in their pinky finger. They rock!
I want to know: What surprises or inspires you about elite competition? Let me know here or follow me on Twitter @JessieSebor.