Tag Archives: Colin Kaepernick

What happens when the likes of Eliud Kipchoge defy the ‘impossible’

I know. I was stunned, too. Eliud Kipchoge did what? He ran the Berlin marathon in 2 hours 1 min 39 seconds? How is that even possible?

I mean in an athletics world where records tend to be broken by hundredths of a second, if at all – and occasionally a second or two for the longer distances – the Kenyan took 1 minute 18 seconds off the old mark.

The feat, of course, begs the question. Might it be possible, after all, for a human to run the marathon in under two hours? If so, the superbly configured Kipchoge – he appears to be mostly legs, topped by a massive set of heart and lungs, and an always grinning countenance – is humanity’s best hope to get there. If he can it would be a combination of the four-minute mile meets the moon landing – an iconic “impossible” record broken, if everything falls into place.

For it was Kipchoge who, in a promo for Nike last year, got close to the barrier in artificial conditions which included having runners subbing in and out of the race to pace him on a flat oval track and people on mopeds passing on high energy drinks. On that occasion, he did it in just 25 seconds over two hours.

“It is not rocket science to break this barrier,” he said at the time. “You simply have to believe in it. And you need a great team that believes in it and in you, the perfect shoes, and to be stronger than any runner before. Then everything is possible.”

(I know, I suspect that line owes more to the Nike marketing department than him, but can’t resist including it anyway, because of the rocket science/ moon landing angle and, more importantly, because it will give the vicious critics of Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign the absolute irrits – but that’s just a bonus!)

But could he get below two hours in a normal marathon? Dr Michael Joyner of Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic wrote a paper 27 years ago suggesting that it was theoretically possible for a man to run the marathon in one hour 58 minutes and so has taken huge interest in Kipchoge’s latest feat.

“[Breaking the two-hour barrier] is now a significant step closer,” Dr Joyner told The Guardian on Monday. “We might see something like a Tiger Woods effect – when he arrived on the golfing scene he was a quantum leap forward, yet eventually there was a catch-up.”

Exactly. For what it’s worth, this is the angle that particularly interests me.

See, about 64 years ago, our own John Landy was in Finland’s former capital of Turku, preparing for a race when a local asked him had he heard the news? “No. What news?” John replied. “Roger Bannister has broken the four-minute mile. He’s done three minutes 59.4 seconds.”

Landy was stunned. “I was amazed, really,” he told me when I interviewed him a couple of decades ago. “I just couldn’t quite believe that Bannister had managed to lop as much as two seconds off the record in just the one race … Back then the four-minute mile was almost like a barrier, a limit, which we thought exceedingly difficult to break. If the record of four minutes, one second was going to be lowered, we thought it would only go down by a 10th of a second or so at a time.”

But Bannister’s feat changed everything. “A lot of people seem to think I must have been devastated that Bannister had broken the four-minute barrier before me, but I wasn’t. I was just astonished that he’d lopped so much off the previous record, and I guess … because I thought I was just as good a runner as he was … it gave me a bit of a hurry-up to run a time like that myself, it made me think I really had better pull something out of the hat.”

At his next race, therefore, which was in Turku just a few weeks later, Landy ran like the wind, and when he crossed the tape, lots of excited Finnish officials and athletes were crowding around him, yelling, laughing, clapping him on the back. They kept saying something: Ricodda? Ricoad? Ricod?Record? Record. The world record to be precise. And the new … heavyweight champeen of the mile distance race … in a time of three minutes 57.9 seconds … John … LANDY. You get the drift.

Pushed: John Landy (right) thought he could creep towards the four-minute mile before Roger Bannister (left) smashed it. Photo: AP
Having thought only a few weeks earlier that the four-minute mile could only be approached a tenth of a second at a time, Landy had not only smashed the barrier himself but also taken nearly two seconds off Bannister’s time. He’d always been capable of it – it was just that the Bannister feat had liberated his mind, as to the possibilities. And it liberated other runners, too, with the four-minute mile soon being regularly broken by other runners who’d long thought it impossible.

Will we see the same with Kipchoge, and his fellow runners? The Kenyan has now demonstrated that it is possible to get at least close to that barrier. As he is 33 years old, our own Robert de Castella who himself held the record three decades ago at 2 hours, 8 minutes and 18 seconds says he’ll have to get the job done in the next couple of years. But surely, if not Kipchoge himself, then one of the next generation of runners will crack it …

On the day that it happens, it will surely be bitter-sweet. After all, with Everest now conquerable to even moderate mountaineers, and with the four-minute mile a mere good training run for the best athletes, the two-hour marathon is one of the last mythical sporting feats left standing. If it does go, what is left?

All I can think of is that one day, far in the future, the NRL might be able to get through Mad Monday without atrocities breaking out and … And you’re right. I take it back. That really is impossible.

Source: theage.com.au

Nike Advert Addresses Semenya’s Discrimination

Nike has done on an advert on double Olympic and triple world champion South Africa’s Caster Semenya to celebrate her success and address her testosterone controversy.

Nike has featured Semenya as part of its 30th anniversary of their famous slogan ‘Just Do It’.

Semenya’s “resilience” to attempts in the past to sideline her from women’s sport underpins her voice-over in the 45-seconds long advert posted on Monday.

Semenya is heard asking:

“Would it be easier for you if I wasn’t so fast?” she says.

“Would it be simpler if I stopped winning?

“Would you be more comfortable if I was less proud?

“Would you prefer if I hadn’t worked so hard, or just didn’t run?

“Or chose a different sport?

“Or stopped at my first steps?

“That’s too bad because I was born to do this.

For 30 years, the “Just Do It” mantra has been a motivational call for athletes worldwide, across all sports, and all levels of play.

Narrated by American football player Colin Kaepernick, “Dream Crazy” provides encouragement to everyone who has crazy dreams and goals that may seem challenging.

Nike says that they hope the series of films will show a “sense of persistence”.

In 2009, Semenya was subjected to sex testing and is currently appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules on testosterone levels in female athletes.

The rules, for between 400m and the mile, are scheduled to come into effect in November 1 and would require Semenya to take a  tablet to lower her testosterone levels or look to compete against men.

In response to the ruling, Human Rights Watch published an open letter in which they said that this equates to discrimination against women with “differences of sex development”.

The IAAF has defended its stance, however, and insists they are creating a level playing field.

To celebrate that rich diversity, Nike has developed a series of “short films” in the JDI series.

“Dream Crazy,” focuses on a collection of stories that represent athletes who are household names and those who should be. The common denominator: All leverage the power of sport to move the world forward.

Along with inspirational pros — Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr.,— in this film, you’ll meet incredible athletes who include 29-year-old basketball phenom and wheelchair athlete Megan Blunk, who took gold in Rio in 2016.

Others are Isaiah Bird, who was born without legs, and at 10 years old has become the one to beat on his wrestling team and Charlie Jabaley — an Ironman who made over his life by dropping 120 pounds, by being a vegetarian, and in the process, reversed the growth of a life-long brain tumor.

Michigander Alicia Woollcott, who simultaneously played linebacker and was named homecoming queen during her high school senior season has also been featured.

Additional appearances are made by emerging professional athletes and world champions alike: Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies; Hawaiian big wave surfer Kai Lenny, American skateboarders Lacey Baker and Nyjah Husto, German champion boxer Zeina Nassar and U.S. Soccer’s Women’s National Team.

Semenya slams critics, stars in touching Nike Ad

Nike has honoured South Africa’s 800m Olympic and World Champion Caster Semenya with her very own #justdoit campaign to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their famous slogan.

Following adverts for controversial American footballer Colin Kaepernick – as well as sporting legends like tennis star Serena Williams and basketball legend LeBron James – the American sportswear giant has now included Semenya.

On Sunday, Semenya raced to her 29th consecutive 800m win over a three-year period when she won the event at the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava.

The 27-year-old recently appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to challenge upcoming International Athletics Federation (IAAF) rules on testosterone levels in female athletes.

These rules are scheduled to go into effect in November 2018 and would require Semenya to take a tablet to lower her naturally occurring testosterone levels.

But in the Nike advert, she is as feisty as ever.

“Will it be easier for you if I wasn’t so fast? Will it be simpler if I stop winning? Would you be more comfortable if I was less proud? 

“Would you prefer if I hadn’t worked so hard? Or just didn’t love it? Or stopped at my first steps?

“That’s too bad, because I was born to do this…”