Tag Archives: Tiger Woods

Elaine Thompson Herah up for another award

AFTER copping the World Athletics Female Sports Award last year, Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Elaine Thompson Herah is up for another major award.

She is one of three track and field athletes nominated for the Laureus World Sports Award, World Athletics confirmed on its website yesterday. The Laureus World Sports Awards is an annual award honouring individuals and teams from the world of sports. Thompson Herah is joined by 400m runner Allyson Felix of the United States and marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.

Thompson Herah was nominated for the female award following her outstanding triple gold medal-winning performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She won the 100m and 200m and was a member of the winning 4x100m relay team. Felix’s is among those for the award after reaching a record tally of 11 medals in athletics at the Olympics following her 400m bronze and 4x400m gold medal in Tokyo. Other female nominees include swimmers Emma McKeon of Australia and American Katie Ledecky, tennis player Ashleigh Barty of Australia, and Spanish footballer Alexia Putellas.

Thompson Herah who is also the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation’s National Sportswoman of the Year for 2021, will be hoping to become the second Jamaican to capture this award following the legendary Usain Bolt, who copped the award on four occasions – in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2017. She will also be hoping to become the third female track and field athlete to win the award, following Marion Jones of the United States and Cathy Freeman of Australia, who won in the first two years of the award, in 2000 and 2001.

Athletics legend and Laureus Academy member Michael Johnson of the United States, lauded Thompson Herah on her latest recognition. “She is an athlete who just completely dominated the sport last year,” said Johnson, according to the World Athletics website. Johnson stated that Thompson Herah, who won the 100-200m double at successive Olympic Games, did something which is very difficult to do, while she is threatening one of the oldest and most impressive world records in the books, the women’s 100m record (10.49 seconds) held since 1988 by American Florence Griffith-Joyner. Joining Kipchoge are American NFL player Tom Brady, Bayern Munich footballer Robert Lewandowski of Poland, Belgian-Dutch Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, and American swimmer Caleb Dressel.

Tennis player Serena Williams of the United States, who won the award in 2003, 2010, 2016 and 2018, leads the way among females. On the male side, another tennis player, Roger Federer of Switzerland, has been the most successful. He has won the award on five occasions – 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2018. Meanwhile, golf great Tiger Woods won in the first two years, 2000 and 2001.

Source: jamaica-gleaner.com/

Kenyan Athletes Undervalue Themselves

Kenyan athletes are dominant from 800metres to Marathon. The rest of the world scramble for 100m to 400m. Yet, despite this imbalance, Kenyans are left holding the short end of the sponsorship stick. You can’t blame Nike, Adidas, Visa Card, Turkish Airlines et al for dropping peanuts or nothing to our athletes. It is how they have valued themselves.

Many years ago, I was acting for a world champion. A Beer Company & Nakumatt (then biggest company in Kenya) approached him for endorsement deals. He came to me. I negotiated with both companies & we were on course to agree Kshs. 10m apiece. But as they were then going to be the biggest sports sponsorship deals for an individual, the process was understandably slow. One weekend, my client called me from Europe and very excited told me he struck the deal directly. On what terms? The Beer company gave him One Million. Nakumatt gave him vouchers of Kshs. 300,000=. To excite him, both put him on their Billboards. I cried and terminated my relationship with him.

Conor McGregor, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Naomi Osaka, Steph Curry, Tiger Woods, Ronaldo et al get annual endorsements in excess of us$30m (Kshs.3B). Nike pays some of these athletes in excess of us$10m (Kshs. 1Billion). Yet no Kenyan athlete has annual endorsement in excess of us$500,000/=). An MCA makes more money than our highest paid athlete.

What our athletes need to do is not be haughty and arrogant like the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, but neither should they be as timid as the negroes who worked in the cotton fields of segregated south of US. The need to stand up and give themselves same value as their fellow top athletes in US and Jamaica. To be excited being called Brand Ambassador or being on a Billboard is stupidity of the highest order.

Once our greatest athletes retire, and these local companies stop giving them the measly Kshs. 5m, they fall into penury, alcoholism , depression abd death. Find out where our biggest athletes of 1990’s are. A tragic tale.

We can’t force athletes to value themselves, but they should not blackmail Kenya once they stop running. We cannot insure stupidity.”

A sub-two hour marathon is moving ever closer

When Eliud Kipchoge woke to a dazzling Monday morning in Berlin he was greeted with global headlines lauding him as a “long-distance Usain Bolt” and “the fastest man in the world”. No wonder, given that he had just “pulverised” – as Marca put it – the marathon world record by 78 seconds.

According to Die Welt, the Kenyan had also performed another feat of wizardry by contradicting the late Czech runner Emil Zatopek, in 1954 the first man to break the 29-minute barrier in the 10,000m and a visionary who famously said that “fish float, birds fly, and humans run”. The paper insisted: “The 33-year-old did not run. He flew to a new world best.”

As Kipchoge soared across the line in 2hr 01min 39sec, even sober minds began to entertain the fantastical. His time, after all, was just 100sec from the holy grail of distance running: the sub-two-hour marathon. Suddenly the pipe dream did not look so potty.

Certainly Kipchoge, who ran 2:00.25 in Monza last year as part of the Nike Breaking2 project – although it did not count under official rules as pacers were subbed in and out of the race – thinks it is possible. “It is not rocket science to break this barrier,” he insisted. “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.”

Intriguingly, some scientists agree. “It is now a significant step closer,” says Dr Michael Joyner, an expert in human performance at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. “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.”

Others, however, are more sceptical. The highly respected sports scientist Dr Ross Tucker believes that sub-two is “probably at least 15-20 years away” although there is a substantial caveat. He is unsure how much improved shoe technology and science helped Kipchoge – and how future tech boosts could further improve times.

Kipchoge (C) poses with Amos Kipruto and Wilson Kipsang (R) all of Kenya during the ceremony. Photo: Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images

“What is remarkable about Kipchoge is his ability to run at a high relative speed for so long,” says Tucker. “But we don’t know how much of his world record is tech-driven. Was it the athlete or his shoes that made the difference? It muddies the waters.” Like most top distance athletes sponsored by Nike, Kipchoge runs in Vaporflys, which contain a highly controversial carbon-fibre plate in their soles, and are claimed to improve times by 1 per cent over the next speediest shoe.

On Sunday Kipchoge’s manager, Jos Hermans, cited another factor – an energy drink made by the Swedish company Maurten. Not only does it contain more carbohydrates than other such drinks but, crucially, it also forms a hydrogel when it reaches the stomach – thus supplying more energy during a marathon without causing gastrointestinal problems.

“So is that the shoe? The carb-drink? The mindset? I am not sure,” says Tucker. “But if it is the first two then the sub-two is a lot closer than you would think. Because all it will take is a similar step-up in technology as we have seen in recent years.

“However if technology is not a massive factor, then a sub-two is a lot further away because the physiology of humans isn’t going to change as quickly.”

A lot depends on how much of a phenomenon Kipchoge is. Remember Paula Radcliffe’s women’s marathon record was set in 2003 yet still stands today.

Meanwhile Mark Burnley, a sport scientist at the University of Kent who specialises in high performance, says the “big three” physiological parameters of VO2max, lactate threshold and running economy remain the biggest limiting factors in going under two hours.

“To take a car analogy, maximal oxygen consumption [VO2max]is the size of the engine, oxygen consumption [VO2]is how much the accelerator pedal is being pressed down at any one time, and the lactate threshold is the rev limiter,” he says. “Although you can go above this point, the engine doesn’t like it and the car will break down [fatigue]eventually.

“Meanwhile running economy is a measure much like miles per gallon. The more economical the engine the further a given fuel load [muscle glycogen] can take you. Combining all of these factors determines how fast, and how long, an athlete can run for. Theoretically, the maximum speed a runner can sustain is given by a thing called the critical speed. Above that, your physiology goes haywire. Or, to continue the car analogy, bits of trim fall off until you blow a gasket and your vehicle falls to bits.”

Burnley says that critical speeds of just over 21km per hour are possible in 10,000m athletes, which is sub-two-hour pace, but it places a severe strain on their carbohydrate reserves and the probability of hitting the wall is very high.

Source:  irishtimes.com

Susan Egelstaff: Despite Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s success, kids should not specialise early

THE European Athletics Championships, which concluded in Berlin last weekend, was remarkable for a number of reasons. Primarily, it proved beyond all reasonable doubt that athletics can still be one of the greatest spectator sports on earth.

From a British perspective, it was Dina Asher-Smith’s triple gold that grabbed the headlines but even more astonishing were the exploits of Jakob Ingebrigtsen. The 17-year-old Norwegian became the first man ever to do the 1500m-5000m double at the European Championships and his story is remarkable not only because of the precocious age at which he has won this brace of titles but also because of his back story.

he story of the Ingebrigtsen family has been repeated tirelessly this week; his two older brothers are also world-class middle distance runners who are previous European champions and he has a younger sister who is showing the kind of talent that suggests that, in time, she will also emerge onto the world scene.

Ingebrigtsen followed in his two elder brothers footsteps by becoming European 1500m champion last week in a thrilling run before following that with his 5000m run, in which he dominated from three laps out and as a result, produced a comfortable victory. For three brothers – who are all coached by their father – to all make it to this level is astonishing but for Ingebrigtsen to have scaled these heights at quite such a precocious age is breath-taking.

When asked during the European Championships how he has managed to reach this level quite so early, he replied: “I’ve been a professional runner since I was eight, nine, ten years old. I’ve been training, dedicated and following a good structure – the same as my brothers – from an early age.”

Ingebrigtsen’s comments are in-keeping with a prevailing feeling in some quarters that early specialisation is the way to go when it comes to producing elite athletes. Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hours theory, which states that 10,000 hours of practice are needed in order to master a skill, is often cited in the push for kids to focus on one specific sport from an increasingly early age.

And certainly Ingebrigtsen’s success, coupled with the success of the likes of early specialisers such as the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova and Tiger Woods, back up the theory that starting early is the path to follow.

However, this could not be further from the truth. Yes, there will always be exceptions and it is easy to see why Ingebrigtsen’s comments about having trained like a professional athlete since the age of 8 would give rise to the thinking that the earlier a kid starts, the better.

Numerous studies show that despite the odd exception who does come through having focused on a single sport at a young age, in fact, early specialisation is hugely detrimental to a young athlete.

University of Wisconsin study found that those who focus on one single sport in childhood double their chances of picking up a serious injury compared to those taking part in a number of different sports.

Being involved in a range of sports works wonders for developing a kid’s physical literacy, as well as decreasing the risk of picking up an overuse injury before the body is strong enough to cope with repetitive movements.

In the same vein, for a kid to devote themselves to one single sport before they even become a teenager has been shown to increase the risk of burnout as well as physiological problems which, more often than not, encourages that individual to drop out of the sport entirely.

It cannot be forgotten that only a tiny percentage of the population become Olympians, even fewer then go on to pick up silverware. Over 99 percent of children playing sports will not become world-class athletes and so to centre their young lives around doing so is foolish in the extreme.

Ingebrigtsen is a remarkable individual, but he most certainly does not provide a blue-print for what must be followed. Instead, if a kid begins their sporting journey doing a number of disciplines, and doing it for fun, they are far more likely to make it to the top than if they are treated like a professional athlete while still at primary school.

Source: heraldscotland.com