PAST – PRESENT – FUTURE

I have a daily ritual. My youngest son has to be at school by 7:15am. Once I drop him off I head for the 7-11 convenience store in our area. I purchase one sugar doughnut and a peach SNAPPLE, plus  two newspapers, USA TODAY for the sports section, and THE NEW YORK TIMES for serious national and international news coverage. Then I retire to the “library” which is the parking lot where I sit in my car with the local jazz station quietly jamming in the background, and munch and sip respectively on the doughnut and Snapple, as I read the TIMES front to back and the sports coverage of USA TODAY. This whole activity is pregnant with contradiction. Why would someone pay $2.50 for the TIMES when he can get it free on the internet ? Why would some one purchase a whole newspaper just to read the sports section. Why would any remotely health-minded person, with a minimum of three working brain cells, consume a sugar doughnut and then wash it down with Snapple that is made “with the best stuff on earth”.

But this is not about me, but rather to comment on a piece in sports section of  this weekend’s TIMES . There was a large picture, in color, of a 100 meter race at the London Olympics. In the picture was Usain Bolt, just beyond the finish line. On Bolt’s left was Justin Gatlin with one foot on the finish line. On Bolt’s right was Ryan Bailey , just about to land on the finish line.  To me, this was a rather dramatic and vivid account of where I see world sprinting right now. Justin Gatlin represents the past, having dominated the sprints from 2004 – 2006. Bolt burst on the short sprint scene in 2008 and still masterly and firmly holds sway for the present. But the picture of Bailey in the TIMES picture shows him looking over at Bolt with a sort of interested, but not intimidated countenance. It is Bailey that I pick as the future of male sprinting. Bailey has been on the scene since about the same time as Bolt ( very bad , but irresistible, pun to follow ) bolted onto the sprint center stage,….2008. But until the U.S. Olympic Trials of 2012, it looked like Bailey might just be another short- lived sprint splash, who flashed hot and bight across the landscape as a junior college phenom, only to drop back into oblivion as quickly as he emerged from it. In steps  NIKE, and basically demands a coaching and training site change in exchange for further shoe contract  payments for 2012.

In 2012 John Smith’s training group at West L.A. College has, among others,  the following people training there. Carmelita Jeter ( 2nd fastest woman of all time ), Richard Thompson ( 2008 Olympic 100 meter silver ) , Walter Dix ( 20 08 Olympic 100 meter bronze ), and Jason Richardson ( 2011 Wold Champion at 110 meter hurdles ). Into this very elite group comes Ryan Bailey. Relatively early in training Bailey suffers a foot injury that sets his training back quite a bit, and well behind his training mates.  Despite not being 100%, he makes the U.S. team, makes the finals of the Olympic 100 meters and anchors the U.S. 4 x 100.

When all of the tangibles and intangibles are properly assessed and evaluated, Bailey is the heir apparent as the world’s fastest human. He has a coach that clearly knows the sprints ( John Smith ). In his training group, times that would be eye-popping elsewhere are commonplace within his group,….the same defining phenomenon that exists in Bolt’s group in Jamaica ). He is not intimidated by Bolt. And,……he has yet to reach his full potential.

So,…..the NEW YORK TIMES, in this day and age of dwindling print media circulation and ad buys, shows why some of us dinosaurs will still attempt to buck and contradict the trends, because it still publishes ” all the news fit to print”.

Brooks T. Johnson

( 407 ) 758 – 0755

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