Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday GUEST Blog


Drake Relays n’ More
When I graduated from Allen Memorial School of Nursing (’84), my goal was teach community health. Well that did not quite work out. One class can shift a person’s major, so I ended up with a BA in General Studies for Nurses. I was satisfied with an RN Diploma and a BA. That’s until my mentor at work strongly suggested I get my Masters degree. Yes, he was persistent, I agreed and two years later (’03), I received my Masters in Public Administration from Drake University. Yee Haw, I’m a bulldog alumni!
As an alumni, sad to say I watched the 103rd Drake Relays from a far, not to mention never meeting up at the local watering hole “Peggy’s”. I met up with DrakeSmart travel buddies Ted & Jake at Jethro’s, scored 12 Peggy tumblers, bought a few kiddies outfits and a pair of sweet rain boots at the Book Store, sat outside the stadium to hear Simon Estes salute the troops with a bang of fireworks. 

Can’t leave without getting a pic of the “Top Dog”, very sweet! (darn it, I should of worn my blue hair).

The Relays showcases state high school, college and premium athletes.  The relays started out on Wednesday with an indoor high-jump event, showcasing the top five male and female jumpers, at our swanky mall. This was a very cool event!  I found the following article, so many great runners at the Relays. Here’s an excerpt by Reid Forgrave of FOX Sports. 
There was 2008 Olympian Wallace Spearmon, blazing down the track in 20.02 seconds and breaking his idol Michael Johnson's meet record in the 200-meter dash.
There was two-time American Olympic high jumper Chaunte Lowe, revving up the sellout crowd at Drake Stadium with a backflip and a shimmy moments after she broke her own meet record in the women's high jump when she soared 1.98 meters. And over there, as Lowe was in mid-flip, middle-distance Olympian Jenny Simpson pulled away from the pack and won the 1,500-meter run.
Thirty-three Olympians came to this Midwestern capital. The same April weekend every year, top track and field athletes either come here or go to the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania, two of the most revered track and field events in the country….And in an Olympic year, events like the Drake Relays become both a preview of the coming Games ….

Like back in 1935, when a sophomore at Ohio State University came to the Drake Relays and set the American record in the broad jump by leaping 26 feet, 1-3/4 inches. The next year, Jesse Owens went to the Nazi-infused infused Berlin Olympics. A year after competing in the Drake Relays, Owens won four gold medals and was the most heralded athlete of the Games — and became a rebuke to Adolf Hitler's Aryan beliefs that humans of African descent are inferior, as well as to an American society that treated African-Americans as less-thans.
The list of other Olympic gold medalists who have competed at the Drake Relays is long: Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Wilma Rudolph, Gwen Torrence, Jeremy Wariner, Bruce Jenner, Al Oerter. It's a hugely popular event in Iowa, but it seems to gain that extra cachet in an Olympic year, as if the results of the Drake Relays can be a harbinger of the coming Olympics.
This year, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay competed in the decathlon, and 2008 pole vault silver medalist Jenn Suhr arched her body over the pole vault bar. Two-time silver medalist Adam Nelson put the shot, and two-time silver medalist Terrence Trammell ran the hurdles.
For many of the Olympians and aspiring Olympians who came here over the weekend, this was the beginning of their outdoor season, the start of a ramping-up where they all aim to peak right around July 27, the beginning of the 2012 Olympic Games. The Drake Relays and other similar events bring good competition, yes, but in Olympic years they are only practice for the event that's 10,000 times more important. Check out the slideshow here:
A special shout-out to family friend Keith Ricks of Virginia Tech. He’s a “star runner” and his team won their first-ever ACC Championship for Indoor and Outdoor track. Something to be very proud of “Track-Star”.  And proud, the “war department” is your number-one fan! Haha hehe.

Gotta run, Chat Later
That Girl, Ann Marie 

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