Gary Winckler''s Olympic diary

By: Gary Winckler

By: Gary Winckler

By: Gary Winckler

By: Gary Winckler

   Gary Winckler, head womens track and field coach at Illinois, is in Australia working with some current and former Illini. Hell check in periodically with sights and sounds from the Summer Olympics. Todays report:

   The Olympics were very short for me this year. Perdita Felicien ran in the first round of the 100-meter hurdles Monday morning. She did a solid job and finished in 13.21 seconds. It was good for a first-timer, but she finished sixth in her heat and didnt move on. Her year has been long, and we both agree this experience has been very good for her.

   Tonja Buford-Bailey also was disappointed in her opening race (400 hurdles) and should be. Her preparation was not nearly what it should have been for someone of her experience.

   The United States is having a tough meet compared to past Olympics. The women did not get a single finalist in the 400, the 400 hurdles, the triple jump and the 5,000, and only one finalist in the 100 and 800.

   Other countries are doing better jobs of development than they have in the past, and the United States continues to sit back and depend on college programs to develop its Olympic teams. Development for this level of competition takes more than wishin and hopin. 

   Australia has done a magnificent job in the last eight years of building development and support programs for its Olympic sports, and the results are showing.

   I went to both track and field sessions Monday. Stacy Dragila did a good job for the United States in the pole vault. She was struggling for most of the meet and finally came through at the final height to make it on her first attempt to overcome the Australian. It was a good competition.

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