Next up: 5,000


Kara Goucher competes in her second Summer
Olympics race at 7:05 a.m. CDT Tuesday, in the preliminaries of the women’s
5,000-meter track event at National Stadium in Beijing.

The race will not be televised live, but will
be part of a late-night highlight package from 10:30 p.m. to midnight on NBC6.
There’s also track and field scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday at NBC6, although it’s not known which events will be shown.

There are 16 runners in each of two heats
with 15 of the 32 advancing to Friday’s 7:40 a.m. CDT final. The top six in
each heat plus the next three-fastest times qualify.

Goucher, 30, a Duluth
native living in Portland, Ore., placed 10th in the women’s
10,000-meter race Friday.

 Ethiopian runners are the leaders at 5,000. Meseret
Defar is the defending Olympic champion with a personal best of 14 minutes,
12.88 seconds. Tirunesh Dibaba won last week’s 10,000 final and holds the world
record of 14:11.15, set in June. Shalane Flanagan, a 10,000 bronze medalist,
has the American 5,000 record of 14:44.80, while Goucher has a personal best of
14:55.02.

Goucher was unhappy with her 10,000
performance and the U.S. Olympic Trials 5,000 champion said she’s seeking a
better performance Tuesday:

"I will be a different animal. Thats for sure," she told the St. Paul
Pioneer Press.

Goucher is in Tuesday’s second heat with Defar,
Flanagan and Ethiopian-born Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey, second at 10,000. The
first heat is at 6:35 a.m. CDT.

A Track & Field News form chart ranks
Defar, Dibaba and Ethiopia‘s
Meselech Melkamu 1-2-3 entering the race. American Jen Rhines,
with a best of 14:54.29, is ranked No. 10.

Goucher Reflects on 10K


U.S. Olympian Kara Goucher sent this e-mail to the News Tribune on Saturday, following a 10th-place finish in Friday’s 10,000-meter women’s track final at the Summer Games in Beijing on Aug. 15. She races again Aug. 19 in the 5,000-meter preliminaries. The final is Aug. 22:


I am back in my room Saturday with [husband
Adam Goucher] after getting some breakfast-lunch. Last night was a late night.
It was quite memorable, and although it didn’t go as I had hoped, it was still
an amazing experience.

I was remarkably relaxed heading into the 10K.
We rode the bus over from the athletes village to the stadium and it was easy
and efficient. We got out to the warm up track and it sat right along side the National
Stadium or "bird’s nest" as it is called here. The Olympic Flame was glowing
brightly and it was a bit surreal to be warming up with the torch right there.
My legs lacked a little pop, bit I knew I was rested and ready to go. [Coach
Alberto Salazar] gave me a very simple race plan — go out there and stick on
the leaders.

While I was ready to run fast, I was
expecting the race to go out slow and build in intensity. This didn’t happen.
We ran our first mile in 4 minutes, 47 seconds and the pace never relented. I
tried to just focus on staying with it, but after about halfway a gap started
to open.

 I
could see that [American record holder Shalane Flanagan] was staying on the
pace and I know that I can run with her, but I was just unable to keep it up. I
started to slip back more and more and with 10 laps to go I could see that
there was no way my dream of getting a medal would come true.

 At
this point I found myself in a strange situation. I was not going to medal, and
I still had 2½ miles to go. It became a little difficult to find motivation. I
started to think about my race Tuesday and fell apart a bit. With a mile to go
I regrouped a bit because I saw that I might still be able to run under 31
minutes which is a big benchmark of a world-class 10K runner.

 And
then it was over, just like that, and I felt a little lost. Adam, Alberto, and [psychologist
Darren Treasure] had somehow managed to get down at the edge of the track and I
just looked at them with a little confusion.

After that I went through the media line and
then meet up with Alberto to cool down and stretch. He was great, telling me
that I wasn’t ready to run under 30:20 yet, that I did my best, that it just
wasn’t going to happen in that particular race. He told me that I can run a
great set of 5Ks here next week, but to remember that I am still one of the
best runners in the world. He said that in his opinion, I haven’t even started
running the event that I will eventually become an Olympic champion in. He made
me feel a lot better. He believes I can do amazing things.

I got to see my mom [Patty Wheeler} for a hug
and then I was with Adam, who helped me to process the race and to find the
positives in it. First of all, I went out aggressively. I was not, and still am
not, intimidated by anyone. No one scared me, I just ran out of gas. Second, I
ran a personal best. In a race where I faded in the second half, I was still
able to shave 22 seconds off of my old PR. Not too bad. And finally, and most
importantly, I had just gotten 10th in the world on an off day. This shows that
I am now on a whole new level.

Who would have thought four years ago that I
would feel let down with a 10th place at the Olympics.

I also have to say that Shalane Flanagan ran
amazing Friday night. I am so proud of how far American distance running has
come. Last year when I won my medal a lot of people said that we got lucky, but
Shalane proved that it is no fluke. American runners have proven that we are among
the very best in the world. Of course I would have loved for it to be me who
won that medal, but I am so glad that Shalane got out there and did it. Good
job!

Well, Friday night was awesome. Not the race
I was hoping for, but I got to race in the Olympics. I love, love, love racing
at the international level. It makes me feel so amazing to be running with the
very best in the world. This is a lifelong dream for me and I do feel so lucky
to be doing it. I am switching my focus now to a good, fast race Tuesday. I am
confident that I can do well and that everything I learned Friday will help me
to put together an even better performance.

 Thank
you all so much for the continued support. I wish I had won a 10K medal for you
all, but I did my best and I know that will be enough for you all. I am holding
my head high and I am thrilled to be here, and to have another chance to get
out on that track.

Goucher is 10th


Records fell in the fastest women’s
10,000-meter track race in history Friday night at National Stadium in Beijing.

Duluth native Kara
Goucher was pulled along to a personal best in her Summer Olympics debut, yet
it wasn’t all that she had hoped for. Goucher finished 10th in the 31-runner
field just a year after placing third at the same distance in the World Championships.

"You can’t do a whole lot better than Kara
did, and I’m proud of her, but I know she’s disappointed, "Patty Wheeler of Duluth,
Goucher’s mother, said by phone from Beijing following the race. "Her goal was
to put everything on the line and she did that. She did everything she needed
to, but this was an amazingly fast race."

Indeed it was.

Defending champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Ethiopian-born Elvan Abeylegesse of
Turkey and others, including American record holder Shalane Flanagan of Pittsboro, N.C.,
ignored a 76-degree night and 55 percent humidity

Dibaba, 22, made a push over the last 350
meters to win in an Olympic record 29 minutes, 54.66 seconds with Abeylegesse,
25, right behind in 29:56.34, also personal bests. Flanagan, 27, earned third
and a bronze medal in 30:22.22, breaking her U.S. mark of 30:34.49. Her time is
also a North American best.

Dibaba’s time was the second-fastest in
history behind Wang Junxia of China,
who ran 29:31.78 in 1993. She and Abeylegesse are only the second and third
women to break the 30-minute barrier. The Olympic record had been 30:17.49 by Ethiopia’s
Derartu Tulu in 2000.

Goucher, 30, ran 30:55.16, bettering her
personal record of 31:17.12. While it made her the third-fastest 10,000-meter
runner in U.S.
history, behind Flanagan and Deena Kastor’s 30:50.32, it was something of a
letdown.

"I don’t talk about PRs as something I’m
proud of," Goucher told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It’s more the way I race,
and I didn’t race well. I’m disappointed. I feel I let a lot of people down.

"I started thinking about (the 5,000-meter
preliminary) Tuesday, and I let that become a reason that it’s OK not to grind
it out. That was a big mistake, and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time."

Flanagan, bothered by food poisoning earlier
in the week, tied the best Olympic finish at 10,000 meters for an American
woman, matching a Lynn Jennings third place in 1992 in Barcelona. She held off Kenya’s Linet
Chepkwemoi Masai, 18, who was fourth in 30:26.50, an African and World Junior
record, Fifth-place Maria Konovalova set a Russian record in 30:35.84. The
third U.S. entrant, Amy
Yoder Begley, 30, of Portland
placed 26th in 32:38.28.

"I was in such a zone. My coach said to fall
asleep for a couple laps and then give it a go," Flanagan told USA Track &
Field. "I ran my hardest and tried to give it my best. I was just running so
within myself trying to stay calm."

As the first Duluth-raised woman to compete
in a Summer Olympics, Goucher ran in the only final on the first day of track
and field competition. A crowd of about 90,000 was on hand for the event,
including Wheeler, who was in a prime watching area, just 13 rows from the
track and 60 meters from the finish line.

Goucher, who lives in Portland,
Ore., followed as Kenyan-born Lornah Kiplagat,
representing the Netherlands,
quickly went through two kilometers in 6:00.15. While Goucher stayed close for
the first third of the 6.2-mile race, the fierce early pace likely sapped her
strength. She was never much higher than seventh place.

"Just the fact that Kara is in the Olympics
and has overcome a lot of things is inspiring to me, but I know she thinks that
she can do better. She’s an Olympic rookie, but she’ll rebound and will have
more fire for her next race," said Kelly Grgas-Wheeler of Duluth, Goucher’s older sister, and a Minnesota
Duluth women’s assistant soccer coach.

A group of about 45 gathered at Lecture Hall
80 at UMD’s Montague Hall with the hopes of seeing the 9:45 a.m. CDT race on a
live video feed (the race was 10:45 p.m. in Beijing). After working out a few bugs, video
was available from Eurosport for the last third of the race. Among those
watching were Goucher’s grandparents, Cal and Ola Jean Haworth of Duluth, Grgas-Wheeler and
cousin Wade Haworth, a UMD student. Kendall Schoolmeester of Portland, Goucher’s younger sister, watched
the race via computer at Goucher’s home.

"She was running against athletes on an
Olympic-record pace and it didn’t work out for her," said Cal Haworth. "You can
knock her down, but she won’t stay down. She’s a fighter."

Said Ola Jean Haworth: "It’s unbelievable
that she’s made it this far and we’re proud of her. If she’s doing the best she
can, then that’s all you can ask."

Goucher’s next event is the 5,000-meter
preliminaries at 6:35 a.m. CDT on Tuesday. If she advances, the 5,000-meter
final is Aug. 22.

Garry Bjorklund of Twig, the only other
Northeastern Minnesota track Olympian, ran in the men’s 10,000-meter final on
July 26, 1976, in Montreal, placing 13th in 28:38.08. Finland‘s Lasse Viren won in 27:40.38 and Portugal’s
Carlos Lopes was second in 27:45.17.

"My plan was to get to the halfway point of
the race in 14:50 to 15:00, and I made it in 15:05, and figured I was in a good
spot," Bjorklund, who lives in Fort
Collins
, Colo.
, said
recently. "Then in the second half of the race, Viren and Lopes ran
13:20-something and I fell from fourth to 13th place. I was never so taken
apart in my life. I was never so crushed."

 Two
weeks after the Olympics, in Stockholm, Sweden, Bjorklund ran a 10,000-meter race in
27:49, which would’ve earned a bronze medal in Montreal.

Kara is Counting the Hours

    This e-mail Wednesday from Kara Goucher in Beijing as less than 48 hours remains until her Olympic debut:


Well, I am 48 hours away from my first race
in Beijing. I
am excited and calm all at once. Is that even possible? I had my last track
session Wednesday and it went great. There were some big stars working out at
the track. Sanya Richards, Tyson Gay, Brad Walker, Anna Willard, and
Shalane Flanagan just to name a few.

It’s pretty awesome when the best athletes in
the U.S.
are all working out at once on the same track. Today I am just going to relax
and sleep and Friday is game day. Adam [husband, Adam Goucher] and my sports psychologist
got in Tuesday and it was great to see them both. Adam brings a calmness to me
and makes me feel like I am more on my regular routine. This makes me feel more
normal and relaxed. And [psychologist] Darren Treasure is great. He’s the one
who has helped me not be afraid to go after big goals. So, I am so happy that
they have arrived and brought a sense of normalcy to the craziness of the Olympics.

My mom arrived Wednesday and I’m hoping to
connect with her at some point today. How fun that she is here in China.

I am ready to go. From now on it’s only rest
and relaxation. Friday will be great. I cannot guarantee anything, only that I
will do my best and put it out there. To medal you have to have a bit of luck
and a little help from the big man upstairs. I will do everything that I can to
be there on the last lap and hope that the stars align. If nothing else, this
is just another step to becoming one of the best runners in the world. Thank
you all for the continuing support, it has been amazing. I am enjoying this
experience so much and I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can do. I
feel so much pride in being a U.S.
Olympic athlete.

10,000 Meters Start List

      The list of starters for Friday’s 10,000-meters women’s track final at the Summer Olympics:

Order Athlete Country SB 2008 PB
1 Mestawet Tufa ETH 30:38.33 30:38.33
2 Hilda Kibet NED 30:58.48 30:58.48
3 Amy Begley-Yoder USA 31:43.60 31:43.60
4 Ejegayehu Dibaba ETH 31:04.05 30:18.39
5 Xiaoqin Dong CHN 31:31.87 31:31.87
6 Preeja Sreedharan IND 32:04.41 32:04.41
7 Asmae Leghzaoui MAR 31:16.94
8 Xue Bai CHN 31:40.38 31:28.88
9 Tirunesh Dibaba ETH 31:03.37 30:15.67
10 Kate Reed GBR 31:35.77 31:35.77
11 Mariya Konovalova RUS 30:59.35 30:59.35
12 Anika Kovovics HUN 32:09.02 31:40.31
13 Shalane Flanagan USA 30:34.49 30:34.49
14 Kimberley Smith NZL 30:35.54 30:35.54
15 Sabrina Mockenhaupt GER 31:27.05 31:21.28
16 Dulce Mara Rodriguez MEX 31:39.20 31:25.33
17 Joanne Pavey GBR 31:56.90 31:26.94
18 Penninah Arusei KEN 30:57.80 30:57.80
19 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 31:18.79 30:51.81
20 Kara Goucher USA 31:26.48 31:17.12
21 Lucy Kabuu Wangui KEN 32:18.60 31:05.90
22 Isabel Checa ESP 32:07.78 32:07.78
23 Linet Chepkwemoi Masai KEN 31:14.98 31:14.98
24 Nataliya Berkut UKR 31:47.03 31:08.89
25 Yingying Zhang CHN 31:38.35 31:17.30
26 Inga Abitova RUS 30:46.70 30:31.42
27 Nathalie De Vos BEL 33:10.76 31:22.80
28 Yoko Shibui JPN 31:15.07 30:48.89
29 Tatyana Khmeleva-Aryasova RUS 31:04.88 31:04.88
30 Lornah Kiplagat NED 31:04.04 30:12.53
31 Elvan Abeylegesse TUR 31:36.33 30:21.67
32 Yukiko Akaba JPN 31:15.34 31:15.34

 

10,000 Meters Start List

Order Athlete Country SB 2008 PB
1 Mestawet Tufa ETH 30:38.33 30:38.33
2 Hilda Kibet NED 30:58.48 30:58.48
3 Amy Begley-Yoder USA 31:43.60 31:43.60
4 Ejegayehu Dibaba ETH 31:04.05 30:18.39
5 Xiaoqin Dong CHN 31:31.87 31:31.87
6 Preeja Sreedharan IND 32:04.41 32:04.41
7 Asmae Leghzaoui MAR 31:16.94
8 Xue Bai CHN 31:40.38 31:28.88
9 Tirunesh Dibaba ETH 31:03.37 30:15.67
10 Kate Reed GBR 31:35.77 31:35.77
11 Mariya Konovalova RUS 30:59.35 30:59.35
12 Anikó Kálovics HUN 32:09.02 31:40.31
13 Shalane Flanagan USA 30:34.49 30:34.49
14 Kimberley Smith NZL 30:35.54 30:35.54
15 Sabrina Mockenhaupt GER 31:27.05 31:21.28
16 Dulce María Rodríguez MEX 31:39.20 31:25.33
17 Joanne Pavey GBR 31:56.90 31:26.94
18 Penninah Arusei KEN 30:57.80 30:57.80
19 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 31:18.79 30:51.81
20 Kara Goucher USA 31:26.48 31:17.12
21 Lucy Kabuu Wangui KEN 32:18.60 31:05.90
22 Isabel Checa ESP 32:07.78 32:07.78
23 Linet Chepkwemoi Masai KEN 31:14.98 31:14.98
24 Nataliya Berkut UKR 31:47.03 31:08.89
25 Yingying Zhang CHN 31:38.35 31:17.30
26 Inga Abitova RUS 30:46.70 30:31.42
27 Nathalie De Vos BEL 33:10.76 31:22.80
28 Yoko Shibui JPN 31:15.07 30:48.89
29 Tatyana Khmeleva-Aryasova RUS 31:04.88 31:04.88
30 Lornah Kiplagat NED 31:04.04 30:12.53
31 Elvan Abeylegesse TUR 31:36.33 30:21.67
32 Yukiko Akaba JPN 31:15.34 31:15.34

10,000-Meter Form Chart

       Track & Field News has this form chart for Friday’s 10,000-meter women’s track event at the Summer Olympics:

10,000
Final — 10:45 p.m., Friday, Aug. 15 (9:45 a.m. CDT)
THE FORM CHART
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia)……… 30:15.67 (2005)
2. Ejegayehu Dibaba (Ethiopia)…… 30:18.39 (2005)
3. Mestawat Tufa (Ethiopia)…………. 30:38.33 (2008)
4. Elvan Abeylegesse (Turkey)……. 30:21.67 (2006)
5. Kara Goucher (US)…………………. 31:17.12 (2006)
6. Shalane Flanagan (US)…………… 30:34.49 (2008)
7. Kim Smith (New Zealand)……….. 30:35.54 (2008)
8. Lornah Kiplagat (Holland)………. 30:12.53 (2003)
9. Inga Abitova (Russia)……………… 30:31.42 (2006)
10. Peninah Arusei (Kenya)…………30:57.8h (2008)
Other American:
Amy Yoder Begley 31:43.60 (2008)

THE SCOOP

     If the 2007 World Championships is a guide, the 10K
could be all any distance fan dreams of: tactics,
surprises mid-race, heady racing and gut checks
required to medal.
     Tirunesh Dibaba will look to add Olympic gold to
her pair of world titles. To win last year’s in strength-sapping
heat likely to be revisited here she overcame
stomach trouble and a near fall to surge from
last place to victory over the second half. Maybe
she’ll get more Ethiopian team (sister) help.
The U.S. squad arrives bolstered by Kara Goucher’s
dig-deep performance to medal in Osaka. Goucher
thus gets a hair-thin been-there-done-that nod over
AR holder Flanagan, but both spit nails when they
race so who knows?

THE STATS

WR 29:31.78 Junxia Wang (China) 1993
AR 30:34.49 Shalane Flanagan (Nike) 2008
OR 30:17.49 Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) 2000
2004 OG Medals: Xing-E. Dibaba-Tulu
2005 WC Medals: T. Dibaba-Adere-E. Dibaba
2007 WC: T. Dibaba-Abeylegesse-Goucher

THE ALL-TIME TOP 10
29:31.78………………..Junxia Wang (China) 9/08/93
30:01.09….. Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) 8/06/02
30:04.18………….Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) 8/23/03
30:07.15……..Werknesh Kidane (Ethiopia) 8/23/03
30:07.20………………… Yingsie Sun (China) 8/23/03
30:12.53……………..Lornah Kiplagat (Hol) 8/23/03
30:13.37………………Huandi Zhong (China) 9/08/93
30:13.74……….Ingrid Kristiansen (Norway) 7/05/86
30:15.67……. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) 6/28/05
30:17.49…………….. Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia) 9/30/00
Copyright — MARK SHEARMAN

Hull to U.S. Hall


Brett Hull’s relationship with USA Hockey
began with the 1986 World Championships in Moscow. He’d just finished his sophomore season
at Minnesota Duluth and wasn’t invited to join Canada’s
team, but was invited to play for the United States.

Hull,
with dual citizenship, went on to represent the U.S.
on six international teams, which resulted in a gold medal in the 1996 World
Cup and a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The right winger was rewarded for his national
team efforts, and a spectacular 20-year NHL career, by being selected for the
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth. A four-member Class of 2008 was announced
Tuesday and induction ceremonies are Oct. 10 in Denver.

"USA
hockey gave me the opportunity to play with great players and find out who I
was," Hull said
in a conference call. "Without that opportunity, maybe I wouldn’t have
developed enough and wouldn’t have been a pro player. I’m eternally grateful."

Also in the class are defenseman Brian
Leetch, a former Stanley Cup MVP; goalie Mike Richter, who has the most victories
in New York Rangers history; and forward Cammi Granato, the first female Hall
of Fame member.

Hull becomes just the second
UMD player chosen as an individual inductee, following Huffer Christiansen in
2005. The 2003 inductees included the 1980 Olympic team which had UMD forwards
Mark Pavelich and John Harrington.

Hull, who turned 44 Saturday, retired in 2005
with 1,391 points in 1,269 games, including 741 goals, the third-most in NHL history.
The Dallas Stars co-general manager is expected to be chosen for the Hockey
Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, in 2009.

"Putting that U.S. jersey on and knowing you
are representing your country taught you to sacrifice for your teammates," said
Hull, who’s 52 goals for UMD in 1985-86 has yet to be bettered the past 22
years in Division I.

Leetch, 40, played on three U.S. Olympic
teams and was an NHL All-Star three times while accumulating 1,028 points.
Richter, 41, was on three World Championships teams, three Olympic teams and
was a three-time NHL All-Star. Granato, 37, was captain of the U.S. team which won the gold medal in the 1998
Winter Olympics, the first to offer women’s hockey, and played 15 years with
the U.S.
national program.

     

More Hull:
     He played for five NHL teams (Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes). In his first full season with the Blues (1988-89), he scored 41 goals and captured the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The following year marked the first of three consecutive 70-plus goal seasons, which included a career-high 86 goals in 1990-91 to earn him the Lester B. Pearson Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP.
     After 11 seasons in St. Louis, Hull signed with the Dallas Stars in the summer of 1998 and helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 1999. After three seasons in Dallas, Hull signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings prior to 2001-02 season and captured his second Stanley Cup later that spring.
     On the international side, Hull helped the United States to an Olympic silver medal at his second Games in 2002 and topped the tournament in scoring as Team USA captured the World Cup of Hockey in 1996, the first of his two World Cup appearances. He also participated in the 1991 Canada Cup and 1986 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
     NOTES: Hull, Leetch and Richter are all among the 12 players voted to the All-Time USA Hockey Team in 1997 … Ticket information for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Dinner can be obtained by calling Jamie Arundel at 719-538-1184 & The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2008 was chosen by a 12-member selection committee & The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1973. To date, there are 134 enshrined members in the Hall. For information on the members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit the Hall’s official website at ushockeyhalloffame.com & USA Hockey and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame reached an agreement on May 11, 2007, that transferred rights to the selection process and induction event associated with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame to USA Hockey & The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, located in Eveleth, Minn., is open daily. For hours of operation and admission prices, visit ushockeyhall.com or call 800-443-7825.

UMD at Xcel Doubleheader

 

Tickets for the first Western Collegiate
Hockey Association College Hockey Showcase men’s doubleheader Nov. 1 at the Xcel Energy
Center in St. Paul, which includes Minnesota Duluth,
are available for purchase.

UMD faces St. Cloud
State at 4:07 p.m., followed by
Minnesota State-Mankato playing Minnesota
at 7:37 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $32-$42 and are good
for both games. Fans can download an order form from the UMD Web site at
www.umdbulldogs.com, or purchase tickets at UMD’s campus ticket office or call (218)
726-8595. The deadline to order tickets at UMD is Aug. 15.

Tickets go on sale again Oct. 1 through
Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster outlets — including the DECC box office.

Beijing Bound

      As distance runner Kara Goucher and her Nike Oregon Project teammates fly today to Beijing for the Summer Games, the Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Ore., has this update on last week’s time in Houston training in the heat:

     Alberto Salazar said Monday the three U.S. Olympic team runners he coaches — Kara Goucher, Amy Yoder Begley and Galen Rupp — responded well to a week of training in Houston and are ready to compete in the Summer Games.

     The workouts went great," Salazar said. "We ran in hotter conditions than we expect to see in Beijing."

     Goucher and Yoder Begley will run in the women’s 10,000 meters final Aug. 15, and Rupp will compete in the men’s 10,000 final on Aug. 17. Goucher will double, running in a 5,000-meter preliminary on Aug. 19. All three athletes are to fly to San Francisco on Tuesday and leave for Beijing on Wednesday.

     "Everyone’s in good shape," Salazar said. "The only thing out there to be worried about is the pollution, and we can’t control that."

     Most U.S. track athletes will spend time at a training camp in Dalian, a blue-skied coastal resort town about 300 miles east of Beijing. Some athletes have already arrived.

     The Chinese government has taken steps to clear Beijing’s notoriously bad air, but it is uncertain how much effect those actions will have on endurance athletes competing at the Olympics