This is one of the privately-managed distance running projects in the USA today. This sports project on the training of the elite runners of USA complements the vision and objectives of the Brooks-Hansons Distance Project and the Project Oregon of NIKE which I featured in this blog for the past weeks.
Team Running USA has Deana Kastor and Ryan Hall as their top athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, Deana Kastor was DNFd in the last Sunday’s 2008 Women’s Olympic Marathon. Hopes for a good accomplishment of this sports project in the Olympic Men’s Marathon lies now on the legs and shoulders of Ryan Hall.
These three sports projects—Team Running USA (Mammoth Lakes, California), Brooks-Hansons Distance Project (Rochester Hills, Michigan), and the NIKE’s Project Oregon (Eugene, Oregon) where one had been created as early in 1999 and the latest one was created six years ago. The vision of these projects is to bring back the USA elite athletes into long distance running supremacy in the sports world. These projects were also geared on discovering why the Africans are the best in running long distance events and eventually aiming to beat them.
Each of these running projects is well-represented among the three USA athletes competing in the 2008 Olympic Men’s Marathon this Sunday—Ryan Hall (PR-2:06:17 hrs/25 years old) of Team Running USA; Brian Sell (PR-2:10:47 hrs/29 years old) of Brooks-Hansons Distance Project; and Dathan Ritzenhein (PR-2:11:07 hrs/25 years old) of NIKE’s Project Oregon.
Why am I posting this information? It is because we have in the Philippines this kind of sports project in the late 70s and early 80s under the Project Gintong Alay but this was fully supported by the President of the country and directly managed by his nephew and not from private sponsorships. This project brought honor and pride to our country during Asian and ASEAN Games and I consider this as the “golden era of Philippine Sports”. Later, such sports project had been “buried” as other countries had started to have such similar project in their sports programs. Is it because it was one of the projects under the Marcos administration or are our sports officials and authorities have better sports project to replace it and come up with a better performance of our athletes in international sports competitions or they (our leaders) are not involved in any sports at all and they were given with the wrong recommendations from people who had vested interests in sports?
As I said, after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we will read in our daily newspapers “finger-pointing” as who failed in our bid for our first Olympic Gold Medal and as who will take full responsibility for such dismal performance. Are the athletes, the sports officials, national sports associations, the POC, the PSC, the government, the local governments, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, AFP/PNP, or the private sector be blamed again?
I guess, our media will blame that we are a “poor” country and that providing food to the dining table and solving our poverty problem is a much better priority to address than our problem in sports! Anyway, Manny Pacquiao, “Django” Bustamante, “Bata” Reyes, and “Paeng” Nepomuceno are there already successfully bringing the country into the map of sports worldwide.
Anyway, these are my predictions as the courses of action of our “intelligent & smart” citizens as “knee-jerk” suggestions to improve our sports programs as a result of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games:
1) One or two of our senators/congressmen will ask for an official inquiry why our Olympic Team had a dismal performance in the Olympic Games. (This act will boost his/her exposure in the media and for his/her bid for a higher elected position in the 2010 presidential elections).
2) One of the advisers of the President will suggest to her to create a Department of Sports & Athletes whose head is a Cabinet position and the President has full direct supervision to the said department.
3) The President will promise infusion of her funds to the PSC, maybe, One Billion Pesos, to create more sports facilities in the local governments and support our elite athletes. The President has done that in the AFP’s fight against insurgency in order to meet the deadline of solving the problem by 2010.
4) The Philippine Sports Commission will immediately conduct a well-publicized “Sports Forum/Seminar-Convention” inviting all the sports national associations, members, and the public to discuss and come up with a national sports strategy. The PSC will invite top athletes, coaches, private sponsors, and media from us and from other countries to share their experiences. The result/s of this convention will be briefed and given to the President. But after that, nothing will happen as we “backslide” to where we were again. This “forum/convention” thing had been done before in every administration of a new President since former President Marcos.
5) Those “armchair sports officionados” will ask for “some heads to roll” from the President as “fall guys” in our dismal performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They might also ask for the resignation of the Chairmen of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission and political allies/supporters will ask the President to recommend this and that person/s who will start our sports program from zero and present to us nice “plans and promises” again.
6) I hope one of our “investigative journalists” will deeply research and investigate on the present condition of our sports program, the functions of each sports commissioner, the accountability of PSC’s finances, and publish his/her report in the daily newspapers, TV, sports magazines, and radio outlets.
7) One of the advisers to the President will come again with a “project/program” geared towards attaining our first Olympic Gold Medal as what had happened after the 2000 Olympic Games where a Cabinet Secretary suggested to the President for the DND/AFP to train the soldiers among the best in shooting, boxing, taekwando, and marathon. He promised to the President that the first Olympic Gold Medal will be coming from the Armed Forces of the Philippines but there was no funding allocation to speak of! After two years, only the marathon program existed and lasted for another six years!
8) All the politicians who will be planning to run for President in 2010 will be visible or even personally sponsoring sports events in Metro Manila just to give the “impression” that they are also fit and athletic (?) or fully support our sports program and national athletes…which is very far from the truth!
“Quo Vadis, Philippine Sports?”