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Posted: April 9, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

(TPR) Athletics: Fast Start For Oliver - Sprints And Hurdles Weekly Review

From Bob Ramsak
© 2009 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

Just as he did a year ago, David Oliver is hurdling fast early on.

On Friday, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist broke his own meet record at the Pepsi Florida Relays in Ganesville, clocking a world-leading 13.19. It was his fourth start of the season --he was in Australia for a pair of meets in February and early March-- but most pleasing to Oliver was that he still managed a reasonably fast performance despite losing his focus as he approached the seventh hurdle when he felt a cramp in his quad.

“Definitely nothing major,” he wrote on his blog. Perhaps even a blessing, given that his coach Brooks Johnson had him withdraw from the following day’s shuttle hurdles relay, giving him an extra day off.

Oliver has been a voracious racer since his first international season in 2005 when he contested 22 meets outdoors. He competed 27 times the following year and 22 again in 2007, before slimming down to 16 last year. And Oliver, now a few weeks shy of his 27th birthday, said he doesn’t plan to lighten that load anytime soon.

“That’s what I’m supposed to do,” he said after clocking his indoor 7.45 PB in the 60m hurdles in Stuttgart in February. “I train everyday so I can run fast and race all the time. If you can’t run 10 hurdles at least five or six times a week, then you’re really not doing anything in training. Last year I ran a lot of races, but my worst finish was third place at the Olympics. Everything else I won or got second.”

On the topic, Oliver took exception with some of the findings and recommendations made by USATF CEO Doug Logan in the governing body’s Project 30 Task Force Report released in February, namely one citing “excessive travel” on the part of athletes prior to the Beijing Olympics.

“As a professional, you want to get paid for your services,” Oliver said, writing on his blog. “You go to the Trials and pour out you heart to win a spot on the Olympic Team. I won the Trials, the most competitive competition in the world arguably and received a check for $5,000. So you want us to sit at home and train for the Olympics, instead of going overseas where you can see that $5,000 check tripled in an appearance fee?”

With his full trust in Johnson, training-wise, nothing will change in 2009 either.

“It’s going to stay the same,” Oliver said in Stuttgart. “Whatever my coach tells me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”

He was pleased with his 7.45 performance in Stuttgart, particularly as it came to him without a bit of speed work in training. “Last year I ran 7.47 and went 12.95 outdoors, so this bodes very well for the outdoor season for me.”

A semi-finalist at the 2007 World Championships, Oliver knows that his toughest competition will come at the U.S championships in late June.

“There were a lot of key injuries last year,” he said of American hurdling prospects. “So this year will be even better.” And even harder.


Also at the Florida Relays, Damu Cherry opened her season on the fast track with a 12.69 world leader in the womens’ 100m hurdles. It was the fastest opener ever for the 31-year-old, who returned to competition after a two-year suspension for nandrolone in 2006, the same year she produced her career best of 12.44. Last year, Cherry finished fourth at the Olympic Games in 12.65, just 0.01 seconds behind silver and bronze medalists Sally McLellan and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.

At the Texas Relays, University of Texas senior Alexandria Anderson clocked a world-leading 11.09 in the second (and non-winded aided) section of the 100m. Her performance knocked 0.02 seconds from her previous career best, set in the semis at last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials. In March, Anderson finished runner-up in the 60m at the NCAA Championships.

Current world leaders:

100m - 10.08, Yohan Blake, JAM, Spanish Town, TRI, 14-Mar.
200m - 20.24, Roberto Skyers, CUB, Camaguey, CUB, 14-Mar. 
[b 1991] - National junior record, previous PB 21.65, 2007
400m - 45.07, Sean Wroe, AUS, 20-Mar, Brisbane, AUS.
110m H - 13.19, David Oliver, USA, 03-Apr, Gainesville, USA.
400m H - 48.86, Tristan Thomas, AUS, 28-Feb, Sydney, AUS.


100m - 11.09, Alexandria Anderson, USA, 04-Apr, Austin, USA.
200m - 22.75, Lauryn Williams, USA, 04-Apr, Gainesville, USA.
400m - 51.00, Monica Hargrove, USA, 03-Apr, Gainesville, USA.
100m H - 12.69, Damu Cherry, USA, 03-Apr, Gainesville, USA.
400m H - 55.50, Melaine Walker, JAM, 28-Feb, Sydney, AUS.


Photo (credit Bob Ramsak/TRACK PROFILE Report): David Oliver at a pre-meet press conference prior to the 2008 ISTAF Golden League meet in Berlin

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