Why does watching a woman set a new world track record make me cry?
Is it because I’m a woman runner myself, and I can guess how that might feel?
Is it because I’m so impressed by the abilities of my species, or my gender?
Is it because I’m so happy for that one woman, her teammates, her coach, and her family?
All of the above? None? I’m not sure. All I know is, I tried to upload NBC’s video of Almaz Ayana’s world-record finish in the women’s 10k on the first night of Olympic track & field, and all it would give me was this link. Still : watch it. See if it makes you cry. Then see if you can say why.
It does make me cry, but for different reasons. Our beloved sport isn’t clean any more, and doping is rampant. And Ethiopia has been under suspicion from the WADA for some time… Given the truth, I can’t get wound up by anybody’s amazing performances at this level, let alone in track & field. Doping technology is always significantly ahead of the ability to detect it, which is why they keep samples for years, and why folks may get away with it for years. All of which is why I prefer going to college and high school meets…you know they’re clean.
Now cross country, there’s a slightly different kettle. THAT should be an Olympic sport too, probably in the winter games. You have more factors weighing in like conditions and footing that IMO reduce the advantage of the juice, you know? Mud, rain, hurdles, hills — the things we used to know and love. Plus hardly any spectators.
Sigh. You’re probably right, John, but still–I’m going to enjoy the moment.