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Susan Von der Lippe (Rapp) went to the 2004 Olympic trials as a loyal swimming fan and spectator. One would think that as a three-time Olympian (1980, 1984 and 1988) and a silver medalist in the 200 meter breaststroke at the 1984 Games she would be treated with more privileges than a standard spectator. Not so.


At the 2004 trials event, she was excited by all of the swimming action. She asked if she could go for a swim in the warm-up pool. Officials told her the warm-up pool was limited to competitors that had made Olympic Trials cuts and she was not allowed to swim in the warm-up area.


Door closed.



Not happy with a closed door, Susan decided she wanted a deck pass for the next Olympic trials event in 2008. At the 2004 trials event, she had been swimming with a Masters group in Loveland, Colorado and was only 2.5 seconds off of the time to make the trials cut.



In 2005, she made the 2008 Olympic Trials cut in the 100 meter breaststroke (with a time of 1:12.49) at the USA Swimming Western Region Long Course Championship event. Just a few weeks ago at the same swim meet, she qualified for trials in a second event - the 100-meter butterfly (1:02.37). With the fly performance at age 42, she becomes the oldest swimmer to ever qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in swimming.



Her goal for the upcoming trials? Swim a respectable time and, most importantly, get that deck pass.



Susan is only swimming three days per week, under the guidance of coach Scott Allen. Though she swims in the lane next to me at the Masters group, her talent doesn't seem to have passed to my lane, and specifically to me. Donned with all of my pool toys (fins and paddles) I still can't keep up with her.



That woman is fast.



In addition to being fast, Susan is a friendly and humble person. The kind of person you want to pull for, the kind you want to succeed.



Go Susan, go!!



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The ITU Madrid World Cup Race referenced in last and Active Triathlete Newsletter happened on Sunday May 25th. Matt Reed had a solid race, placing 10th and Dmitri Polyansky placed 15th. Brendan Sexton dropped out due to the rain and hypothermia, as did 34 other racers. Some nice photos can be found here and video here.


The Quality of Field factor was 14 percent with seven men in the top 20 World Cup Ranking lining up at the start. This was three fewer than expected by the initial start sheets early last week.


The strong finish by Matt Reed means the USA men have three starting spots on the line at Beijing, as the betting gal predicted. That written, this country position is secure by a very, slim margin of 80 points over Brendan Sexton of Australia. We currently sit in the seventh country position with Dmitri Polyansky of Russia securing the eighth country position with a very, very slim margin of 57 points over Brendan Sexton.



Which countries will land three starting positions at Beijing will be determined at the Vancouver World Championships on June 8th. Keep in mind that World Championship events carry double points and have the opportunity for the Quality of Field factor of up to 20 percent more points. With a 20 percent Quality of Field factor, the podium winners would score as following: 1020, 944 and 873.



The points decrease from there, but I wanted you to know there are huge rewards for a good performance at World Champs.



The racers that will likely determine if their countries get a third slot or not are listed below. The racers with nine races will drop the lowest race score if their World Championship performance is better than the lowest score. Those with fewer than nine races count all World Championship points achieved in Vancouver. Here are the men to watch, beginning with the fourth country to have three starting positions:



4. Reto Hug (Switzerland) - 2991 points, all World Championship points count



5. Shane Reed (New Zealand) - 2809 points, all World Championship points count



6. Kyle Jones (Canada) - 2729 points, lowest race score is 27



7. Matt Reed (USA) - 2587 points, lowest race score is 18



8. Dmitri Polyansky (Russia) - 2564, lowest race score is 167



All racers above are the third ranked male for their respective countries. These countries all currently have three start line positions. Australia wants one of those slots and as mentioned previously, Brendan Sexton is the guy most likely to give the USA and Russia a run for the slot. However, the USA and Russia both have men close to Brendan Sexton in the rankings and could be considered backup possibilities. Watch these men that have a good possibility to move themselves into the mix above:



Brendan Sexton (Australia) - 2507 points, all World Championship points count



Hunter Kemper (USA) - 2359, all World Championship points count



Terenzo Bozzone (New Zealand) - 2355, all World Championship points count



Ivan Vasiliev (Russia) - 2343, all World Championship points count (was second in Madrid)



Will the USA keep three starting positions for the men?



Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets/opinions in the comment section.









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Ticketing Cyclists Issues

Posted by Gale Bernhardt May 21, 2008


Some recent issues and press prompted me to start a community discussion thread regarding a Larimer County, Colorado Sheriff's interpretation of Colorado cycling law.



Please see this thread to read more and comment.



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Just odd - pelican attack

Posted by Gale Bernhardt May 12, 2008

TREASURE ISLAND - Debbie Shoemaker was wading in waist-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico when she felt something like "a big hard punch in my face."


A pelican had just flown into her, its beak piercing her cheek. Shoemaker was taken to the emergency room, where a plastic surgeon gave her 26 stitches inside and outside her mouth.



"A terrifying experience, especially being by myself," said Shoemaker, 50, who was visiting from Toledo, Ohio. "Nobody would have ever thought that it could happen, but it could and it did."



Floridians know to watch for stingrays and to be wary of sharks, alligators and snakes. But pelicans are usually considered harmless.



Full story is here.






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In the blog at the end of last week, I told Jesse that after the weekend of racing I could give him (and all readers) a better idea of what it will take for the USA to get back the third Olympic slot for the men.



The European Continental Championships race last weekend was a good one for Olivier Marceau of Switzerland. His third place finish, earning him a tidy 356 points in the race, pushed him from a ranking number of 40 to 33. This bumped Switzerland past Russia and Australia for country rankings and the countries that will get three slots on the start line for the men.



Interestingly, Dmitri Polyansky did not end up racing, so this helped the USA keep the points spread lower. We can make any number of speculations as to why he didn't race; but, he has been racing a lot, so perhaps he needed a break.



Here are the current Olympic Rankings:



Olivier Marceau (SUI - three country slots): 2808



Brendan Sexton (AUS - three country slots): 2507



Dmitri Polyansky (RUS - three country slots): 2500



Hunter Kemper (USA- two country slots): 2359



Matt Reed (USA): 2305



In order for Hunter Kemper or Matt Reed to get the USA that third country slot, they need to score more points in Madrid than Polyansky or Sexton. First, let's look at Polyansky because he's the closest in rank.



There are 141 points that separate Kemper from Polyansky and 195 points separate Reed from Polyansky. Polyansky has nine races this year in his rankings, with the lowest at a value of 126. He would have to score a place at Madrid, better than 21 in order for his lowest race to drop out and add points to his ranking. If he places 21 or more (22, 23, 23...), then Kemper would need to place 19 or better (18, 17, 16...) to pass Polyanksy in the rankings. Reed would need to place 15 or better to pass Polyansky, if Polyansky places 21 or more.



The 21 place comes from my assumption that Madrid will have a quality of field (QoF) of 20 percent. This comes from looking at the BG Triathlon World Cup Rankings list and comparing it to the Madrid entry list. Fifteen of the top World Cup racers will be in Madrid, giving the race the highest quality of field possible for the Olympic Rankings, which are the rankings that count toward the 2008 Olympic Qualification.



Assuming the highest QoF at 20 percent, here are the points that will be awarded at Madrid:






World Cup

Quality of Field 10 - 20%






































































































The good news for both Kemper and Reed is that they are not working from a maximum of nine races, so any points they score In Madrid on May 25, will count toward their Olympic Rank. They still, however, need to put a points gap on Polyansky or Sexton to get that third country slot.



Sexton is only seven points away from Polyansky, so on the surface it seems that Kemper and/or Reed could jump past both Polyansky and Sexton with good races. Unfortunately for the USA, Sexton is in the same situation as Kemper and Reed in that he is not working with a maximum of nine races this season so all points he scores in Madrid will count toward his total.



I laid out the simplest scenario above. Of course the math gets more complicated if Polyansky places better than 21 (20, 19, 18...) at Madrid. One simplified way to look at it is Kemper needs to beat Polyansky by at least two places and Reed needs to beat Polyansky by at least six places. That last sentence isn't exactly true since the points spread is more as they place better in the event, but it gets us close.



As I mentioned in a previous post, if I were a betting gal, I'd bet the USA will get that third country slot back at Madrid. Perhaps wishful thinking, but we'll see.



I've also mentioned that Madrid is not the final determining race for those country slots. Vancouver World Championships on Sunday June, 8 will be the final race that determines country slots.



We have two very important races to watch in the next few weeks.



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Although I sent a personal congrats to Matt Reed for his great performance at the Richard's Bay World Cup event last weekend, placing second and rocketing himself up higher in the ranking points, it slipped my mind that I didn't post the congrats on my blog. Huge congrats to him.



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Jesse at Active commented on the last column:


Well, you were right, Gale. Polyansky placed 7th. So right now, the US only has two slots (Though Matt Reed had a great race, sprinting down to the wire to take second. Good sign for Beijing, right?).


So how can the Americans win back our third spot?


Great question Jesse.


There are just a few important races left to score the all-important points that determine which countries get three, two, one or no athletes on the start line for the Olympic Games.


The first important race occurs this weekend and is the 2008 Lisbon ETU Triathlon European Championships. This race is considered a Continental Championship race, earning more points than a World Cup event, less than a World Championship event. For the points breakdown, look here.


There will be no USA athletes at this race, because it is a Continental Championship event. The Continental Championship event for the USA was the 2008 Mazatlan PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championship event, held the same weekend as the Tuscaloosa trials race. Our top-ranked athletes (sans Shoemaker, who already has his Olympic slot) were all at the Tuscaloosa trials race. While the trials race was exciting, there were no ITU points awarded for this event. Points are critical, especially now, as you know.


Jesse, you noticed that Polyansky popped past the USA and we lost our third men's slot. Not only did he step past the USA, he also stepped past Switerland's Olivier Marceau. Now Switzerland becomes the country we need to beat out to be the last country to secure three slots.



Unfortunately for the USA, Switzerland and Russia will have the opportunity to score points this weekend, while the USA (Hunter Kemper, Matt Reed) and Australia (Brendan Sexton) will not.



Here are the current standings for the race for the third men's slots, which changed from last week:



Brendan Sexton (AUS - three country slots): 2507



Dmitri Polyansky (RUS - three country slots): 2500



Olivier Marceau (SUI - three country slots): 2452



Hunter Kemper (USA- two country slots): 2359



Matt Reed (USA): 2305



More than likely, Polyansky and Marceau will both pass Sexton this weekend for accumulated points at this weekend's race.



Polyansky is working from a base of thirteen races, only nine of which count in the total, so his lowest scoring race will be dropped. Marceau is working from a base of only five races, so any points he accumulates will count in his total.



The next race that counts is Madrid. All of the men discussed above are on the start list for that race. As discussed previously, watch for all of the countries discussed above to be positioning their bubble-points person (or people) for a maximum points score. For us, Friman (World Rank = 72), Fretta (WR = 114) and Seymour (WR = 181) should all be working for Kemper and Reed to help them get that third country slot.



Recall, athletes must be ranked in the top 125 in the ranking to be eligible for the Games.



The final race that counts is the World Championships in Vancouver on June 8th. All of the contenders will be there as well.



After the European Championships, I can give you a better guess at what needs to happen for the USA to get that third slot back.



If we do not get the third men's slot back by the end of the World Championships race (the cut off for Olympic ranking points), Big Matty Reed loses his Olympic slot. The final slot will be determined at the Des Moines race. Carefully read the USAT's Amended Selection Criteria at this link to see the selection process in print.



You can watch the European Champs as well as the Madrid race live on the ITU website, Tricast Live.



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The math is done and if Dmitri Polyansky from Russia places 14th or higher in Richard's Bay World Cup this weekend, the USA loses that third men's Olympic triathlon start line slot.


ITU released the answer to my math question in this press release.



See yesterday's blog for more details.



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