Monday, August 13, 2012

Marathon Debacle

The Ethiopian Olympic men marathon team selection process was deeply flawed and it showed yesterday at the London Olympics as none of the Ethiopian athletes made it to the finish line. Here is how analyzed the selection when the team was announced back in May:
The Ethiopian team ended up being based solely on time, picking the runners with the fastest times in 2012 who had only run 1 marathon. The alternates thus are Markos Geneti and Tadesse Tola who were 3rd and 5th in Dubai.

That means Ethiopia's best marathoner the last four years, Tsegaye Kebede is not even an alternate.  After his London victory in 2010, Kebede was the top marathoner in the world. He was the Olympic bronze medalist in 2008 and the Worlds bronze medalist in 2009. This spring he finished third in London, which is without a doubt the most competitive marathon in the world. Gebre Gebremariam the 2010 Boston Champ, who was 3rd in Boston last year and 4th in New York, also won't be on the team.

If the team was solely going to be based on time, that criteria should have been announced in advance and people might have run different marathons. Regardless, considering all the unknowns in the marathon and different course conditions, going off of time in different races, is a poor way to pick the team.

It's hard to argue with the women's team selected as all 3 are sub 2:20 performers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that Ethiopians collapse whenever the weather is too hot. All sorts of Ethiopians, including Kenenisa Bekele (if you recall the Athletics Championships in Mombasa a few years back, it was disastrous on all fronts). I agree the selection may not have been the smartest, but young, physically fit athletes pulling a 66% DNF (if i recall right, the only one who made it to the end came in 21st?) calls for more explanation. The day was announced to be one of the hottest in the London summer.