Olympic Track: Lolo Jones, Oscar Pistorius & Bodysuits Among Story Lines At Olympic Stadium
LONDON — There's little doubt that Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will get plenty of attention at the London Games, where the athletics – aka track and field – competition gets started Friday. Some other story lines to watch for over the next 10 days at 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium:
All captions via Associated Press:
When the women's 100-meter hurdle heats get going Monday, expect to see plenty of replays of Lolo Jones' "Oh, no!" moment at the Beijing Olympics. Leading late in the final, the American clipped the top of the ninth barrier and stumbled to the finish, burying her face in her hands. Forget about the gold; she didn't get any medal at all. Jones drew plenty of attention away from the track a few months ago, when she told HBO's "Real Sports" she doesn't believe in premarital sex - something she has in common with NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, prompting a Twitterverse meme focused on the possibility of the two of them pairing up.
Do the blades give Oscar Pistorius an edge? Everyone gets to judge for themselves starting Saturday, when the man called "Blade Runner" lines up for the 400-meter preliminaries. The South African waged a long fight to be declared eligible to run against the able-bodied athletes at the Olympics, and the payoff comes this year. This isn't really about winning a medal, although Pistorius could have a real shot in the 4x400-meter relay. His mere presence on the track will make history: Pistorius, whose legs were amputated below the knee before he was a year old because he was born without fibulas, will be the first amputee to compete on the track at the Olympics.
SAUDI ARABIAN WOMAN
Sarah Attar is one of two Saudi Arabian women entered in the London Games, making these Olympics the first in which every country has a woman in the delegation. She'll run in the 800 meters, which starts next Wednesday. Attar had dual citizenship in the United States and Saudi Arabia. She grew up in Escondido, Calif., and has not raced competitively since entering Pepperdine University this year.
U.S. track and field athletes have the option of wearing newfangled, dimpled bodysuits. Each is made out of the nylon from 13 recycled water bottles. The company that made them says the uniforms can shave up to 0.023 seconds off 100-meter sprint times.
MARATHONER FROM SOUTH SUDAN
At age 8, Guor Marial escaped from a child labor camp in Sudan, running away under darkness about a week after being kidnapped. He and another child hid in a cave until dawn, then eventually escaped to Egypt. Marial eventually moved to the United States and went to Iowa State University; he now lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., but is not a U.S. citizen. Despite having no passport and, officially, no nation, the 28-year-old marathoner was cleared by the IOC to compete at the London Games under the Olympic flag. Marial was born in what is now South Sudan, a newly independent country that doesn't have a national Olympic body yet. He's one of four competitors allowed to compete at these Olympics as independent athletes. The men's marathon is Aug. 12, the final day of the Olympics.