The 17th Pan American Games began on July 10 in Toronto. Seton Hall sent three representatives to the games, including men’s basketball's Angel Delgado competing for the Dominican Republic and legendary head coach John Moon coaching the United States Track & Field Team. Part of Moon's staff in Toronto is Seton Hall Senior Associate Athletic Director Kimberly Keenan-Kirkpatrick, who will be keeping a blog for SHUPirates.com throughout the games.
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Marathon Prep and Go Time, Days 4 and 5
On Friday (July 17) morning I was able to find some free time and venture out to the Pan Am Fields venue at the University of Toronto and watch the U.S. field hockey team take on Cuba. One minute into the game the U.S. took the lead and never looked back, winning 12-0! It was very cool to see another sport and watching the speed those athletes had as they blasted those balls up the turf was amazing. Each athlete had a GPS in their uniform to track their movement which shows the level that sport science can help contribute to a team's success.
Friday afternoon I attended the technical meeting for the marathon and race walk events. We went over course details (note the large series of hills they run four times!), logistics of check in and post-event medal ceremonies and rules for helping at the fluid stations for our athletes.
Upon return to the athlete village we spent the remainder of the day welcoming athletes and the remainder of our staff and giving them tours of the village grounds. I ran into Angel Delgado on one trip and he is very excited to be here and ready to go. The Dominican Republic men's basketball team opens with a preliminary round game against Canada on Tuesday.
Saturday (July 18) morning came all too early at 4:30 a.m. as we arose to get our two women marathoners ready to go for their 7 a.m. start. A team of coaches, managers and medical personnel headed out to the waterfront area to help them in their 26.2-mile jaunt. With a small field of only 16 athletes towing the line, they started off in a large pack. Our U.S. athletes, Lindsay Flanagan and Sarah Cummings, started off running right with the leaders. Lindsay stayed with the lead pack until about 12 miles when the eventual winner, Gladys Tejeda from Peru, made her break.
Sarah faced some injury issues and was forced to pull out just past the 25K mark. I was busy working the water stop and handing our athletes their special fluids as they traversed the 10K loop four times. I made friends with the staff from Peru at the next water table as they helped Tejeda to capture the victory. As the cloud cover parted and the sun blazed down on the highway the athletes were racing on, Lindsay powered on strong. In only her second marathon ever she captured the bronze medal. This was the first medal for the U.S. in the sport of Athletics (track and field). After a wonderful medal ceremony and a quick stop in drug testing we headed back to the village to allow the women to get some food and much needed rest.
The afternoon was spent waiting for our second large group of athletes to arrive and greeting them when they did so. While I was waiting to greet them, I was working on departure times as our athletes start departing the day after their event. Later, I helped direct one of our Olympic athletes, a distance runner, for a quick run outside the village so she will know where to go. When I say direct, I really mean start them in the right direction as I could barely keep up for a mile! I capped the night off with a coaches meeting and will rise again at 4:30 a.m. to get our lady race walkers to their 7 a.m. start.