Former Cal star and Olympic 800-meter runner Alysia Montano shares her plans for 2014, including a big change in her life — a new training partner.
Trust me, checking out her blog, “Here and now . . . petaling along,” is worth a moment of your time. (Hint: scroll to the bottom for a cool photo!)
Cal-bound swimmer Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals at the London Olympics last summer, took home the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete on Tuesday night.
Still a month shy of her 18th birthday, Franklin is a senior at Regis Jesuit HS in Denver.
“This award means a lot to me because of how much I’ve given up to be amateur,” Franklin said at the awards ceremony hosted by the Amateur Athletic Union in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “I absolutely love being an amateur athlete, and to be a part of something so special that honors that is amazing.”
Franklin, the most decorated athlete at the London Games, joins past Sullivan winners including Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Frank Shorter and Shawn Johnson.
She is the 11th swimmer to win in the 83-year history of the award, the first since Phelps in 2003.
“I’m looking at awards won before me, and there’s Tracy Caulkins and Bruce Jenner and Peyton Manning. It’s incredible,” Franklin said. “All these athletes have won the award. It’s such an honor. I can’t believe my picture’s going up next to theirs.”
Heather Petri/Photo courtesy Cal athletics
We don’t devote much attention to water polo in this space, but here’s a special event that may hold interest for Cal fans — especially those coming to Haas Pavilion for Saturday’s 2 p.m. game against Colorado.
Just before 1 p.m., next door at Spieker Aquatics Complex, Cal women’s water polo will retire the cap of former Bears star and four-time Olympian Heather Petri. Fifth-ranked Cal will take on top-ranked USC after ceremonies honoring Petri.
A 34-year-old graduate of Miramonte HS in Orinda, Petri was a two-time All-America player at Cal and earned four Olympic medals as a member of U.S. teams, including a gold in London last summer.
She recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where she and other Olympians (including former Cal rower Erin Cafaro) visited U.S. troops.
Cal grad and London Olympic finalist Alysia Montano will run the 600 meters at the 106th Millrose Games indoor track and field meet Feb. 16 at the Armory in New York City.
Montano, who ran as Alysia Johnson while at Cal, is an 800-meter specialist. She ran the fastest time in the world in 2010 and last season was ranked No. 7 in the world, No. 1 in the USA, according to Track and Field News after a fifth-place finish at the London Olympics.
The 600 is an event held primarily indoors and meet director Ray Flynn believes Montano and the field could threaten Delisa Walton-Floyd’s 32-year-old American record of 1:26.56.
Others expected to join Montano in the race include former U.S. indoor champion Phoebe Wright, world indoor bronze medalist Erica Moore and world junior champion and former Neptune High School (N.J.) sensation Ajee Wilson.
“I have been looking forward to racing at Millrose for some time now, but could never fit it in the training schedule,” said Montano, a four-time national champion (2007, 2010-2012) in the 800 meters and bronze medalist in 2010 world indoor championships.
“This year is the perfect opportunity. The 600-meter run at Millrose is a wonderful opportunity to run fast, have fun and gauge my potential 800-meter time at this point in the season.”
Turns out Saturday wasn’t a total loss for Cal.
Olympic swim star Missy Franklin, who won five medals at the London Games, has committed to attend Cal next fall.
The U.S. women’s team was coached by Cal coach Teri McKeever, and the connection obviously paid off for the Bears.
Here’s the story, including details of Cal’s water polo win over Stanford in the Big Splash.
Ex-Cal star Alysia Montano grabbed the final qualifying spot for the Olympic 800-meter final on Saturday, running 1:58.42 in her semifinal heat today.
Montano ran in the fastest of the three semifinals, so her fourth-place finish got her a spot in the final based on time.
“My coach talked to me about relaxing, and I think I relaxed too much,” Montano said. “When they made a move on the backstretch it took me a second to respond, and when I did it wasn’t the energy to respond it was the fact that I was boxed and had to jump out.
“That energy was a total error and I had to make it up in the last 200 meters. I’m really thankful I get an opportunity to redeem myself.”
Saturday will be plenty competitive.
Defending Olympic champ Pamela Jelimo of Kenya won a slow first heat in 1:59.42 and Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia securing the second automatic qualifier at 1:59.45.
South African Caster Semenya won the second heat in a season-best of 1:57.67, with Russia’s Elena Arzhakova (1:58.13), Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei (1:58.26) and Montano going 2-3-4.
Russia’s Mariya Savinova, the defending IAAF world champion, stormed from behind to win the third heat in 1:58.58, with Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba second in a national-record time of 1:58.67.
The U.S. has produced just two medal winners ever in the women’s 800 — Madeline Manning with a gold in 1968 and Kim Gallagher with a silver in 1984 and a bronze in ’88.
Cal grad Alysia (Johnson) Montano went out fast — as she usually does — and held on to win her first-round heat in the 800 meters at the London Olympics.
Montano will run in the semifinal round Thursday, where her heat includes eight runners who have broken 2 minutes and two — Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya and Caster Semenya of South Africa — who boast faster personal bests than Montano. On the other hand, Montano beat Semenya in Wednesday’s opening round.
Her race goes off at 11:30 a.m. PDT.
On the famous pitch known as Old Trafford, home of legendary Manchester United, former Cal soccer star Alex Morgan added a huge chapter to her own budding legend on Monday.
Morgan’s header in the 123rd minute lifted the U.S. women to a wild 4-3 victory over Canada in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament. The Americans will play Thurssday in the gold-medal game against Japan — which beat them for the 2011 World Cup last.
Serbia’s Milorad Cavic, the former Cal swim star best remembered for his heart-breaking defeat to Michael Phelps in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, tells our Elliott Almond he will retired after the London Games.
Here’s the story.
Former Cal star Nathan Adrian upset Australian James “The Missile” Magnussen to win gold in the 100-meter freestyle at the London Olympics.
Meanwhile, Dana Vollmer added another gold medal to the one she has in the 100 fly, helping the U.S. women’s 4×200 free to victory in an Olympic record time of 7:42.92.
Adrian clocked 47.52 seconds to win by 0.01 ahead of Magnussen, the reigning world champion.
Adrian said he wasn’t immediately sure he’d won.
“I had no idea, to be honest,” said Adrian, whose winning time was 47.52 seconds. “I’m a guy that has a lot of speed and I can go out fast and I die a little more than he does. It’s a little nerve-racking the second 50. I just had to really focus on it and stay strong.”
Magnussen touched in 47.53 to take the silver medal, and Brent Hayden of Canada finished in 47.80 for bronze.
“I just felt pretty much bullet-proof coming into this Olympics,” Magnussen said. “It is very humbling.”
U.S. star Ryan Lochte cheered the moment. “We were in the ready room and we watched it and just went nuts,” Lochte said. “We were screaming and everything. That was one of the greatest finishes. We’re so happy for him.”