Greece: 1896 + 2004
Portland, Oregon: Of course, Greece is the
birthplace of the Olympics, host of the first modern games and home of the most
epic 26.2 miles ever covered. In 492, Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens
to announce Greece had won the Battle of Marathon over the Persians... or
something like that... as details get confused over a few thousand years. The
distance Pheidippides ran was just over 26 miles, and this distance is used in
the modern marathon.
Painting by Luc-Olivier Merson, 1869
So today, our dinner menu honors Greece.
The day started (very early!) with a world record in the women's hammer. Anita
Wlodarczyk of Poland broke her own world record to claim the gold medal.
All three Americans, Jenna Prandini & Deajah Stevens (both Ducks), along with
Tori Bowie advanced in the 200m.
The evening session began in a torrential downpour. The rain was so heavy the
officials actually stopped the competition - mostly due to the pole vault, where
it is simply too dangerous to jump in such conditions.
Devon Allen - photo courtesy of Oregon Track & Field
Though the 110m hurdle competition was paused for weather for about 30
minutes after the 2nd heat, Duck Johnathan Cabral (who plays for Canada)
advanced and Duck football-player-slash-track star, Devon Allen, advanced in
the 4th heat. Allen drew a bad lane, but the British announcers declared
"lane 9 might be just up the alley of a wide receiver" - which turned out to
be true. Allen finished second in his heat. Americans Jeff Porter and Ronnie
Ash advanced as well.
Kenyan David Rudisha won the 800m final, with Algerian Taoufik Makhlouf
taking the silver. 21-year-old American Clayton Murphy ran a personal best
of 1:42.93 to claim the bronze while becoming the first American to medal in
the two-lapper since Johnny Gray took the Bronze in the Barcelona
Olympics... before Mr. Murphy was even born, and becoming the third-fastest
Duck Phyllis Francis finished fifth in the 400m final, which was won by
Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas. Ms. Miller get style points for diving across
the finish line. America's Sweetheart, Allyson Felix, finished second.
The Other Big Excitement of the evening was in the men's pole vault. The
always-present super-hero, France's Renaud Lavillenie, was the favorite for
Gold. Oh mon Dieu, Lavillenie must have been surprised when
Brazilian Thiago Braz da Silva out-jumped The Master! I certainly was. The
local crowd went crazy - what a wonderful moment for Brazil. American Sam
Kendricks won the Bronze medal.
Did you know the very first Oregonian to win an Olympic Gold Medal was
Alfred Carlton Gilbert in the pole vault? He was born in Salem in 1884 and
is credited with first using a flexible (bamboo) pole, and the "hole" where
the pole in "planted" during the jump. This imaginative Oregonian also
earned a degree in medicine from Yale and invented the Erector Set... not to
mention a bunch of other amazing stuff.
See a video about Mr. Gilbert here.
To honor Greece this evening, I served Spanakopita as and
appetizer when we started watching the live feed (over the internet) at 4:30p.
(Bought it from the deli.)
Dinner was a simple
Easy. Healthy. Delicious.
Tomorrow our menu will honor Finland, host to the 1940 and
1952 summer games.
Matthew Centrowitz races the 1500m at 6:30a Pacific tomorrow on NBCSN. Be
Until my next update, I remain, your GO DUCKS correspondent.
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