Sunday, August 23, 2009

1500 bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury through the eyes of her HS coach, Andy Chan

Wow! Talk about a memorable day!

I assume most of you already know the good news that Shannon Rowbury won the bronze medal in the women's 1500 at the IAAF World Championships here in Berlin. It was a roller coaster of emotions. First there was her fall on Tuesday in the first round when she did not qualify and we had to wait some anxious hours until we got confirmation that she was advanced to the semi-final on appeal. Today there was another fall...but I am getting ahead of myself.

For the first 2 1/2 laps there was a lot of shoving but Shannon looked confident and well positioned. Her strong kick at Friday's semi-final gave me some great hope for how the final 200 might go. In fact this morning my text message to her was: "The Rowbury kick is there. The competition better watch out. Good luck. Love, Andy, Malinda, and Sherie." With a lap to go there was still a pretty good size pack but with about 350 meters to go the leaders started to separate and Shannon was in that lead group. I started thinking to myself, maybe this is her day. With 200 to go there were 5 of them battling for the medals. I didn't see it live but on replay it was pretty clear that Rodriguez from Spain pushed Burka from Ethiopia. Burka fell and Shannon had to dance around/over the fallen runner. With 100 to go it was Rodriguez, Jamal from Bahrain, Dobriskey from Great Britian, and Shannon. Shannon stayed close but crossed the finish line 4th. I was happy for her because it appeared that she ran the race she wanted to run and competed well, battling for a medal right up until the finish line.

Then the replay came up on the scoreboard and we realized that Rodriguez might be DQ'ed. None of the 1500 athletes took the ceremonial victory lap so we knew there was an appeal. I spent the next half hour watching the finish area through binocolars, hoping to see Shannon come running on to the track with a USA flag for a victory lap. Then Shannon's mom, Paula yelled down to me and gave me a thumbs up. Moments later the German man sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the scoreboard which showed the revised 1500 results with Shannon getting the bronze.

The next hour, waiting for the medal ceremony was weird. I don't think I believed it had happened. But all of a sudden there was Shannon on the podium getting her medal. I've been told that some combination of me, Malinda, and Sherie were on TV/ waving our Go Shannon banner.

After the medal ceremony I got a text from a friend of Shannon's congratulating me. That's when it hit me that this was really happening. I was shaking as I texted back to him. The people in the stands near us had figured out who we were so loudly cheering for and many of them took pictures of us with the banner and smiled or congratulated us. What a feeling to be in the stadium and watch it unfold when Shannon won her first World Championship medal.

It's 2:37am and we just got back to our apartment. We went to the Hilton to celebrate with Shannon, her parents, agents and several other close friends. It was pretty special to be there in person with her for this special evening. And I can't wait to show people the pictures and swag that we got! I like my Bolt Arms...but I love this Team USA jersey!


Shannon was in the middle to pack of the back for most of the race tonight. For the first 1400 meters I was somewhat worried that she was boxed in and didn't have good position. But she took care of business in the last 100 meters, powering up and showing her best kick so far this year. She finished 4th to qualify for the 1500 final on Sunday. Be sure to tune in on or NBC to see her go for a World Championship medal.

In other news today:
1. After our run today I did my striders on Jesse Owen Alley, in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium....very cool.
2. Malinda, Sherie, and I were holding an American flag during the medal ceremony for decathlete Trey Hardey. For a quick moment we were on the big screen while the national anthem played. Moments later the people sitting in front of us turned around and said they just got a call from home in Sweden and they were on Swedish TV because of us and our US flag. We got on the big screen again during Alison Felix's medal ceremony...Sherie had her camera out but couldn't get a picture taken before they changed shots. We are hoping to get on TV/big screen with our Go Shannon banner on Sunday.


Shannon fell in her race today and finished 11th in 4:10. It was looking pretty bad for the last few hours but I just got off the phone with someone and was told that the USA filed a protest and Shannon was moved on to the semi-final round on Friday. PHEW!



Anonymous said...

Shannon Rowbury makes CCS proud

Anonymous said...

And her PRs were great in HS but not "all timer" too (as in, not the level of phenoms like Hasay)... yet she's out there medaling today!

Andy Chan said...

Albert, thanks for sharing my comments on Shannon's races in Berlin.

Anonymous said...

What a great way to represent her country! As one poster said yes her times were not at the level of phenoms like today but she became a great runner. Coach Chan is a dedicated coach who seeks to bring out the best in his runners

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