Olympic Note Taking
LONDON — Ray Flynn takes copious notes.
He’s got a little list — and lots of bigger, longer ones, too.
Names, times, e-mails, mobiles, hashtags, all kinds of contact info, whatever it takes.
The track & field phase of the Games of the XXX Olympiad keeps rolling right along, Night after night, there’s something spectacular raging around here. The Games continue through Saturday night’s closing session — which will be capped by the sure-to-be-very-extra-special men’s 4x100 relay, to be followed by Sunday morning’s men’s marathon.
Those notes will help Flynn line up the talent for what should be an extraordinary 106th edition of The Millrose Games at The Armory, coming up on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013.
“Last year’s Millrose Games, the first we’ve held at the Armory, was a very good meet,” said Flynn, the Millrose Games Meet Director, in a mini-break in the Olympic action.
“We learned a lot. We did a lot of things right. We’re going to make the Millrose Games in 2013 even better. We’re going to have some great athletes, of course. And we want to do a better job in the area of meet presentation.”
Millrose Games meets staged in post-Olympic years have traditionally been huge crowd-pleasers. It’s the fans’ chance to see so many of the notables who they’ve seen do outstanding things on the Olympic stage.
And it’s the chance for those athletes who didn’t quite make it to the London Games — and are already mapping plans for their 2016 Olympic bids — to have it out with those who indeed competed in London.
“It’s way too early to even think about specific athletes who’ll be coming to the Millrose Games,” said Flynn.
“There’s the rest of the Olympics to complete. And then the European season resumes and some very big meets will be coming up soon.”
Heading the calendar: Diamond League spectaculars in Stockholm Aug. 17, Lausanne Aug. 23, Birmingham Aug. 26, Zurich Aug. 30, and Brussels Sept. 7.
“Then a lot of the great runners will be coming to the Fifth Avenue Mile (Saturday, Sept. 22). That’s about the time we’ll start actively recruiting for the Millrose Games.”
Annually, Masters runners, competing in an array of age-group races, are a big part of the Fifth Avenue Mile program.
Ray Flynn has absolutely no plans to join them, even though he’s more than eligible age-wise (at 55) and certainly past-performance wise.
Born in Longford, Ireland, he emerged as one of his nation’s brightest young middle distance prospects and was recruited across the Atlantic to East Tennessee State University.
His highlight reels are many, with a portfolio that includes collegiate track and cross country titles at East Tennessee; a brilliant international career that saw him run 89 sub-four minute miles (his best, a 3:49.77 Irish record); and a leg (with Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O’Sullivan and Frank O’Mara) on an Irish team’s 15:49.08 world-record four-mile relay performance.
And, oh yes, appearances in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games.
One tentative Flynn plan for the Millrose Games is to change its featured men’s distance race from 5,000 meters to two miles.
The goal is to deliver to Millrose fans the incredible sight of elite, Olympic-category athletes runners going not just a single sub-four-minute mile, but two of them back-to- back.
Of course, the sub-8 two mile has been done outdoors — Daniel Komen of Kenya ran a world-best 7:58.61 in 1997.
But it’s never been run indoors — best on record is Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele’s 8:04.35. The American record is Galen Rupp’s 8:09.72.
When, last February, the Millrose Games moved from its ancestral home at Madison Square Garden to The Armory, 135 blocks north, the move worked well even as cynics predicted it never would.
All results proved the cynics wrong.
Now, Ray Flynn and all the good people of The Armory plan to give their Millrose constituency an even better show.