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Started by Steve, July 08, 2007, 09:31:54 PM
quote:Minnesota?s Alicia Rue bettered her own personal best by nearly six inches, clearing 13 feet, 9 1/4 inches to capture the gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. The US Team concluded the three-day track & field event with 48 medals.?This of the coolest and most honorable experiences I will ever have,? Rue said of standing on the award stand with a gold medal around her neck and the National Anthem being played. ?It?s difficult to put in words. It was a great moment full of emotion where I couldn?t get the smile off my face.?Rue, a native of Plymouth, Minn., was the runner-up at the 2007 U.S. Junior USATF Championships last month. Her previous best was a clearance of 13-3 1/2, a second-place performance at the Big Ten Championships. The 2007 U.S. Junior champion Tori Anthony (Palo Alto, Calif.) was fourth at 13-1 1/2.Check out gophersports.com for Rue?s blogs on her Pan American experience.
quote:Golden Gopher freshman pole vaulter Alicia Rue is a member of the U.S. Junior Pan American team competing this week in S?o Paulo, Brazil. A city of 11 million in southeastern of Brazil, S?o Paulo means Saint Paul in Portuguese.Alicia has agreed to write back to gophersports.com with some of her experiences along the way.Blog #5 - Sunday, July 8Today was finally my day to compete. My personal best entering the meet was 4.05 meters (13-3 1/2). In the morning, we had to wake up at 6:00 a.m. We ate some breakfast and headed to the track. We (Tori and I and the other pole vaulters) checked in at 8:10 and began warming up at 8:30. Warm ups went ok...I wasn?t very confident in my steps by the time it ended, and I just wasn?t sure if things would be right without a coach.A dad of one of the guy?s pole vaulters was in the stands helping the two of us out a bit. I just decided that I needed to be confident and do my best.The starting height was 10-6, and passed until I started jumping at 12 feet (3.65m).I was so nervous I would have bad steps or no height like I did a few weeks ago (at NCAA Championships), but I made it on my first attempt. That got me started, and feeling a bit better.Again I passed a few heights and jumped at 12-6 (3.80m) which I made again on my first jump. I was beginning to feel confident and ready to go. The bar went to 3.90m and I made it on my second attempt, then to 4.00m (13-1 1/2), where I made it on my third try. This was the height where the other American missed and ended up in fourth place.I cleared the bar on my second attempt at 13-3 1/2. By this point I was pretty pumped to have tied my PR. I was running fast and working on getting my arms tall and swinging quick to get upside down.Next was 4.10m, and I MADE IT! Next came 4.15m, and I made that on my second try too!! I couldnt believe it. Now it is just a Canadian and myself, since the girl from Venezuela missed three times. The following height was 4.20m, I cleared the bar again and Canada missed! I HAD WON THE GOLD! USA!!I still wasn?t done. I had to keep jumping. I took three really fast runs at 4.25 and came nowhere close to making it. Ha ha.It was so exciting and so much fun! I made a 6-inch PR today. Afterwards we paraded to the awards stand, and received our metals. They played the USA National Anthem...one of the coolest and most honorable experiences I will ever have.I can?t even describe the whole experience! Maybe I will have more for you later, but it?s just difficult to put in words. It was a great moment full of emotion where I couldn?t get the smile off my face.Home soon,AliciaBlog #4 - Saturday, July 7The opening ceremony was held yesterday afternoon during the lunch break at the track. Each country (approx. 35) paraded their flag down the stretch of the track and then stood in a line holding their flag for all to see. They played a very "Olympic" song, and then gave some motivating speeches in Portuguese.Yesterday after the first day of competition Team USA won 7 gold medals, 4 silver metals, and 1 bronze. The girls won 7 total metals and the guys one 5. It was so exciting to stand up and hear our National Anthem played seven times, considering there were only 10 events total.There were not many fans, other than all the athletes in the bleachers, but we can?t expect much for a junior competition in a far-away country.Now today there are many more events finishing up. Everyone goes to the track during the afternoon to watch the others compete. The national pride everyone feels for their own country is something I have never seen or experienced before, but it?s amazing. We are showing our support by cheering and chanting USA and taking pictures. All the kids are working on trading their USA gear for other countries athletic clothing.Every night you will find a little party of Americans and Canadians up on the roof of the hotel at the pool. The water in the pool is so cold we use it for an ice bath to help with the muscles and decrease lactic acid. The USA is becoming friends with Canada more and more by sharing the computer room, dining hall, and playing games at night. They are really nice kids and so much like us.Besides track, everyone is getting very sick of the hotel food. We eat the same foods for lunch and dinner every single day! People are starting to go out to get pizza and Subway more and more.The weather has been getting nicer (warmer) yesterday and today to the point where it is HOT to just be sitting and watching in the sun. The sky has cleared up a bit so it is less foggy, but the air still smells pretty bad of exhaust (which we are all still struggling to get used to). (Smog is a major problem in the city of Sao Paulo.)Our translators are teaching us more and more of the Portuguese language, but it still doesn't help much.I will let you know how many medals we win today!AliciaBlog #3 - Friday, July 6Everyone here can not stop talking about the trip to the beach and how it is probably the best thing we will do on this trip besides representing our country and competing in this amazing track meet.Yesterday (Thursday) we went shopping again, but this time at a bunch of local stores that lined the street. They sold all kinds of jewelry, shoes, clothes and knickknack things. I bought some gifts for people, and of course some Brazilian things for myself.It is also very common to trade clothing with the other athletes. For example, a girl from Brazil approached me and asked if we could trade shirts, a USA for a Brazil. I?m pretty excited to start collecting athletic gear from the other countries.Last night we had a lot of down time so half of the team participated in a TABOO game tournament that lasted two hours. It was a good bonding moment and fun thing to do at night since we can?t go out after dark.We had a very important team meeting. We voted for team captains and the flag carrier for our country. The women?s captain was voted to be Brandi Cross, who runs the 400 from South Carolina. The men?s captain is Zuheir Sharif, a triple jumper. The flag carrier is now Walter Henning, a hammer thrower who has participated in multiple international meets.Then the coaches gave a great speech about us being chosen to represent our country and what an honor we have received. They explained that we are the ones who people base their judgments of the United States on. They also gave an interesting statistic...70% of the people who attend a junior international competition will go on to compete in the Olympic games!!Now, today is the first day of competition. I?m so ready to go even though I have to wait until Sunday. Everyone is excited to watch each other compete and just spend some time resting. I will let you know how it all goes!! Hope all is good in the States!AliciaBlog #2 ? Wednesday, July 4Happy 4th of July!! It was weird to not celebrate, or at least not see any fireworks. Yesterday we went shopping. There wasn?t many stores around the hotel, so we did a little sign language and such with some Portuguese people and ended up getting on a city bus to ride to a mall. It was crazy. They jammed as many people on the bus as possible and everyone thought we were crazy. You paid a person at a cash register instead of a machine. The mall was huge with three floors, a movie theater, and a lot of fancy expensive shops. After a while we left and again tried to navigate our way back to the busses and hotel.Today I practiced the pole vault. We don?t have a coach so the other girl here with me and the two pole vault boys all helped each other with our steps and technique. Then we came home for lunch and jumped on a bus for two hours to drive to the beach. The ocean was beautiful!! There were HUGE rolling waves, great for surfing (which we did not do at all) and really strong currents. Some people swam, played soccer, and frisbee.Just some information, we are sharing a hotel with the Canadian team. The hotel is very fancy and provides all of our meals. The weather is fairly chilly. In the early morning it is 50 degrees, and then by 10 a.m., it?s pretty warm, maybe 65 or 70. Then it cools off fairly early, around 4 p.m., and is dark around 6 p.m.. You need to remember it is winter here.So far things have been really fun, and everyone on the team is getting to know each other a lot more! Let you know more later.AliciaBlog #1 ? Tuesday, July 3I flew from Minneapolis to Chicago, where I met up with eight other athletes and a coach. Then we all flew the 10 hours flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Thankfully the flight was over night and everyone tried to sleep the best they could. Upon arrival we all found our bags and waiting a long while for the poles to arrive, and then in a line to pass through customs.By the time we arrived at the hotel, we had only enough time to eat lunch and then ride over to the track. I am rooming with the other pole vaulter from California, Tori Anthony. There are 34 girls and around 34 guys on the team, all supported by 15 staff members. We learned quickly not to drink any of the water and did our light workouts for the day. After a while we shuttled back to the hotel for dinner and a team meeting.For the most part they eat food fairly similar to the US. We have had a lot of fruit (pineapple, watermelon, mango, papaya, honeydew melon) and then a lot of chicken, beef, fish, rice, and noodles. It tastes pretty good, but it?s still a little weird.Outside of the general track and field stuff each day we can go shopping, or to the park, or just walk around. The area is well known for its fashion, so today we are going to look for some bargains. The money is called Real and converts to about 2 Real = 1 dollar. Very few people speak English, so communication and asking questions is really difficult. Most of the area is hotels and business buildings and some little shops, a lot like down town Minneapolis (but dirtier).