Presidential Stalemate in Cote d’Ivoire

Things are not looking good in Cote d’Ivoire. “We do not need the international community.” The desire for power is crippling. http://ping.fm/bd58x

Wal-Mart Makes Moves on African Continent

Wal-Mart makes big offer for largest retailer on African continent. SA Labor unions not happy. http://ping.fm/1ZRWw

http://ping.fm/5OvlI

Xiang Liu is Back?

13.09 – A long cry from the 12.88 Liu Xiang ran to set the world record back in 2006, but I am happy to see him getting back into form: Since his achilles injury Liu has absorbed a lot of disappointment from the Chinese people beginning in the 2007 season when he started showing signs of injury. Infamously, he walked off of the track in the 110 hurdle prelims during the Beijing Olympics.

The hurdle void Liu left was quickly filled by Dayron Robles, a kid from Cuba. In 2008, he lowered Liu’s world record to 12.87 and went on to win the Beijing Olympics in 12.93. When Robles injured himself in 2009, David Oliver took over and finished this past season undefeated. By the way, Oliver makes Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson look like a normal person.

Now that Liu seems to be on his way back to good form, I’m interested to see how the 2011 season shapes up. Hopefully, Dayron Robles is healthy also, and the three fastest men in hurdle history get to battle it out.

Ebrahim Rasool – South African Ambassador to the US

South African Ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool, gave a great speech to an audience in honor of Helen Suzman, one of the most persistent white supporters of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Thanks to Global Atlanta for the footage.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP | The Economist (via Investing In Africa – Mutual Fund)

These GDP growth figures look quite impressive. It would be great to obtain photography that tracks with the release of such figures. Imagine seeing pictures that crystallize African countries’ improvements, small as they may be.

Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP | The Economist. … Read More

via Investing In Africa – Mutual Fund

The World Cup’s Impact on South Africa

I appreciate my sister, Chenae, asking me whether the World Cup will really help South Africa’s economy. My response to her question follows:

I worry about South Africa’s ability to maintain these huge stadiums it has built. They could drain resources. 50,000 people aren’t going to watch professional games on a regular basis. Another concern is that many of the jobs the World Cup has generated are temporary. While these temporary jobs help, South Africa needs a whole lot more permanent jobs to bring it’s unemployment rate down from 25 percent.

There is a lot of upside to the World Cup. South Africa is already Africa’s biggest economy, and the World Cup further bolsters its visibility. Venture capitalists and the like will be encouraged to restart the investment that raised Africa’s economic growth to 6 percent. South Africa could lead the way for renewed investments on the continent.

South Africa needs to be really aggressive about selling itself to foreign investors. It needs to prepare its people to leverage foreign investments in the country. A typical side effect of events like the Olympics and World Cup is a large group of displaced people. South Africa needs to push hard to make these people whole in any way possible: education, job training, etc. This is really important because the country has been experiencing a lot of xenophobia in the past year. A lot of immigrants have died in the past year, due to riots in which native South Africans have released their anger over job competition with immigrants.

I think that if South Africa can leverage the World Cup to attract foreign investment and to engage the lower class — native and immigrant, the country can see steady economic growth, and finally move firmly into classification as a developed country.

Ending the Hiatus

So, I’m looking through the splits of the men’s 4x400m relay at the NCAA East Regional meet, and I see, “43.94 FR Kirani James.” To provide more context: A 17-year old freshman at the University of Alabama ran a lap around the track in 43.94 seconds!  That’s the type of performance that keeps me perusing track results looking for the next track and field star. This guy is from Grenada. He won the 400m dash at the World Youth Championships last year in a time of 45.24.  That’s .01 secs. faster than what Lashawn Merritt ran when he won the World Junior Championships back in 2004.  Lashawn went on to win the 400m at the Beijing Olympics a full second ahead of the second place athlete – Jeremy Wariner, another athlete who stamped his mark as a star at a very young age. His sophomore year at Baylor University, Jeremy won the 400m dash at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, the US Championships, and the Athens Olympics.

I owe you an apology for taking so long to update the blog.  Life had been really busy leading up to my wedding on May 1.  My wife and I are settling well into married life. I’m really grateful to have her as my teammate.  She’s been gently nudging me to honor my commitment to maintain this blog.  The amazing performances athletes have posted have also nudged me to keep my readers up-to-date on what is going on in the world of track and field.  Late in the spring, 20-year old Teddy Tamgho broke the indoor world record in the triple jump. Today, Chaunte Lowe set the American record in the high jump. University of Oregon senior Ashton Eaton set the indoor world record in the decathlon.  This has been a happening year in athletics!

My favorite performance to date is Tyson Gay breaking a record held by an icon in both the athletics world and Civil Rights Movement.   Tommie Smith is best known for raising his gloved right fist into the air after winning the 200m dash at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.  A few weeks ago, Tyson Gay ran 19.41 in the straightline 200m dash. Back in 1966, Tommie Smith ran the straightline 200m dash in 19.5 secs a world record.  Since this event is no longer in official competition, Tommie Smith still holds the official record.  Notice the speed suit Tyson is wearing.  The suit Jesse Owens wore when he mastered the 1936 Berlin Olympics is the inspiration for this design.

Tyson Gay is in great form, and will continue to run some amazing times as the summer progresses.  He left me wide-eyed with his 44.89 in the 400m dash at a meet back in April: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os2Q0QSAqNM.  He is the first athlete to run under all three significant time barriers: 10 secs in the 100m dash, 20 secs in the 200m dash, and now 45 secs in the 400m dash.  Moreover his 9.69 sec 100m and 19.58 sec 200m make him the second fastest human ever in each of those events.  I believe he is in better shape than Usain Bolt at the moment, and may threaten Bolt’s current dominance of the 100m and 200m dash. Look forward to my updates.