Wednesday, March 30, 2005

After Shocking the World at Olympics, Wariner Ready for Drake Relays

While becoming the surprising winner of the 400-meter gold medal in the 2004 Olympics one night last summer in Athens, Jeremy Wariner was wearing sunglasses, two earrings with fake diamonds and a necklace.

But his choice of jewelry for the race wasn’t the most interesting thing about the lean 165-pounder.

Wariner, a 20-year-old white man, was already pretty obvious in a race dominated by blacks.

In a month, he’ll be competing in the Drake Relays, and a guy asked him today how his life has changed since the Olympics.

“I get noticed a lot more at track meets and when I’m at the mall, I get recognized every once in a while,” Wariner said. “But, honestly, it’s still the same as it was. I’m still out there training as hard as I can every day.”

Wariner, a student at Baylor University, will run the men’s invitational 400 at the Drake Relays on April 30.

“I ran there [at Drake]in my freshman year, and I loved the atmosphere,” Wariner said. “Baylor had a lot of support there, which helped a lot. My coach thought it would be a good idea to go back there this year as a professional athlete to run the open 400 instead of just a relay.”

Although he’s now a pro runner, Wariner figures he can still enjoy the collegiate feel of the Drake Relays.

“It’s going to be a little different for me—especially not being out there with my team from Baylor,” he said. “But I’ll be hanging around [the athletes from Baylor] most of the time. The atmosphere [at Drake] is wild.”

USA Track and Field called Wariner’s victory in Athens a “shock to the world…..With his win in the personal best time of 44 seconds, Wariner became the youngest gold medalist in the event since Steve Lewis, 19, won in 1988 and posted the fastest time in the world since Michael Johnson in 2000.”

After Wariner won in Athens, the Associated Press reported that Alleyne Francique of Grenada said, “I’ve never seen a white man run that fast. It was a blazing race, man. The kid is good.”

Francique was expected to be Wariner’s biggest threat, but finished only fourth.

Wariner is succeeding in races that have been dominated by black athletes.

Asked today about breaking down stereotypes, Wariner said, "I really don't pay attention to most of that stuff. I let everybody else talk about that. I just go on about my business every day."



Of the Jeremy Wariner interview, Drake sports information director Mike Mahon said, "We set a Drake Relays record for the longest teleconference at 45 minutes with Wariner conducting his first press conference of the year.

"We had 62 media representatives from all four corners of the country,
including Fort Worth/Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New
Jersey, Washington D.C., and Raleigh, N.C."

An Internet columnist from West Des Moines says Mahon and Drake ran their usual class show.



Sophomore offensive lineman Chris Felder has been forced to leave the University of Iowa football team for medical reasons, coach Kirk Ferentz said today.

Felder, a 6-7, 297-pounder from Oelwein, has battled back problems much of this past year and will not be able to continue playing. He'll remain on scholarship and continue his education at Iowa.

“All of us within the Iowa football family are disappointed Chris won’t be able to continue his football career,” said Ferentz. “At this point, our goal is to make sure he completes his education and receives a degree from the University of Iowa. We’ll continue to support Chris’ efforts.”



Joel Hilgenberg, a Pro Bowl offensive lineman respected for his durability and versatility during a 10-year career in New Orleans, was elected as the sole member of the Saints' Hall of Fame, class of 2005.

He will become the 34th person to be enshrined in a special wing of the Saints' Hall of Fame Museum. A portrait of Hilgenberg will be on permanent display in the museum. Hilgenberg will be honored formally during the upcoming National Football League season.

Hilgenberg, who played his entire NFL career with the Saints from 1984-93, ranks 12th on the team's all-time list for games played with 142. He was a fourth round draft choice [97th overall] from the University of Iowa in the 1984 NFL draft, where he had been a two-time all-Big Ten selection at center.

Hilgenberg was a member of four playoff teams during the Jim Mora era, including the 1991 squad that won the first NFC Western Division title in club history.

Hilgenberg was a member of an NFL dynasty. His uncle, Wally Hilgenberg, was an Iowa great at offensive guard and linebacker during the 1960s, and a defensive playmaker for the Minnesota Vikings. Joel's older brother, Jay, was a dominant Iowa center who later played for the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX and in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1986-92). The Hilgenberg brothers ended their careers playing together as members of the Saints in 1993.



Farm editor Jerry Perkins, one of the two best writers at the local paper, climbed off his John Deere tractor [all farm editors drive a Deere, don't they?] long enough today to send out an update on Don Muhm--a former farm editor at the paper.

It's refreshing to know that Muhm is asking for the proper liquids while regaining his health.

From: Perkins, Jerry
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 10:01 a.m.
Subject: Don Muhm

Don is in intensive care at Methodist Hospital after suffering heart problems on Monday. His wife, Joann, says he is alert and is asking for Bud Light. Doctors say he's suffered no brain damage, but he has some heart damage and had to be resuscitated by EMTs who responded to Jo's 9-1-1 call. He is expected to be in intensive care for a couple more days and in the hospital for another 10 days.

We'll get a card going around biz [NOTE: I think that means the business department]in a day or so if you want to sign it.

Vol. 4, No. 328
March 30, 2005