Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geb To DNS For Beijing 10k

A week after Haile Gebreselassie announcing that he will probably pass on the marathon at the upcoming Summer Games -- citing Beijing's infamous pollution, and his slightly less infamous exercise-induced asthma -- Geb announced yesterday that he no longer plans to contest the 10k, either.

Details after the...

"Simply put," he said, "I am terrified of coughing up blood on the medal stand and all over my sneakers. Or dying. But mostly, I'm worried about the sneakers. Coughing blood onto them... that would effectively ruin that particular pair of sneakers."

Geb still plans to wear the Ethiopian kit and represent his country, though, but he will try to minimize his exposure to Beijing's pollutants by running a shorter distance.

"After evaluating the potential threats to my health, and to my sneakers, that I would risk in the 10,000 metres, I have finally settled on a plan for competing in the Beijing Olympics: I will be running the 200."

He explained the potential head-scratcher: "Y'all know I can close down a 10k with a fast quarter. So I've started working on my starts for the past week, and I'll be ready to go, come late summer. I mean, do you even realize how few Ethiopian sprinters there are? It's the easiest way onto the team. It's like eating a candied baby. That's the idiom, yes?"

While he would have been the favorite for marathon gold as the world record holder for that distance, and a long-shot dark horse in the 10k, Geb is realistic about his slim chances of medaling in the 200. But missing the gold does not seem to bother him too much.

He waved his hand dismissively. "A shiny coaster. I've got like, six of them or something. I forget."

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