- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 11, 2002

Running

As the European championships are being conducted in Munich we come to find out that the Germans are not just taking drug-testing seriously, but they are now testing for sex.
And I don't mean gender.
Before you get too excited, the results of this scientific study released Aug.2 by the trainer of Germany's men's sprinting team have their ups and downs.
And it apparently leaves the men with the short end of the stick.
"With women, it's not true that sex before competitions has negative effects. On the contrary, we have scientific evidence that women who have sex shortly before competing run better. It boosts performance," Uwe Hakus told Germany's Fit for Fun magazine.
Now for the depressing news: "With women the testosterone levels rise when they have sex. But, unfortunately, male testosterone levels fall after orgasm. And their muscles are less able to contract," Hakus said.
Well, that explains it.
But Hakus, who as a scientist now can hold his own among his peers, concludes his study with a critical piece of advice, warning that sexual intercourse before racing could hinder an athlete's concentration.
"Everyone has to make their own decision on what their goals are," said Hakus, keeping the door open for a career in relationship counseling. "And this decision they make on their own."
Ringling Brothers goes to Munich The European championships were a circus.
It started Tuesday, when the winner of the men's 20-kilometer walk, Francisco Fernandez, showed why the Redskins should sign the Spaniard as a tight end.
Fernandez, walking 12.4 miles past some of Munich's best pubs, was heading back into the stadium when an official, possibly coming from one of those pubs, suddenly stepped out in front of him. Fernandez, not wanting to walk one extra step than he was required to walk, shoved the official aside and continued to the finish line.
Later that day, British 1,500-meter star Anthony Whiteman was forced to become a steeplechaser at the end of his metric-mile heat to avoid tripping over a television cable and colliding with the cameraman who may have been attached to the cable.
Thursday was rocky, too.
It is difficult to imagine how much can go wrong in a race as short as 200 meters. But in one of the 200 meters qualifying heats at the European Championships on Thursday, one of the favorites, Darren Campbell of Britain, was disqualified for stepping on the inside line around the corner during his second round heat.
Then the really freaky stuff happened. Irishman Paul Brizzel was lined up in lane 8 for his 200-meter heat and had an up-close-and-personal brush with television fame.
As he sprinted around the curve, he noticed a camera boom in his way, and the boom wasn't getting out the way.
So the 25-year-old swerved, then watched as the other seven runners left him in the dust.
The Irish team protested that the entire heat should have been re-run, which would have been the fair course of action. Instead, two hours later, Brizzel was allowed a solo time trial.
He was able to lower his time from 21.32 seconds to 21.19, but it was not fast enough to advance.
He needed to beat 21.03. The guy has a personal best of 20.54, but I would imagine he didn't do it two hours after another 200-meter race.
Thursday evening was capped off by a Spanish runner taking a victory lap in the 1,500 final. The problem: he wasn't the victor. France's Mehdi Baala beat Reyes Estevez in a finish that took 10 minutes of slow-motion replay to decide. The margin: 0.002 seconds.
Local guy makes good Chris Graff, 26 and formerly of the District, was chosen as one of six aspiring distance runners to receive a $4,000 grant from the Road Runners Club of America's Roads Scholar Awards.
Graff is a two-time NCAA All-American and a member of the Nike Farm team in Palo Alto, Calif. Under former Georgetown coach Frank Gagliano, Graff finished fourth at the USA 15K Championships (44:25) and first at the Stanford Invitational 10K in March 2002 (28:35.81). Graff, the 1999 Army Ten Miler champ, said he hopes to run either the Chicago or New York City Marathon in under 2:10.

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