- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 21, 2002


The list of world track and field records mentions the top athletes but never their coaches.
Most of these world-class runners owe their coaches a great bit of credit.
Track experts criticize the state of American middle-distance running by blaming it on the absence of great runners. I beg to differ: We have great athletes in America, but we do not have world-class coaching here.
Take the case of American middle distance runner David Krummenacker. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1998 as a two-time NCAA indoor 800-meter champion with personal bests of 1:46.40 in the 800 and 3:40.28 in the 1,500.
He continued to train with coach Alan Drosky at Georgia Tech, lowering his 800-meter time to a nationally competitive 1:44.57 in 1999. A year later, he popped a nationally competitive 3:35.15 time in the 1,500.
Then he stopped improving. Although he almost always finished near the top, the 27-year-old Krummenacker could never win the big one.
Enter Jose Luiz de Oliveira, famed Brazilian coach of Joaquim Cruz, Abdi Bile and Mary Decker Slaney.
Cruz won the 1984 Olympic gold and 1988 Olympic silver in the 800 and still ranks as No.3 all-time in the 800 meters with his 1:41.77 in 1984. Bile was the 1,500-meter world champion in 1987, and Slaney has held American records (1,500, mile, 2,000, 3,000, 3,200 relay) since the early to mid-'80s.
Krummenacker started working with de Oliveira by the end of 2000 and moved from Atlanta where the native New Mexican found the winters too cold back to the Southwest, settling in Tucson. As with most coaching situations, it took some time for the new program to kick in. He still is in contact with Drosky.
After running just 1:45.44 in Zurich but winning at the U.S. championships with a slow 1:49.24 last summer, Krummenacker unleashed an impressive series of performances to begin 2002.
On Jan.27, he handily broke the American indoor 1,000-meter record with a 2:17.85 in a huge upset victory over highly touted Laban Rotich of Kenya. Five days later, Rotich won the mile at Millrose, while Krummenacker took the 800.
He repeated as 800 champion at the U.S. championships in mid-June before heading off to Europe's summer track circuit. This is where Krummenacker began running like he was possessed, culminating in the past week's achievements.
He lined up with a most impressive 1,500 field in the DN Galan Meet in Stockholm on Tuesday with names like Bernard Lagat (No.2 on the all-time list), William Chirir (No.7) and Rotich (No.14).
Krummenacker ran 3:31.93, an enormous personal best and second only to Lagat. His time ranks No.5 on the American all-time list behind Sydney Maree (3:29.77 in 1985), Jim Spivey (3:31.01 in 1988), Steve Holman (3:31.52 in 1997) and Steve Scott (3:31.76 in 1985).
But Krummenacker had little time to celebrate because he was signed up for the 800 at the Herculis meet in Monaco on Friday.
Not unlike the 1,500 earlier in the week, Krummenacker faced a stellar field in the 800: world record-holder Wilson Kipketer of Denmark (1:41.11), world champion Andre Bucher (No.5 all-time) of Switzerland, world indoor champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy (No.6) of Russia, Hezekiel Sepeng of South Africa (No.10) and Japheth Kimutai of Kenya (No.11).
In the end, only Kipketer outran Krummenacker, who shattered his previous 800 best of 1:44.57 with a 1:43.95.
This is just a start for Krummenacker, who could write a new chapter in American distance running. He needs to surpass Maree's 16-year-old 1,500 record of 3:29.77, then find a rare 1,000-meter race to dash Rick Wohlhuter's 28-year-old record of 2:13.9, and then the toughest one, Johnny Gray's 16-year-old 800-meter record of 1:42.60.
America's future
While Krummenacker was racing in Europe, 2002 South Lakes High School graduate Richard Smith was competing in Kingston, Jamaica, at the world junior championships last week.
Smith made it into the semifinals of the 800 with a 1:50.17 but did not make the finals, running a 1:50.29 in the semis.
The winning time in the event came from a Kenyan, who led the top four under 1:47.

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