Sunday, July 22, 2012
Hurdler Clement surprised by stir his tweet caused
BIRMINGHAM, England -- Tired from a long flight and frustrated over a bus ride taking forever, Kerron Clement let his feelings be known on social media.
Little did the U.S. hurdler realize his simple tweet would create such an international fuss.
"Didn't think it would get mass headlines," Clement said. "It was an innocent tweet."
Not so much to a country gearing up for the start of the Olympics and very sensitive about any sort of criticism.
After a six-hour flight, Clement wasn't in the mood for a snarled bus ride. He was less than complimentary in his tweet last week after the bus taking the athletes to the village had a hard time finding its destination.
Clement wrote: "Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London."
The Olympic silver medalist insists he wasn't trying to rip the host nation.
"I tweeted in the moment. Everyone on the bus was very agitated," he said. "So I just tweeted it, thinking nothing of it. It went viral."
In a hurry, too.
Now, he's hoping he can make as many headlines on the track in London as he did off of it.
Clement is just rounding into form after hernia surgery in February. He only raced in one meet leading up to the U.S. trials, where he passed a stumbling Bershawn Jackson near the finish line to claim the last spot to London in the 400 hurdles.
"I really dug down really deep off that 10th hurdle," Clement said. "I went for the line. I was leaning for my life."
Now that he's settled into his surroundings -- practicing in Birmingham and playing ping pong at the hotel with teammates -- he's hoping to make amends for his earlier tweet.
"The village is nice. I love London," he said. "I've been there several times. It's a beautiful city. It's very nice to have the Olympics here. Just having all the athletes in one area at the village, it's nice."
Still, he feels his tweet did some good.
"I really think that if I didn't tweet, that they probably wouldn't have fixed the transit system or make it better," Clement said.
MUSIC MANTEO: The U.S. athletes have taken full advantage of the activities in Birmingham. They've seen movies, toured a chocolate factory, attended a church service and taken in a concert by musician Wynton Marsalis.
For Manteo Mitchell, seeing Marsalis perform was definitely a highlight. Members of the U.S. team were even brought up on stage for a closer listen.
"That was my night, like he was playing for me," said Mitchell, who's in the 1,600-meter relay pool for London. "I saw him in concert before, maybe five years ago. He performed one of my favorite songs then and he performed that song again while we were on stage. That was unbelievable."
So was speaking to Marsalis after the concert.
"I really enjoyed that," said Mitchell, who turned 25 on July 6.
POSITIVE RECEPTION: Once the Olympics are over, long jumper Marquise Goodwin has to hustle back home.
The Texas Longhorns need him.
When he's not leaping into the sand, he's hauling in passes as a wide receiver.
Goodwin had a solid season on the football field last season for the Longhorns, catching 33 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for almost sitting on the sideline.
The 21-year-old senior was going to redshirt in 2011. But after a disappointing performance at last year's world championships, Goodwin decided he wanted to suit up.
"I just couldn't be away from football," he said.
His best attributes? His hands and his hops.
Oh, and his blazing speed, too. That's a reason the Longhorns have him on the outside, so he can fly past defensive backs.
"Going from football to track and track to football has been my routine since I was a kid," said Goodwin, who went to high school in Rowlett, Texas. "It's like a habit -- a good habit."
The training habits for both sports are quite different, though. When it's football season, Goodwin does more bench work in the weight room. In track season, he does more plyometric exercises and drops his weight from about 185 pounds to 175.
Any chance he gets drafted in football?
"The main goal is to get this medal," he said.
Any chance he might turn pro in track?
"If the opportunity presents itself," Goodwin said, "it could happen."