Olkowski falls short, vows return

The Baltimore Sun

EUGENE, Ore. -- Ryan Olkowski wasn't kidding.

The 28-year-old Calvert Hall and Penn State alumnus really had trained harder than ever before in preparation for the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and was ready for bigger and better things in the decathlon - most notably in the second-day field events, often his downfall in the past.

Olkowski, once the Big Ten 200-meter dash and high jump champion, wound up 12th with 7,633 points - behind ex-world champion Bryan Clay's winning total of 8,832, the best by an American in 16 years.

Olkowski had reported for the Day 2 action at the trials holding seventh place in the 19-man field, with 4,076 points accumulated Sunday. He completed the 10-event struggle with a 4:56.80 1,500 meters and lost no time renouncing his "last hurrah" statement of Sunday and declaring, "Yes, I will be back in this thing next year; it's too much fun to give up now."

Before the subpar 1,500 meters, Olkowski had registered three lifetime bests in yesterday's first four events.

He opened by running the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.75, just 0.12 off his career record.

Next up was the discus and he whirled it 123 feet, 4 inches, 10 inches farther than his previous best.

Moving over to the pole vault runway, he cleared 15 feet, 9 inches, which was 2 inches higher than he had ever done.

And then it was over to the javelin runway, where he unfurled a toss of 174 feet, a considerable improvement on his prior best of 171-6.

But several rivals were notching best-evers, too, and Olkowski dropped five places to 12th on the second day.

"But I had no injuries, got through it unscathed, and that was a positive," Olkowski said.

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