When the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials are held later this month in Indianpolis, three prominent Utah athletes - Paul Cummings, Ed Eyestone and Keith Robinson - will be missing in action for varying reasons.
Eyestone, who has already won a spot on the Olympic marathon team, has elected to skip the trials to concentrate on the marathon. He had planned to compete in the 10,000-meter run.Cummings, who won the 1984 Olympic Trials 10,000, has failed to qualify for the '88 trials after a persistent bout with a virus that all but wiped out his training for a couple of months last spring. "If I had a couple more weeks," says Cummings, "I think I could qualify. Cummings made one last-ditch effort to qualify at the Prefontaine meet last week in Eugene, Ore., but dropped out after running just 11/2 laps because of pain and tightness in his calves.
Robinson, a silver medalist in the Pan American Games decathlon last summer, has qualified for the trials, but he will be unable to compete because of a knee injury.
Without Cummings, Eyestone and Robinson, Utah's list of entries in the Trials will consist of eight athletes: Wes Ashford (1,500-meter run), Russ Meldrum (hammer throw), Paul Henderson (steeplechase), Henry Marsh (steeplechase), Ted Mecham (steeplechase), Julie Jenkins (800-meter run), Doug Padilla (5,000-meter run) and Terry Okelberry (javelin).
Eyestone's withdrawal from the meet is something of a surprise. After placing second in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, he talked of winning another spot on the Olympic team in the 10,000. His chances of doing so were very good; a year ago he qualified to represent the U.S. in the World Track Championships 10,000. But it was that very race that forced Eyestone to reconsider his decision to run the 10,000 in the Trials.
"I ran horribly in the World Championships (last August)," says Eyestone. "I peaked too early. It's impossible to maintain a peak from the marathon trials, through the track trials and then the Olympics. It's better for me to come down now and come back up for the Olympics."
After resting a couple of weeks, Eyestone is now logging 100-plus miles a week and consciously avoiding races. He plans to run just one race (the Crim 10-mile road race on Aug. 27 in Flint, Mich.) before the Olympic Marathon on Oct. 2, although he is toying with the idea of running in the Deseret News-KSL 10,000 road race on July 25.
Just prior to the Deseret News race, Eyestone will attend the Olympic Trials, which will be held July 15-24, but only as a spectator. "I know I'm really going to want to be out there," he says. "I really believe I could make the team (in the 10,000). I would have no chance to medal in the 10,000 in the Olympics. I think I do have a chance to medal in the marathon."