The road to Olympic medals in distance running runs through several key locations, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia may be the best of them. Great, great runners have come out of Ethiopia and some of the most compelling races at the Olympics are the distance races, where strategy is everything and the Ehtiopians are masters of their craft. News out of Addis today that we may be treated to a great show in Beijing: defending Olympic 10,000-meter champion Kenenisa Bekele was named to the team for both the 5000 and 10,000-meter races. Countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba, the 2005 double world champ at those distances on the women's side, was also named to the team for both distances. That could mean a lot of hardware in Beijing, if both runners decide to run both races. The heat, humidity, and pollution will be an issue - but both runners are seasoned veterans and if anyone can pull off the difficult Olympic double, it will be them.
And on a completely different track and field note, news out of Greece that Katerina Thanou, the sprinter who caused a sensation four years ago by staging a "motorcycle accident" to get out of a doping test with fellow Greek Olympic medalist Kostas Kenteris, is on Greece's provisional list of entries for Beijing. This news comes just days after British sprinter Dwain Chambers, who tested positive for BALCO-supplied THG while training in the San Francisco area under coach Remi Korchemny, won the 100-meter race at the British Olympic Trials. Chambers now awaits a court decision on whether his lifetime ban from the British Olympic Association - which bans drug cheats for life from participating in the Olympics, but not national or world-level championship events - can be overturned. At the indoor world championships in Valencia in March, the British press was in a tizzy over Chambers' participation but seemed to mellow as Chambers tied Kim Collins for the silver medal in the 60-meter sprint. The Olympics, of course, are a different story: Richard Williams of the UK's Guardian voices his opinion here about whether Chambers should be in Beijing wearing the Union Jack.