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In Search Of An Olympian

April 16, 2008 - Erik Brown
            At the conclusion of the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet last Saturday evening, I quickly made my way through the crowded room hoping to secure the autograph of the best athlete in attendance that evening. Fortunately for me, Hines Ward created the perfect diversion. So, while many of the banquet attendees flocked around the Steelers’ standout wide out, I scanned the room for Brian Sell who, of course, will be representing the United States in the marathon at this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games. Despite the unwitting assistance that # 86 was providing, I couldn’t find Sell in the crowd.
Thankfully, my better half had the good sense to head for the lobby. Deanna spotted Brian and his lovely wife, Sarah as they were headed out the door. She managed to flag them down, get a photo, and the coveted autograph. Sometimes it pays to have a wife who runs fast!
While this was going on, I was still gawking around the banquet hall without a clue. At that point lady luck smiled on me. Deanna hustled back inside to get me and, at the same time, Brian and Sarah apparently realized they had taken the wrong route to get to their car. The end result was that we all met up again in the lower level of the Convention Center where I was able to extend my personal congratulations to Sell on his awesome performance at the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials last November. As you can see, I also got a photo and another autograph.
Brian and Sarah were very gracious, patient, and accommodating. I would have loved to ask Brian a few questions about his preparations for Beijing and how it felt when he passed Dan Browne to move into the third and final qualifying spot on our Olympic Team, but it was getting late and I didn’t want to keep them from getting to their destination and reunited with their daughter, Lily Grace who will celebrate her first birthday next month. So, I thought it was best to save those questions and others for the next time.
Click here and here to view two of my favorite YouTube videos from the Men’s Trials race last November. The second video is ten minutes long, and is packed with great highlights of Brian's race.
RUN FAST in Beijing Brian!!!
Note: The U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials will take place in conjunction with the Boston Marathon on Sunday, April 20th. The pre-race favorites to make the U.S. Olympic Team are Deena Kastor, Kate O’Neill, Elva Dryer, Blake Russell, Mary Akor, Desiree Davila, and Magdalena Lewy Boulet. Davila is a teammate of Brian Sell’s on the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, so I’ll be cheering for her. I believe there will be live coverage of the trials race, so check your TV listings. Alternatively, you can go to Runners’ World for near-live updates.

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