David Oliver, currently the best 110 meter hurdler in the USA and considered by those ‘in the know’ to have a better than even chance of winning the gold medal in next year’s 2012 Summer Olympic Games held in London, England, oddly remains an afterthought of the Denver media.
Understanding that Track and Field is nowhere near as important in the USA as it is in Europe is no defense for not making a Denver East High School graduate (2000), Howard University graduate (2004 with a BA in Marketing), and Olympic Bronze Medalist (2008 Beijing, China), the ‘poster boy’ of what every athlete (specifically Denver) should strive to achieve both in their academic and professional career.
Although seemingly unpopular with the Denver media, Oliver remains an icon and role model for Denver East High students and followers of his career who (as did his East High track coach the late Betsy Phillips-Allen) consider David to be ‘one-of-a-kind’ as does his current coach the legendary Brooks Johnson.
Now 29 years-old, David Oliver’s academic and Track and Field career achievements easily parallel those of any Denver sports figure (in line with Chauncey Billups) who steadfastly announces his home as Denver, Colorado, making the shunning of Oliver seem even more egregious.
Graduating from Denver East High School, graduating from Howard University as a two-time All-American track star where he completely dominated the MEAC Outdoor Championships for four consecutive years (2001-2004), being a four-time U.S. Champion, claiming indoor and outdoor titles (2008, 2010, and 2011) and placing third in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games (bringing home a bronze medal) are apparently not enough to have the Denver media be an ardent follower.
One cannot help but wonder if Oliver were a skateboarding sensation, world renowned tennis phenom, or top notch golfer considered one of the best in the world, if his name would be as obscure as it is right here in his own hometown.
The responsibility of keeping the name of David Oliver relevant belongs solely to the Denver media, both broadcast and print, who have neglected to look out for ‘one of our own’ for far too long with the Olympic year of 2012 right around the corner.
David Oliver is currently competing in the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he faces stiff competition from Liu Xiang (China) and Dayron Robles (Cuba), with these three men laying claim to the three fastest recorded times in the history of the 110 meter hurdles.
Should David’s dream come true and it all comes together through the preliminary rounds with him advancing to the Finals on Monday at 12 noon MDT, with mom Brenda Chambers there to see it all, that would then be too late for the Denver media to ‘get on board’ and shower him with praise, or would it?
Tomorrow morning beginning at 10:30 AM on KUSA channel 9 you can watch round one of the preliminary 110 meter hurdles action with Semi-final and Final action scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
If you’re a COMCAST subscriber channel 250 is where you want to be.
Direct TV subscribers go to channel 625.
Tune into channel 321 if you’re a Sky Angel subscriber.
Sadly, if you’re a Dish Network subscriber, you’re out of luck.
The Denver media may have forgotten ‘one of our own’ (except during Olympic or world-wide competition), but when David Oliver steps onto the podium Monday night having that gold medal placed over his neck, remember that there are probably more David Olivers’ who are Colorado born, bred, and proud of it, deserving accolades that have been earned and are well-deserved but not consistently received.
The many sports figures who never forget they grew up in and refer to Denver as ‘home’ should never lack attention and, even with my maybe being considered part of the Denver media, I’ll do my part.
Stephen Johnson feature writes for INSIDE BOXING.com, BORICUA BOXING.com, and UNTIL THE NEXT ROUND.com