Stories From the Summer Games – A Laugh a Lap Leads to Gold

June 18, 2004

Stories From the Summer Games
David Crandall got the Summer Games started in style. The Windsor resident pulled away from the field in the 5,000-meter race at Mitchell Field the event took place at 8 a.m. and was the first competition of the Summer Games and he smiled while he did it.

“We keep it light,” said Jeanne Johnson, Crandall’s long distance coach, who joked with Crandall on each of his 13 laps. Sometimes he shot a one-liner back at her, and other times he just threw his hands in the air and laughed. “We love for him to have fun.”

Don’t let Crandall’s smiles or laughter fool you, though: the Windsor resident is fast. He used his long legs to clock 20 minutes and 18 seconds, which was good for the gold medal.

“I get psyched up when I run and I think about how much fun it would be to win,” said Crandall, who trains as much as 20 miles per week. He also is a BOCES student and he works. “When I crossed the finish line, I knew I’d achieved my goal and helped my team.”

Long Island Athletes Stay Close to Home

The Long Island contingency of athletes didn’t have very far to travel for Summer Games.

In some past years, those on the southernmost piece of New York State could spend seven or eight hours on a bus to get to Summer Games. Not this year.

“It was great,” said Benjamin Beavers of Amityville, who competed in three Track & Field events. “We took a 45-minute ride this morning to get to Mitchell Field.”

There’s a flip side to hosting Summer Games, though. Some host region athletes say that competing in their backyard adds a little additional pressure to perform well.

Other athletes are unfazed whether the track they run on is in Long Island or Buffalo or wherever: “I don’t feel any pressure,” said Long Island’s Allison Coffin, who competed in four Track & Field events. “I just do my best and if someone else is having a hard time, I cheer them on.”

Pressure or no pressure, Beavers and Coffin are both excited that the Summer Games will return to their home in 2005.

“It’ll make me work hard so that I can come back to this wonderful place and represent Long Island to the fullest,”Beavers said.

“I can’t wait,” Coffin said. “I love it.”