Luck favors the prepared, supposedly. So when cousins Tanya and Jamie Fischer, who train together, were paired in the random draw, they immediately were among the favored teams in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games Mixed Doubles Boom Run.
|Tanya Fischer jumps out in front of Mandy Erdmann during the gold medal round of the Mixed Doubles Boom Run. Fischer and cousin, Jamie Fischer won the gold, over Erdmann and her brother, J.R. Salzman.|
Their strategy was simple. Tanya was to keep up with whomever she raced, more or less. And Jamie was to follow down the spinning, see-sawing logs, and clean up any leftover mess.
Played to perfection, their plan worked well enough for gold, despite racing in the finals against J.R. Salzman and Mandy Erdmann, who between them have five Great Outdoor Games gold medals in individual boom run events.
Erdmann was still recovering from the anxiety of a spill that cost her in the first round the women's singles event earlier in the day, and had been racing conservatively since.
In the final, Tanya managed to stay close enough to Erdmann that Salzman enjoyed only a scant lead on Jamie Fischer, in a near-replay of the men's Boom Run final earlier.
For the second time Sunday, Fischer caught and passed Salzman, winning 30.146 to 30.525 seconds. When Fischer's foot hit the dock Salzman was in midair on his final step. It became more of a leap, then a back-first slide across the dock, opening small gashes on his back and elbow.
Salzman had lost the Men's Boom Run gold to Fischer by .195 seconds, and the Log Rolling gold to Fischer with a fault as Fischer was apparently beaten on the final point.
"You couldn't ask for anything more," Jamie Fischer said of his cousin's performance in the finals. "Coming across the finish line with traditionally the gold medalist, Mandy Erdmann, just neck and neck."
Tanya Fischer said she has improved her speed in the last year significantly, through practice with Jamie Fischer and their other boom running cousins, John and Travis Wells.
Erdmann's second-place finish meant the 2003 Great Outdoor Games would be her first without a gold medal.
"I could have been faster on that last run, but it's OK," she said. "You've got to get a huge lead, though. And even if you do, Jamie's incredible."
Like that comeback he had on Abbie Hoeschler in the semifinals?
"Yeah, he made up like five logs in two seconds," Erdmann said. "That's what he does."
Jamie Fischer ran against Hoeschler in the semifinal round, when Doug Goodmundson and Abbie Hoeschler broke with the traditional male/female order and elected to run Goodmundson against Tanya Fischer, in hopes of him producing greater wakes and bucking her off the boom.
But neither Fischer fell in any race, and even though Goodmundson opened up a sizeable lead on his female opponent, Hoeschler couldn't outrun Jamie Fischer. Having seen her times, he knew he had about four seconds on her. It was plenty.
Hoeschler knew the score, too, which is why she tried to play defense.
"We knew Jamie wasn't going to fall no matter what and we thought Doug could create more waves for Tanya than I could and maybe make her fall," Hoeschler said.
When Jamie Fischer overcame the lead that Goodmundson built, he was erasing the work of a runner who emulates his style.
"I train with Jamie and I've taken a lot of tips from him," Goodmundson said. "Fred is slower and more deliberate. I try to fly. When I'm flying I take two steps per log. It's three when I have to cut (my stride) short and four when I'm just trying to stay on top.
"But I like to take two steps on as many logs as possible. That tells you you're flying. When you start flying, there's nothing better."
Goodmundson and Hoeschler rebounded from the semifinal loss to beat Fred Scheer and Lizzie Hoeschler, Abbie's sister, for the bronze medal. Lizzie beat Abby in the first leg, leaving Goodmundson to make up ground on Scheer.
"(Lizzie) beat me by a little bit, but I pointed out to her that I'd had to run a lot more than she did today," the younger Hoeschler sister said, refering to her gold medal in the women's Boom Run. "I just wanted to have a clean run and stay close because I knew Doug could handle Fred pretty well. Fred's my uncle, so I can say that."
Goodmundson indeed managed to overtake Scheer. About that time, Scheer fell, for the fourth time in three races.
In the semis, Scheer fell just as Salzman was reaching the far dock, giving Salzman a chance to momentarily stop and take a breath before making his return.
"That wasn't really a dig on Fred." It was more of, finally I get a freakin' break. Thank you. I just have to run back.'"
Final Standings Mixed Doubles Boom Run
1. Jamie Fischer/Tanya Fischer
2. J.R. Salzman/Mandy Erdmann
3. Doug Goodmundson/Abbie Hoeschler
4. Fred Scheer/Lizzie Hoeschler
5. Cassidy Scheer/Maggie Bulk
5. Tony Bush/Jenny Atkinson
5. Jeff Heineman/Shana Martin
5. John Wells/Taylor Duffy