Fischer follows straight & narrow to Men's Boom Run gold
By Sam Eifling
Great Outdoor Games staff
And it had become apparent quite early that if he were to lose, he would have to do it himself, with a misstep or a lapse in concentration. No one else was within reach.
"It's like when somebody said, how do you feel about running against Jamie Fischer? He's got to fall in for anybody to beat him," said Fred Scheer, a three-time Boom Run world champion who fell in his semifinal race against Fischer. "No one's going to beat him."
Fischer didn't just stay dry, he ran as if on a sidewalk instead of eight logs tethered end-to-end. The former high school sprinter has a boom in his back yard in which the largest log is about the size of the smallest of the logs.
On a day when half the field fell at least once, Fischer said he felt like he was running on nothing more precarious than a swaying dock.
His times got progressively faster through the three rounds: 13.616 seconds, 13.398 and 13.016. Among the competition, only silver medalist and reigning gold medalist J.R. Salzman posted times lower than 16 seconds.
"The boom at my house is so touchy," Fischer said. "You have to have perfect technique. There's no question about it, you get off the side and you're in. That boom teaches you to stay on top."
Salzman and Fischer stayed dry throughout the event, but even Salzman beat himself. In the final against Fischer, he said, he thought the third starting beep was the second, and lost a step on the start. He ran a smooth race afterwards and finished in 14.811 seconds, almost two seconds back, in a great sprint by both runners.
"I wish Jamie was here last year," Salzman said. "I would rather be beat by people who are better than me than beat a bunch of people that aren't as good as me. You follow me? I want to compete against people that are at a higher level. It makes the sport better, it makes for a stronger sport and better competitors."
The balance, as it turned out, was key. In the first round, Dustin Beckwith was running close to Cassidy Scheer until he stepped into the drink four logs from the finish the same log he slipped on in practice.
Scheer advanced to the semifinals, where he also took the plunge four logs from the end, while Salzman scampered alongside, pinwheeling his arms but staying more or less vertical.
Against Fischer in the semifinals, Fred Scheer fell off the same log his son did.
Fischer of course stayed dry, unlike Fred Scheer's previous opponent, Brian Duffy, who fell two logs from the finish in the first round, allowing Scheer to recover from a fall of his own and win by less than half a second.
In the consolation round, Cassidy Scheer beat his father 17.469 seconds to 18.224 to win the bronze, his first Great Outdoor Games medal.
"I got a good jump, a real good run on the way over," Cassidy Scheer said.
"The way back was pretty sketch, but I held it together. I was off-balance the entire way, but I kept my feet moving and tried to pull it back together, and luckily I did."