November 1, 2007

10 Questions With Jimmy Wyner

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After earning second team All-Ivy honors at Heps this past weekend, senior co-captain Jimmy Wyner wrapped up his final cross country season. Before preparing for the track season, Wyner took some time to feel the pain with Sun Assistant Sports Editor Lance Williams.

1. I must say that in my history of being a 10 Questions writer, I have never received the flood of emails that I got on Jimmy Wyner’s behalf.
So this is going to be very interesting. My first question is do you have any nicknames on the team?
Yeah, I have a few nicknames.
What’s your favorite one.
I would have to say ‘T.O.’ from one of the women’s coaches.
Why is that?
Well T.O. was on the Eagles and I am a big Eagles fan. But you also can’t really help but like the guy.
That’s untrue.
You have to like the antics, you kind of like that they openly embrace the spotlight a little bit. And I feel like I am kind of the same way. I mean some people might call it cocky or showboating…
Yeah, I would.
[Ignores] But I think it is all about having fun in whatever you’re doing. People don’t really embrace the celebration aspect of sports, going back to the roots of why you first started playing football or baseball, a little backyard fun I guess.
OK, I can kind of see your point but let me throw this at you. What are your thoughts on T.O. doing sit-ups in his driveway with helicopters flying around?
I think that is a little overboard.
But I thought the whole bike situation at practice with the Lance Armstrong jersey was very comical.
You mentioned that you like celebrations, do you have celebration of your own?
One race during the indoor season my sophomore year I won the 1000, and somebody told the women’s team (who wasn’t there) that I did some obscene pistol dance…
A pistol dance? Kind of like Shooter McGaven in Happy Gilmore type of thing?
[Laughing] Exactly. But this never actually happened.
So you’re saying somebody made that up?
Yeah, I was slapping high fives around the corners of the track and celebrating with my teammates but there never was really a pistol dance motion at all.
So here is my question. I got the pistol dance story from like four different people, and you’re going to sit here and tell me that they are all lying in some grand conspiracy?
Well now it has turned into more of the team joke. So I will do the pistol dance in practice just for kicks and fun. But after a race I’ve never done it.
Well I think you should.
[Laughing] Because I love Shooter McGaven. But all you need is one big “shooter,” not this whole elaborate dance.
Going along with our theme, your coach bought you a shirt, what does that say?
“Prima Donna.”
Do you think you are a prima donna?
I think I can be. I’m not even going to lie about that.
[Laughing] No arguments, I like that.

2. Unfortunately I’m going to have to play into your hand for a second when I say that you have had incredible success on the track team. You broke the school record for the 800 as a freshman, hold the 1K record, are No. 2 all-time in the 1500 and the list goes on forever. So are you the best athlete in the Ivy League never to win an Ivy championship?
I would say that I used to be.
Why’s that?
I won the indoors 800.
Is that right? My research team is killing me.
Well, you could say that it doesn’t really count because it is indoors. I mean, half the teams don’t even run indoors sometimes. I guess I really haven’t done my homework on whether I think that I am the best athlete.
[Laughing] So Jimmy Wyner thinks Jimmy Wyner is the best athlete never to have won a “real” Ivy League championship?
I mean, yeah.
You’re saying you don’t have a real title?
Yeah, the competition was kind of watered down.
So let’s disqualify that one. Are you the best athlete never to win one?
We’re just talking track and field right?
Of course.
I would say yes.
OK that’s what I wanted to hear T.O.
How many more school records can you get? Honest answer, throw out a number.

Honest answer, let’s see. Ones I don’t already have?
[Laughing] I think that is implied in the question, it’s pretty tough to get the ones you already have. “Prima donna” is starting to make some sense now.
I’ll count indoors too. So we got [counting to himself] one, two, three. I’m going to say three or four.
I think that’s funny that you’re that confident. These are school records we’re talking about here and we have been here since 1865. But you got these, huh?
I think I can get the indoor mile record, the indoor 3K record, and the outdoor 1500 off the top of my head. There might be another one I can get, I’m not going to limit myself.
[Laughing] Some people will hate on you for the confidence. But to be honest I don’t mind it, athletes need to be cocky to be good.

3. Let’s move the topic of conversation away from the track and towards the ladies. Is it true that when you hook up with a girl, you like to bite her ears?
[Laughing] Sometimes.
Sometimes? There wasn’t even a hesitation there.
I’m a straight shooter, I tell it how it is.
Can I ask you why you might do that? The way I heard it, it wasn’t even a nibble. It was a full blown bite. Like a Mike Tyson chomping of the ear lobe.
Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield style?
I would just say it goes back to one of my ex-girlfriends who likes it.
She loved when you bite her ears?
I wouldn’t say biting.
Well once again there was a clear emphasis on biting by the person who told me this.
Well maybe I drink too much before I hook up.
[Laughing] Ahh, see now we are getting somewhere, we’re getting to the root of this mystery. We have made progress here today.
We have made progress.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Now do you have a lucky shirt that you wear ever?
Yes it is a green Lacoste shirt.
And why do you wear it?
I think because one of my roommates noticed me getting lucky with some girls with this shirt so he deemed it “the lucky shirt.”
So you wear the lucky shirt when you’re trying to have a good time at night.
And does it work?
Uh, yeah. I think it is called the lucky shirt for a reason.
[Laughing] What are you hitting?
What am I hitting?
You know how in baseball you have an average, what is your average with the lucky shirt?
Better than any baseball player’s average.
I only bring it out on special occasions…
But we’re talking about over half?
Yeah definitely, we’re batting over .500.
If that is true, prove it to me. What is your best pick up line?
I don’t need a pick up line with the lucky shirt.
The green shirt just brings out my eyes and I am a people person so things just happen.
Do you speak to them?
Of course there will be speaking throughout the night, but there is no cheesy pick up line.

4. Do you go to tanning beds?
I went once.
[Raises voice] Once? In your life?
In my life.
And when was that?
That was two weeks ago.
[Laughing] First of all I don’t believe you but what is the story behind this one time?
My roommates made me go with them. They are the ones who are kind of obsessed with the tanning beds.
Sure, sure.
They are the ones who want to look good and are metrosexual at times.
So let’s get to the real story, why did you go to that tanning bed?
Well, first of all they wanted to split a tanning bed deal, like a package deal. 10 tans for however much money. So I said I would buy like two or three with you and we all went.
And how was that experience overall?
It was good, the guy told me to go in pretty long because I had dark skin. But I got kind of burnt on my thighs because they are not as dark as the rest of my body.
And was that the impetus would you say to go to the tanning bed, because of your white thighs?
Well no it wasn’t.
Are you sure about that?
I wear half tights so you can’t even see them.
Yeah, that’s what I thought. But I was told that you went to a tanning bed because you didn’t want your thighs so white for Heps.
[Laughing] That is completely fabricated.

5. Why do you run? No one likes running!
Yeah, at time you don’t really like running.
It blows.
Well, I started out in high school and just figured I would give it a try. But when you start to have some success, eventually it just becomes one of those things you do and you don’t know why.
That did not convince me.
It is kind of like a drug. It’s like crack or something.
Have you ever experienced the crack?
No, but from what I have been told…
Sometimes when you don’t run on a particular day, you just feel shitty. You think, “man I feel awful today” and you don’t know why.
Yeah, but when you’re running, it is a terrible experience is it not?
On workout days, yeah. But on easy runs, I’m more the kind of guy who goes out there and jogs easily to get in my mileage instead of hammering it out. Also lots of times when you’re running you get to have interesting conversations with people because, what do you talk about for an hour and a half? That’s one of the reasons runners have a strong bond. You really get to know people.
Do you run an hour and a half straight?
I mean I’ve run straight for two and a half hours before.
What kind of person does that? What the hell is wrong with you?
Distance runners are a different breed.

6. What is “pow pow?”
Pow pow is one of those expressions that when you say it, no one really knows what it means. It was first created my freshman year, with the distance coach RoJo [Robert Johnson]. For some reason something happened that he liked and he just said “pow pow.” So now it is just one of those things, like the pistol dance, that you say when something happens that is good.
[Laughing] And no one knows what it means.
Yeah, it is just meant to stand for something good. For instance I would say, “Oh you hooked up this weekend, pow pow.”
Pow Pow.
Oh, you won the race, pow pow. It has many different meanings and you can use it in any situation.

7. Have you ever been naked gorge jumping?
Yes I have.
[Laughing] Tell me about that experience. Why?
I don’t really know why we went.
Possibly some intoxication involved?
Well, some people were more intoxicated than others.
What does that mean, you weren’t?
I wasn’t as bad as others. Which was probably a better call just in case sh– went down.
Yeah, you don’t want that.
I think we were all at my house with a bunch of people. I think it was after a party or something. And there was a stretch limo next to our house. Someone thought it was a good idea to have the limo driver drive us up to the gorges. So he actually did that, and someone made the call to strip down.
And you went right along.
I went right along.
[Laughing] Who are you to stop this?
Exactly. I guess it was a little team bonding thing with some of the girls team and some of the guys team.
Interesting. I’m not going to ask the next question, because it could get inappropriate.
But that sounds like a good time. Is that a usual occurrence or a little spontaneous thing?
That was pretty spontaneous, that was the only naked gorge jumping ever arranged between the teams.
That’s unfortunate. You should try to arrange that again.
I mean maybe it can be a once a year thing now.

8. What race are you? I wasn’t sure if this is crossing the line but I heard the team jokes about it.
[Laughing] No, not at all. I think it is funny because nobody knows. For the record, I am white, I was told that I am white and both of my parents are white. But I got made fun of all the time in high school with my [curly] hair and dark complexion. Plus I’m pretty fast, so people would say that I am black or Hispanic.
Well you are certainly not black. I will verify that right now. But you could be Hispanic.
Yeah, if anything I would be Hispanic. I think I was in Bio class and we were doing something on aleels.
I have no idea what that is.
It is just a lab or whatever, and it said that one of my aleels is only found in southwestern Hispanics. And that brought up a funny red flag.
So doesn’t that verify that you are indeed Hispanic?
I mean, I would say it doesn’t verify it. I could have easily screwed up in the lab.
That seems much more likely.
[Laughing] Bio wasn’t my best subject.

9. One of your roommates and teammates, this Joe Walsh character, do you have a special bond with him?
[Laughing] We have a very tight-knit friendship.
By friendship do you mean lovers?
No. People want to say things like that, like we’re the “ambiguously gay duo,” or something along those lines.
[Laughing] They want to bring you down.
Basically, it’s all about bringing me down, bringing down the man.
Two summers ago we were in England and then went to Sun Valley, Idaho and just trained all summer.
Just you two?
Well, a third roommate was supposed to come but he dropped out and missed the best summer ever.
[Laughing] I bet, in Idaho, alone with your lover.
[Laughing] I mean it wasn’t like that, but I guess we were living together in a house so.
In Idaho! What the hell is there to do in Idaho?
Basically all we did was run, eat, work and hang out. Went to the bars and had a good time. It was more productive because we got a lot of good training in and the next cross country season was when I had my breakthrough season.
That was the reason, your bonding with Joe Walsh.
The bonding and maybe some of the running had something to do with it.
Maybe. I wasn’t going to go there, but if you insist.

10. Who is the hottest women’s team at Cornell?
I would have to say women’s soccer.
See this is interesting to me because everyone says track. But you’re not going with them, why not?
I don’t know. Maybe because I’m around them so much.
So they’ve lost their allure?
Definitely lost their allure over the last three years.
Been there, done that if you will?
I mean, pretty much.