My bag finally arrived yesterday about an hour before the meet. So,today I got to go for a run with Turena around the marathon course,which is a 5km patch which hooks up with a 10km loop done 3.5 times.It’s nice, because the sidewalks here have a designated bike section and designated pedestrian section.
Another great day of track and field. Took in the evening sessionagain. The weather was much better today, no rain, temperature probably mid tolow 60’s.
The excitement of the fans again was amazing. Today saw more of The Wave, twice we did it going around four times each. Music accompanies the start of any race over 400 meters, which is pretty cool to watch, kind of like a planned musical.
When the Finn athletes compete, Finnish flags everywhere. That’s theway to cheer I think, you break out with your small Finnish flag. Ifyou are a Finn fan, you have blue and white hats, shirts, and flags.It’s kinda like a Finish version of a Boston Red Sox fan.
It is truly something unique when you have the weightand pride of a country on your shoulders. In the U.S. we have so manyathletes to root for (or against). Countries like Estonia and Swedenhave a few and those few are superstars. When Gerd Kanter of Estonialaunched a monster throw in the men’s discus to take the lead in thelater rounds, the Estonian fans went ballistic and loud, as they satdirectly behind the discus ring. Estonia is just a short hop from here.National Pride and an excubrant athlete- CARO! CARO! CARO! as inCarolina Kluft. She’s a national hero and one of the most popularathletes here. I believe it’s because of her exburance. Again, the place wentnuts for a great 800 in the women’s heptathlon, I can’t even describeit. Walking home, the Swedes were celebrating, cheering with big flagsin groups all around the stadium and streets.
The entire women’s heptathlon field taking a victory lapand stretching hand to hand to take bows after the competition.Something special about the bond of combined event athletes.
I am trying to track down tickets for Wednesday still, which has beensold out for a long, long time, because the men’s javelin final is on thatday. It’s a national treasure here in Finland. One guy on the streetquoted me 200 euro for a tickets, which is well over $200 and out of myleague. I’ll keep trying as it could be something special.
Men’s discus: As mentioned earlier, Kanter put one out in the laterrounds to take the lead. Alekna was not to be denied though and withconfidence in his ability, stepped in on the last throw off thecompetition to set a new championships record. I am always amazed atthe pure size of the men’s discus throwers. The Estonian fans, madethis the competition of the meet for me.
Women’s Heptathlon: It came down to the 800m with Kluft hanging on to an18 point lead. Barber got after it and went through 400 in 63-64 withKluft back about 10 meters. It was apparent though that Kluft had muchmore in her and closed the gap on the backstretch, catching Barber with200 to go. Kluft PR’ed at 2:08 and pulled off the victory. Herpersonality and excitement for competing is a great joy to watch.
Women’s Triple Jump: They announced the 12 jumpers and then quicklymentioned that Lebedeva was out. The Russian crowd had the standsdirectly from the pit well occupied and plenty of jumpers to cheer for.It was not to be though as Trecia Smith put together a great series andwon. I was hard to follow the event from my seat which was at the end ofthe pit.
Gatlin celebrates after 100m win
The stadium is constantly filled with noise from fans ormusic playing. There was something eery about the men’s 100 though. Itgot deadly silent for this race with tons of flashbulbs going off. I got thatfeeling in my stomach when lightening strikes. The weather was nearperfect compared to yesterday, the wind was near nothing and thetemperature was respectable. Scott had his usual start, but Gatlin putit away by 50 meters. Tough to decipher the next two but Frater andCollins where there. Scott faded badly.
Men’s 400 hurdle Semis: Clement stuttered (what else is new), Carterlooked great, Jackson looked great, Felix looks so-so. My prediction,U.S. goes 1-2-4 with one setting a new world record and two justmissing, ala women’s 400h in 1995 with Batten and Buford. Who wins it….I sayeither Jackson or Clement, I’m becoming a big Jackson right now andwill go with him.
Women’s 800 semis: Hazel Clark lead for most of the race. Kemiesha Bennett was literally knocked out when she was in front and someone stepped on her shoe and then two steps later did it again and it went flying. She then threw her shoes around on theinfield for a while.Tomorrow I’m off to several presentations, one by Carolina Klufts coaches and the meet.