A really enjoyable couple of days. Such a great antidote to slanted, negative, ill-informed coverage the sport gets in the papers and the BBC. Five Live led Sunday morning sports bulletin with the story that Mo had an interview with the USADA officials investigating AlSal. How is that news? We already knew the investigation was on-going, so it would have been news if he hadn’t been interviewed. Then in Gary Richardson’s show (presented by Jonathan Overend, I think) they invited a Guardian journo to trot out the same tired old line we hear every time they feature athletics on the show: that it is a sport with a credibility issue. Even a good news story – The Return of Usain – was twisted and presented as “How can the sport survive when Bolt retires”.
Contrast that coverage with not just the tickets sold over the weekend but also the levels of enthusiasm shown in the stadium. Of course, that won’t have been reported in the papers. I was sat next to the rows set aside for journalists. Banks of seats in the best area in the stadium: almost all of them empty. And, with the exception of Steve Smythe and Peter Matthews, most of the few who turned up chatted with each other through the whole meeting pausing only to watch a few events with big names competing.
Highlight for me, was ironically, the event I was looking forward to the least: W5000m. The crowd reaction when Huddle responded to Cherono catching her was a delight.
Funniest moment for me was watching Harry A-A milking the crowd down the home straight after his glorious leg in the 4x100m. He clearly knew that despite all that hype about Mo, Greg, Jess and Bolt, the person the crowd had really paid to see was our fifth best 100m runner.
Yes Sovietvest you put my feelings about the meeting into words. There is a deep well of affection for the sport (and the stadium) which no amount of our medias negative attentions can destroy. Which, to be fair, is true of many British sports. I made the crowd for Friday around 40,000 and that on Saturday close to 60,000 though I have not seen any official figures. The crowd were up for appreciating all of the athletes and cheering any good performance, whether it was the usuals such as Bolt and Collins or even two Italian highjumpers. The Cherono Huddle chase was a classic. All those around me were applauding Huddle from early on and screaming by the end. I think I was the only one shouting for Cherono to catch her.
Still some leftovers from the Olympic spirit.
There were so many talking points. One that has been mainly neglected. Shara Procter’s NR which I thought as praiseworthy as Dina A-S’s.
Laps, I’m glad to know that someone else was cheering for Cherono.
I’ve seen a few good articles about DAS, but I’m sure that if the men’s 100m and long-jump records had been broken there would have been far more media coverage. The latest nonsense about Mo just infuriates me…
The thing that stood out for me with regard to Proctor’s record-breaking performance was how fast she looks on the runway.
She goes flat out , no prisoners taken. One day she will surely smash 7 metres. It would great if that day was in Beijing.