Berlin in the Rear View
It was about this time last year that I blogged about “Beijing in the Rear View” …Well, here we are 1 week after the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and I have had some time to reflect on the week and my performance. I threw 78.17m to finish 10th in my flight in some terrible conditions. I missed qualifying for the final by 48cm. At the time, 78.17m was my 2nd best throw of the season (far from the results of my Olympic year campaign). There were intermittent showers and a cold front blowing in which brought with it swirling winds up to 25mph. The 1st flight of 24 throwers saw only 2 guys hit the automatic qualifying mark of 82m and even saw some 90m guys throwing in the mid to low 70’s. Such is the game at major international championships. Usually, stats and previous season and personal best carry no weight in the qualifying rounds. Looking back (hind-sight is always 20-20) I am starting to think that I need to practice in terrible weather as much as possible. 2007 Rio De Janeiro’s Pan Am Games, Beijing last year and Berlin this year all have been cursed by downpours and ridiculous winds. Not the best conditions for a southern California based guy (I’m laughing of course as I type this ;) In summary, I was very satisfied with my performance and would not have changed a thing. I got what I deserved and those who made it into the final all earned it.
Probably the strangest thing about Berlin was watching very close friends and training partners of mine win medals. Often times we only dream of performances that lead to the medal stand and to see so many of those dreams come true for many friends of mine, it made me realize that great things are not as far off as they seem. This really hit home as I watched the javelin final on Sunday and saw 82m take a bronze medal from an unheard kid from Japan.
The city of Berlin was absolutely amazing! Although the stadium was rarely filled to capacity (rumors of ridiculously high priced tickets) the crowd that showed up was passionate for every athlete in every event. Berlin has hosted major international competitions before as in 1936 the Olympic Games and more recently the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Of course there are the now non-existent Golden League meetings that I have participated in Berlin, but none were as amazing as this years World Championships. I was stunned to watch a 22 year old Jamaican kid run 9.58 seconds over 100m and then follow that performance with a 19.19 200m. Although he running on some “special fuel” (if you get my drift) he is still good for athletics as it is slowly dying. According to what other athletes and managers are saying, even though he is good for the sports popularity (he is the 1st track and field athlete to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 9 years) he is also killing the sport with how much money he is making. He now is demanding the entire budget of some competitions just to show up, which means he can hand pick where he wants to race, at what time and against whom to ensure that he is not beaten. There are confirmed reports that he is getting $425,000 JUST TO SHOW UP at the Brussels Golden League next Friday (which I will be at but not sure about competing in).
I am now at the Riga, Latvia airport on my way to Venice, Italy and have just left Tallinn, Estonia. I competed in Tallinn on Tuesday the 25th and was back over 80m with a throw of 80.11m and took the win over the 2005 World Champion. The Estonian guy who threw exactly 1cm better than me in Berlin was 2nd with 78m…ah revenge ;) Once I get to Venice, I will hopefully have some information on if I am throwing in Rovereto, Italy on Monday the 1st before I head off to my final stop in Brussels Belgium for the last Golden League in the history of the Golden League’s…Brussels is the only Golden League that I have not competed in, and it would be a great treat to be upgraded from the waitlist to the start list….time will tell. But for now, with Berlin in the rear view, it’s on to the rest, and end of the season.