Monday, July 21, 2014

Junior World Track and Field Championships - Day 1

Here at Hayward Field, home of Nike, the official gear for the first US-based world championship since 1996, is provided by....


Interesting. adidas (lowercase, if you please) is the main sponsor for international track championships, so Nike had to swallow this one. All the same, it's very odd to be on this hallowed track while wearing something other than the Swoosh.

At the Monday morning practice meet, it's time to work out all the bugs. Five events, with world leaders in each event according to the announcers. Problem is, every kid looked suspiciously like a Eugene teenager...

but with apologies to Allen Iverson, "we're talkin' 'bout PRACTICE."

In the dining hall, a Chinese girl, maybe 18, eating a plain hamburger bun. With chopsticks.  

And here's her friend...a bit overdressed for breakfast, one might say.

As is my little tradition, I arrive at the venue well before we are due, just so I can inhale the atmosphere of a peaceful, quiet track.

Somebody sprung for some nice, shiny new hurdles...

Since they will be obsolete after this meet, will they let me take one home for my living room?

Other stuff hidden under the bleachers...


Nice, dry warmup track beneath the West Grandstands...

Yes, those are gymnast rings....don't ask me what they are doing here!

Near the steeplechase pit, a cameraman has his gear set to capture the field events. I ask what network he's working for.

He shrugs. Huh?

No really, I say. "Who is broadcasting the event?"

He replies, "I don't know."

He's simply the raw materials supplier. A broker of some sort will determine where his video feed goes. The uncomplicated Amish way of life is looking better and better.

During one of the practice events, I notice all the media and meet operations folks on the infield, computers and electronics everywhere. What happens then?

Time to water the lawn!!!!! Those people moved a lot faster than I thought they could.

Other sights around the track:

Me and the Ugandans; their PRs are probably a bit tighter than mine...

Teams getting accustomed to the track:

One of the 200 or so flag poles....



In the cafeteria, an adorable Chinese boy of about two years, walking around with a piece of fruit and talking to everyone.

Irish athletes in the dorm elevator carrying big bags of ice. I asked, "sore muscles?" They said, "no, dead bodies." Not nervous at all, those three..

After the practice meet, I go over to the IAAF press conference just for kicks. And who do I see there?

One of my childhood heroes, Sebastian Coe...the only person to win back to back Olympic Gold Medals in the 1500m race. I first watched him in 1979 when he destroyed the mile world record and a very experienced field. He muffed the 1980 Olympic 800m, his best event, and was dubbed a failure by the British press. He came back in the metric mile and ran like a man possessed, sprinting the last 100m in 12.1 seconds.

Today, he was standing next to me. That's one big one off the bucket list!!

Oh, and the next guy to walk past? Sergey Bubka, first man to pole vault 20 feet, and holder of the world record for over 20 years.

I love track.

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