Moscow, Russian Federation
Runfather, please hear my confession. It had been three days since my last run. Today I put it right, though it took a 6.45 start to do it, and I only got 50 mins in. Ran down toward the stadium and realised there’s no way onto the riverside park there, so either I take my pass or I cross the river further up and go down the other side, there’s a park opposite the stadium there. Morning run was functional, no more. There were a few runners near the Olympic park – this is not the place, I reasoned, to chance a race.
I wandered into the stadium complex and toward the stadium again via the warm up area. Just outside, the two Chinese shot putters, Ling and Liu, were sitting in the shade. Trying to keep their bulk cool, I guess. Both later qualified. In the area itself I spotted Bethlem Desalegn from the UAE, who was at Yaya village with me. Other than Suleiman, though, so far it’s not been a good competition for that lot. She was run out of qualification for the 1500, Bube and Bleasdale aren’t here.
Watching the 1500 was odd. They started the other side of the track, so it was easier to flick eyes up to the screen to actually see them go. I’d watch the real thing first but because there’s a time delay between reality and screen it looked a very slow start. Gun goes, eyes flick to the screen, they stand still for a second, then start running.
Then my day took an interesting turn. My getting an ‘IAAF family’ pass to everywhere that is valid for every day was always with the idea I might help out, and today I got an email to say come see us at 4. No more. I went down, had the tv operation explained, and was then told they were trying to get footage of athletes for the IAAF YouTube clips. They’re limited to 3 minutes of actual athletics a day, so the more background stuff the better. Today’s story, Bolt, so try and stick a microphone in his face, would you?! I met my cameraman, we shot the breeze in the ‘mixed zone’ where the athletes come after their race, then nearly didn’t move when the first 100m semi finished and they came through. Oops. Some shots of athletes coming and going, while I just did a bit of spotting-Monsieur camera, ici Chambers. With a gap before the final I went for some food in the press box and to excite my inner fan boy a little more, Steve Cram came in and sat in front of me. I’d just read a friend posting on Facebook about Colin Jackson holding a pen on screen and wondering whether he ever used it, so now I could send him a **** snatched photo of Cram making notes to show what it might be for. Luckily the TV was over Cram’s head so I could look without being too conspicuous.
We found a spot in the stadium for the final, looking down the straight-see photo! I didn’t want to experience the final through an iPod screen so took pics without looking, getting a really good succession of long shots that came out surprisingly well. Then we wandered to the zone and waited. I did a short interview with Nesta Carter, as you do, and then we nearly cocked up in front of the boss again, standing in the wrong place. Mission ask question failed, mission hold microphone passed. It’s not the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but up there with the coolest. Bolt is one tall man; looking back I was stood leaning over the desktop with the microphone about my head height and it still wasn’t up at his mouth height.
Summary: I ran, so did he.