Here are some of the behind the scenes look at the 2009 Rome IAAF Golden Gala Meet
Men’s 400 meters
When you have 6 guys at 300 meters with 100 to go, anything goes. The one who wants it the most usually wins. Or the athlete that is better prepared. Without the top 2 names in 400 meters (LaShawn and Jeremy), it was still an exciting race with a photo finish between Chris Brown of Bahamas and David Gillick of Ireland.
Men’s 100 meters heats
100 meter sprinters appreciate having two races separated by 90 minutes. Some simply use the first race as a warm up, others are running their hearts out just to qualify for the Finals.
One thing I noticed was Tyson Gay being the last runner to finish his warm up. In fact, he stumbled out of the blocks on his last practice start and didn’t even go back to adjust it. It was as if he wasn’t even ready to race. Shades of Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympic Final come to mind when he didn’t do a practice start as he was injured.
I guess Tyson knew the advancement format (top 4 qualify for the finals, though it should be top 3 and next 2 fastest times) and since the entire circuit knows each other, all he needed was a 10.10 to qualify. Even with a was a
conservative crappy start, he still ran 9.96!
Men’s 100 meter Final
I don’t need to go into detail over Tyson’s 9.77. Asafa Powell set that standard 4 years ago in Rieti. And he did it three times.
What did impress me were the other Jamaican trio. Yohan Blake and Steve Mullings ran 9.96 and 10.01 respectively. Add Asafa, Usain, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater (10.09 in Rome) and you got a combo that can go sub 37 seconds for the 4×100 meter relay.
Jamaica will be the team to beat, not the Americans. Berlin will be a great meet, you can bet on that.
Women’s 100 meter Final
Gone are the days when the 100 meter winning times were 9.95 and 10.97 for men and women respectively. The men’s standard is now two tenths faster, and with Kerron Stewart running 10.75, that’s proof the ladies are no longer playing catch up. It’s a shame the current women’s WR had a faulty wind reading (not to mention other allegations!) otherwise we would be seeing world records in the 100 meters just like the Men’s.
Women’s Pole Vault
I always wondered Yelena Isinbayeva routine to stay warm, loose and focused when the competition starts at 4.00 meters? Go out for an espresso and return an hour later?
With her bright pink and white warm-ups, she was hard to miss on the infield. As the bar raised higher and higher, Isinbayeva was the only competitor remaining in the competition.
The rules state she is allowed 5 minutes between jumps as the lone competitor.
So what did she do in between jumps?
Stand on the runway? Nope.
Cover and hide herself under a huge blanket to stay warm and visualize! Now that’s staying focused. Too bad sprinters can’t use this technique in between false starts.
Women’s High Jump
You can just imagine the crowd going nuts when local favourite Antonietta Di Martino of Italy clearing 2.00 meters.
Blanka Vlasic looked terribly flat when 2.00 meters is usually automatic for her. Maybe she had Ariane Friedrich on her mind?
At the end, the Italians had something to cheer about, and her medal presentation was no exception!
Women’s 1500 Meters
Speaking of medal presentations, a security incident broke out when a hooligan jumped into the security area and draped an Ethiopian flag over
Ethiopia’s Bahrain’s Maryam Jamal, the winner of the 1500 meters in 3:56.55. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and no one was hurt or arrested.
It was a great night for Track and Field. But this year, all roads lead to Berlin, not Rome. Stay tuned.