Robin and some hurdlers
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.
Yassas! We're just back from athletics, which was great fun. It was our first time in the amazing Olympic stadium or, indeed, at any athletics, and I really enjoyed the kind of tapas approach to sport it offers - a little bit of this, a little bit of that and a bit more of this. Our decathlon lad, Dean Macey, ended up in 4th place, which was a really good performance for someone who's only done two decathlons since 2001 because of injury (the other being the one that qualified him for Athens). We also saw men's long jump qualifying, a very happy woman from the Bahamas win the 400m (the masses of Mexican fans all over the stadium seemed pleased enough that their lass got silver), three Kenyans share the podium for the steeple chase and a great women's pole vault competition. Oh, and the picture of Robin's from the men's 400m hurdles.
A horrible thing happened in the women's 100m hurdles final though - one of the runners (a Jamaican I think) slammed into one of her first hurdles and stumbled into the lane of a Russian runner (who is, apparently, the record holder) who tripped over her. To have got to the Olympic final, after all those years of training, and then go out because someone came into your lane and tripped you over - even if it was by mistake - is such a cruel thing. Really, really felt for the poor Russian.
Rather annoying thing happened to us too. Earlier today, I bought my fiance's sister a pair of tickets online for her and a friend to go to the water polo in the morning (while we're off to the wrestling on the other side of town). Because I'd bought it through my account, I have to pick up the tickets (and show ID) at any box office. There wasn't one within the actual Athletics compound, so at about 10pm I went down during a gap in races to ask the volunteers/stewards on the gate what time the ticket offices in the complex outside were open till. They said, oh don't worry, they're open until 12.15pm, you have ages, it'll all be over here by 11.45pm. I said, are you sure they stay open that late? They said, yes, definitely.
So, just before midnight I left the stadium to go to the ticket office. The first one I got to - just outside the athletics compound - had shut at 11pm. The next one I got to had also shut. As had a third one over by the metro station. They'd completely misinformed me - which means now we have to get up extremely early tomorrow morning to be at an Alpha bank when it opens (which, they promise me, will be 8am - let's hope they're right this time) to pick them up there. Even more annoyingly, because we left the stadium just before midnight, we missed the end of the compelling women's pole vault competition, which only finished when a Russian broke the world record at about 12.15am. The volunteers staffing the Games have been absolutely brilliant and I certainly don't want to criticise them as a whole, but I do wish the three who I'd asked for help at the athletics gate had been rather more accurate. Smiles and friendliness are only so much use if you're giving spectators the wrong information.
Ah well, at least we can still get the tickets in the morning. Best get to bed. Quick competition update - guesses in from Dennis, the Greek in London, at 2:55:25 and Vix (and her niece Bri) at 2:56:16. Plus Beccy at 2.56.08 (assuming my Mum wants 2:56:80) and Mark from Wales at 2:56.18. More feedback, including the heated is-baseball-duller-than-cricket? debate, when we get back from wrestling and volleyball tomorrow evening...!