Yes, the Stockholm meeting was July 2, and I am a week behind, so in between rounds at USATF, enjoy the 4 stories from Stuart Weir, our coverage of the Nigerian and Kenyan Champs, and articles by Sam Fariss and David Hunter on USATF.
The Bauhaus Stockholm Diamond League
I love the old Olympic Stadium in Stockholm – except when it rains! It is the Olympic Stadium – the 1908 Olympic Stadium with the structure largely unchanged. I suppose there was not so much demand for media seats and a press room in 1908, so the 2023 media seats are built on temporary scaffolding. The media center is a tent with plastic windows. I love the mixed zone in Stockholm, which is trackside, meaning that you can watch the action while waiting to interview. I love it except when it rains. And it rained this year, turning the mixed zone into a lake as water cascaded down the old stadium terraces.
The event started in the late afternoon with a two-hour pre-program which had to contend with the heaviest rain. The pole vault was due to start at 5.25pm, but the conditions were deemed too dangerous, and it was postponed for about 2 hours. As you probably know, a Diamond League men’s pole vault competition is where 8 men vault over a bar, and at the end, Mondo Duplantis clears six meters and wins. And continuing the Scandinavian theme, Karsten Warholm won the 400m hurdles, telling me that he was having fun.
The event was a mini throwing fest with Sandra Perkovic winning the discus (64.49), Daniel Thomas-Dodd the shot with 19.04, and in the men’s discus, Kristjan Ceh won with 69.83.
Hamish Kerr won the high jump with 2:24 and Larissa Iapichino the long jump. The women were clearly hampered by the wet run-ups, with the winning jump just 6.69, but it was a great victory for Iapichino with Mihambo, Vuleta, Sawyers, Brume, and Bekh-Romanchuk in the field. It’s been quite a year so far for the Italian, with wins in Florence and now Stockholm and a silver in the European Indoors.
They were two excellent sprints, with Akine Simbine winning the 100 in 10.03 in the worst of the rain, with Darryl Neita winning the 200 in 22.50.
Sarah Lavin (Ireland) ran a PR in her second 100m hurdles race of the evening – the pre-program and the main event. She told me running two races was not a problem. Trying to dry her kit between races after being soaked in the first race was!
Portugal won the women’s sprint relay but don’t get too excited about it as there were only two teams in the race, and Sweden didn’t finish!
A climate change protest – presumably about the rain – occurred during the men’s 400m hurdles. The surprising thing was that the stewards and other event staff were totally unprepared and failed to take any action to remove them until the race had been disrupted, and then there were no police or security staff in sight.
The organizers tweeted, “We would like to thank all athletes, spectators and volunteers for a fantastic meeting. See you in 2024 in sunny weather”. That sounds like a promise.