London Anniversary Games partnered up with the Athletics Diamond League series is a weekend even not only to celebrate the return to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium home of the London 2012 Olympic games but also the next round of the Diamond League which is a series the travels from country to country, venue to venue through the athletic season for the world’s best to compete in preparation for their next big event. In this case this year pre Rio 2016 and final preparation for this year’s Olympic game’s being held in Brazil.
Such athletes from Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dafne Schippers, Kendra Harrison, Mo Farah, Laura Muir, Adam Gemili, Desiree, Asha Philip, Dina Asher Smith, Laura Weightman, Kim Collins and Katrina Johnson-Thompson… (Believe me, the list does go on and on) all use this athletic meeting as training and practice to perfect their events. The stadium is always pretty full and the best tickets do sell out ever so quickly and this before athletes actually confirm they will be attending.
The stadium is what you would expect in comparison to other new sporting venues. It really is first class with easy transport access, clean facilities, spacious seating and a good view from wherever you sit. The days of sitting down and having Andre the giant come and sit in front of you blocking your view are now long gone. You can easily see over the person in front of you now and see the entire athletics field, also helped with the fact this stadium has two gigantic television screens at either end of the stadium showing replays of the action or informing you of the athletes lining up or results and times/distanced of the last race. I must add I’m not sure how the tax man has helped build this stadium for public use but as from August 2016 West Ham United will play their home games here which I’m sorry to add I feel it’s a shame as “personally” I feel this stadium was built as an Athletic stadium… For London 2012 Olympics and many memories will be of Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis (as she was then) and Mo Farah winning quick gold in succession on the famous “Super Saturday” among many more so we’ll see how the Anniversary Games next year work out after West Ham would have played their first season at this venue. I digressed but the stereo system …wow, booms out the latest music and the celebrity announcer commentating to the fans can always clearly be heard. The music is usually is of the latest chart topper or songs get played rather cleverly with events taking place to get the crowd entertained and involved. How apt is it they play, for example House of Pain’s “Jump Around” as the athletes participate in the long jump or triple jump? I take my hat off to the DJ here!
This evening session started at 19:00 and fans were entertained this evening in a variety of track and field events with the remainder of races taking part on Saturday during the day with paralympians participating on Sunday. Each event athletes get introduced to the crowd, you can usually tell here how focussed an athlete is as either they smile admirably to the crowd or it’s a quick wave and they get back to their straight faced focussing on the job ahead. Once the event is under way the noise from the crowd raises the roof and athletes say this makes them perform better. Once an event is under way it’s a case of racing to the finish and professional as they are I’m sure athletes are used to this noise level anyway. However when it comes to relay events I’m sure this noise must be a hindrance at the change overs athletes really must shout, just so they can be heard at their team mate instructing them to throw their hand backwards to hand the baton to them at the correct and time saving moment! Could also explain at times why the baton fails to get around the track sometimes as errors amongst team mates occur and these mistakes happen?
An extra unplanned treat for fans tonight as after 28 years Kendra Harrison (Not picked to represent the USA team in the Olympic games in Rio ??!!) broke the long standing world record! With a new time of 12:20 and in the process destroyed the chasing athletes behind her who were nowhere to even challenge her for the victory. Needless to say the crowd were up on their feet showing their appreciation at what we had just witnessed and still I still congratulate Kendra for this amazing achievement… Although as from my pictures I witnessed this achievement from behind my camera and with only on eye, but since then I’ve seen this replay over twenty times at least, so I repeat well done Kendra! #Awesome
With a few highlights of the evening, nearly three hours of entertainment later it’s time for the main attraction. As 21:50 approaches its time to see Usain Bolt and Adam Gemili in the final event of the evening the 200m. A race which probably signals the biggest cheer of the night before the exodus as fans make their way to the transport links and head home I suspect happy with seeing another great night’s athletics, probably secretly planning time off from work, booking hotels and purchasing the next lot of athletic tickets when tickets for events like these go back on sale!.... and I know it’s not just me who think like this homeward bound.