2018 Berlin Diary: An amazing first day in Heptathlon is now over, Nafi Thiam and Katrina Johnson-Thompson prepare for epic day two!


Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the heptathlon. He gently reminded me that he wanted it up sooner rather than later. Yesterday, I had spend much of the day dealing with a possible lung infection and then, a clean bill of health on my heart surgery number two, (no flutter anymore). I am editing from my little house in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, as the rain comes tumbling down and we await a large thunderstorm. I do my walks in between the heat, and then, subsequent storms.

IMG_0192.jpgKaterina Johnson-Thompson, London 2017, photo by Mike Deering/The Shoe Addicts

Our coverage of Europeans is nearly 24/7. Between Stuart Weir's timely articles, and my social media (each round, on Twitter, all medalists and top six on Instagram, and most of it on Facebook). We also post stories from European Athletics.

Weather is part of story in Berlin. Terribly warm. Hydration is an issue. I am reminded of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials in New Orleans, where the basic temperature on the track during the decathlon was near 118 degrees.

IMG_1579.jpgNafissatou Thiam, London 2017 gold medalist, photo by Mike Deering/The Shoe Addicts

In Berlin, Germany this week, we have an athletic treat. Nafissatou Thiam, the Olympic and World Champion, and Katerina Johnson-Thompson, the gold medalist at World Indoors and gold medalist at 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Nafissatou Thiam is the most talented heptathlete that @runblogrun has seen since Swedish hep goddess Carolina Kluft. Katerina Johnson-Thompson is extremely talented, but is just realizing her talents, and in Berlin she is showing her true talent, her competitive nature. Stuart Weir was fortunate to speak with Toni Minichiello, the former coach of Jessica Ennis Hill, the finest heptathlete of her generation.

Stuart details the first day, and tantalizes us with day two!

This is what sport is all about!

Day one of the Heptathlon is over.

The Heptathlon is seven events with points awarded for performance in each discipline.

7000 points is the "4 minute mile" of Heptathlon. The world record is 7291 set by Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988. If you were to develop a robot to achieve 7,000 points, it would be equally good at each discipline and gain 1,000 points in each. But athletes are not robots. All have strengths and weaknesses. Rather than 1,000 points per event, athletes' scores fluctuate.

The heptathlon tests the complete athlete. There are always compromises to be made. If she had more muscle bulk, she would throw further, but would the extra weight penalize her in the jumps or sprints? Toni Minichiello, who coached Jess Ennis, describes it as "spinning plates" - spinning seven events to get them all to peak in two days in August.

The favorite is the Belgian, Nafi Thiam. But the Brits hope that our girl, Katarina Johnson-Thompson can give her a run for her money. That different athletes have strengths and weaknesses makes it all the more interesting. This is how day 1 went.

Round 1 100H

Johnson-Thompson (KJT) 13.34, Nafi Thiam (NT) 13.69

Outcome KJT leads NT by 51 points.

Round 2 High Jump

Both jump 1.91 and fail at 1.94

Outcome KJT leads NT by 51 points.

Round 3 Shot

NT 15.35, KJT 13.09

Outcome: NT leads KJT by 100 points

Round 4 200m

KJT 22.88, NT24.81

Outcome: KJT leads NT by 87 points

Still to come

Long jump - KJT is stronger

Javelin - NT is stronger


Still everything to play for.

Afterwards KJT said: "This is a very good score. It has been a great day for me. I'm happy with them [events] all - the hurdles was definitely an event I was a bit nervous about going in as I was in lane two with Nafi on my right. I just thought, I'm here and I just want to attack it and I did and it paid off now I'm just trying to take that mentality into all events. I'm a bit gutted about the high jump I thought maybe there was one more height in there but the shot and 200m, I'll take that 200m. The German on the inside definitely pulled me along. In the shot, it was my first time over 13m in a combined event so I am definitely over the moon about that. But it wasn't a good putt, I definitely can throw further.

"For me the changing point was when I finished the shot and I was still second. Normally I drop down to page two of results after that. I'm not giving up easily, I going to battle back, I'm here to try and win for sure".

So there you have KJT is "over the moon", a quaint English expression that we have already explained when Dina Asher-Smith won the 100 meters. It means roughly as happy as the cow which jumped over the moon, in the children's rhyme.

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