Photo of Michel TornÃ©us, Photo: Deca Text & Bild
Jonas Hedman is updating the performances of Scandinvian athletes, with Sweden being his focus. Jonas writes for his site, friidrottare.com, an exciting new site on Swedish athletics. This is his update on day one of the track & field schedule in the Rio Olympics!
Some failures are harder than others
â€¨â€¨It’s four years between the Olympics and that’s a big reason why the Games are so special compare to the World championships which is held every second year. If you don’t succeed you simply have to wait another four years in order to get a new chance in the biggest of meets.
â€¨In London 2012 Swedish long jumper Michel TornÃ©us was fourth in 8.11 meters, only one centimeter from the bronze medal and six behind the silver. He was really dissapointed and then dedicated almost his whole life to be at his best in Rio four years later.
A month ago he jumped a windy 8.21 meters in his first attempt at the European championships final and was the leader until the fifth round when Olympic champ Greg Rutherford passed him with four centimeters. Three days later, Michel improved his four-year-old Swedish record by 22 centimeters when jumping 8.44 meters at high altitude in Spain.â€¨â€¨
A day when it didn’t work
â€¨In all interviews running up to the Rio Games Michel said that “this is the meet I’ve been thinking about and focusing on for four years”. Everything felt good in the qualification on Friday night and he started with a 8-meter jump.
But he was a few millimeters beyond the board and got a red flag, then jumped 7.63 meters in his second attempt followed by 7.65 meters, and that was it. Four years of preparations and he didn’t even get to the final, four years of dreams of revenge which ended with a result 77 centimeters from his personal best.
“I don’t know what to say, I feel totaly empty inside. I would not have done anything different when it comes to my preparations if I got a chance to redo it. I don’t know what happened out there, I just couldn’t maintain enough speed on the board into the jump”, said a deeply dissapointed Michel TornÃ©us.â€¨â€¨
Excellent 10 000 m runningâ€¨
The first they of the Olympics included ups and downs for the Scandinavian athletes and two surprises was 10 000m runners Karoline Bjerkeli GrÃ¸vdal from Norway and Sarah Lahti, 21, from Sweden. Both used the great conditions to set personal bests behind Almaz Ayana’s fantastic World record of 29:17.45. GrÃ¸vdal ran 31:14.07 and took nine seconds off her time from the European championships a month ago. That gave her 9th place and made her the second fastest runner from Europe behind Turkey’s European champion Yasemin Can, 30:26.66.
Sarah Lahti finished 12th in 31:28.43, less than two seconds behind 2015 World bronze medallist Emily Infeld, and lowered her own three months old Swedish record by 26 seconds. At the European championships in July Lahti was 9th after a fall halfway, but now was the third fastest European.â€¨â€¨
“Wrong” Swede in the finalâ€¨
Daniel StÃ¥hl, 23, was the Swede who was supposed to advance to the discus final after a season where he has been very consistent and set a new personal best of 66.92m three weeks before the Games. He threw 62.26m in the last round in the qualification in Rio which was 42 centimeters from advancement. Instead, five year older Axel HÃ¤rstedt, who qualified for the games on the very last day of the qualification period, hit it with 63.58m which made him number seven.
Norwegian Sven Martin Skagestad was first man outside the top-12 with 62.45m – just 23 centimeters short of advancement. Several potential medal contenders missed the final, among others Olympic champion Robert Harting who has been injured and only threw 62.21. He would have needed another 47 centimeters. â€¨â€¨
Bube and Bahta advanced to semifinalâ€¨
At the middle distance prelims, Danish Andreas Bube ran a good tactical race at 800m when holding on to the curb during the last lap. He passed several guys on the inside on the last hundred meters and finished second in 1:46.67. He was just 0.06 behind Alfred Kipketer from Kenya and since the top-3 advanced on placing he made it to the next round.
â€¨Same thing for Swede Meraf Bahta at 1500m. She finished fifth in her heat in 4:06.82 which was the fastest of the day with medal concenter Dawit Seyaum as a winner in 4:05.33.â€¨/
Jonas Hedman, friidrottare.com