Stuart Weir was in search of Americans in Stockholm. With the U.S. championships less than a week away, Stuart had three athletes to write about in the 1912 Olympic Stadium in Stockholm.
On a mission
I am travelling through Scandinavia on a mission – to find American athletes! Now at the Rome Diamond League there were at least 16 of them. But with the US Championships and Trials loaming next week, there were 5 in Oslo and only one in Stockholm.
In Oslo Tianna Bartoletta won the long-jump, an event in which as reigning World Championship, she is already qualified for London 2017.
Kristi Castlin came second in the 100H and Raven Clay 8th and it was most strange to see an elite female sprint hurdles race with only two athletes from the nation which dominates the event. In the Doha 100h for example, 4 of 8 in the race were American. In Eugene 7 of 8! Kristi told me “I am happy with my time – a season’s best. The hurdles were coming up on me really fast. I am just trying to be ready to race at the U.S. championships. It is going to be a tight race but I feel confident I can come in the top three. I’ve been injured for a lot of the season and am just fighting my way back. It’s nice to be here, be healthy and be able to compete hard. I knew I needed to race and was having a bit of trouble going to other meets. Once I get back I’ve got two or three days and I want to make the team.”
The other two Americans in Oslo were Olympic Champion, Kerron Clement, who was 8th in the 400h and Mary Saxer who finished sixth in the Pole Vault.
In Stockholm the only American was Bershawn Jackson who had personal reasons for being there. He was 6th in the 400h in 50.28 – poor result but he felt it was just one mistake away from a good race. He said: “I thought I ran a really good first five hurdles, had a good transition from 5 to 8 and crashed 8 really bad. When I got to my 15 strides I was too far behind and messed up real bad – but I still finish the race. I definitely feel ready to run fast and look forward to trials next week.
“My reasons for coming here are that it’s my last year running and I’m the stadium record holder here. It has always been a good meet for me. I always loved coming to Stockholm. I hate that it is so close to trials. But I did not race for a month, not since Jamaica, and I wanted to get one more race in before trials. If you are ready you are ready. Coming to Stockholm is not going to change nothing”.
It will be interesting to see how those who came to compete in Europe perform in the US trials compared to those who skipped the meets.