The Ostrava Golden Spike meeting was amazing in 2017. Again, I missed it. It is on my list, but the US champs and an illness kept me from getting on the road for that meet.
Watching the meeting highlights, speaking to several of my contemporaries, and reading the major media on the meet, here is what I have come up with as five lessons from 2017 Ostrava Golden Spike. Alfons Juck and meet management should be very proud. They are truly one of the finest meetings in the world.
1. Thomas Rohler is making 90 plus meter javelin throws nearly routine. Thomas has now gone over 90 meters three times in 2017. The javelin throw in Ostrava, where world record holder Jan Zelezny is near diety in Czech Republic, is keenly watched. Rohler, the finest javelin thrower in the current known world, is looking more and more like thrower who can go the whole way.
2. Usain Bolt went to Ostrava to thank a meet that was good to him. From before Usain Bolt was Usain Bolt, the Ostrava meet was supportive of him. Bolt is treated like a king in Ostrava and he responds in kind. Usain signs autographs, speaks to the young fans and takes selfies, changing another generation of sports fans’ lives.
3. Mo Farah is ready to race 10,000m and 5,000m in London and good luck to his competition. You are going to half to get up pretty early to beat Mo Farah over 5k or 10k. In Ostrava, Farah won in 27:12 with little show of effort, just what Coaches Alberto Salazar and Peter Julian want. The World Championships is a battle of spirit as well as final last 1000 meters. If the competition does not break Mo Farah before the last kilometer, he will smell the finish and take the competition apart, with a long, grueling, painful kick that, like a surgeon’s sharp implement, cut deep into any runner who dares challenge the best distance racer of our generation.
4. Wayde Van Niekerk, are you kidding? Over 300 meters, Wayde Van Niekerk just ran 30.81. That is world record fast, faster than Micheal Johnson, yep, that MJ! Van Niekerk has run PBs at 100 meters, 200 meters and 300 meters this season. As Maurice Greene, 1999 World Champ over 100 meters told RunBlogRun last summer, “how do you beat a guy who is willing to give his all to win the race?”
5. There are some meets that deserve Diamond League status, and one is Ostrava. Let us be frank. Putting on a successful athletics meeting is no mean feat. The skill set of a meet director is many fold. A cheerleader, someone well connected in local community, someone who can bring on sponsors, and someone connected with the sport that they can bring in major athletes to attract the crowds needed to be successful, and someone who has a team to handle the daily infrastructure needed to make the meet a success. The man who puts this meet on, Alfons Juck, is one of the finest meet directors on the planet. His last five events in Ostrava 2017 will not be topped by more than a handful of the Diamond League 14 meetings.