Here’s three big moments from the Oslo Bislett Games, one of the most prestigious meetings in all the world. Cathal Denney, one of our sports’ premier writers, wrote this piece for the IAAF website. We use this piece with full credit to our friends at www.iaaf.org.
In three days’ time, the IAAF Diamond League moves to Oslo for the fifth meeting in the 2018 series. Here we look back at three of the more memorable moments from Oslo’s Bislett Stadium.
Warholm’s battle cry, 2017
On the start line for the men’s 400m hurdles at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo, 21-year-old Norwegian Karsten Warholm displayed all the boundless energy and enthusiasm you’d expect of one so young, revving up the home crowd with a roar and bouncing around the track like a ping-pong ball.
But what happened next, no one expected. The former decathlete obliterated his rivals, including Olympic champion Kerron Clement, and broke his Norwegian record to win in 48.25. Disbelief was the overwhelming emotion afterwards, Warholm falling to his knees and eventually smiling through the grip of fatigue.
“I felt strong and I ran strong,” he said. “I had no more to give, and that’s usually one of my strengths.”
Warholm won many admirers, both at home and internationally, for his antics on the start line in Oslo, and his fan base only grew further when he took the world title in London two months later.
King David beats Kaki, 2010
Knowing what we know now, it’s hard to imagine a time when David Rudisha wasn’t the king of the two-lap race, but back in 2010 the Kenyan was not yet the two-time Olympic champion he would later become.
He had yet to dip under 1:42, which meant it was all to play for when he faced Abubaker Kaki of Sudan at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo. Sitting behind his pacemaker for the first lap, Rudisha hit the front with 300 metres to run and cranked through the gears but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t shake Kaki.
In the home straight, Kaki fought his way up to Rudisha’s shoulder, forcing the Kenyan to dig even deeper as he approached the line, which he crossed in 1:42.04, a meeting record, with Kaki flashing by a moment later in 1:42.23.
“I was hoping to attack in the last 100 metres, but Rudisha was very strong,” said Kaki.
Two months later, the world would realise just how strong Rudisha was that summer when he twice lowered the world record, first to 1:41.09 in Berlin and then to 1:41.01 in Rieti.
Eaton’s experiment, 2014
It says a lot about Ashton Eaton’s status as the greatest all-round athlete in history that at one point in his career, he could turn his attention to the 400m hurdles, an event which is not even part of the decathlon, and beat some of the best in the world.
That happened in June 2014 in Oslo, Eaton trying his hand at the 400m hurdles that summer due to the absence of a global championship. Though the event was not a scoring discipline at the meeting that year, it still boasted a strong line-up, with Johnny Dutch of the US and LJ van Zyl of South Africa in opposition.
Incredibly, Eaton beat them all, coming home in 49.16 to beat Dutch by more than half a second. The following month, he would lower his best to 48.69 in Glasgow, before turning his attention back to the decathlon, undoubtedly to the delight of many one-lap hurdlers.