Welcome to our coverage of the Monaco Diamond League. It is one of my favorite meets, as it is a great meet and an amazing people to people watch! Stuart Weir is in Monaco, covering the meet for us. He has taken some amazing pictures for those not in Monaco. We will post them on twitter. The presser is today, and also the meet will be on Friday, July 20.
We thank Stuart Weir for going on this difficult visit to the smallest country on the circuit.
The Herculis Monaco (Diamond League)
Every Diamond League is different. One is in USA, the most powerful country in the world, one in China, the most populous, others are in Paris, Rome and London, the great cities of the world.
Monaco is unique, a tiny country with an area of three quarters of a square mile and a population of 37,000 of whom an estimated 30% are millionaires. The meet hotel, The Fairmont, seems to be all glass with spectacular views of the sea in two directions. However, it is also $500 a night so I am staying in France – just 20 minutes walk away.
Monaco was visited by the ancient Greek divine hero, Hercules, and his legacy is to have a Diamond League named after him. None of this nonsense about calling the event after a sponsor. I did once hear an American athlete ask why the prince never becomes king!
Monaco is a constitutional monarchy, ruled by Prince Albert II and is also known as a principality. Prince Albert normally attends the event. His family, the Grimaldis, have ruled since 1297.
Monaco hosts a Formula 1 Grand Prix every year with the circuit made up of the narrow streets of the town. The Fairmont hotel lobby exhibits expensive jewellery which is on sale – and a wheel of the car with which Michael Schumacher won the World Championship! The famous hair-pin bend is just outside the hotel’s front door.
It is definitely the only meet hotel with a casino off the lobby. In fact the media guide states: “The media centre is just opposite the entry to the casino”.
Monaco is a tax haven with many top tennis players including Bjorn Borg, Novak Djokovic
and Caroline Wozniacki and about 10 Formula 1 drivers including Lewis Hamilton. Apart from the climate, the natural beauty, not paying tax, it is hard to work out why people live there
Monaco is a unique place but the meet itself is always high quality. The Herculis always attracts a stellar field and has witnessed some incredible performances over the years. Who will ever forget Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07 world record 1500m run in 2015?