Stuart Weir wrote this piece on Laviai Nielson, one of the athletes that he has observed develop over her career. This is a piece on how the Briton is developing this season.(Editor apologizes for always bungling Laviai’s last name, now corrected).
I’ll let you into a secret. Laviai Nielsen is one of my favorite athletes. Talented, humble, always smiling, grateful to her sport, always ready to talk. I need to tell you as well that she and her identical twin sister, Lina, are bad girls. In High School, they once swapped classes to confuse their teachers – and they still let her run Diamond Leagues!
Going into the European Championships in Berlin last year, Laviai was ranked about 12th astest. She won her prelim in 51.67, a PR. She won her semi-final in 51.21, another PR, and finished fourth in the final in 51.21 an equal PR.
She got the call-up to the Lausanne Diamond League when someone dropped out two days before. She was fourth in 51.31, beating the likes of Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and Courtney Okolo. “I’m really happy with that”, she told me afterwards. I wasn’t expecting to run today; I wasn’t expecting to run this week. I only got the call two days ago and I had just finished a very big weeks of training so I was coming here really just for the experience and to practice being competitive. To be honest I was not expecting a season’s best because I had a really heavy legs from training but I’ll certainly take it and I’m really excited now for the rest of the season. And to see what I can do on fresh legs”.
She was in lane one but shrugged that off: “Last year taught me that I can run in any lane. Last year seemed to be the year of outside lanes, always in seven or eight and that taught me to stick to my own race plan and focus on me and my lane. Lane one is probably better than eight because I had everyone in my sight so it was just a case of putting my seat belt on and going for the ride”.
I look forward to seeing what more the season brings for Laviai Nielsen – at least I hope it was Laviai I was watching? Might it have been Lina? Was I taken in by another switch.