Stuart Weir put these two pieces on the 2020 Inspiration Games, this is part 1/2.
Imagine a 150 meter race between Allyson Felix, Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Mujinga Kambundji. Well, it is happening on Thursday 9 July as part of the Weltklasse ZÃ¼rich Inspiration Games. But it’s not quite as simple as that. Allyson will be running in California, Shaunae in Florida and Mujinga in ZÃ¼rich
The three athletes will be lining up for the race in separate arenas. The starting gun will go off for all athletes at the same time. A split screen providing synchronised images will allow viewers to watch a direct competition in near real time.
There is one “real” race, the men’s 100 yards which is the only race to be held in one arena. Andre De Grasse, Jimmy Vicaut, and Omar McLeod normally training partners, compete together.
The program consists of three field events and five races:
Pole vault – men’s and women’s.
Triple jump – men
150m – women
100 yards – men
200m – men
300m hurdles – women
3 X 100m relay – women.
In field events, athletes will jump individually so that opponents can watch each other’s attempts on live or result screens. Athletes will be filmed even between attempts in order to enable interaction between protagonists and arenas.
I will offer you one prediction. I am fairly confident that the winners of the 3 X 100m relay will set a world lead for 2020!
There is a certain irony that the triple jump – dropped from the Diamonds League programme this year – has made an appearance after all.
As well as the individual events, there is a team competition between Europe, North America and the World. There is a prize money of 20,000 US dollars per event. The winner in each event will score three points for the team ( and earn 10 000 US dollars), two points (6,000 US dollars) will go to the runner-up, and the competitor in third place will be awarded one point (4,000 US dollars). The team competition create an additional sense of community.
What do the athletes think about it?
Allyson Felix: “I liked the idea of the Inspiration Games. I thought it was so cool and I’ve just been training and training. In California right now there are no real race possibilities so this seemed like something great. And I just loved the concept, it was different and creative. I’m not really sure what to expect, it’s the first time that we’ve all done anything like this. So I’m just approaching it to have fun, and to give people something to watch and to be entertained. We’ve all missed sports so much and this just reinforces the importance of sport and what it does to bring people together. I think everyone all over the world has been enduring really challenging times and I hope that this is a time of hope, a time where we can pause and appreciate sport and creativity”.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo: “Lock down has been a little bit difficult but I think we all kind of try to do our best to make our way around it try to find a park or train in the streets. We are just trying to make a way as best as we could, as we live through this. And now it’s back to the track and back to training well. Just like Allyson said, we’re very excited that we were able to compete and put on a show for everyone that’s watching. I think that we’re all going to have some fun with it and put on great performances. I feed off of the crowd big time and so it is going to be a little bit difficult, but I’m taking it in as a time trial, and I’m just going to go, be focused and just get ready to try and give it a good one”.
Noah Lyles : “I’m very pleased to be competing in the Inspiration Games. Zurich is one of the events I like to call home, and I have very fond memories of competing -and performing a song (“Souvenir”) in the stadium there. It’s great that they have found a way to get us all there in spirit this year, and I look forward to racing on Thursday”.
It is unusual and intriguing but it sure sounds fun!
7.35pm to 9.30pm Central European time