This is the first of several pieces by Stuart Weir, European senior editor for RunBlogRun, who visited the Stockholm DL to cover the meet for our readers. The meet is the last DL prior to the World Outdoor Athletics Championships, to be held July 15-24, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.
The final Diamond League before the World Championships may have lacked some of the world stars. Very few Americans were in the field. However, if you were looking for excellence, high drama, shocks, poignant moments, and (possibly) a home world record, then the Bauhaus Stockholm Diamond League ticked every box.
The sensible reason why there were hardly any Americans in the field was that flying across the Atlantic twice – with the double jetlag – two weeks before the World Championship did not seem a sensible option. That many countries held their national championships and world championship selection trials last weekend, left athletes physically and mentally exhausted. If the UK is anything to go by, the drawn-out selection process meant that some athletes literally arrived in Stockholm not selected for Oregon but left it in the team.
The two-hour Diamond League TV program included sprints and hurdles, middle and long-distance including a steeplechase. There were jumps and vaults and throws to showcase the range of track and field. The 2-hour 20-minute pre-event program included 11 events. Several were incorrectly called “national”; in fact, these races included a good range of international athletes. Some were of the standard of the later Diamond program. There were also two sprint relays.
Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis vaulted 6.16m which may or may not be a world record. The words “WORLD RECORD” flashed across the screens as he did it but the Diamond League website settled for Meeting Record, Diamond League Record, and National Record. The World Athletics website described the dilemma in these terms: Duplantis “did not improve on the absolute 6.20m world record he set indoors at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 in March, but in clearing 6.16m, he added one centimeter to the highest ever outdoor vault in history”. Sorry, to clarify, are you saying that it is a world record or not? “Maybe”
But if Duplantis held the world record (and his national record) and he vaults higher than he has ever done before, how can that be described as a national record but not a world record? My head hurts. And finally, the ever diplomatic Duplantis said afterward that he was pleased to have been able to “do something special” for his home crowd.
The biggest disappointment was that Olympic 100m champion, Marcell Jacobs, withdrew. The statement said: “After feeling some pain yesterday during the training session and after being under the supervision of his personal medical staff, they have taken the decision not to let him take any risk”.
There were shocks – like Malaika Mihambo jumping 6.72 and finishing fifth. Yaroslava Mahuchikh exited the high jump at 1.89m.
There were eight Ukrainian athletes competing and in a poignant moment, the crowd stood to applaud in support of their country.