Yesterday was the first session of the London 2017 that I've watched live and it was like a dream! I took the train down from Loughborough and even within the carriage there were several other people also making their way to the stadium who were brimming with excitement just like me! We chatted about which events we were looking forward to and it made me remember from 2012 how sport can bring people together.
Westfield was buzzing despite the rainy weather and everybody seemed very well prepared with their anoraks and umbrellas. On the way into the stadium however, some of the volunteers looked pretty cold wearing shorts and thin ponchos... to their credit they were trying their best to smile and a lot of them were genuinely beaming, warmly welcoming the public to London and to the Olympic Park. Again I was reminded of the cheerful London 2012 Gamesmakers and friendly Glasgow 2014 Clydesiders - I don't kmow about you but a smile and kind word can make all the difference! Hats off to all the volunteers and staff on The Park.
Once in the stadium I immediately started noticing athletes and staff who I knew, making me feel even more at home. I was really glad to see the two Polish high jumpers, Kamila and Sylvester who kindly stopped for a chat and a quick selfie. I'd love to see Kamila get a medal on Saturday as I love her technique!
The first event I saw was Nick Miller's hammer qualifying pool where, despite the rain, he made easy work of the automatic qualifying distance of 75.50m. This meant that after just one round he was able to leave the infield for the warm, dry comfort of the hotel and probably some dinner!
Next on the track was Rosie Clarke, a really lovely steeplechaser who trains in Loughborough and has a great attitude to training and an infectious smile. It was really great to see her lining up for the World Champs race but unfortunately she tripped at one of the barriers and lost a lot of ground. It was hard to watch as lap by lap you could see the bruise coming up on her hip and the red scratches where she had hit the hard Mondo track. To her credit she ran hard to make up ground but finished outside the automatic qualifying places.
Later on we had Mo in the 5,000m. The most amazing thing about that race was the wall of sound that followed him around the stadium and grew louder lap by lap. It was truly spine-tingling... and that was only the qualifying round!
(Obviously there were loads more events including Chris Bennett in the second hammer pool and our 200m runners but I'm not going to write about them all here)
After the session it was time to go over to Victoria Park Athletics Club for Radio 5 Live's panel show "The Future of Athletics". It took place in the clubhouse and there was a fantastic atmosphere with a live audience of athletics fans and some very knowledgeable panel members (and me, ha!) You can listen to the show online below:
OK that's it for my first post - I've got to go training now! Then into the stadium again for the evening session including the women's high jump qualifying round... it's bound to be emotional but overall I'm very proud of those girls who have made it all the way to the World Champs and I wish them well. Good luck ladies!