On Friday I was lucky enough to be invited into the IAAF VIP box to watch the men's high jump qualifying competition with former high jumper Brendan Reilley and other celebrity guests. We had a great view from up at the top by the 100m start line and did our best to follow the frenetic action on the infield below. Before the competition even started I was amused to see Gianmarco (Gimbo) Tamberi, the Italian jumper, working the crowd and getting them on his side even as he walked out onto the track from the tunnel! I love his showing off as it really engages the crowd, getting their attention onto the high jump at the very least! Sadly he didn't make it through (not really a big surprise as he was very badly injured year) and it was fascinating afterwards to hear how much empathy some onlookers had developed for him over those few hours... quote: "I was so gutted that the Italian guy didn't get through". He really captures people's hearts!
Our British jumper Robbie Grabarz put in a strong effort to eventually qualify with a 2.31m clearance but it was a nail-biting time!! He left it until his third attempt to clear 2.31m, meanwhile we were frantically trying to work out if he would make the cut (for the final) with only his previous clearance at 2.29m (or 2.28?)
With Robbie safely through we could relax a bit so at the food buffet I bumped into Denise Lewis and got a picture. We were jumpsuit twins! She couldn't handle the height difference between us though... check out the picture. Back at the seats we were joined by former UKA Head Coach Charles Van Commenee and sporting legend Daley Thompson - I felt like I was in very illustrious company, although apparently got shown on TV just as I was stuffing my face with food. It was bound to happen to be honest - I was hungry!
Sorey not to have more detail on the morning session but I'm writing this before training and if I don't leave soon I'll never get it done!
Walking off the park at lunchtime I bumped into so many people I knew - this is a wonderful place to be right now! First i saw Robbie's family and his gorgeous little daughter Lyra who had just made her first TV appearance on the big screen in the stadium and on the BBC. Then Jade Lally our discus thrower - she didn't make it through to the final but regardless it was really good to see her and notice how much recognition she was getting from the public. Pretty good for a field eventer! Then I miraculously bumped into some friends of mine from Germany, then a Portuguese shot putter who I'm great friends with. Then I got chatting to some American athletes and a coach who were so friendly and kind - it's like the Olympic Park casts a spell over everybody!
In the afternoon I went to Long Tall Sally in Chiltern Street - the tall clothing company for whom I'm the brand ambassador. It's always so nice to step into one of their stores as all the staff and customers are tall and so I feel right at home! Plus even better I know that I can pick up clothes off the rail and they'll actually FIT me! No short arms, ankle swingers, darts in the wrong place and shoes two sizes too small... just gorgeous, high quality clothes that are specifically made to make tall girls smile. I gave up shopping at regular high street shops long ago - it's too depressing. Over time when clothes never fit it just feels like your body is the wrong shape and that's a horrible feeling. Finding clothes that fit at Long Tall Sally was one of the best things ever for my confidence and nowadays I am over the moon every time I am able to go instore and try on all their clothes.. even to take some home!
Back in the stadium in the evening we were sitting right by the finish line with the line judges and could see the 100m hurdles crossing the line. The one who stood out for me was Sally Pearson who looked very smooth and totally focused - like a robot really! I hope she can run like that in the final :)
The steeplechase saw an American 1-2 and a championship record for the winnner! It was heartwarming to see and hear how happy both girls were with their results. On the first lap however, one of the African runners went the wrong way, missed out the water barrier and had to double back on herself and then work hard to catch up with the others... very awkward moments!
I'm sure a lot of other great stuff happened last night too but I really do have to go to training now! Back in the stadium for the women's high jump and other finals tonight :)