The first stop for the 110 hurdles in the newly formed IAAF Diamond League takes us to Shanghai, China. I am pretty interested in how this first season will turn out, some positives I can see already is that this "League" is more inclusive of all the events and gives minor events a chance to shine and participate in competitions. They have an equal opportunity to make money just as some of your more marquee events.
I'm not sure how many of these Diamond League races I will be in, the next stop is in Rome June 10th and I'm 90% sure I won't compete there.
I enjoy being out here in Shanghai, even though I can not access the websites that I like to go on out here, the people here take such good care of you that you can overlook those minor speed bumps.
Allen Johnson and myself came in on the same flight from Korea and it was a mad house at the airport. The 110 hurdles is by far the most popular event in China for obvious reasons. I was joking that since at World Indoor Championships I was in the lane next to Liu Xiang, I was in several photos with him, so that made my celebrity in China go through the roof! But the fans here knew who I was long before that race in March. I was shocked at my first time in Shanghai in 2006, shooting a commercial for Nike with Liu, that they knew who I was. That was just my second season as a pro and I hadn't really accomplished very much at the time.
Back in 2008, my first year actually competing at this event, I was able to get the win, capping an outstanding season. Now in 2010, since this is my third major outing of the season, I am hoping this race will be the spring board, catapulting me to having a better season than the one I experienced in 2008.
When I first got out here, my first stop was the custom tailor boutique in the hotel lobby. I got myself four suits and eight button downs tailor made. I love the quality and exact fit of their products. In the States it takes a five week turnaround, but here, three days tops!
I also had a press conference with fellow hurdler Ryan Brathwaite, javelin champion Andreas Thorkildson, pole vault champion Steven Hooker, 100 meter champion Shelly Ann Fraser and the second fastest woman ever in the 100 meters, Carmelita Jeter. I think I lost 1,000 calories with all of the laughing we were doing in there. I had a great time.
I have been taught the Chinese phrase: who ma I, tau way which means: We love David Oliver. The locals have made me gifts as well.
For the race tonight, it of course will be a tough battle like always. I will face former world record holder and Olympic champion Liu Xiang, World champion Ryan Brathwaite, World Championship finalists Dwight Thomas of Jamiaca, Shi Dongpeng and Wei Ji both of China and the immortal Allen Johnson.
In the hurdle event, you rarely get the proverbial "day off" where you can just have a nice, relaxing race without putting out maximum effort to get the job done. This is why I take time off from racing after a tough stretch, I have to find time to re-charge my batteries. I learned that I will either take rest voluntarily or my body will make me take a break involuntarily. Staying healthy is the most important thing for me to do. I feel that when I am healthy I have the ability to contend for the win in every single race I step on the line for.
You can catch the meet on universalsports.com starting at 8am eastern time. I run at 9:40, check it out! Hope to have something good to talk about next time I update!!