Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wrapped Up the Diamond League Title!!

For some reason out here in London, the internet had been down for four days! I've never heard of a situation like this, you can only imagine the agony I was going through. No Slingbox to watch, no internet to surf, couldn't update the blog, I was going through it!!

Although I was without the most important thing I have during my European travels, I was kept plenty busy.

I arrived in London last Tuesday. I flew over on U.S. Airways, remind me to tell my manager never to book me on them again for international travel.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty chill days for me. Just eat, catch up on sleep, did some interviews and had a couple of training sessions. I wanted to go out on Wednesday, but the weather had not been good at all, lots of rain and cold of course.

Thursday came around and I finally . Myself, Tyson Gay and European hurdle champion Andy Turner caught a classic English bus to the press conference activities in central London.

The cool thing about the bus we rode on was it had our pictures on the side of it promoting the competition.

We rode around on that bus for quite a while, but it was cool, you know I don't mind doing interviews and taking pictures LOL. We made a quick stop by the 2012 Olympic Stadium and it looks awesome, they are doing a great job on it. Hopefully I'll be in able to compete in there for the Games when they roll around.
After my day out on the town, of course I had my last training prep before competition. Now it was time to kick my feet up and chill until I took the track.

The London Diamond League is a very unique competition. It is the only invitational that hosts every track and field event, but it's also spread over two days. When I saw everyone heading to the track Friday, I was very glad I wasn't competing that day. It was pretty cold and the rain looked like it wasn't going to let up. I just caught a ride to a local laundry mat and washed clothes.

Saturday morning rolled around and I had to do something the night before that I NEVER do for my European competitions and that was set an alarm. Had to be on the shuttle to the stadium at 11:30am. Most of the time I'm not competing until 9 at night.

The London Diamond League is also unique in that it is the only major invitational that I've been to where I had to run a preliminary race and then I final. I like the set up, I use the first round as an extended part of my warm up anyway.

This was a big set of races for me because if I won this meet, I would lock up the Diamond League championship for 2010, I really wanted to handle that business here and not put it to chance out in Zurich next week.

My first round went off, nothing unexpected happened and I ran a wind aided 13.02 to win my heat. My training partners Joel Brown and Dwight Thomas finished second and third. It feels good when you look up and see your teammates finishing right in order, I think that is what is suppose to happen when you're training with top level performers.

Between the prelim and final, there wasn't much time before we had to report back to the call room. Just enough time to get stretched, talk to my coach and catch my breath.

In the finals, I was pretty much unpressed from the start, so I tried to focus on staying in attack mode for all ten hurdles. The last thing I wanted to do was relent or take my foot off the gas thinking I had the win already because in the hurdles, it's never a definite until you cross that tape! I crossed in 13.06 (-0.4w) which was the meet record. Dwight finished second and Joel ran into some issues but was able to finish fifth.

When I finished, I was under-impressed with some technical aspects of my run, but that quickly subsided when I breathed a big sigh of relief, realizing I clinched the top spot as the number one hurdler in the world undoubtedly. Accomplishing goals is so important in life because it's a quantifiable measure of improvement. Whether you're an athlete or work a 9 to 5 job, we all have goals we want to check off the list short term and long term and I love when I can draw a line right through one more thing on my list for 2010.
I spent an extra day in London and I was looking forward to this day from the time I found out I would be here another day after competition.

I got the chance to catch a Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Anfield Road, one of the most hallowed grounds of European football. The Gunners of Arsenal are my favorite English football team and to get a chance to catch a game, I was all for it.
Arsenal hooked me up with some fresh gear too! A personalized jersey was one of the items, but I dare not wear that to Liverpool's home grounds LOL. The game was great, ended in a 1-1 draw as Arsenal pulled even in the latter moments of the game. My favorite Gunner, Cesc Fabregas didn't play today so that was unfortunate, but I saw Van Persie and Abou Diaby get it in.

This was the best sporting event I have ever been too. The fans are SO passionate about their team and their players. They had songs for every one of their star players! It was loud and rocking for the entire 90 minutes. I thought I was a die hard fan, but I'm not even close and neither is any other American I know when it comes to supporting their team. We have a long way to go!

A big thanks goes out to Zarah, she works with the UK Athletics and she looked after me while I was here and made sure we sorted the game out smoothly, I'll put my vote in to get here a raise!

Now I'm off to Zurich, the last stop in the Diamond League for 110 hurdles. Since I've clinched, I can just relax and have a good time out there like I normally do. Sorry for the length of this post, but I've got to blame the internet here because this should have been three different one's if I had the chance, but thanks for taking time out to read it as usual, I appreciate it!


Kimmy said...

Congratulations!!! I got the chance to view the race live on thanks to your tip on twitter. I woke up early and paid an unexpected $1.99 to see it, but I have no complaints since you WON. Lol My grandmother was even rooting for you, it was too funny :) Good Luck in Zurich during the Diamond League for 110 hurdles.

Miss One In A Million said...

Congrats on the meet record and for winning the Diamond League title. You definitely deserved it. I'm glad you enjoyed the game. Good luck on your next race. :)

LaLa said...

Again your excitement is contagious. Love the post and congratulations! Your hard work and love for the sport pays off time and time again. Your family must be so proud! I am and we've never met, lol.

Megs said...

I knew there was nothing to worry about. This is your year! Congrats on another goal crossed off that bucket list of yours! You feeling good? did you get worked on? make sure you are taking care of that body! Its taking excellent care of you! All that hard work paid off and I am proud to call you my friend! Love ya, see you soon!

Nellie said...

Congratulations on the meet record and winning the 2010 Diamond League title. I am glad your accomplishing all of your goals and I hope you can continue to reach those goals.

Sounds like you had fun at the football game. Yeah, fans overseas are really compassionate and more supportive about there sports.

Have fun in Zurich and can't wait to see the next post.

kidbeatz said...

Congrats on ur win in London, sounds like u had an ausome time and its always good too hear some encouraging words about not giving up and proving you've got what it takes.. Keep up the ausome work, congrats again D.O

Camilla said...

Congratulations! :-D Keep it up David!

Anonymous said...

It has been fun to watch your incredible season and to read your Blog as you travel the World. I look forward to watching your continued success at the World's next year and having the WR come back to the US!

Ms.Mia said...

Let life inspire you

Let life inspire you. No matter what happens, you can choose to be inspired by it.
If you make a mistake, let it inspire you to be more careful and diligent next time. When you're having a great time, let it inspire you to create even more positive experiences.

Each time you see kindness, be inspired to pass it forward. If you encounter deception or injustice, feel inspired to raise your world above it.

Anything can inspire you when you choose to let it. You can even be inspired for no reason at all.

Be inspired by the big accomplishments and by the small, simple moments as well. An inspired life is a life that's rich, and it's a life you can choose no matter what.

If there's a reason to be inspired or if there is not, be inspired. Bring your spirit fully to life, and raise your life to a higher, more enriching level.

-- Ralph Marston

Maureen said...

I would like to comment on some of the remarks you made in your recent British interview. You noted that Britain should stop supporting mediocrity. No doubt there are British athletes who are funded who will never make it to the top tier of thesport. That is a risk a sports body takes in all countries-you fund your best and at least give them a shot at it.
It should be noted that very few British athletes have access to sports scholarships-most must fork out thousands to ay for their own education.
It is relatively easy for good US athletes (and many of them never make it to the top either0 to get very generous scholarships which covver not only their education but medical, food, and housing costs.They then have opportunities for top coaching, use of facilities and competions.
All things you yourself benefited from when you were a mere 13.3 hurdler.
Let's face it if you were in Britain and offered funding at that point in your career would you not have taken it?
I am not British by the way.

It is wonderful that you are now making a nice living from the sport-you deserve it.
You were supported and helped along the way too. Please don't let all the success you are having make you unable to relate to those doing their best just to survive in the sport. You never know who the next DO is going to be do you?

Aunt Celest said...

Congratulations!!! Best Wishes to you. I'm so happy for you!! What a wonderful feeling that must be.
I'm sure you'll be in London competing in that stadium. Your family is so proud of you, and so are your fans. GOD continues to bless you. Thanks for sharing your accomplishments with us. Good luck on your next race.

Claude said...

Since you've undoubtedly clinched the #1 world ranking, won the Diamond League, now you can enjoy the rest of the track season. Run a 200! Notice I said run a deuce rather than a 100 or 400; a deuce gives you a chance to see where you're at speed wise. Of course, with the season you've had this year, you could probably run a 44.5 400m (of course I know how you've always loved the 4!). Anyway, congratulations on a great season. Maybe a really fast time in Zurich?

Anonymous said...

Congrats D!!!

Isn't it funny how everything happens in time and this is definitely Your Time!

Good Luck in Zurich!


David Oliver said...

@maureen, How do we know that the UK athletes won't reach the top? It is no coincidence that when Van Commencee came in and took over UK Athletics, he raised the standard it took to be funded by the federation and now they are coming off their best performance ever at a European Championship.

I'm not sure why you are comparing U.S. collegiate scholarships to what I was speaking about which is professional athletics.

UKA has paid for top level coaches from all over the world to train their athletes and they have four national training centers compared to the U.S. one, so the resources are there.

You are absolutely correct that if they offered me funding when I was running 13.3, I would have been all over that. I would have probably become fairly complacent and only shot for whatever time it took for me to keep my funding. I have training with a lot of people that are/were funded by UKA and their season goal was to run whatever the time was it took to stay on funding. Once that happened, they went in to shut down mode.

If I went out, ran 13.40 was given an Alfa Romeo vehicle, the equivalent to $2,500 per month and all the other free things that come with it, where is the incentive to try to make it? If you don't think that is rewarding mediocrity, then I'm sorry, we will just agree to disagree.

To your last point, I have always made a nice living running track. Of course it's been a whole lot better these past three-four years, the only difference is, I earned it. I earned it by running 30-40 races a year, trying to get to the top. In America we don't have any major funding, you may be about $3,000 a year through different initiatives but nothing to live off of. I came from the bottom to get where I am now, so you talk about unable to relate to people trying to do their best to survive in the sport? You better take that to somebody else blog. I don't know who the next D.O. is going to be, but I know it won't be somebody who was handed the keys to a Bentley before they knew how to drive.

I am glad you expressed your concerns, but you've also got to take what you read with a grain of salt, we all know how the British media is, I was kind of taken aback at how they portrayed certain aspects of the interview myself.

Chris said...

You might be interested in a related thread on the TFN website.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you were a fellow Gooner, David! I think I like you even more now!! haha