maandag 24 augustus 2009

Cool runnings!!!

Once more we came home empty handed from the WC Athletics in Berlin. Not that is must have been a surprise to many but still. It is never fun having to face the fact that we can’t seem to compete with the rest of the globe in certain things. One of them must be then athletics and it seems that it is going to cost some time till we will be able to beat some of these big guys and women out there on the track.

Okay, Usain Bolt is a league of his own. While I was in 7th heaven in Zürich he won the gold medal in fantastic time. Cool, man!! According to many this won’t be the last time that this Jamaican will amaze us.

Reading the newspapers I did feel the tension out there in the Belgian camp. Especially the women’s 4x100 felt the heat. And it was not only the exotic temperatures I am talking about. Since Kim retired last year in order to become mother and did gave birth in the second week of the tournament the rest of the team need to rethink their strategy. The fastest girl of our nation left behind a huge gap that had to be closed.

The three knew that they were not going to find another Kim very soon and it was not with high ambitions that they left for Berlin. So when the first new reports reached us from Berlin I knew that these girls were in a pickle.

The heat was on and it did not make them run faster!! Nope they seemed to be out of breath and had no plan B to turn to. So when the four ladies failed to make the finals and the reporter asked them what went wrong I knew we had something coming.
The reporter was facing four athletes that were catching some air but at the same time looked very upset! The answers he got were very straightforward. Once more they felt so let down. “Hey, we did run not that well!! Nothing went okay! Passing on the stick went wrong most of the times. We did not practice together many times.” , were some of the sentences that came out.

Normally that would have been the average chat would be aired out to us but then the tone of the girls did change. “Hey, how do you think we feel? Nothing went right the last few weeks! What they have written about us did not make it any easier. Not only one year after the medal at the Olympics it seems that we are treated as dirt!’ , were basically one of the words of the out of tune ladies. They were pointing the fingers at each other while explaining why things did not went that smooth like one year ago.

Watching this scene I did feel sorry for them! Right there in the sun were standing frustrated, feeling let down, disappointed, outraged women. I think that all they wanted to do was run of as fast as they could to a shower and cool down! Instead they had to face once more the national press and answering useless questions. No harmony what so ever in that team and I do agree with that they need some more time in order to run more smoothly. Patience they asked of all of us and I am going to grand them exactly that.

The contrast with the men of 4x400m couldn’t have been more obvious. The fast guys did pretty well last year in Beijing and it was rather an unusual sight to see one white boy running passed some of the these coloured speedy Africans. They came in fifth and so the expectations were kind of high as well went they put on their running shoes. And what a sight! They first won their head and just ran past the Bahamas and the Dom. Republic.

I do love that race the 4x400m!! I am sprinter and so I know that running 400m can kill you!!! Before you know you will run without a breath! Respect to those people that seem to be able to disect their own running pattern in order to figure out the perfect race! So that we Belgians seem to be rather good at this very hard race is an accomplishment on its own!

Nils, Cédric, Antoine and Kevin just did one thing and that was running very fast. When they were asked why it worked so well, it was the oldie of the team, Cédric who gave the best answer: ‘ We want to fight for one an other! We just go for it! The trust grew trough out the competition!’ He pointed out that they did not had the opportunity to practice together a lot but that once they need to deliver they go for it. Cédric also pointed out that we have to be mild with the women of the 4x100!

Their final was also quite impressive! They ran a very tactic race and came in fourth and that is even better then one year ago. The boys were satisfied! Amazing to state is also the fact that this was not the best team that Belgians have out there. Jonathan is injured for the moment an he is our fastest runner! So very promising for the next big meet!

Comparing the two means it just shows that trust and unity is very important in a team. Perhaps that was something the 4 girls were running without. Also the lack of cement, of an individual who motivates and stimulates them! They are still looking and seem to be lost!! Cédric does it for the boys but there were moments that also the national press gave him a rather hard time. But put him in a team he will grow by the minute and so do his team members.

So the biggest challenge the next few months for Elodie, Hanna, Olivia to find the perfect fourth match for their team or at least find the cement they need to make the team stronger as ever. Not only in order to win races but also be a unity!!! ‘Cool runnings’ seems to be something that not everybody is good at. ‘Cool, man!!!’, would the average Jamaican say! It worked for Bolt but then they have got white beaches, palm trees, blue water and rum!!! So ladies perhaps a ticket to the tropics?

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