Toni has found that his fame precedes him. The receptionist at the hotel was very excited at his arrival, immediately requesting that he sign a birthday card for her boyfriend. Toni, being the accommodating sort, not only added a message but posed for a photo,
“It got even better when Diana…”
“The receptionist, put me in room 6460.”
“6460? I give in”.
“It’s the Czech Heptahlon record set by Eliska Klucinova”.
Toni is obviously tempted to play me along but decides I’m too easy, “Nah. I didn’t know. I’m not that much of a geek. The picture’s in the room”.
“How’s everything else shaping up?”
“Good. It’s like a campus here. It’s only 150 metres between the hotel and the stadium. It couldn’t be easier.
We’re a little bit behind Gotzis after the first two events but there’s a slight headwind and John’s in a good place. We’re still aiming for 7900 which gets him European qualifying.
“Is John good?”
“Well he’s in good shape. He’s strong. He also knows what he’s got to do. If he puts in an absolutely sparkling performance he could even hit Olympic qualifying. That said, I be happy with 7900”.
“I know you don’t like to say too much during competition but what type of conversations are you having with John?”
“As well as focusing on the process it’s about doing rather than thinking. If anything it’s about him really driving on. Many of the events are about ratios relating to speed, like the jump. Run faster and you have an improved chance of converting your run into a better jump.”
“How’s that working out?”
“Ask me at the end of the day”
We agree to catch up later on.
Day Number One. John Number One.
“How’s he getting on?”
“High jump not quite so good as Gotzis but shot put much better”.
Have a look at Toni’s view of John’s shot put.
“He picked up some bruising on his left foot after the high jump so we’ve had to scrounge some physio support from a very nice New Zealand lady”.
“Yes, because John’s not funded you have to sort things out for yourself. Obviously we can’t afford to fly anyone else over so you have to ask for help”.
“And people are happy to help? For free?”
“They are. Multi-events are different from a lot of athletics’ disciplines. There’s a real sense of camaraderie. Everyone looks out for each other. It’s probably something to do with having breakfast next to someone in the morning and find you’re still competing with them at six in the evening. A lot of the disciplines are done and dusted in a couple of hours. Ours lasts two days.”
“It sounds like I’d prefer the multi-event crowd.” I remember the original question, “John? Foot aside, how is he?”
“I’ve sent you a photo….”
“He’s leading after the first day”
There’s no better way to finish today’s blog.