It’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and yesterday I was given a rather unique insight into the inner-workings of the IAAF World Championships here in London.
I’ve partnered with Skype in attending the championships and experiencing everything the event has to offer, from multiple perspectives, starting last night with the opening Friday evening session, and a behind the scenes tour of the stadium.
Of course, it was fantastic to see Mo Farah win the Mens 10,000m and Usain Bolt seemingly breeze through the first round of the Mens 100m. I found it really interesting however to spend time watching and learning about events that I don’t normally follow so closely, such as pole vault and discus. Skype introduced me to their SPIKES bot which provides a handy little resource for keeping updated on the latest athletics news, and learning about the different events.
My behind the scenes experience included an opportunity to spend time at the warm-up track watching the athletes preparing to perform. During this time, I had a really interesting conversation with four-time world champion long jumper Dwight Phillips about his experiences of the tension and emotions that the athletes will be experiencing in preparation for their event… and how athlete-to-athlete interactions go from laughing and joking, to extreme focus as the event gets closer.
We then followed the path beneath the stands that athletes take to go from the practice track to the main arena, and entered the stadium trackside to gain an insight into what awaits the athletes… Suffice to say, it’s pretty intimidating!
— James Dunne (@KineticRev) August 5, 2017
I was then very fortunate to be able to watch the evening’s events from a fantastic vantage point as a guest of both Skype and the IAAF. It’s not every day you get to watch world class athletics from a box with the President and CEO of the IAAF. The extreme privilege here isn’t lost on me!
Amongst all the intricacies of the different events going-on on the track and field throughout the evening, the thing that struck me most the whole evening was the crowd. I knew it was going to be something special when we arrived at the stadium, and the past Olympians in our little group looked stunned and said something along the lines of: “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this”.
The volume and energy of the crowd translated into a HUGE wall of noise, particularly when a Team GB athlete was competing. I’ve been to many many sporting events… this was something else!
I’m writing this at the beginning of the Saturday morning session here at the stadium, and I’m about to go and watch the Mens 400m heats. I’ll be back tomorrow with another update 🙂