Olympic javelin bronze medallist Goldie Sayers found herself on her sofa at home glued to a re-run of the London 2012 Super Saturday. She had a lot invested in the outcome – she has coached heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the javelin, trained alongside long-jumper Greg Rutherford and been a GB team-mate of Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah. Here is her diary of another memorable night of athletics
One of the defining moments of the 2012 Olympics for me was standing under the Olympic flame watching three long-time friends and team-mates (one a training partner) make British sporting history when the won gold medals for Team GB on Super Saturday. This time I’m watching from home on my sofa but with even more nerves, pride and respect for these British athletics greats. I’m praying that the special treble do the double. Here’s how it went:
22.00 – having carbo-loaded for the night ahead, I am warming up with the women’s hockey – USA v GB. I would love to see the British women make it on to the podium again and hopefully go one or two better than in London. I didn’t nap which definitely could be a mistake!
23:30 – The BBC do these montages so well – close to tears at the Mo one.
00:00 – This javelin is going to be epic. Thiam is a great javelin thrower but if Jess can get close to her best then she’ll be well on her way. I haven’t helped KJT this year in the jav as I was training in the US for most of the year, but she needs to throw around her PB from last year to stay in the medals. I’m nervous. If they can both throw through the point and get the javelin to fly then anything is possible. It’s a battle of emotional control.
00:07 – KJT 36.36 metres in the first round. Lost the point. She needs much, much further than that to medal. I’m sending positive flying vibes out to Rio immediately!
00:17 – This is horrible to watch.
00:30 – BBC cut to the track so no idea what’s going on now. Having to revert to refreshing the website for live results.
00:39 – Feel for KJT big time. Any hopes of a medal are pretty much gone now. She is capable of so much more and she’ll know that. You just can’t lose the tip in the javelin and get away with it. It can be a cruel event. We’ve all been there.
00:46 – First shot of Greg warming up. There’s been much talk of Greg scraping through qualifying. I don’t think we need to worry at all. In fact, I’m really excited! Having trained with him for years, I think he was misjudging the board because he was travelling too quickly. He looks the quickest I’ve ever seen him on the runway which bodes well for some big jumps. Please get a solid first jump in, Greg! Please!
00:59 – Come on, Greg!!!!!! And thank you for a good first round. Brilliant start. That will settle him and tighten up the competition. Better than 2012 already.
01:12 – This long-jump comp is going to be immense. After only the first round, three athletes have already jumped further than a silver medal in London.
01:19 – Jess has just done a Greg and nailed a good first round. So, so happy for her. She looked really nervous to me there.
01:28 – OMG! Thiam has just thrown 53 metres off a short approach; with a bad elbow in an Olympic heptathlon final. Mightily impressive. Jess could be running for her life.
01:30 – I need another tea! Not even feeling tired – far too much adrenalin … Greg has just taken the lead. What a competitor. There is so much more tension than 2012. All three of them are being challenged left, right and centre, but they all have the mettle to do it.
01:42 – Mo can be tripped and still win.
01:47 – The javelin is over and Jess will have to run for her life in the 800 metres. The heptathletes hate the 800 with a passion. I think she might hate it even more after this one!
01:49 – The pressure is piling on Greg. The Americans are looking good and now the South African, too. But you can do this Greg. I’m so anxious for these guys. Argh!
01:56 – GOLD FOR MO!! What a run. The first British athlete to win three Olympic gold medals. He can be tripped and fall and still win. Truly incredible win. Mo works so, so hard and spends more time away from home than he spends in it. He deserves this so much. He looks so emotional and in more pain than normal. I’m not surprised. What a legend.
02:07 – My heart is beating out of my chest for Greg. That foul wasn’t a foul and looked big! This comp is electric and exactly why the Diamond League need six rounds. Amazing reaction post-race for Mo. I need a loo break but just can’t leave this. Yet I can’t even watch the last round.
02:15 – These kind of to and fro comps don’t come around too often. I just can’t watch. Greg will be devastated if he can’t respond. So will I.
02:17 – 8.29 metres. What an effort. He responded but looked a little tight in his upper body. Although I’m biased, that foul wasn’t a foul (not that it mattered). That was one of the best long-jump competitions in history. So much drama. Proud of Greg. A second Olympic medal and for the headline writers, that’s not a failure … Greg was beaten to gold by better men on the day and two Olympic medals is quite some achievement.
02:30 – I’ve never seen Mo so emotional – I think he’s in shock. He very nearly lost four years of training (and a medal) in a fraction of a second in a trip and fall.
02:34 – time for a loo break while they announce the starters in the 100 metres.
02:46 – Watching Greg’s interview is tough. Oh, Greg. We love you! I He’s so upset but should be so proud of what he has achieved in the last Olympic cycle. I’m sure when he has time to reflect, he’ll see it a little differently but he’s so competitive that he wants to win. Everything.
03:01 – You cannot write a script like the Jess v Thiam battle. No matter what happens in the next 15 minutes, what Jess has achieved in the last few years is incredible. And I know that the medals aren’t what she’s proudest of. This is the last Olympic 800 you’ll ever run so go out and kill yourself. Like James Cracknell said about Katherine Grainger: ‘It’s ok, you’ll recover.’
03:16 – Jess looks up for this. I’d love to see Kat run a cracking 800, too. If Jess can win this then she is my hero forever. Full stop. This is sport at its best.
03:21 – What a gutsy performance by both Jess and Thiam. She’s still my hero. Thiam has produced the performance of her life and the scary thing is she’s only 21. I’m so happy for Jess. In the last Olympic cycle, she has become a two-time Olympic medallist, world champion and mum. She really is superwoman and we love her. In 2006 at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, I introduced her to my mum as the future Olympic heptathlon champion. You could just see that she had ‘it’. In the last decade she has had an amazing career, but perhaps the most amazing thing about Jess is that in that time – despite being a household name – she has not changed one bit. She’s still the most normal, loveliest individual despite being a household name. Now she’ll be able to go home to Andy and Reggie which will be the gold for her.
03:37 – She doesn’t just inspire a generation, she inspires her team-mates and friends. She’s incredible on and off the track. Jessica Ennis-Hill, goodnight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Goldie Sayers, is a three-time Olympian, World and European Championship finalist and UK Javelin Champion for the past ten years. Goldie’s latest articles