It was worth it. The day at the Olympic Park, and an evening spent at the biggest track meet on the planet, were worth it, every second of it. Here are a few photos and a short video. I have much to say but will start with these images.
Here I am with my son Nate in the Olympic stadium just before the competition started.
Here are the US foursome who won the women’s 4×100 meter relay in the world record time of 40.82. Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, Carmelita Jeter and Tianna Madison. And yes, that’s a TV cameraman on a segway.
And here’s the last half of the men’s 4×400 relay. This is one of the best events at any track meet, and the most fun to run. If I couldn’t compete in this event at the Olympics, there’s nothing I’d rather do than be there to watch it.
You can get a sense of the fevered atmosphere inside the stadium. The noise you hear on TV is only a vague echo compared to the real thing — which sounds like a 747 at takeoff velocity. As the anchor leg begins and the runners come down the backstretch, you can hear me shouting, “Go, Angelo!” to US runner Angelo Taylor. Strangely, as I yelled it I remembered what my daughter’s T-ball coach told parents who hollered at their six-year-olds on the field: “All they can hear is, blah blah blah blah.” And I knew that Taylor couldn’t hear me above the other 80,000 people in the stadium, but I couldn’t seem to help myself… except when the blade runner came around the curve, really flying, and I shouted, “Go, Oscar!”
And yeah, at the end of the race it’s me going, “Oh my God,” as the Bahamas pass the US to take the gold. I was simultaneously disappointed and excited: it was their first gold medal ever. And the US team was glad to share their silver medals with Manteo Mitchell, who a day earlier had got them into the final by finishing his lap in the prelims even though he broke his leg halfway through the race.