IAAF World Champs: Jan Mitchell's report (updated 8/24)

Iona Prep and Ursuline coach Jan Mitchell has traveled to Berlin to watch the IAAF World Championships and will be sending some pictures from his trip.

Check out his first back which gives you a look at the stadium and some of the races as a fan would see them. https://ny.milesplit.com/photos/albums/3928


Well today was the final day of this tremendous event – time flew and we can’t believe that we were here for a week!

What a great host city Berlin was! A City that has seen so much history during the past 70+ years from the Capital of the 3rd Reich, the destruction during the final Battle of World War II, the dividing up by the Allies, the Wall as the classic symbol of the Cold War and the beginning of its end in 1989. The City and people of Germany have addressed the atrocities of the Nazi regime and Communism in an incredible tasteful way and for that they must be commended!

Our day began early as we found a different viewing area for the Women’s Marathon which was about 12 minutes into the looping course. With many of the favorites having withdrawn from the competition including Paula Radcliffe ahead of time it should have been the perfect day for Kara Goucher but it wasn’t as she faded over the last of the four circuits.

The first three finishers all came in 2:25 – as mentioned before the race began and ended at the Brandenburg Gate the site of so much history especially Ronald Reagan call to the Soviets to “tear down this wall” and John Kennedy “I am a Berliner”.

Back to the Olympic Stadium for the completion of the meet – last evening Jesse Owens granddaughter was in attendance to award the gold medal in the Men’s Long Jump in the exact spot where her grandfather received his in 1936.

Everything was a final today and we were tied with the Jamaicans for 7 goals each [excellent for a nation of 3 million]. We took first in the Women’s Long Jump and both the Men’s and Women’s 1600m Relays with the women running the 7th fastest time ever and Sanya Richards splitting 48. Jeremy Wainer ran the 2nd leg and split a 43. Wow!

The Men’s 5000m was awesome with the pack running a slow pace everyone knew that it would be a kicker’s race. Bekele and Lagat charged down the final straight with the Ethiopian showing that he is the best distance runner in the world winning his 2nd gold of the Championships. America had 3 runners in this final which was a plus for our runners.

The Women’s 1500m had three Americans in the final and it was full of controversy. One of the Ethiopian runners was pushed to the ground with 200m left by a Spaniard who won the race. The stadium erupted in whistling [international way of showing disapproval] and about a half hour after the race the Spaniard was disqualified and with that Shannon Rowbury moved up to the Bronze.

The meet ended with about 4000 volunteers taking a victory lap for their hard work over the past 9 days and the entire German Team joining them for the festivities. The next World Championships will be held in 2011 in South Korea and torch was officially pasted to them. They will have to work really hard to top the presentation of these Berlin Games.

The music was played at this meet in a tasteful and moderate level that everyone could enjoy. The music had a meaning and a purpose which blended in perfectly with the meet!

Hope all of you enjoyed my pictures and reporting!

Work hard if you are a track athlete and you to can achieve greatest at whatever level you aspire to!


Day #8 – Saturday – Berlin World Championships

Today began with the Men’s Marathon but with a major change. For the very first time in World Championship or Olympic history the Marathon did not begin or end in the Stadium. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the reunification of East and West Berlin the marathon began and ended at the famed Brandenburg Gate and was composed of four loops that weaved its way passed most of the important historical areas of the city. Great day for the Kenyans as they went 1-2 with the first three finishers under 2:08. The Kenyans also won the Team World Cup Championship. Sorry to say but the Americans looked very bad.

Back to the Stadium for another night of great races.

If the American distance runners did poorly in the marathon things did not get much better for the sprinters. After having the fastest qualifying time in the Semis the Men’s 400m Relay was disqualified for passing out of the zone [more practice is needed]. If that wasn’t bad enough the women did not even finish in the Semis as one of the legs went down with a pull.

The Jamaicans again ran wild winning both 400m Relays – Usain Bolt running the third leg won his third gold medal – Wow!

Both the Men’s and Women’s 1600m Relays had no problem posting the fastest time in their Semis so Sunday’s final events should be very exciting for us!

Dwight Phillips had no problem defending his title in the Long Jump and Steve Hooker won a very poor Pole Vault [he only made one height and did not continue to vault after all the other athletes had been eliminated].

Probably the most exciting event of the evening was the Women’s Hammer Throw as the Polish athlete broke the World Record with her very first throw and then never took another as she injured her ankle and had to sit on the sidelines and watch as two German women made six attempts to catch her. Not one of the 80,000 fans left the Stadium and were rewarded by one of their own setting a National Record and missing a win by inches.

Once again I was amazed at how great the spectators have been cheering everyone in every event and showing both respect and enthusiasm during each Medal Ceremony!


Not sure how much better this meet can become but today was really tremendous. The Germans were out in great numbers to enjoy the medal ceremony of woman in the javelin.

So the atmosphere was really buzzing from the outset. 1st Day of the Decathlon was off to a good start for American Trey Hardee who led after 3 events. The crowd was really into the Decathlon High Jump as two pits saw constant action. Semi-Finals of the Men’s 400m saw both Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt both advanced to the finals with Merritt running the fastest time in the world this year.

The stadium was crazy as the Men’s 200m Semis saw Usain Bolt run 20.04 shutting down with 10 meters remaining. Shawn Crawford led three Americans into the Finals. Tyson Gay has pulled out of the meet after reinjuring himself.

Then came the Men’s 1500m Final with Bernard Lagat the defending World Champion leading three Americans. Lagat ran a great race [very slow pace] staying out of trouble and near the front, until the last lap when he seemed to fall asleep and move back in the pack and then awaken for a furious charge down the home stretch. Too much too late as Lagat took third.

The Women’s 800m was the last running event of the evening and South African Caster Semenya virtually led wire to wire to a 1:55 win. This event might not be over as the IAAF has requested that Semenya submit to a gender test so it is possible that these results could be changed – but not for weeks.

Then the Men’s Discus – Poland’s Potr Malachowski led from the his very first throw – which was a National Record – he did not win – German Robert Harting won with a personal best on his very last throw. Needless to say the Stadium went crazy as this was a tremendous upset. Harting took a paga out of the WWF – ripped off his shirt – picked-up the Mascot – Berlino the Bear and ran around the track and infield like a man possessed. It was awesome.



After spending two days here at the World’s the meet just keeps getting better. The venue is one of the best I have ever seen and to think it is within this facility that Jesse Owens made so much history in 1936.

The organization and presentation of the events is just awesome with everyone being informed of all that is taking place. The meet mascot a cute Bear [the symbol of Berlin] entertains the crowd between and sometimes during the events. Usain Bolt’s world record in the 100m got the Championships off to an incredible start but each event has been unique with the crowd cheering for everyone and each winner getting an incredible ovation for their accomplishment.

Unlike many sporting events in America there is absolutely no negativity present at all! Americans are holding their own with wins in the Women’s 400 and Men’s 400 Hurdles.

The highlight so far for me has been the 10,000 with Bekele winning a fourth Championship, and both Steeplechases. Last night ended with the Germans winning their first Gold with a win in the Women’s Javelin.