While the Weltklasse Zürich Diamond League bills itself as the “Olympics in a day”, it is hardly a one-day event. For me, the action began on Tuesday as I coached some kids to throw medicine balls and toy javelins with Valerie Adams at the Weltklasse Zürich Kids Clinic.
On Wednesday I attended the “Big Shot” shot put competition with Kibwe. For the second year in a row, the shot put competition was held one day before the main meet and placed in the center of Zürich’s main train station. With over 350,000 people a day passing through there, it made for a packed and energetic venue. We produced a video for Flotrack (see below) showing a behind the scenes look at the venue, the competition, and the competitors. The competition was thrilling. Valerie Adams controlled the women’s competition until Nadzeya Ostapchuk took a brief lead. Adam responded for the win. The podium for the meet (and the final podium for the overall Diamond Race) were the same as in Daegu. The men’s competition was very close and the top five throwers were nearly within a foot of each other. Reese Hoffa led for much of the competition before a struggling Ryan Whiting found his technique in the final round. Then, on his last attempt, my old training partner Dylan Armstrong responded for the win. His first place also secures a victory in the Diamond Race for him. Young Swiss shot putter Gergori Ott also got to throw with the big boys and set a new national under 18 record of 20.00 meters with the 5-kilogram shot put.
As I wrote last year, all of the pre-meet activity benefits everyone. The fans and kids get to participate in an enjoyable event. And the meet gets to gain exposure by reaching more people. More meets need to do this, and more are. Just last month the Karlstad Grand Prix in Sweden had a pre-meet exhibition hammer throw event over a river.
This main competition finally takes place this evening. While it is unfortunate that there is no hammer throw in the Diamond League, Weltklasse Zürich is still highlighted on my calendar every year. It is a chance to see world-class athletes up close. This year will be my first time that my wife gets to see such high-level athletes (other than myself of course) in person, making it even more exciting.
I am about to head out to the meet. To give you a taste of what it is like (and on how fun a throwing competition can be with the right set up), check out the video below.