Gebrselassie's golden view of the distance
Mike Rowbottom reflects on a season of highs and lows for world athletics
Wednesday 13 September 1995
And as the sound and fury of another summer dies away, next year already beckons with a prospect of greater riches - another $1m (pounds 650,000) of prize- money for the climactic grand prix final, and the greatest - indirect - money spinner of all, the Olympic Games.
The year will be remembered primarily as a stupendous year for middle- distance running, with two men - Noureddine Morceli of Algeria and Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia - dominating its upper and lower reaches.
Gebrselassie retained his world 10,000m title and also laid claim to the world record, lowering William Sigei's outstanding mark of 26min 52.23sec by nearly 10 seconds to 26:43.53.
Having seen his world 5,000m record beaten by Moses Kiptanui early in the season, the Ethiopian created even greater shock waves by taking nearly 11 seconds off the Kenyan's mark in Zurich, where he ran 12min 44.36sec, the largest margin of improvement in the event for over 60 years.
Kiptanui also made athletics history at the same meeting in becoming the first man to beat eight minutes for the 3,000m steeplechase.
For Britain, the overall picture has changed dramatically in the space of a year. No one would have predicted after last season's European Championships that all three of our world champions would fail to retain their titles in Gothenburg.
The strain has told in each case. Linford Christie and Colin Jackson both face operations to remove knee cartilages damaged by relentless training and competing. Sally Gunnell is currently on crutches having had a bursa removed from her heel. Her surgeon discovered that the cause of the inflammation was a roughening of the bone due to wear and tear.
There are mental as well as physical wounds to be healed here. Gunnell has had to come to terms with the first serious injury of her career, and the additional torment of seeing Kim Batten relieve her not just of her world 400m hurdles title, but her world record as well. The post-race interview which Gunnell was obliged to conduct with Batten while working for the BBC in Gothenburg was testing in an unusual sense.
Jackson is still hurt and resentful over the way the British Athletic Federation demanded that he demonstrate his fitness before the World Championships. He is also aware from the racing that he managed to do in a season blighted by illness and injury that the rest of the world's 110m hurdlers have moved on from 1994. He can no longer take his pre-eminence for granted.
That is also true of Christie, who finished a weary fifth over 100m in last weekend's IAAF grand prix final. He still maintains that he will not defend his Olympic title in Atlanta, although it is hard to see him resisting the challenge if he approaches the Games in anything like decent shape.
The belated pay agreement which Christie, Jackson and John Regis reached with the BAF was sufficiently uneasy to suggest that worse difficulties lie ahead next year.
No such problems intrude into the future for Britain's new world champion, Jonathan Edwards, or the woman who took silver and bronze at 800 and 1500m in Gothenburg, Kelly Holmes. Britain's athletics authorities can turn to this pair with a light heart, as they promise to fill any gap at the top of the domestic sport as it moves towards the millennium.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Tottenham combined XI: Hugo Lloris or Thibaut Courtois? Willian or Christian Eriksen? Who makes the final cut?
Manchester United vs Sunderland match report: Wayne Rooney scores twice but referee Roger East sends off Wes Brown instead of John O'Shea
AP McCoy on Arsenal: 'If I was performing that bad I'd have retired a long time ago'
Carl Frampton vs Chris Avalos; Tyson Fury vs Christian Hammer; Dmitry Chudinov vs Chris Eubank Jr - boxing on TV this weekend
Manchester United player ratings: Just how bad was Angel Di Maria to be withdrawn at half-time?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...