Mixed emotions for Team GB athletes as they head back to the track
Ohuruogu meets Richards-Ross while Gemili and Bleasedale also in action tonight
Friday 17 August 2012
From the deafening crucible of the 2012 Olympic Stadium, the international track-and-field roadshow moves on to the more tranquil, timeless setting of the 1912 Stockholm Olympiastadion this evening.
The resumption of the International Association of Athletics Federations' Diamond League could hardly have a more fitting setting than the historic, atmospheric arena in which the part Native American decathlete Jim Thorpe and the first of the great Flying Finns, Hannes Kolehmainen, wowed the Swedish capital with their world record feats 100 years ago.
There will be 11 new Olympic champions in action tonight, none of them British. Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford are having a break before the Birmingham Grand Prix on Sunday week. Jessica Ennis has a grand, thoroughly deserved civic homecoming in Sheffield city centre today. A new song is to be sung in her honour by a band called the Everly Pregnant Brothers.
There will be one British medal winner in action in Stockholm, though. Christine Ohuruogu runs in the 400m against the American who claimed her Olympic title 12 days ago, Sanya Richards-Ross. For the 28-year-old Stratford woman, it will be liberation time rather than a revenge mission.
"I think a lot of athletes will agree that their lives kind of stopped until London 2012 had passed," Ohuruogu said. "For me, everything stopped until Sunday, 5 August. Nothing was worth planning until after that date. Now I'm free.
"This is the first time I can actually say that I can really sit back and enjoy what I've done. I've been chasing medals and finals since 2004. I do feel I can let my hair down a bit."
After three years of injury and indifferent form, an Olympic silver was a fine achievement by Ohuruogu, even if her initial reaction was one of disappointment at having lost the one-lap crown she won in Beijing in 2008. "To have done what I did, having three years which were not that great, I should be quite happy with that," she said. "I could have come away with nothing."
Ohuruogu came away with nothing more tangible than experience from her first Olympic Games. As a 20-year-old rookie in Athens in 2004 she missed the 400m final by 0.01sec.
At the same age, Holly Bleasdale made the pole vault final in London and was disappointed to miss out on a medal. That is a measure of how far the Blackburn Harrier has come in the past 12 months.
Tonight, she faces the American Olympic champion in her event, Jenn Suhr. They also lock horns in the Birmingham Grand Prix.
"To finish sixth in my first Olympic final is pretty good," Bleasdale said. "I think due to the lack of experience I have at major championships, it wasn't the best set of conditions to contend with. But I will learn from that and next time I will able to pick my game up."
Adam Gemili also left the Games with a mixture of justifiable pride tinged with disappointment. Making the 100m semi-final was a fine achievement by the 18-year-old Blackheath Harrier, for whom the 100m in Stockholm tonight will be an opportunity to rid himself of the frustration of the 4x100m relay disqualification caused by his overeagerness in running beyond the baton exchange zone.
"The Olympics was an amazing experience for me," said Gemili, who also competes in the Birmingham meeting – at 200m. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that in eight months I would go from playing non-league football to representing my country in the biggest sporting event in the world, the Olympic Games."
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