The Bislett Games in Oslo on the Diamond League program is one of the iconic events in the track and field year. A glance at the winners of the Bislett Medal, awarded for outstanding performance in the Bislett Stadium every year since 1966, confirms the impression – Ralph Boston, Grete Waitz, John Walker, Seb Coe, Mary Decker, Willie Banks, Carl Lewis, Javier Sotomayor, Usain Bolt, and Blanka Vlasic through to the last three winners Karsten Warholm. Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Armand Duplantis – worldwide to Scandanavian. Not to mention the 70 World Records set in the stadium!
With 15,000 in the sold-out stadium in the heart of the Norwegian capital on a warm summer evening, the traditional 2-hour Diamond program was preceded by 15 national events, giving mainly local athletes the chance to compete in the national stadium.
The range of events was brilliant, with stellar performances all around – from sprints to hurdles to middle and longer distances races, jumps, throws, and even a relay. Don’t tell anyone, but there was even a hammer-throw competition – what hammer throw at a Diamond League? You cannot be serious!! Sadly the traditional snowball throwing contest has been dropped from the program.
Karston Warholm goes 46.52 WL/MR, CJ Allen goes 47.58 PB, photo by Thomas Windestam for Diamond League AG.
That home favorites Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen won their races. Warholm in 46.52, a World Lead and Diamond League record. Jakob set an area record and a world-leading time of 3:27.95.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen runs 3:27.95, ER, leading 8 men to PBs, and several NRs! Photo by Thomas Windestam for Diamond League AG
Seeing Wayde van Niekerk win a Diamond League after a long layoff through injury was brilliant.
It is invidious to pick particular events from a program that enthralled from women’s shot at 5,30pm to the men’s 1500 at 9.50, but I will do so: The women’s 100m with five athletes under 11 seconds. The men’s 1500 saw Neil Gourley run a 2-second PR of 3:30.88, and he was tenth, yes tenth, in a race that saw 8 PBs.
Sarah Mitton upsets in shot put, photo by Thomas Windestam for Diamond League AG
Valarie Allman suffered defeat for the first time in seven discus competitions when Jorinde van Klinken threw 66.77 in the fifth round to win.
Yulimar Rojas was pleasantly surprised to win the triple jump after a fall reduced her ability to train; she was positively shocked when Cathal Dennehy, for World Athletics, interviewed her afterward in Spanish!
Yulimar Rojas is jumping well, photo by Thomas Windestam for Diamond League AG
It was a night of small margins, with three shot-putters registering 19.44 and three women sprinters clocking 10.98.
One disappointment was to see a top-class women’s shot putt competition starting fully 2.5 hours before the Opening ceremony, won by Sarah Mitton. At least Sarah enjoyed her evening, even if not for the competition: “The memory I am taking from Oslo this year will definitely be the high five from the Strawberry. I saw the mascot last year, and I thought that it would be so cool to get a photo with the mascot”. She should get out more!