Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

One for the Record Books

When Brent and I arrived in Berlin late Friday night, we thought the most exciting part of our three-day stay would be the owner of our guesthouse, a transgendered British ex-pat claiming to be the illegitimate niece of the Queen.

But we were mistaken.

This morning, we headed over to the site of the 1936 Olympics. In keeping with the theme of our two weeks in Europe so far, we´d planned to tour the stadium and check out the displays of Leni Riefenstahl´s third reich films and Hitler´s Nazi Games. When we arrived, though, we found that the grounds were closed to the public.

It seemed that we had inadvertantly timed our stay in Berlin to coincide perfectly with the 2009 World Championships of Track and Field.

Well, we just couldn´t pass that up, could we?

We splurged on tickets for the day, and spent the morning watching prelims and quarterfinals and exploring the olympic facilities. Once the early session ended, we jetted off to visit a museum and memorial dedicated to the victims killed while trying to escape from East Berlin. And then we boarded an overcrowded subway to head back to the stadium for the main event.

The excitement built as the evening wore on. First was the quarterfinals of the women´s 100 meter, followed in quick succession by the semi-finals of the men´s sprint. There was the triple jump prelims and the heptathlon 800 and the shotput finals. The crowds cheered not only for the German athletes, but for every person to set foot on the track.

The final event of the heptathlon ended in an all-out sprint. Jessica Ennis of Britain took the gold, with German Jennifer Oeser in hot pursuit. Seconds later, kiwi shotputter Valerie Vili clinched the top spot after trailing the fan favorite for much of the round. The stadium was poised to explode.

And then Usain Bolt entered the arena.

And all hell broke loose.

Bolt was going headed to head with America´s Tyson Gay for the position of world´s fastest man. The music built. The crowd stood. Gay tied and re-tied his shoes. Bolt shadowboxed with his teammate.

They took their marks.

The gun sounded.

And 9.58 seconds later, it was all over.

Usain Bolt had set a new world record in the 100-meter sprint. Gay was a close second, breaking his own American record.

We happened to come to Berlin this week. And wanted to see the Olympic stadium. We came to explore history. And along the way, we saw history being made.

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9 responses to “One for the Record Books

  1. Denise August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    That's SO cool!!! Oh my gosh!!

  2. RunningLaur August 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Holy wow! What fortune! I'm watching the medal ceremony for 100m right now!

  3. Angela and David Kidd August 17, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    AWESOME. So cool. I saw you post this on FB and I couldn't wait to read about it.And isn't Berlin great? One of my favorite cities.

  4. marty August 17, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    What an incredible experience, to be able to say 'I was there' when Bolt broke his own world record. Also pleasing to see Jessica Ennis winning after she missed the 2008 Olympics through injury. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Berlin

  5. The Happy Runner August 18, 2009 at 2:21 am

    How flippin' cool!!!! That's awesome!

  6. X-Country2 August 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I got to the part about going to teh stadium, and I thought, "you were there at the same time as the track and field championship! PLEASE tell me you went!" What an amazing thing to watch. I'm super jealous.

  7. aron August 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    ahhh i cant believe you were there!!! i saw your FB status that day and was SO jealous 🙂 what an awesome experience!

  8. Kim August 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    "Goosebumps" is all I can say.

  9. Pingback: London or Bust « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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