"I have to admit it. Over the course of the year, the shot put has benefited from some fantastic fan support. Helsinki was no different. The Finns have a love for athletics and particularly their throwing events. As they should, because they have two shot putters over the 21 metre mark this year. Helsinki will be perfect for the IAAF World Championships in 2005. I am sure the competition there will be fantastic.
The competition was built up quite a bit by the press. On Monday, the meeting director held a press conference specifically for the shot put. Kevin Toth, John Godina, Yuri Belonog, Arsi Harju and myself answered a few questions and had several pictures taken. If anyone has access to the Finnish newspapers you should read the article about John, Kevin and I. I promise you, it's very entertaining.
I wish I could say we lived up to the expectations of the billing. However, the competition itself was certainly a little disappointing for me and my fellow competitors. Despite the lack of great performances it was a solid competition during in which three throwers cleared the 21metre line. Though it was far from our desired 22 metre performances, the crowd reacted with pleasure and continued to cheer us on throughout.
This was my first time in Finland, and I will go back. The people are absolutely beautiful and Helsinki is a classic Scandinavian port town. One of the most memorable aspects of this trip (outside of competing in the '52 Olympic stadium) was the opportunity to tour the city and learn a little bit about the Finnish people. For those who do get the opportunity to travel to Helsinki, I recommend visiting the harbour and the beach. The Finns are some of the world’s best BIG boat builders. It's pretty amazing."
Peace to all,